Where will I go on a Canary Islands cruise?
Round-trip itineraries to the Canary Islands often begin in London or ports in Spain or Italy, and typically visit multiple islands in the Canary Island chain. You might also stop at one or two ports in the Canary Islands on one-way cruises crossing the Atlantic or around-the-world cruises.
When is the best time to visit the Canary Islands?
July through September are the busiest and the hottest months, with average temperatures around the high 80’s. Many agree that the islands are at their best in January and February, after the rains.
Will I need a passport or visa?
Passports are required for all international visitors. Visa rules vary by country.
Is English spoken?
It is spoken and understood at most resorts, shops and restaurants connected to the tourist trade. However, visitors might learn a few basic phrases in Spanish before setting sail.
What is the time difference?
The Canary Islands are five hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time.
What is the local currency? Where can I exchange currency?
The euro is accepted in the Canary Islands, and most other European countries. Currency exchange stations are available at most local hotels and airports, though many tourist destinations accept credit cards.
Is tipping a common practice?
Many restaurants include a service charge, but tipping of an additional 5%-10% is customary almost everywhere. Be sure to review all bills before handing out gratuities. Tip taxis 10%-15% when metered.
What should I wear?
Casual resort wear, including shorts and T-shirts, is the standard daytime attire for most cruises. Bring a variety of footwear, including low-heeled or rubber-soled shoes for walking on deck, sandals for beach excursions, sturdy walking shoes for guided tours and a pair of dressier shoes for formal dining. You can check your ship's dress codes for options suitable for nighttime, but most restaurants encourage slacks and nice dresses during evening meals.
Many churches and cathedrals in Europe require some degree of modest attire for visitors. You may not be permitted to enter if wearing "too short" shorts, and women may be asked to cover bare shoulders (it's a good idea to tuck a lightweight scarf into your purse or tote).
What should I pack?
Canary Islands cruises offer countless excursions in some very diverse countries. Think about the kinds of activities you will want to try and pack accordingly. Bring sunscreen, swimsuits and sunglasses if traveling in summer; protective hats, good walking shoes and windbreakers are advisable no matter when you travel. Also, remember to pack all of your medications, prescription or otherwise, in a bag you can keep with you as needed.
Is the water safe to drink?
Most resorts and restaurants filter their tap water, though bottled water is available almost everywhere.
What sort of medical precautions do I need to take?
Shots aren't usually necessary for visitors from North America, but it never hurts to check with your health care provider and discuss the countries you'll be visiting.
What types of electrical outlets are used?
U.S. cruise companies use the standard 110-volt outlets. International guests will likely need converters and adapters; these same devices come in handy for U.S. citizens who plan to overnight in hotels at some point during their vacation, as much of Europe and Asia uses the 220-volt outlet.
How do I make a telephone call from the Canary Islands?
Resort hotels and public phone booths offer direct dialing for international calls. Calling cards also are available for sale in tourist-friendly markets. U.S.-based cell phones might not work everywhere.
Are hotel rooms outfitted with air conditioners?
Very few 1- and 2-star hotels offer air conditioning, and those that do may charge extra for the convenience. If recycled air is important to you, make sure to consult your travel counselor before booking a pre- or post-cruise hotel stay.
What is the shopping like? What souvenirs should I buy? Can I haggle over prices?
There are a variety of local items for sale in the Canary Islands. Craftsmanship is represented mainly by skilled open-work and embroidery. Pottery, basket-work and delicate woodcarvings are also very popular. Tobacco produced in the Canary Islands is world famous, and cigars from the region are outstanding in quality. There is also excellent duty-free shopping in the Canary Islands. Give haggling a try if you feel comfortable, but don't press your luck with a flustered shopkeeper.
How do I get around?
Try buses and trains for sightseeing in larger cities; smaller cities might offer bicycle rentals or pedestrian-friendly town squares and streets. Taxis can be very expensive in the Canary Islands, and all of the major international car-rental companies are represented here. Shore excursions purchased through your cruise line highlight top attractions and include transportation and a guide.
What can I do there?
There are a variety of activities to try in the Canary Islands. On Grand Canary Island, you can experience vibrant city life, though guests looking for relaxation can lay on the beach, visit botanical gardens or one of the numerous caves and rock formations. In La Palma, hike through the abundant and diverse plant life, or visit the 9 km-wide Caldera de Taburiente. At Tenerife, excursions visit the 200-year-old botanical gardens in Puerto de la Cruz, Lago Martianez with its saltwater pools and lagoons, and the world's largest collection of parrots at Loro Parque. You may also want to visit the duty-free shops and explore the narrow streets and plazas by horse-drawn carriage.
Do you have any photography tips for travelers to the Canary Islands?
There's plenty of historic and natural beauty to capture, so be sure to bring plenty of gear. Users of "point-and-shoot" digital cameras should pack rechargeable batteries, a charger, electric adaptors and high-capacity memory cards. If you're bringing a digital video camera, don't forget the long-life batteries, charger, adaptors and converter. Make sure photography is permitted before shooting in museums, churches and cathedrals; in some cases, you'll just be asked to turn off your flash.