Day 1: New Zealand – – Madrid
Make your own way to your local airport and board your flights to Madrid.
Day 2: Madrid
You arrive in Madrid today! Find your own way to the Madrid hotel for check in and enjoy the remainder of the day to relax or sightsee.
For those purchasing the Tour Only option, your tour starts today. Please make your own way to the hotel.
Day 3: Madrid (B)
Hit the streets to see the best sights of the Spanish capital on a morning guided tour. Along the way you’ll learn about Madrid’s rich and varied history, take in medieval monuments that line the streets of Barrio de la Moreira, and admire the Renaissance and Baroque-era builds on Calle Mayor and Plaza de la Villa. Stop for photos at the Royal Palace, Plaza de Cibeles, Neptune Fountain and Puerta de Alcala. Some of the sights that follow take you through Madrid’s more modern side, at Gran Via, Paseo de la Castellana, Barrio de Salamanca, Plaza de Castilla and Parque del Oeste. You may also see Las Ventas bullring and Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. Following the tour you have the rest of the afternoon for independent exploration.
Day 4: Madrid – Seville (B)
Have breakfast at the hotel and then make to move away from Madrid by catching a train to Seville. This journey takes you south into the Andalucía region. Upon arrival in Seville you will need to find your own way to the hotel, and you can then have the afternoon to sightsee once you are checked in. Some of the best things to see in this southern city include the Torre del Oro, Seville Cathedral, Royal Alcazar of Seville, Plaza de Espana and La Giralda.
Optional: Flamenco Performance
Enjoy an evening of traditional Flamenco in the Macarena district of Seville. Sit down for a stunning performance at the El Palacio Andaluz and admire the artform of these incredible Flamenco dancers. This includes a drink. Additional cost applies.
Day 5: Seville – Granada (B)
You have the morning in Seville to uncover its treasures and charms. Learn more about the city’s Moorish heritage, stroll through the gardens of Maria Luisa Park, wander between exhibits at a museum, or feed your appetite for Spanish flavours with local tapas specialties.
This afternoon, head to the railway to board your train to Granada. Make your way to the hotel for check in upon arrival and have the rest of this evening at leisure.
Day 6: Granada (B)
Get to know Granada on a three-hour guided tour that departs after breakfast. This excursion will take visitors inside the world-famous Alhambra and its Alcazaba, as well as Nasrid Palaces and the Palacio de Generalife. Catching a glimpse of the Alhambra for the first time is sure to be one of the most memorable moments of this trip, as you appreciate this UNESCO World Heritage Site in all of its clay-hued glory. This palace and fortress has its beginnings in the 9th century and has been a fixture in the city’s history ever since.
Return to any sights that took your fancy once the tour as ended, or continue your own sightseeing journey around Granada.
Day 7: Granada – Cordoba (B)
Travel to another beautiful Andalucía destination, Cordoba, today via train. Check in to your hotel upon arrival (transfer not included) and immediately get out into the city to see its landmarks and soak in its lively local culture. One of the not-to-be-missed monuments is the Mosque of Cordoba, also known as the Mezquita or Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba. Other attractions to have on your radar include the Roman bridge and the Caliphal Baths.
Day 8: Cordoba – Barcelona (B)
The morning is yours to continue falling in love with the charms of Cordoba. At the appropriate time, make your way to the railway station for a train that will whisk you to Barcelona. You’ll travel along the coast as you journey north into the Catalonia region. Your time in Barcelona begins after making your way to the hotel to check in.
Day 9: Barcelona (B)
Barcelona is arguably one of the most popular cities in Europe for international travellers. With its mix of history, culture, entertainment and excellent cuisine, it is little wonder that the Catalonian capital is such a magnet for visitors. You will understand why as you join a guided sightseeing tour of the city. It starts at Passeig de Gracia for you to see some of the iconic structures – including those designed by Gaudi – that line this well-frequented boulevard. It is then onto Plaza de Colon, with its monument to Columbus, and the starting point of Las Ramblas. Head to Montjuic for a cable car ride up the side of this hill and take in the sweeping city views. You will be picked up from the last cable car station and driven past sites used in the 1992 Summer Olympic Games, such as Lluis Companys Olympic Stadium, Palau Sant Jordi, Piscines Bernat Picornell and the Spanish Village. On the journey back into the centre of Barcelona you will have the chance to see the Venetian Towers and the Montjuic fountains. Your return to the city by coach marks the beginning of the walking part of the tour, and you will meander Plaza de Catalunya, the Gothic Quarter and Plaça Sant Jaume.
The remainder of the day is at your leisure.
