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Home > Member Reviews > olivanova's Port Reviews of Madeira (Funchal), Tenerife, Lanzarote, Barcelona

olivanova's Port Reviews of Madeira (Funchal), Tenerife, Lanzarote, Barcelona
Norwegian Jade cruise in February 2012
Member Name: olivanova
Cruise Date: February 2012
Embarkation: Barcelona
Destination: Canary Islands
Member Review: olivanova's Norwegian Jade Review
Madeira (Funchal)
Port Rating: 4.0 out of 5+
Madeira

There is no shuttle service from the ship to Funchal. As we had been to the village of Monte and done the toboggan ride (wicker basket) to Livaramento, wine tasting, etc, before, we decided just to walk round Funchal. However from the port to the city we were pestered by two hop, hop off tour bus companies and decided to hop on the Blue bus company to tour round in and around Funchal. For €12 each (£10.26), we hopped and on various stops in Funchal, went to Pico dos Barcelonas (the highest point with views of villages scattered over green slopes) and also Camara de Lobos (a fishing village where Sir Winston Churchill painted) where we walked around and had a beer. Considering the ship's cheapest tour is $33 (£22) and most of the tours included Camara de Lobos, our bus tour was good value. Having said that, if it wasn't for the Churchill connection, there really is not much to Camara de Lobos. If we find ourselves in Madeira again, we would probably take a bus and go to one of the botanical gardens there. Tip: To go back on board the ship, you go through a building which has shops to purchase postcards and stamps, etc, and a cafe. There is also a post box on site.

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Tenerife
Best of Tenerife - Lava and Fire Rating: 4.0 out of 5+
Tenerife

We went on the ship's 'Best of Tenerife - Lava and Fire' all day tour costing $139 (£92.70). We spent the morning driving to and from the Mount Teide national park, with photograph stops for the lava terrain and views of Mount Teide and a tea/coffee break at a restuarant in the park (included in the price). We would have liked to have visited Mount Teide but was told that the wait for a cable car to take us to the top would be hours, if not the rest of the day. On the way to and back our guide was very keen to tell us all about Tenerife's ecosystem to the point that you had the impression that you had heard the same thing several times. For lunch we stopped at a very good hotel restaurant at Puerto de la Cruz (included in the price) where we had a choice of several starters, mains and desserts washed down by a decent bottle of white or red wine and a bottle of water (between 2). After lunch, there was time to walk on the black sandy beach which was just round the corner from the hotel. the next stop was the nearby village of La Orotava where we visited the church and La Casa de los Balconies (the House of the Balconies) where you can buy lace and local produce such as wine, cheese, etc, etc. On the way back to the ship we stopped at the new opera house near the docks to take some photographs. We would have liked to have seen more of the coastal resorts or Santa Cruz which would have been possible if the ship had spent more time in Tenerife but it left at 6 pm to spend the night anchored somewhere off Lanzarote. We will be going back there to have a more indepth tour round including taking the cable car up to Mount Teide.


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Lanzarote
Best of Lanzarote Rating: 4.0 out of 5+
Lanzarote

Again, we went on the ship's 'Best of Lazarote all day tour costing $129 (£86). On the way to our first stop our guide told us that the coach had to be changed because the air conditioning was not working. We were taken to the Mirador del Rio, a building designed by Cesar Manrique, where you can view the nearby island of La Graciosa and purchase refreshments, postcards, etc, etc. I am not sure how much time we spent there but it was a very long time and we were all getting very restless. When we finally were allowed to leave, it was back on the old coach which took us to visit Jameous del Agua where the replacement coach was waiting. Jameos del Agua is a partially open cave designed by Cesar Manrique comprising of a subterranean pool and concert hall and an exhibition. It is worth visiting. For lunch we stopped at the truly awful "restaurant" in Mancha Bianca for lunch (included in the price). The dining room comprised of several long tables with benches and on each table there was a carafe of very cold vinegary red wine which had seen better days and some water (between 4) and oranges and apples for dessert. We helped ourselves to what could be starters [there were no salad items, cold meat, etc] whilst others just piled on most things onto one plate. We then hit the problem that there was nobody interested in taking away our plates so we left them with the uneaten bits of what we thought could just be starters on a side table and helped ourselves to clean plates and what certainly looked like the main courses which were equally as bad as the starters. Everyone complained about the quality of the food and wine available and how badly it compared to the restaurant in Tenerife. After lunch we were taken to the visitor's centre in the Timanfaya National park where learnt more about volcanoes and lava (more than we really needed or wanted!). We also witnessed three demonstrations of geothermal energy which were certainly worthwhile seeing. Our final stop was at a vineyard where we were given a glass of red or dry white or sweet white to taste. We opted for a glass of cheap and nasty dry white wine. sample. Thankfully it was only a very small glass!! One of our group tried the sweet white wine and asked for a second glass and was refused. Nobody bought any wine or asked to try something better. While our guide in Tenerife waffled on and on about ecosystems, our guide in Lanzarote waffled on and on about lava rocks and, of course, with many repeats. The only release was the recorded audio commentary courtesy of the replacement coach which, although was about volcanos and lava rock, was far more interesting than our guide's attempts to fill up the time. Again, we would have liked to have seen more of the coastal resorts which would have been possible if the tour had not spent so much time at each stop and if the ship had spent more time in Lanzarote instead of leaving at 6 pm.

