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Ship tour to Granada Alhambra from Malaga


marylizcat
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We have booked this excursion with RCI and it includes a buffet lunch. I wondered whether anybody else had done this tour and could comment on the lunch? It would probably be the same whichever cruise line you were with, as they use the same operators.

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On 4/3/2019 at 5:39 AM, marylizcat said:

We have booked this excursion with RCI and it includes a buffet lunch. I wondered whether anybody else had done this tour and could comment on the lunch? It would probably be the same whichever cruise line you were with, as they use the same operators.


We took this tour a while back with Royal, and our buffet was local cuisine featuring Paella as the main course. Spanish wines were abundant. The biggest thing for us was how long it was. We were the last ones back - they had to hold the ship for us!

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  • 1 year later...
On 8/20/2020 at 10:33 PM, nesheiml said:

We are looking at booking Royal's tour from Malaga to Granada Alhambra.  Is it worth the 4 hour drive time or should we book something in Malaga?

 

As I recall, drive time to Alhambra with Spain Day Tours last fall was about 1½ hours each way.  If you're porting in Malaga and haven't toured Alhambra, you need to do it!

 

Book early because Alhambra issues a limited number of admission tickets and they go quickly.  There will be people scrambling for tours with tickets as time grows closer. 

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1 hour ago, -Lew- said:

If you're porting in Malaga and haven't toured Alhambra, you need to do it!

Absolutely! We found our visit to the Alhambra fascinating (full disclosure: we were not on a cruise & stayed overnight in Granada) . 

 

On 8/20/2020 at 8:33 PM, nesheiml said:

Is it worth the 4 hour drive time or should we book something in Malaga?

IMHO, it would definitely be worth a  4 hour drive to be able to visit this amazing palace/fortress!

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On 8/20/2020 at 10:33 PM, nesheiml said:

We are looking at booking Royal's tour from Malaga to Granada Alhambra.  Is it worth the 4 hour drive time or should we book something in Malaga?

We did this with Spain Day Tours.  Had a great tour.  Very organized.  We left around 7:15 am and trip took about 1.5 hours each way.  Well worth it.  Lunch was on our own.  Those who stayed in Malaga also had a great day.

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Agree that the Alhambra is one of those "don't miss" attractions for folks.  DW and I were fortunate to have spent 2 nights staying at the Parador (a quasi government hotel) that is located inside the Alhambra.  It was one of our favorite hotels stays...ever!  While we do not think dong those one day tours to the Alhambra is the ideal way to visit, this is the life of those who primarily rely on cruising as their way of seeing Europe.  We do think the cruise line excursion is certainly better then not going at all...although there are many who do the trip from Malaga via a private tour.

 

Hank

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58 minutes ago, -Lew- said:

 

image.thumb.jpeg.2c7b9651b5d77b637592d15ec07024f5.jpeg

Thanks for posting the pix, it brings back good memories.  For anyone who is curious, the Paradors are a group of hotels/inns scattered all over Spain and run by a quasi governmental organization.  They range from a few modern facilities to old Covents (converted to Inns) to the one you see in this picture which is the most popular of all the Paradors.  Getting a reservation in this one (located inside the Alhambra) requires long term planning.  Having breakfast on it large outdoor patio, which overlooks the gorge and Generalife, was very memorable.  I would strongly recommend folks consider an extended driving trip in Spain and stay at several of the Paradors.  We once spent a month just driving around Central and Southern Spain staying at Paradors (the one exception was in Seville where we stayed in an upscale Inn that was part of a cooking school) and it ranks as one of our favorite European driving trips.

 

Hank

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I agree with you, Hank. Paradores are awesome.  We have been in ultra modern ones, like Cadiz; and medieval ones, like Santiago de Compostela; or in a mixture of centuries, like Alcala de Henares. They are wonderful and a great value.  Right now they are having amazing sale prices to get tourists back. 

Look at www.parador.es

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 9/3/2020 at 12:11 AM, marazul said:

I agree with you, Hank. Paradores are awesome.  We have been in ultra modern ones, like Cadiz; and medieval ones, like Santiago de Compostela; or in a mixture of centuries, like Alcala de Henares. They are wonderful and a great value.  Right now they are having amazing sale prices to get tourists back. 

