Barcelona Cruise Port: A Fascinating But Expensive City

I’ve mentioned in several articles that we are most likely going to be taking a cruise out of Barcelona this coming fall. When considering all of our cruise options, I’ve been trying to decide where to stay, what to see and what to do in Barcelona.

The first thing I noticed was that quadruple hotel rooms, which are the norm here in the USA, are very hard to come by in Barcelona, as is the case in many European cities. What that means is that our family of 4 must book two rooms instead of one. With the strength of the Euro against the Dollar right now, we are looking at at least $200 a night for a 3 Star hotel, and $400-$500 a night for something really nice.

We often stay at Starwood hotels which includes brands such as Sheraton and W. In Barcelona, they have the Le Meridian hotel in the center of the tourist area of the city. Their rate is $275 Euros a night per room. That would mean over $800 a night just for our hotel accommodations. They do have another Le Meridian hotel on the beach about 35 miles from town. This hotel offers a “buy down” with Starwood Preferred Guest Points at $60 a night. We would need two rooms there as well, so we would most likely need double the points to buy down the rate to that price. Even if we have the points, it would still mean expensive transportation costs to get us out of this beach resort town.

I also had a friend recommend a European Style hotel right in the heart of Barcelona in the Ramblas area. The hotel seems very friendly and in a fantastic location. But when I looked at candid pictures on TripAdvisor.com, I decided that it had several draw back including outdated decor, plastic furniture and foam mattresses. It just didn’t seem like it would meet my husbands expectations of what a hotel should be.

I also found another site that features small hotels and apartments for rent in Barcelona. Their listings include Hostel, Hostals (which are different from Hostels, more like a small family run hotel, not a youth hostel, Pensions, (another type of family run hotel), and apartments or studios for rent. A few of these places looked interesting, but maybe not the right fit for our short stay before a cruise.

So consequently I’ve been on line looking for affordable accommodations. I would recommend any one going through this process visit several of the many travel search engines. I’ve been to Hotels.com, Expedia.com, Travelocity.com and Orbizt.com. Many of the hotels that come up are the same, but sometimes you can easily find the information you need on one engine over another. We were able to find a hotel that would most likely work for us. It is a bit further away from the hot spots, but the furnishings are modern and the hotel received excellent reviews on TripAdvisor.com. The rate that showed up on several hotel search engines was around $200 total for two connecting rooms. That is a bit more than what we normally pay for one room in the the US, but seems a real bargain in Barcelona.

So, now that I feel pretty comfortable that we can find reasonable accommodations in Barcelona, we are looking into what we might want to take in while in Barcelona. Barcelona is know for so many beautiful and interesting attractions. The fabulous Gaudi designed church, the Segrada Familia, is not to be missed. Also many tourists enjoy the Picasso Museum, the Gothic District, and the shopping in the Ramblas area. Since my daughter and I both take flamenco dance lessons, we have been looking for a flamenco show. A Barcelona tourist website pointed me towards several that look promising.

Tabloa Cordobes and El Tabloa de Carmen seem to be two of the most authentic presentations, but they come also at a steep price. Show/Drink tickets are well over $50 per person, and Show/ Dinner tickets are over $100 each. The other options is El Patio Andaluz, which has the reputation for being more touristy, but they also invite audience members to join in on some of the steps. That might be fun for my daughter and I since we love Flamenco dancing. Their prices are in the same line at about $50 for drink/show and $100 for Dinner/Show. The least expensive options would be Tarantos. This night club offers Flamenco with an admission charge of just under $9. Not a bad price at all, but the venue seems to be more of a night club and less family friendly. So we are still searching for the most affordable and enjoyable flamenco experience for our family. We are tourists and beginner to intermediate dancers, so the “touristy” shows may be fine for us. We are just not sure we want to spend so much of our Barcelona budget on a hour and a 1/2 show, when there is so much or more that Barcelona is known for and has to offer.

I’ve got a lot more research to to do on Barcelona, but I feel like these sources are a good start. If you have any tips on the Barcelona as a pre-cruise destination pleas add your comments to our site.