Malaga

We took the local authority-run shuttle to and from Malaga (you need to pay but only a token amount). We did not go on ship excursions because we have seen the places to be visited before. Instead we spent a pleasant morning and afternoon walking round the town. We visited the Cathedral where we opted for the audio commentary, walked round the Castle of Gibralfaro and the Alcazaba and the indoor market.


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Barcelona
Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
Barcelona

At the port we took a shuttle bus to the port entrance (€2.50 each (£2.14)) and the metro (€2 each (£1.71)) to a fantastic hotel where we stayed for two days. We spent what was left of our first day walking round the Passeig de Gracia which was near our hotel and where three of Antoni Gaudi's houses are located, La Perdrera, Casa Batlló and Casa Mil. We also walked down Las Ramblas and visited the indoor market. On the advice of our fellow cruise passengers, we spent the second day on the hop on and hop off tourist bus. Our hotel advised us to buy discount "tickets" from them in advance. For €3 (£2.56) each we bought two packages which contained money off coupons including a €1 (85p) each discount on the hop on and hop off bus. So our tickets would only cost €23 (£19.66) each instead of €24 (£20.51). But we got on the wrong bus. Instead of the hop on and hop off tourist bus, we got on the City of Barcelona hop on and hop off bus. The attendant aboard told us that we had got on the wrong bus but they would honour the discount and give us a further discount - the seniors discount which she explained was the only one they had and they apparently applied it irrespective of age to encourage you to try their service. We were charged €28 (£23.93) for two instead of the €40 (£34.19) we were expecting to pay if we had got on the right bus. So, for a total of €17 (£14.53) each we spent the day touring the east and west sides of the city on their red and yellow bus lines, complete with audio commentary. We could have stopped to visit places that we passed such as the Olympic village, the Spanish village, the national art gallery, Camp Nou and the beach but only had time to visit the historic gothic heart of the city, the old Cathedral and La Sagrada Familia. Gaudi's masterpiece, La Sagrada Familia, was undoubtedly the highlight of our stay. We spent over two hours going round with an audio commentary and went up one of the towers in a lift. It was all absolutely amazing how he managed to ensure so much natural light penetrated the building and how the interior reflected nature. We agreed that if we were still alive when it is finished, we would come back to see it again. We never dreamt it would affect us in that way!! We spent our last morning at Gaudi's Park Gel where we had a picnic, after which we took the metro (€2 each (£1.71)) from our hotel to the main square, the Plaa Catalunya where we caught a bus to the airport. A bus leaves for the airport every 11 minutes and there are always buses waiting to take you there but you have to make sure you get on the right bus to take you to your terminal. The destination, A (terminal 1) or B (terminal 2) is clearly displayed on the front and tickets cost €5.30 each (£4.53). As we would be arriving at Gatwick quite late and had not booked a meal on the flight we decided to have a meal in the Grill restaurant in the departure lounge. We were pleasantly surprised. We had freshly grilled chicken breasts - two each - grilled vegetables, chips/french fries and a half bottle of red wine for €26.50 for two (£22.65). Tip: Try the pata negra ham in Barcelona. We bought two medium slices for nearly €10 (£8.55) and, yes, it is expensive and yes, it was the best ham we have ever tasted. Will we go back to Barcelona again. Yes, many times I hope.

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