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The Call of The Sea - Away with Words

By Martin HigginsThursday 11th June 2015

In March last year we held a competition to find an aspiring travel writer to send on-board Allure of the Seas as our very own guest blogger. Our competition winner Martin Higgins, and his girlfriend Emily, will be spending one month travelling around the beautiful Mediterranean while visiting some of Europe’s most loved destinations from Barcelona to Florence on our 7 night West Mediterranean cruise.


Read about their exciting adventure with the latest edition of Away with Words.

I arrived into Barcelona to the smell of wild fruit trees, and a city in bloom – both in the real sense in the lush vegetation that abounds here, but also culturally.
The famous pedestrianized boulevard of Las Ramblas was full to capacity with young people on their way to Primavera Sound. Daredevil skateboarders jack-knifed between moving targets for that added adrenaline rush. The crowds of rojiblancos sang together for their team in the Copa del Rey final, while political supporters of Ada Colau, the new mayor, added their voices to the crescendo, shouting for change and solidarity on the street corners.
Pano Barcelona 0-min
The febrile atmosphere that flowed around and through me was irresistible, and I was ready to break out the glowsticks which I keep on my person at all times in case of an emergency, and disappear into this Catalan rapture forever.
But I had other fish to fry that day; I had a date with a ship.
The sea was calling me from across the ages, and I was ready to become the naval man I had always wanted to be; falling into line with the old Sea Captain’s that dwell around the Cutty Sark. And as John Masefield said in his poem Sea Fever, this is a call that cannot be denied.
On the taxi ride towards the port, we passed modern Barcelona which is at the epicentre of all this change, bringing together the idealism and sense of unity of the Catalan people, in Parc Del Forum, and the magnificent Museu Blau which stands as an architectural bliss point on the water’s edge, standing like a shard cut from a piece of vinyl and held against the blue sky.
Museu Blau 1
And then this came into sight, my home for the next month… the neverending ship.
Allure of the Seas 2
It is not often a ship is capable of towering over other famous landmarks across the world, but Allure is like a floating skyscraper which transforms the face of every city it partners with – becoming a tourist attraction in its own right.
It’s impossible not to be awed by the engineering and design that goes into such a totem of marine transportation, which links the world’s best cities and gives us that mobility we crave as humans, to travel and feed our wanderlust in comfort and style.First thing I did was head to the bow. Any longer out here and my shoulders will match my hat.
Martin Higgins Red Hat 3
Although this may look like a deleted scene from Water World – it’s just me, feeling a complete oneness with the sea, as we kicked off the first leg of this tour across the Southern part of continental Europe, starting in Spain and heading across France, then down to Italy. I decided to remain here a while – wondering where it all went right for me. The views of the Spanish coast were incredible as we departed for Palma De Majorca, and surveying my new aquatic habitat, the realisation that this is my life for the next month finally struck home.
There is hidden treasure onboard too. Like this replica of a 1936 Mercedes Benz, 540K. Me and the T-birds are taking it for a spin later.
1936 Mercedes Benz 4
Royal Carribean have created the kind of dream-worlds and hypothetical scenarios which delight and surprise its passengers at every corner – the entertainment is plentiful, and the fun is not age specific. With nods and references to modern culture, there is a themed neighbourhood for all tastes – and there is still so much more for me to explore. It’s like getting to ride on a roller coaster for a month.
Emily having a Kate Winslet moment here. And that will be my last reference to the Titanic…
Emily 5
This is the jazz club which we stumbled into on the first night. The singer had a voice as soft and demure as the velour couches we were sitting on – and you could have mistaken this hangout for a dark, smoky New York style basement bar full of cool cats in zoot suits.
Jazz Club 6
We caught the show in the AquaTheatre under the dwindling light, and watched these airborne ballerinas diving from the top deck.
Aqua Theatre 7
Welcome to the pleasure dome. I discovered this 24hour heated jacuzzi complete with infinity edge. It is on the upper deck, and is elevated outwards to give you the illusion that you’re sitting in the middle of the ocean, floating under the stars at night. This is my new watery throne.
Jacuzzi 8
And finally, night was upon us. The moonlight at sea is improved with a daiquiri.

Words by Martin Higgins




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