Look at www.parador.es

A few years ago we decided to spend a few weeks driving around southern Spain and mostly staying at Paradors (the one exception was in Seville).  I designed my own itinerary and sent it directly to the Parador office along with our specific dates in each Parador.  A lady at that office sent me a very nice reply telling me that the one in the Ahlhambra was booked for our dates and she also gave us a new suggested itinerary that would work with available dates.  We are forever grateful.   Another favorite Parador was the one at Nerha which is perched on a cliff above a very nice sandy beach.  That Parador has an outdoor glass elevator that takes guests from the Parador down to that beach (we are beach lovers) where we had the best Paella ever...which was made in a huge Paella pan by a beach vendor.  

 

Hank

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On 9/15/2020 at 4:33 PM, Hlitner said:

A few years ago we decided to spend a few weeks driving around southern Spain and mostly staying at Paradors (the one exception was in Seville).  I designed my own itinerary and sent it directly to the Parador office along with our specific dates in each Parador.  A lady at that office sent me a very nice reply telling me that the one in the Ahlhambra was booked for our dates and she also gave us a new suggested itinerary that would work with available dates.  We are forever grateful.   Another favorite Parador was the one at Nerha which is perched on a cliff above a very nice sandy beach.  That Parador has an outdoor glass elevator that takes guests from the Parador down to that beach (we are beach lovers) where we had the best Paella ever...which was made in a huge Paella pan by a beach vendor.  

 

Hank

Sounds like heaven!   We love beaches and Paella.   

 

The pousada in Portugal had the warm custard tarts for breakfast and a BBQ nite with fresh fish, steaks.   Oh I am travel deprived!  

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15 minutes ago, bennybear said:

Sounds like heaven!   We love beaches and Paella.   

 

The pousada in Portugal had the warm custard tarts for breakfast and a BBQ nite with fresh fish, steaks.   Oh I am travel deprived!  

My friend who "turned me on" to Paradors and Pousada's has been traveling to Portugal and Spain for over 35 years and making good use of both types of facilities.  I think he has stayed at nearly every Pousada (Portugal is his 2nd love after his wife) and a fair number of Paradors.  I realize this is a cruise oriented web site (and we are avid cruisers) but we always try to encourage fellow cruisers, who take European cruises, to also take advantage of their trip to spend some quality time in Europe.  We also encourage folks to try some independent travel although we do understand that many Americans are reticent to do a lot on their own.   We have always considered travel somewhat of an adventure and doing things on one's own does require some "spirit of adventure."   After a lifetime of travel (over 50 years) we would estimate that 95% of our independent travel has been a terrific experience and the other 5% has sucked.  But the more experience you get the easier it gets to deal with the few lousy situations.  I should add that the trick of independent travel (especially for novices) is to do your research/homework before the trip and learn about the many options.

 

Hank

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15 hours ago, Hlitner said:

 I realize this is a cruise oriented web site (and we are avid cruisers) but we always try to encourage fellow cruisers, who take European cruises, to also take advantage of their trip to spend some quality time in Europe.  We also encourage folks to try some independent travel although we do understand that many Americans are reticent to do a lot on their own.   We have always considered travel somewhat of an adventure and doing things on one's own does require some "spirit of adventure." 

The Paradores network started about 90 years ago to develop tourism in the countryside.  In the beginning they would remodel old monasteries and castles in the country and smaller towns.  More recently, they are adding some spectacular modern buildings, especially near the beaches Cadiz, Mojacar).  They still do not have paradores inside the major cities (Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla).  In some mid-size cities (Toledo, Cordoba, Cuenca) the Parador is just outside the town and it usually has great views of the town.  Most are in the center of town (like Leon, Lerma, Cadiz, Ubeda). IMO, one of the the most spectacular ones is the old Convent of San Marcos in Leon dating from the 16th century and located on the pilgrim Road to  Santiago.  

https://www.parador.es/en/paradores/parador-de-leon

 

What is also interesting is that each Parador serves local specialties in their restaurants and otherwise promotes their region. 

The Pousadas in Portugal follow the same pattern and are loosely associated with the Paradores.  

 

I agree with Hank about independent travel and I would encourage others to explore the north of Spain which is one of the most beautiful and historical parts of the country (Santiago, Leon, Burgos, Salamanca, Zaragoza, etc.).  The paradores website shows suggested routes and packages for many different areas of Spain and wine routes.  (Or at least, it will once the pandemic is over.) 

https://www.parador.es/es/experiencias/rutas

https://www.parador.es/es/experiencias/rutas?field_route_type_term_tid=169

 

Edited by marazul
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1 hour ago, marazul said:

The Paradores network started about 90 years ago to develop tourism in the countryside.  In the beginning they would remodel old monasteries and castles in the country and smaller towns.  More recently, they are adding some spectacular modern buildings, especially near the beaches Cadiz, Mojacar).  They still do not have paradores inside the major cities (Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla).  In some mid-size cities (Toledo, Cordoba, Cuenca) the Parador is just outside the town and it usually has great views of the town.  Most are in the center of town (like Leon, Lerma, Cadiz, Ubeda). IMO, one of the the most spectacular ones is the old Convent of San Marcos in Leon dating from the 16th century and located on the pilgrim Road to  Santiago.  

https://www.parador.es/en/paradores/parador-de-leon

 

What is also interesting is that each Parador serves local specialties in their restaurants and otherwise promotes their region. 

