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SixOneTwo

Malaga to Alhambra

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We were hoping to get to the Alhambra from Malaga.  I should note that we typically book independent tours, but I start my research with ship excursion info so that I know what's possible. I'm concerned that our ship lists no excursions to Grenada or the Alhambra. We are in port from 7 am to 4 pm.  Could it be that the timing is too tight for this?  Or can we expect to see this excursion come up closer to sailing date?  Independent tours are billing this as a 9-hour trip, and that seems a little too tight for comfort, although if we could skip the compulsory shopping and restaurant visits, it may be do-able. 

 

Please provide your feedback and experience?

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Yes too tight is likely the reason . Last September we were faced with similar situation only our jumping off point was Almeria with a 6-7 pm departure time and earliest we could leave would have been 8am. Azamara also did not offer such an excursion. The car ride from Almeria was ~2.5 hours each way and not a good trip on a hot day even with air conditioning. Several contacted Spain Day Tours and they were willing sponsor something if cruisers banded together to get a 10 person minimum. Unfortunately they did not get enough people off the CC roll call nor did SDT get much outside interest to add to it. Malaga much closer (only 1.5hrs each way under best circumstances) so it might be easier to get a group organized through your roll call. Even so the 4pm departure will still be cutting things close and you might need to customize what SDT offers. They are accommodating and very good about getting passengers back in a timely fashion, you just might have to cut out parts of granada, other than Alhambra. Scan the SDT website look under their shore excursion section under malaga for their standard trip duration, start and return times to again see what's doable.  

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We did an excursion with the ship last year and it was 9 hours. Our sail away was 7pm so there was plenty of time. Your port time is too short. As I spent 3 days pre cruise in Malaga, I suggest a hike to the Gibralfaro and then into town. Use google maps as it is not a difficult walk.

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It's really not possible to visit the Alhambra with that time frame.   It's 2 - 2.5 hours trip there and then the same back.  Even with a private car waiting for you at disembarkation it's is only going to give you 2 - 3 hours at Alhambra, which is not enough.  Also entrance to Nasrid's Palace, perhaps the most important part of the complex, is timed entrance on pre-booked tickets.

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Malaga itself is a lovely city to wander round. You can walk up to the Gibralfaro for beautiful views and on the way down stop at the Alcazar which is very beautiful and like a mini Alhambra. There are very nice walkways with good shops and tapas bars and we came across Flamenco dancers in the square.

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Thanks for the input, everyone.  I'm willing to be creative, and we're typically independent travelers (non ship tours), but this time looks like a bust.  Fingers crossed that the ship's itinerary changes closer to sailing time.  Strange that we have so many stops in Spain and none involve the Alhambra or Gibraltar.  Even the Cadiz stop seems a little short to truly enjoy Seville.  We'll certainly find great sights and adventures regardless.

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On 2/14/2019 at 5:03 AM, dronnygirl said:

Malaga itself is a lovely city to wander round. You can walk up to the Gibralfaro for beautiful views and on the way down stop at the Alcazar which is very beautiful and like a mini Alhambra. There are very nice walkways with good shops and tapas bars and we came across Flamenco dancers in the square.

Does the ship dock right by Malaga?  Can you walk right into town from the ship?

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we regularly do private tours and our guide in Dubrovnik commented that MSC and Costa have very short port times making it difficult to co ordinate

 

In the case of Malaga the main attraction is the Alhambra listed on most cruise lines shore excursions

so having too short a port time to make this possible seems ludicrous

 

makes it all the more important when planning a cruise to compare similar itineraries across several lines to check what ticks most boxes

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12 hours ago, philliesgirl48 said:

Does the ship dock right by Malaga?  Can you walk right into town from the ship?

The ship docks about a kilometre from the town. If you don't have mobility issues, it's a pleasant walk with cafes and stalls along the way. However if you are going to spend the day walking round Malaga you may wish to save your energy and get the shuttle.  We were unsure what to do in Malaga but seeing what the city had to offer, we really enjoyed it say there.

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On 2/14/2019 at 1:43 PM, SixOneTwo said:

Thanks for the input, everyone.  I'm willing to be creative, and we're typically independent travelers (non ship tours), but this time looks like a bust.  Fingers crossed that the ship's itinerary changes closer to sailing time.  Strange that we have so many stops in Spain and none involve the Alhambra or Gibraltar.  Even the Cadiz stop seems a little short to truly enjoy Seville.  We'll certainly find great sights and adventures regardless.

 

Contact Spain Day Tours and see what they say. Two years ago we took an excursion with them to Alhambra from Malaga on a fairly short port day like yours. We did not spend any time in the town of Grenada and just grabbed snacks or sandwiches at a roadside stop back to port. We ALMOST had time to walk along the beach in Malaga on the way to the ship but three of our small group of 12 dawdled overlong at the pit stop. 

 

Alhambra was unbelievably beautiful. We had a great tour there which was very informative and interesting.  And, we covered quite a bit of ground in the time available to us. I would not have missed it for the world. 

 

My party of 3 was the first to sign up. I then posted the tour on the roll call and was able to fill the remaining slots without problem. The price was surprisingly low. 

 

If if I were to do it again I would arrange to meet all people on the tour on the ship first thing in the morning to walk off together. We were the first ones off the ship and then waited 20 minutes until the last of the group showed up ( which not coincidentally, was the same group which dawdled at the roadside stop).

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We are in port from 7am-5pm through NCL in March and the ship does list alhambra excursions, but we are going to the Alhambra with http://www.malagadaytours.com/ - you might want to send them an inquiry with your details and see what they say!  

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A few cruise lines (often MSC, Norwegian and sometimes Costa) have a habit of cramming in more ports while sacrificing time in the various ports.  We always advise those planning European cruises to carefully look at the times and days of the week (Sunday and Monday can be problems) in the various ports.  

 

The Alhambra generally has timed tours (morning and afternoon) which will likely not work with your port times.  If you cruise line offers a tour then that would be the best bet.  I would add that the neatest way to see the Alhambra is to be on an independent land trip and spend a couple of days at the Parador (hotel) located within the Alhambra.  It was an amazing experience.  Just driving through the Alhambra with our rental car (and slowly working our way through the hoards of visitors) was a neat experience.   Waking up inside the Alhambra and having breakfast at the garden restaurant overlooking the Generalife was a real treat.  These are the kind of things that cannot be done by cruise ship passenger.  There are just some places that are best visited via land trips.

 

Hank

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Well, our ship is now offering an Alhambra tour!  As much as we like independent excursions, the timeline means we'll book the ship's tour and make the best of it.  

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11 hours ago, SixOneTwo said:

Well, our ship is now offering an Alhambra tour!  As much as we like independent excursions, the timeline means we'll book the ship's tour and make the best of it.  

 

That is great news!  The 'insurance' offered by using a ship's tour will make this much more enjoyable for you. Enjoy The Alhambra.  If you get a chance stop off for a coffee and tortilla in the American Hotel, just down the road from the Parador.  Their patio is a wonderful (if slightly overpriced) experience!

 

 

 

 

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