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Home > Member Reviews > weatherguy's Port Reviews of Tenerife, Palma de Mallorca, Barcelona, Villefranche, Florence (Livorno)

weatherguy's Port Reviews of Tenerife, Palma de Mallorca, Barcelona, Villefranche, Florence (Livorno)
Mariner of the Seas cruise in May 2012
Member Name: weatherguy
Cruise Date: May 2012
Embarkation: Miami
Destination: Transatlantic
Member Review: weatherguy's Mariner of the Seas Review
Tenerife
Canadas del Teide Rating: 3.0 out of 5+
A.) Tenerife, Canary Islands

I chose going up the mountain side of Mt. Teide, on this dormant volcanic island, Canadas del Teide. The island drive wasn't as pretty as Ponta Delgada, Azores, in my opinion. The scenes near the end by the rock formation were more reminiscent of many scenes I've seen in Arizona in the canyon-like caldera. We did get a goodly number of pictures here. A few stops were made for photos and coffee, and some time to pick-up a souvenir. We sampled some local fare near the port after coming back from our tour at the Port of Tenerife. Unemployment on this island is 30%.


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Palma de Mallorca
Calderers & Drach Caves Rating: 4.0 out of 5+
B.) Palma de Mallorca, Spain

Here I REALLY thoroughly enjoyed visiting the Drach caves!! The tour chosen here was entitled Calderers and Drach Caves, an 8-hour tour that visited your Porto Cristo marina village, a demonstration of pearl making, and pearl factory, with opportunity for shopping, a lunch with wine was served, and finally the grand stop for me was the Drach caves, where they performed a violin concerto on 3 lighted wood boats in the lakes of the caves, in darkness. The intricate, delicate cave structure was awesome to see and I got some good pictures of the stalactites & stalagmites, with the natural lighting provided in the caves. Really great caves are hard to find, but these caverns delivered and were very expansive and elaborate. The tour was conducted all in Spanish and our tour guide wasn't allowed to translate nor allowed inside the cave either.

If you're into the geosciences, I can highly recommend visiting the Drach caves in Palma de Mallorca! It's truly a memorable moment for those who can appreciate the beauty of caverns and the lakes inside.

After our tour, we enjoyed sampling some of the local "Tapas" fare in a typical Spanish tapas tasting outfit called, "Tast". I tried the potatoes brava, spanish sausage, chorizzo, and a tiny fillet of pork with garlic mayonnaise. We also had time to browse shops after the tour.


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Barcelona
City Tour Rating: 3.0 out of 5+
C.) Barcelona, Spain

Here, weatherGIRL's biking in Barcelona tour was cancelled due to lack of participation, so I re-booked another tour entitled Barcelona half-day and FC football stadium (soccer) in Barcelona.

The highlight for me in this tour was the La Sagrada Familia catedral -- the cathedral that ain't never been finished for hundreds of years, and still won't be finished at the earliest in the year 2026. Still in spite of its on-going construction, it offered beautiful photo opportunities for which I seized on the outside. We were then whisked along to the Barcelona soccer stadium, which they call football. We were escorted inside to see the press area, the inside of stadium, locker areas, the many trophies won, up close, and a photo opportunity with the trophies & a selected player, super-imposed in the image. After our tour, we then took ourselves to the pretty shopping district of Las Ramblas, whose walking strip has a canopy of trees along it, that lines it, and many outside cafes & eateries along the wide walking area. We also ate here within the strip as well.


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Villefranche
Area Tour Rating: 5+ out of 5+
D.) Villefranche, France (Nice, Monaco, Eze, Monte Carlo).

Since this was our ONLY port of call in France, I was sure to go "all-out" and splurged on a high-budget tour that visited the 4 towns of: Nice, Monaco, Eze, and Monte Carlo, including the casino there in Monte Carlo, France. This tour also provided the very BEST lunch I've had on a ship's tour, with a visit to the Le Pinocchio restaurant in the cobblestone streets of Eze, France. White wine & red wine were provided with the tasty meal, and every course of the meal was memorable. They provided premium olive oil & vinegar for dipping the French bread in. Weatherguy got a bit liquored-up on the wine that came with the meal, (no extra surcharges), even getting on to the wrong bus, when it was time to leave! All the young, shiny girls shook their head when they seen me get on their bus, & I realized I had too much to drink, and I said "yup, this is too good to be true, and laughed my way off!!" I really enjoyed the many sites and scenery of this trip. WeatherGIRL warned me not to have too much wine as nobody would be there to pick me up off the floor!! I'd say Eze and Monaco were my 2 favorite towns to visit, with Monte Carlo a close 3rd, and seeing the casino lobby was quite spectacular inside. No cameras allowed & no taking photos either, and they have plenty of watchdog security personnel inside to see to it that you comply with their policies.

We also got to see scenes of the Monaco Grand Prix streets and the sitting areas along the way of the course track. This was just a FANTASTIC tour and worth every last cent seeing these many areas of the French Riviera, as well as the fine gourmet lunch provided. Eze, Monaco, Monte Carlo along with the Drach caves in Spain were my highlights I enjoyed the most on this trip.


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Florence (Livorno)
Pisa Walking Tour Rating: 2.0 out of 5+
E.) Livorno, Italy (Pisa & Florence)

Here, we had some on-board credit to use, so by the time I got on the ship, my Panoramic Pisa tour had been sold already, so I went to a back-up tour called Pisa on Your Own. They didn't furnish enough time given on my own for this transfer, but I still got a goodly number of pictures of your Leaning Tower of Pisa from all different angles of us both in the pictures and OUT of the pictures. I also recorded pictures of your baptistery building and neighboring cathedral, outside pictures. The shopping for trinkets nearby was very reasonable in costs, I thought. The tower entrance is still available for a fee, and a much smaller fee will be assessed for entrance in to the cathedral & baptistery buildings nearby.

As we arrived back in Livorno, we took a transfer to the town of Livorno and found some interesting shopping streets there. Too bad it seems that Livorno and places in Spain close their doors during the afternoon between the hours of 2 PM & 4 PM either for siesta or a long lunch break, as a number of stores were closed, but there were still a handful open, too.

Gelatos were FANTASTIC anywhere we went in Italy, France, or Spain, and weatherGIRL capitalized in getting gelatos it seemed in every port.

Weatherguy's TIP: I recommend visiting Florence over Pisa, if you've not been to Florence yet. I've visited Florence, Italy in 2007, so I chose Pisa, on this go-around. Now having seen both, I recommend you to pony-up and pay the extra $$$ to visit Florence as there's more there to see, the birthplace of the Renaissance.


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