As a cruiser you do not typically have a lot of time in Barcelona and it is therefore important to plan your itinerary well. Sometimes every hour counts and wise planning can make a big difference to your holiday. There are three scenarios in which cruisers will visit Barcelona – before the cruise begins, while the cruise makes a stop in the city, or when ending a cruise journey in Barcelona.
Landing in Barcelona to start a cruise later in the day
Normally, guests that land at the Barcelona airport to start a cruise the same day will be scheduled to land around 8-10 AM, with the intention of embarking the cruise around 2-3 PM. If this sounds like your itinerary, we would recommend that you consider booking a private tour that will pick you up from the airport with your luggage, and we will take you to the cruise ship at the end of the tour just in time for embarkation. This way, you can still see the highlights of Barcelona and make the best use of your time!
Staying in a hotel overnight before starting the cruise in Barcelona
If you are planning to be in Barcelona at least one day before the cruise begins, then you can join our small-group tours with 4-12 participants in total, and we will still pick you up directly from the hotel with your luggage. During the tour, we will store your luggage safely in the vehicle, and will bring you to the cruise ship at the end of the tour in time for embarkation. You can choose to join us for a variety of half day tours or if your embarkation is late in the afternoon then you can also join our full day excursions.
Docking in Barcelona for the day
If your cruise journey stops in Barcelona for the day you can choose to join one of our small-group tours or you can book a private tour just for your party. Pickup and drop-off will be made from the cruise port.
Ending the cruise in Barcelona
If your cruise ends in Barcelona then we would highly recommend booking a tour that will pick you up as you arrive and will take you to your hotel or the airport at the end of the tour. Keep in mind that you are likely to disembark the cruise ship with hundreds of other guests at the same time, and if you choose to take a taxi then it is likely you will stand in a very long queue (not unusual to wait over an hour for a taxi – rain or shine).
Also, if you plan to go to your hotel in the city after disembarking the ship then you certainly do not wish to arrive before 1 PM since it is unlikely your room will be ready. Some inexperienced cruisers will disembark in Barcelona with their luggage, wait for an hour to get a taxi to the hotel, only to wait another 3 hours for the room to be ready… For as little as 59 Euros you can join us for a small-group tour that will pick you up with your luggage as soon as you arrive and take you to the hotel at the end of the tour in time for checking-in…
Which excursions to take while in Barcelona
This mainly depends on how much time you have and if you have done a proper visit to the city previously. For first time visitors and those who are returning after several years, we would recommend the Barcelona city tour if you do not have more than a few hours to spare, and the full day Barcelona and Montserrat excursion if you have 8-9 hours to do a tour.
We recommend the full day Barcelona and Montserrat excursion if you want to see as much as possible in one day of travel, since this tour covers all the highlights of Barcelona as well as the most visited site outside the city – mount Montserrat. If you have more than a day or if you have already done the city, then consider touring Montserrat with an optional visit to a Cava producer (winery), or join us for a visit to the medieval town of Girona which is about an hour from the city. You can also combine the visit in Girona with the Costa Brava (wild coast) or the Dali Museum in Figueres. If you are still not sure what to do, use our Trip Planner and we will happily send you details for your specific dates.
We travel with cruisers almost every day so we know that cruisers can bring a lot of luggage with them. This is not an issue, and we will store you luggage in the vehicle while we visit the sites, and of course we will take you safely to the hotel, cruise port, or the airport at the end of the tour – with your luggage.
Some hotels in the historic quarters of Barcelona have limited access to vehicles. If you booked in one of these places, we will let you know in advance and will make sure that you get there with your luggage directly at the end of the tour. We will provide all the information to you before you arrive and ensure your travel is hassle-free.
Stop the piracy of tourism
Please – only tour with a legal Tour Operator. We realize saying this is a great way to promote ourselves but don’t say we didn’t warn you. You will not be too happy with your decision to book with someone off the internet if they are not properly licensed and insured when you are pulled over for a random police check, which are more frequent these days. There are many websites that offer touring services in Barcelona but only a few are by genuine and legal Spanish Tour Operators.
Non-official Tour Operators are not insured or bonded, and are not allowed by law to conduct business with people who live outside Spain! It will only be a small fine for them but it could ruin an entire day for you.
Some websites are run by people who are certified and licensed tour guides. Others are operated by taxi drivers or chauffeurs who may even show their SP license on their website (this is a taxi-type license). This is equivalent to an Airline proudly showing the license of one of their pilots while not having the proper permits to operate an airline, having no insurance for cases of emergency, and not holding a bond in case they go out of business and you have already paid. Would you book your next flight with them?
The best way to ensure you are booking with a genuine Tour Operator is to inquire with ASTA (the American Society of Travel Advisors) which is the main body supervising travel companies worldwide.
Just as we imagine that you would not get into an unmarked car at the airport except if it is a licensed taxi, we kindly hope that you will take part in stopping the piracy of tourism in Barcelona and book only with a genuine Tour Operator. Thank you!
* Update (July 2019) — The Barcelona police completed a major crackdown over the weekend on illegal tour operators and stopped many vans arriving at Montserrat without a proper license!