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Home > Member Reviews > Darshan1's Port Reviews of Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Las Palmas, Freeport

Darshan1's Port Reviews of Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Las Palmas, Freeport
Carnival Magic cruise in November 2011
Member Name: Darshan1
Cruise Date: November 2011
Embarkation: Barcelona
Destination: Transatlantic
Member Review: Darshan1's Carnival Magic Review
Barcelona
Port Rating: 4.0 out of 5+
I loved Barcelona as it's a beautiful city, and the people we met were incredibly nice. However, when we got on board the ship, the cruise director asked how many people were pickpocketed, and A LOT of hands went up. So, I think it's really wise to invest in pocket minders, neck pouches, etc.

Pluses - good subway system, easy embarkation point, cheap buses from the airport to downtown, great hop-on, hop-off buses. A bus tour of the city is probably a great idea because so much of the beauty of Barcelona lies along long boulevards that can take a long time to walk although the Gothic Quarter is probably best explored on foot.

Notes - Parc Guell is up a very steep hill - if you're not too out of a shape, you can take the subway and then climb the streets, sidewalks (they do have escalators for part of the climb), but if you're not fit or you're already blistered from days of touring, you'd better take a taxi or bus.

The Rambla did not seem like anything special, but it was late October, and it's probably much more vibrant in spring or summer.

The Cathedral (La Seu, aka Santa Eulalia) and Santa Maria del Mar are both beautiful churches, but the fourth best known church in Barcelona (#1 being Templo de la Sagrada Familia) is Santa Maria del Pi, and it's pretty fascinating as it seems rather "oppressive" in atmosphere instead of light like most churches. It's a beautiful church, and I don't believe in ghosts, but something about it (the darkness, the repetition of skulls and bones) made it feel like a good place for ghost hunters to check out.

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Palma de Mallorca
Port Rating: 4.0 out of 5+
We did a city tour in Palma which we enjoyed. The cathedral is beautiful and very large. Had a very good guide who was lots of fun. We also went up to a castle for views of the ship and walked around older parts of town. Not much shopping time on the tour (a theme throughout every port in Spain - REALLY surprising)and the port was accessible on foot as you needed a bus to the ship.

While describing this port, I'll also mention the next port, Malaga, which I would also give a 4. We were told Malaga is only "okay" and it was really quite beautiful. Their cathedral isn't something I've heard raved about and, actually, the interior is gorgeous. We also went to a castle above the cathedral for fantastic views of the bullring, the city, and the cathedral. I'm sure people will tell you that going to Granada is unforgettable, but if the tour sounds too rushed or is too expensive, seeing Malaga is certainly worthwhile. Again, shopping wasn't an easy thing to do, but the guides will tell you that you should at least try to sample some local muscatel wine.

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Las Palmas
Port Rating: 4.0 out of 5+
Grand Canary was breathtaking. Beautiful mountains and tropical scenery - similar to the Caribbean except also similar to Brazil or other South American areas because of the architecture. It also felt more akin to Europe than the Caribbean or Latin America when it came to safety - good roads and infrastructure. As far as history and fascinating architecture, it isn't going to hold a candle to many European attractions, but the city is worth a visit. Going to the Banama Crater was also a neat experience. Beautiful verdant landscape in an extinct caldera made for some nice pictures.

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Freeport
Port Rating: 3.0 out of 5+
Freeport is not my favorite place, but honestly, a big part of the problem is that the port is so ugly. Meanwhile, the people in Freeport are generally quite welcoming and much of the time the shopkeepers are friendly and not overly aggressive. There was some running up of prices and some exceedingly poor service (the Caribbean Cafe in Port Lucaya) but if you allow yourself to forget the concept that everyone considers Freeport the "New Jersey of Cruise Ship Ports of Call" you'll see that it's likely much nicer than being stuck at home. We did a semi-submersible tour on a boat called the Seaworld Explorer. The ramp to the boat felt rickety, and I'm not sure I'd recommend this tour to someone elderly. We'd read that the windows for the semi-sub were not great for photos, and they're not. We'd read that the coral reef was largely brown and dead, and it was. However, this was the first time we'd done a semi-submersible, and it was still a lot of fun. There were lots of colorful fish and by booking directly instead of through the cruise line, my friend was able to snorkel and the excursion was 25 dollars cheaper.

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