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Home > Member Reviews > xenagurl's Port Reviews of Madeira (Funchal), Tenerife, Lanzarote, Grenada

xenagurl's Port Reviews of Madeira (Funchal), Tenerife, Lanzarote, Grenada
Norwegian Jade cruise in January 2012
Member Name: xenagurl
Cruise Date: January 2012
Embarkation: Barcelona
Destination: Canary Islands
Member Review: xenagurl's Norwegian Jade Review
Madeira (Funchal)
Port Rating: 4.0 out of 5+
Madeira: While waiting to disembark I met two nice women (sisters) from Ireland and we walked from the pier to the cable cars (about 1 mile) took them up sat down had an espresso, and then took the second set of cable cars down to the Botanical Gardens. Now while I do not have a fear of heights, dangling from a small box hanging on a wire 300 feet in the air isn't my idea a recreational pursuit, however considering that it was the easiest way of getting to the gardens and back I spent about a hour dangling in the air. I quickly got over my unease and began to take in the beauty of everything below.

The gardens are lovely, but I don't think I'd go to see them again. There's so much more to explore in Madeira and I plan on seeing more of the Island next time. If you like wicker go into the large indoor market in the city. Not only are the colors and sounds a feast for the eyes and ears but there is a small shop there that sells some of the prettiest wicker items. I'm a bag collector and so I had to pick one up. A small wicker bag around 8x12 inches was €12.50

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Tenerife
Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
Tenerife: For Tenerife I booked a ship's excursion that went to the Esperanza Forest over to the Pyramids of Guimar. After dancing in Spinnaker for about 3 or 4 hours the previous night I honestly was in no shape to be doing anything before Noon the next day. However I woke up in time for this tour and am glad I did. While I didn't find the "pyramids" especially interesting, (I'm a history buff, but I guess I was too tired to be inspired), I did really enjoy the drive through the forest. That area of the islands is a bit reminiscent of the Pacific Northwest in the U.S. It's a stunning panorama of green pine trees and red earth created by the fallen pine needles. It's definitely a spot I plan on getting back to in order to go hiking.

Side note: It's cool in the mountains, bring a sweater. You'll have a chance to sip on some Sangria after the tour. If you have to use the restroom when you first stop at the Guimar visitors center go into the center first and turn left. If you don't go inside first walk past the center and walk into the dining area go to the back and make a right.

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Lanzarote
Port Rating: 5+ out of 5+
Lanzarote: Oddly enough this was my favorite spot. Odd because quite frankly at first glance there's nothing in Lanzarote. It has a very barren open feeling. This landscape though is what makes it so appealing. I booked the ship's excursion and did the trek through Timanfaya National Forest. Well worth it! It's nearly a 4 mile hike, but with the undulation and gravel that has you slide back 1 foot for every two that you take up hill it feels more like 6 miles. When you get to the top of a hill you feel like you've landed on a distant planet, it's often said that it has a lunar landscape, but I lean more towards the words of our trek guide: "If you put a red filter on your camera you'll feel like you're in Mars!" The closest place that I'd liken it to is the Australian outback. Iron oxidation on some of the ground and lava formations give them a red glow that's similar to what's found in parts of Oz as well. Lanzarote is also warmer then the other places as it is only around 65 miles off of the coast of mainland Africa. I've every intention of going back there and spending a week or so doing hikes around the island. If you plan on going to Timanfaya take the tour excursion, don't wing it on your own.

Side note: The bathroom break comes at the end. Of course if you really have to go you there's usually a big piece of lava to hide behind. Just don't expect to find any trees, and for the love of all that is good and holy don't do it in a cave, other people will be hiking there after you!

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Grenada
Port Rating: 5+ out of 5+
Malaga: I took the ship's excursion to see Grenada and Alhambra Palace. If you love architecture, do not miss this place. Due to the distance from Malaga and the ship harbor (about 2 hours) I'd recommend taking the ship excursion here as well. The last thing you want to happen to is "miss the boat" and have to fly back to Barcelona instead of leisurely sail back for the next day and a half.

I'm not sure how to describe Alhambra, but as a lover North African and Middle Eastern design it was simply divine. The labyrinthine gardens and rooms, the intricacies of the painstaking form of the walls and especially ceiling left me in awe. It's well worth seeing more then once.

Just as fantastic is driving through the Andalusian region and the views of the Sierra Nevada. It's a place that I hope to go back to and spend some time driving through at a more leisurely pace in order to fully soak in the beauty of this country.

Side note:

We had a tour guide that was also an archaeologist who was very obviously passionate about the Andalusian region, and rightly so. However...if you're a bit tired from dancing the hours away from the night before (have you noticed the recurring theme?) you might find it better to sit towards the back, discreetly put in some ear phones and cat nap. If you wait for a break in the discourse it could be a long time coming.

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