The Pousadas in Portugal follow the same pattern and are loosely associated with the Paradores.  

 

I agree with Hank about independent travel and I would encourage others to explore the north of Spain which is one of the most beautiful and historical parts of the country (Santiago, Leon, Burgos, Salamanca, Zaragoza, etc.).  The paradores website shows suggested routes and packages for many different areas of Spain and wine routes.  (Or at least, it will once the pandemic is over.) 

https://www.parador.es/es/experiencias/rutas

https://www.parador.es/es/experiencias/rutas?field_route_type_term_tid=169

 

 

Thanks Marazul!  

Agree about northern Spain, it is a fascinating area.   We also loved Oviedo and San Sebastián too!  And the food is sublime! 

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8 hours ago, bennybear said:

 

Thanks Marazul!  

Agree about northern Spain, it is a fascinating area.   We also loved Oviedo and San Sebastián too!  And the food is sublime! 

We have also explored Northern Spain although most of our facilities were not Paradors.  DW and I are big fans of San Sebastian and have a story (of course).  One day we were simply sunning on the nice sandy beach of San Sebastian and it happened to be a lovely Friday afternoon.  Around 5 pm many of the locals were leaving their jobs to enjoy the weekend and quite a few folks came to the beach (which is within the downtown area).  One lovely lady came onto the beach and was wearing what appeared to be a very expensive ladies business suit.  She was carrying her heels and just strolling along the sand until she found a nice open spot near us.  She put her stuff on the sand and pulled a fabric item from her large bag which quickly opened up to what was like a small tent with a hole for her head.  She put the bag (for lack of any other name) over her head and it was then obvious she was removing all of her clothes which she carefully folded and stuck into her large bag.  She then extracted a bikini from her bag and put that on...while continuing to be completely covered by her large tent/bag  In no time at all she was laying on the beach in her bikini with all of her work clothes put away in her large handbag.    How can you not love a place like that :).

 

Hank

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I have also seen them whip it all off and throw on a bathing suit and no one blinks an eye,  whereas I would be  wiggling under a towel like a contortionist 😂.  

 

Gotta love those pinxtos!   So much fun,  loved one of the last Anthony Boudain shows from this area.   Did you try the perceives or goose neck barnacles anywhere?   

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10 hours ago, bennybear said:

I have also seen them whip it all off and throw on a bathing suit and no one blinks an eye,  whereas I would be  wiggling under a towel like a contortionist 😂.  

 

Gotta love those pinxtos!   So much fun,  loved one of the last Anthony Boudain shows from this area.   Did you try the perceives or goose neck barnacles anywhere?   

Perceives are the specialty in Galicia. They come from those cold waters.  They are outrageously expensive elsewhere. Last year (it feels like a century ago) a restaurant in Madrid had a small plate for 40 euros!  So, pleasure deferred...

 

The wiggle bag is popular along the Med too. I saw it in Nice a few times. 

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On 9/17/2020 at 11:04 PM, bennybear said:

I have also seen them whip it all off and throw on a bathing suit and no one blinks an eye,  whereas I would be  wiggling under a towel like a contortionist 😂.  

 

Gotta love those pinxtos!   So much fun,  loved one of the last Anthony Boudain shows from this area.   Did you try the perceives or goose neck barnacles anywhere?   

I will honestly admit that we had never even heard the word "pinxtos" until we spent a couple of days in San Sebastian.  While standing at a bar (to enjoy an early evening drink and some tapas) a local took us under his wings and explained a little about "pinxtos" vs "tapas" and how it worked in that particular bar.  One thing about Spain that is difficult for many Americans is getting used to the various dining times around the country.   The first time I tried to make an 8:30 dinner reservation only to discover that the particular restaurant did not even open until 9 was a shocker.  And seeing families dining with school aged children at 11pm on a school night was a real shocker (the kids usually get a long nap before dinner).

 

Lastly, we really do miss Anthony Boudain in our home.  DW and I were big fans and there is still no equal although Andrew Zimmern is also a lot of fun.

 

Hank

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