barcelona cruise mates thomson cruises

Have you ever been on a cruise? The closest I’ve come to a cruise was my sailing holiday in Greece last year. Whilst the idea of travelling overnight and waking up in a brand new destination appeals to me, I’ve never really thought of them as that adventurous or even cultural. In fact I’d always imagined that cruise travel was all about staying on the ship, eating English breakfasts and not really doing, or seeing, much else. Turns out I couldn’t be more wrong.

Thomson Cruises have put together a series of videos (below) which show just how much fun you can get up to once you step ashore in your destination. It proves that cruises don’t have to be all about mass group sightseeing tours where you’re herded about, or packed poolsides. You have plenty of time to go off exploring on your own, try new things, eat interesting food and meet new people. Something I’m very much on-board with!

In a study between Thomson Cruises and Yale University, it was discovered that bonding with up to 5 new people from different cultures while we’re on holiday gives us a 10% boost in our happiness. It makes sense. That is, after all, why I’m so keen to meet locals and hang out in local spots when I’m abroad. It’s those new interactions, ones where you learn something new about food, an activity or history whilst speaking (or attempting to speak) a foreign language that I love.

Having made this discovery, Thomson Cruises gave I’m A Celebrity star, Larry Lamb, a challenge. He was tasked with meeting different locals (‘Cruise Mates’) in Barcelona, Palma and Ibiza while on a cruise across the Mediterranean in the newest ship to Thomson Cruises’ fleet; TUI Discovery 2.

The three films below show just what adventures await you when you step ashore and meet the locals and prove that cruising can be adventurous too.

Barcelona Cruise Mates

Everyone I know who has been to Barcelona loved it. It’s a city full of art and culture and it would be a fantastic place to make some Cruise Mates.

On his stop, Larry headed to the world famous Boqueria Market where he began chatting to the owner of Bar Pinotxo, Junaito. On Junaito’s recommendation he then heads to Palau Dalmases to discover the most authentic arts and culture scene in the city. A quick stroll down Las Ramblas and Larry ends up watching Christine Blanco Eslava and Raphael perform flamenco while he learns how to keep time with the Cajon.

Other local adventures to try in Barcelona

Making Cruise Mates in Barcelona is pretty easy. Here are a few other local adventures you could get up to.

  • Learn how to cook paella with a Barcelona chef.
  • Try skateboarding or just watch the local pros at Plaza del Angels by MACBA. You’ll soon see why Barcelona is considered one of the best cities in the world for skateboarding!
  • Enjoy your siesta and prepare to experience Barcelona’s renowned nightlife.

Cruise Mates in Palma de Mallorca

Upon arrival in Palma de Mallorca, Larry seeks out some outdoors adventures (just like I would!). Palma is often visited by pro cyclists who can rely on warm weather for their long rides on the city’s terrain.

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Thelonious, a Mallorcan cycling and hiking expert, takes Larry along the seafront by bike and towards the cathedral before heading to the mountains for some spectacular views.

Other outdoor adventures in Palma

Enjoy the beautiful outdoors of Palma de Mallorca with these adventures. I know I’d be super eager to step ashore for these!

  • Rent a sea kayak from one of the local companies along the water and head out for a few hours.
  • Mallorca Hot Air Balloon Ride. What with the mountains and the sea you’ll get some pretty incredible views!
  • Whilst I don’t suggest doing this on your own, Mallorca is great for adrenaline seekers. Join the Serra de Tramuntana cliff jumping tour for a few hours of extreme fun!

Larry’s Ibiza Cruise Mates

Over the last couple of years I feel like Ibiza has grown up and is starting to shake off its reputation of being full of drunk 18 year olds. I’m sure they’re probably still about, but now there’s a lot more awareness of the other activities Ibiza has to offer.

In Ibiza Larry heads in search of Ibiza’s freshest seafood. Meeting his first Ibiza Cruise Mate, a local fisherman, leads Larry to Ibiza’s best kept secret – El Chiringuito de Dona Maria, commonly known as ‘The Fish Shack’. It’s a bit out of the way but is often packed with locals and in-the-know tourists.

Other foodie delights in Ibiza

Whilst the new TUI Discovery 2 has a huge range of restaurants to keep you full, you shouldn’t miss (and won’t be able to resist) the food onshore in Ibiza. Here are a few great restaurants in Ibiza not to miss!

  • Bambuddha: Locals and tourists have travelled through the Ibizan hills to this restaurant that’ll transport you to Bali with its Tiki theme and Asian food specialities.
  • Sa Capella: This church turned restaurant is always a hit with visitors to Ibiza. Some of the dishes have proved so popular that they haven’t changed in the whole 15 years that the restaurant has been open!
  • The Giri Cafe: This cafe prides itself on sustainable, local and seasonal cooking. The food is so local in fact that the organic vegetables in your dish and harvested onsite!

Step Ashore and make your own Cruise Mates all around the world on a Thomson Cruise.


*This post is in collaboration with Thomson Cruises