Day 104. Well the ports are sorted out.
Cadiz- we’re still not sure what we’re doing yet. Lots of options to pick from so we’ll decide on Port Adventure picking day.
Malaga- we’ve narrowed it down to a decent amount of options.
Ibiza- we’re thinking of going out on our own. Most of what we want to see is within walking distance of the ship. Disneys tours mostly just go outside these sites and let you take pictures. We want to go in and explore these sights. Disneys port adventure discriptions sometimes feel like they are designed for Instagram. Take a picture to prove I was there, but don’t delv deeper.
Barcelona- since we have a day there we are planning to go it on our own at a relaxed pace. No tickets or tours to buy. So that port we still have some planning to do. Like how we’re getting to our hotel…… But none of it has to be done and ready for Port Adventure booking in 13 days. Technically 14 but middle of the night on the end of the 13th so…… Well call it 13 days.
Well the day has finally arrived. Time to sit down and pick our preferred Port Adventures. If you’ve read our Alaska trip report you know how “fun” this was for us last time. We were not looking forward to it. This time the plan was the researcher did all the initial work by looking at what Disney offered for each port, narrowing it down to things we’d actually be interested in, and the reading guide books about each port to see what the recommended “must sees” are for each port. Then when we get together to go over the options we would do it by port.
We decided to go in order of the trip.
First up Ponta Delgada, Azores, Portugal. This one was pretty easy. One of us really wants to go see the Furnas and gardens. Disneys’ trip doesn’t give nearly enough time, but even with research we couldn’t figure out a better way to see this other then hiring a personal car service for 8 hours and that seemed nuts to us. So we’re hoping to do this with Disney. We picked out two back up adventures. Another one that gives a chance ( but not as focused) to see the Furnas and a canyoning adventure. We have a list of each port, and the name of the Port Adventure and its booking number in order of preference to reference on Port Adventure booking day.
Well that port was pretty easy. On to the next one.
Lisbon, Portugal. When we started planning this trip none of the ports were in our ” we’ve got to go there someday ” list. In fact Spain or Portugal never crossed our minds as a place we’d like to go. We were going for the transatlantic. We kinda hoped we would have gotten one of the Dover, England transatlantics. But when we realized the transatlantic that was happening during our traveling time frame was the Spain route, we figured well you know it’s a place we’d never go but since Disney is taking us there it’s a great way to get a taste of something new in a safe easy way. Why do we mention this? Well because in doing the research, Lisbon, Portugal ended up being a port with so many things we wanted to see we knew we couldn’t fit it all in. It seems like it will be a place that after going we will very likely want to come back and spend more time in. And we never would have even looked at Lisbon except for the fact that Disney goes there on a cruise.
Ok so what did we do for Lisbon? Well we narrowed it down to the top 6 places we wanted to see. Sinatra looks really cool, but Disney doesn’t do an excursion that would give us enough time that we know we’d want to see it. We looked at doing it on our own. Which is totally doable with public transportation, but with having to be back on time to board a ship it made us very nervous. It’s a long way out and if there are any delays we could easily miss the ship. We would totally do this on our own if we were staying in Lisbon however. Right near the port, some within walking distance even, are 4 sights we want to see. The tower de Belem, St. George cathedral, Jeronimos Monastery and the National Palace. Disney does Port Adventures that take you inside the catherdral, and then just outside all the others for photo ops. No thanks. So we’re gonna hit Lisbon on our own. More planning to come for that, but for now knowing we don’t have to book through Disney means we can skip it for the moment.
Cadiz, Spain. This port didn’t have a ton of stuff we wanted to see. With Disney or otherwise. One of us thought Seville looked really cool so we are hoping to book that Port Adventures though Disney.
Malaga, Spain. We’ve already heard that the Alhambra tour though Disney is already completely booked. This was our first pick for this port. We’ll check when it comes to booking window, but we don’t have much hope. We are considering Alhambra on our own with a tour group. Alhambra is another one of those sights that is far away from the port so it’s not easy to just see on our own. If we don’t do that well do Gibarlfaro Castle on our own. It’s right near the port.
Ibiza, Spain. Ok so this port had almost nothing we want to do. I mean seriously it’s mostly a beach town and huge summer night club party spot. We are there in the middle of the day. But we did see one Port Adventure that is pretty expensive, not history based (which is kinda our thing. We like historical or natural sights) but we’re hoping to book it. Driving a mini hot rod through Ibiza. Yup. So cool. The name of the company Disney books with is right on the cars in the Port Adventure discriptions photo. So if we can’t do it through Disney we’ll try booking through them. Their website doesn’t just allow booking, you have to contact them. So we’re figuring through Disney is eaiser.
Barcelona, Spain. We are planning to do on our own. A walking tour of sorts. We have more planning to do for this, but it doesn’t have to be done through Disney so we’re doing ok.
We did it! In about a hour and 15 minutes. There was no hair pulling, yelling or meltdowns. It’s hard to tell if this was due to a better stradigey and lessons learned from planning for Alaska or if this cruise was just easier. Maybe part of it was each port had very different experiences. Part of our struggle with Alaska was if we didn’t get our first choice of say the helicopter Tour in Skagway, should we plan to book one in Juneau? etc. It was a juggling act and you have to be ready with all the possibilities so when you book in the middle of the night your ready. This time each port was really distinct. We also didn’t have so many “we have to do to make this an epic adventure” Port Adventure desires. We wanted to see a castle and cathedral and the furnas. That was our goals for our Port Adventures. A little less lofty going into this one than Alaska. Just a little over 8 days to go until our booking window. Always a stressful event.
Last time we treated ourselves to ice cream after it was done, this time we rented a red box movie we’ve been wanting to see. We ended up also stumbling on some great little crew gifts for the cruise while we were out. We like to put a tiny fun little extra with our thank you cards. Something we know they probably won’t keep, but will give them a moment of joy when they receive it. It’s great to get another thing off the to do before sailing list. It gets really busy the closer we get.
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