Day 10: Barcelona – Royal Caribbean Cruise (B, D)
Today marks the point where you leave behind the mainland and embark on a deluxe Royal Caribbean cruise around the Mediterranean Sea, travelling to ports in France and Italy. The cruise departs at 6pm and you have free time before you need to make your way to the port. Once you are aboard, settle into your cabin and begin discovery the on-board facilities offered by the Allure of the Sea. This award-winning vessel is equipped with a dazzling selection of things to do – water park, gym, theatres, swimming pools – as well as more leisurely pursuits, such as a day spa and multitude of divine restaurants.
Day 11: Palma (B, L, D)
The Allure of the Sea makes its first port of the cruising itinerary in Palma, a popular resort city in the Spanish Balearic Islands. Admire the striking design of the 14th-century Bellver Castle, or kick off your shoes for a leisurely walk along El Arenal beach. Take a seat at one of the high tables at Mercado Gastronomico San Juan and feast on fare from one of the stall vendors, and find the best angles for photographing the city’s magnificent sandstone cathedral, known as Le Seu. Return to the ship for an approximate 4pm departure.
Day 12: Marseille, France (B, L, D)
Say bonjour to Marseille, the second-largest city in France. Today, Marseille doubles as a gateway for your discovery of the world-famous Provence landscape. See one of the city’s best-known landmarks by climbing the steps to Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde, or you might take to one of the tracks or trails through Calanques National Park to appreciate limestone cliffs, azure waters and rugged landscape. Visit the Natural Museum or Museum of Fine Art for a culture fix, or tuck into a steaming bowl of bouillabaisse at a local hole-in-the-wall eatery. The ship departs Marseille at about 6pm.
Day 13: La Spezia, Italy (B, L, D)
Choose to see either Florence or Pisa today, travelling from the ship’s docking point of La Spezia on the Ligurian coast. Art aficionados will find it hard to say no to the opportunity to explore Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance movement. Hop between galleries such as Uffizi or Accademia to marvel at works by world-renowned masters, or peer into the window displays of the jewellery stores lining Ponte Vecchio. Those with an infinity for snapping visual mementoes can take up the chance to pose alongside Pisa’s emblematic Leaning Tower and explore more of the city’s historic architecture. Travellers wishing to climb the Tower should book tickets in advance. The boat departs at approximately 8.30pm.
Day 14: Rome, Italy (B, L, D)
Arrive at the Eternal City this morning and have the day to explore the sights, streets and sounds that make Rome such a coveted holiday destination. Adventure back centuries in time by discovering the city’s most ancient sites – Colosseum, Roman Forum, Pantheon – and meander between piazzas, local markets and cobbled alleyways. Toss a coin over your shoulder into the waters of the Trevi Fountain, discover the divine inside Vatican City, or sit down at a cosy trattoria and sink a fork into plates piled high with pasta. Return to the Allure of the Seas for departure at about 8pm.
Day 15: Naples (B, L, D)
Naples is a city that is rough, raw and delightfully unpolished. It also happens to be one of the oldest cities in Europe. Time permitting, you could travel just outside the city to the ruins at Pompeii, or make for the closer site of Herculaneum. Stop for an espresso at the bar of a local café, or fuel your appetite for sightseeing by tucking into pizza – rumour has it that Naples was the birthplace of this Italian classic. Take a walk in the sea air along the pedestrianised Lungomare, or learn about the wide-ranging history of the city at the Royal Palace of Naples. Be back at the port at about 6.30pm for departure.
Day 16: At Sea (B, L, D)
Today is spent entirely at sea, so you have ample time to make the most of the Allure of the Seas’ exceptional range of facilities and amenities. Strap into a harness to scale the rock climbing wall or grab a board to try the surf simulator. Catch one of the on-board live performances in the theatre, or grab a table at your favourite eatery for one last taste of the ship’s exceptional cuisine offerings. Tonight is your final evening spent aboard your Royal Caribbean cruise.
Day 17: Barcelona – – New Zealand (B)
The ship arrives back to Barcelona in the early morning and you have one last breakfast aboard before disembarking. Spend this time in Barcelona squeezing in last-minute sightseeing – La Sagrada Familia, Park Güell, La Boqueria – or finding a cosy restaurant, waterfront eatery or buzzing tapas bar to savour some final Spanish flavours. At the appropriate time, make your way to the airport and board a flight to begin your journey back to New Zealand.
For those purchasing the Tour Only option, at the appropriate time please make your own way from the hotel to your next travel arrangements.
Day 18: New Zealand
Arrive back in New Zealand today.