Cruising with BromptonSummary: This is the first time I have taken my Brompton bike on cruise.
Royal Caribbean - Independence of the Seas
23 August to 5 September 2014
Ports: Southampton (UK), Vigo, Lisbon, Valencia, Barcelona, Mallorca, Ibiza, Cadiz, Southampton
|Zoomzoom and his mate Scamp .....very excited to get onboard.|
This is the first time we brought our Bromptons on cruise and it raised many questions in our mind prior to boarding.
How do we transport the bikes to the ship?
Will they allow us to take the bikes onboard? What if they refuse?
How do we store the bikes onboard? Would there be a space in the cabin?
Can we use the Bromptons when the ship is docked? Will they let us take the bikes on and off the ship?
We have done many cruises before so we sort of know most of the answers.
Southampton is the embarkation port. We could get there by train but we decided to take the car instead as it only takes about 1.5 hours driving distance from our place. The plan was we will park the car for 14 days until we get back from the cruise. If they refuse to let us take the Bromptons onboard then we will leave them in the car.
I was confident though that the cruise ship will not refuse. In the worst scenario they will probably take the bikes for safekeeping then return them to us when we disembark.
Well, everything went well. Very well.
The checking in of luggage in a cruise ship is similar to the kerb side airline check in during the good old days. As you unload your luggage from the car, porters are there at the kerb side ready to take it from you. It will be delivered to your cabin.
We folded our Bromptons and hand carried them. From the photo above you will notice that we have the bike cover neatly hanging at the back of the saddle. This is just in case we have to cover it. But no one seems to mind so we hand carried the Brompton without the cover on. We went thru 2 security points. First is the port terminal security and then the ship's security.
I thought it was the first time the ship security staff had a Brompton bike presented to him. He seems to be quite unfamiliar on how to inspect it. He requested me to put the folded Brompton thru to the X-ray machine. That was the first and the last time. As the voyage progressed and as we got on and off the ship in many ports of call, the security staff did not bother to put the bikes thru the X-ray machine again.
|Zoom zoom found a nice space to relax and enjoy a water view|
|Zoomzoom enjoying the view of the Royal Promenade - the arcade inside the ship.|
|Zoomzoom is ready to play with the kids at the pool area.|
|The running/walking track on top deck. Zoomzoom pestering me to go for a ride.|
|25 de April Bridge, Portugal|
Vigo SpainOur first port of call was Vigo. Unfortunately we did not cycle there. It was raining and the City Centre is very close to the pier so we walked instead. From what I saw the foreshore is a nice place to cycle. I believe there are also some nice beaches biking distance away.
Lisbon PortugalWe did not cycle here which I regretted. There is a cycle lane along the foreshore. It was my first time in Lisbon and I though it is too big a city to explore by bike knowing that we only got about 5 hours to explore the city. We use the on and off bus instead.
|Stunning modern architectural symmetry in Valencia|
Barcelona SpainWhat else can I say? Everyone knows about Barcelona. It is one of my favorite cities. It is well worth taking the Brompton. The cruise terminal is quite a long walk to La Rambla, so cycling from the ship is very ideal. Cycling along the beach area is most pleasant. We cycle up to Badalona.
|This is more toward if not in Badalona near Barcelona|
Palma de MallorcaFantastic bike way along the waterfront. You will not be forgiven if you don't bring your bike here. It looks really safe and cycling would be ideal for all ages.
|Palma de Mallorca. Cycle track along the waterfront. Stunning.|
Ibiza SpainA very busy resort town. Not as bike friendly as Mallorca but still worth taking the bike. Where the cruise ship docks is quite a long walk from the town center.
|Ibiza. A busy resort town.|
Cadiz SpainVery historic place. The bike track along the waterfront is very pleasant. If you are on cruise, definitely bring your Brompton. There are so many nice beaches. Whatever type you like. Family beach, lovers' beach, nude beach, busy beach, quiet beach etc etc -- all within biking distance.
|Cadiz. Time to soak the sun before heading back to London|
So yes, it was worth the experiment of taking the Brompton on Cruise. One thing I particularly like is the sense of freedom to explore the port when you have the bike.
Not everyone likes cruising but for those who do, bringing your Brompton will enhance your cruising vacation. The cruise ship normally stays only few hours on port. With a Brompton you will be able to manage your time more efficiently.
Brompton can also save you some money. You can avoid paying shuttle bus fare and excursion tours. And if you are game enough, you may just follow the route of the Hop On and Hop Off bus to see the cities major attraction.
One thing more. When you cycle you won't feel as guilty when you eat too much on board. Drinking? well, that is another topic. You don't want to have a hangover the next day you are cycling.
I will not be surprised to see if more and more people takes their Brompton on cruise. And it has to be Brompton. Other folding bikes will just not work. As you know, it is all about the fold and the quality of Brompton.
Happy cruising. Happy riding.
An appeal: If you take your Brompton on cruise, always think about the other passangers. For the space you occupy for your bike, is the space you did not make available to other people. Be considerate. Be a good Brompton citizen.
Other Services we used:
For Parking in Southampton - Eze Parking. About 100 pounds for 14 days