Tenerife, the largest of the Canary islands, is brimming with charm, offers a hot and sunny climate and also boasts incredible lunar-like landscapes. This volcanic island attracts thousands of visitors each year with a winning combination of year-round sunshine, fabulous beaches and once-in-a-lifetime sightseeing opportunities. When it comes to cruise stop-offs it ticks all the right boxes and it’s also the place to indulge in some retail therapy as you’ll find everything from vibrant local markets to air-conditioned malls.
Popular Ports in Tenerife
Cruise ships all dock in the large port of Santa Cruz, a sleek and modern town which offers a mix of modern amenities and old-world charm. The old town is a delight to explore with picturesque churches and several delightful squares which offer the perfect venue to enjoy a few outdoor lunches while watching the world go by.
The main square is the Plaza de España, originally built in 1929. It’s the place to meet friends and relax with a central lake with fountains and lights and places to sit. The area surrounding the square offers some of the best shopping on Tenerife, so don’t forget to take your credit card.
Tenerife is famous for its beaches, too, most of which are made from black sand, a reminder of its volcanic origins. However, Santa Cruz has a stretch of golden sands on its man-made Playa de Las Teresitas beach. It was created in 1973 from sand imported from the Sahara and now offers a fabulous spot for sunbathing and swimming with lively cafes and watersports to try out.
Those in search of culture won’t have to look far, either. Santa Cruz has a host of museums and galleries including the Museum of Nature and Man which explains in fascinating detail the origins of these volcanic islands and their first inhabitants, the Guanches. The Tenerife Space of Arts, an impressive museum of modern arts, is another must-see.
The neighbouring town of La Laguna, with its UNESCO-worthy old town and authentic buildings is also worthy of exploration with the Roman Catholic cathedral a highlight.
What are the best cruise ships for a Tenerife Cruise?
Santa Cruz is just one of the stop-offs the Marella Dream makes on the Canarian Flavours itinerary. The Marella Dream is a tastefully designed ship packed with onboard amenities that are sure to make your cruise a memorable one. There are two pools, one of which is for children, no fewer than six exciting restaurants, plus a theatre that features West End-style shows and UK comedy acts. If you like to keep in shape hit the ship’s air-conditioned gym or indulge in some treatments at the Oceans Spa and Beauty Salon.
You could also experience Santa Cruz during the Canary Islands cruise with Princess Cruises onboard the Sapphire Princess. This dazzling ship offer sumptuous dining in its speciality restaurants, 24-hour room service and a variety of entertainment options. Guests can try their luck in the casino or indulge in some pampering at the Lotus Spa. The ship also boasts some unique features such as Movies Under the Stars, a poolside outdoor cinema where you can watch movie classics with complimentary popcorn, warm cookies and milk. Add to this freshwater pools and expansive decks and you may never want to leave ship.
Shore Excursions Ideas
Beaches aside, Tenerife has numerous excursions and day-trips to consider, whether you’re a couple or family, so check out our list of suggestions.
Teide National Park
No Tenerife cruise is complete without a trip to Teide National Park and home to Mount Teide, the highest peak in Spain soaring to a pretty spectacular 3,718 metres. This UNESCO World Heritage site has a 10-mile-wide volcanic crater and visitors can take a cable car ride above the crater floor to get incredible views of this moon-like landscape and to the island scenery beyond. The park offers an extensive network of trails for active types who enjoy walking or hiking, or you could head to one of the two visitor centres to find out more. There’s also a bar and restaurant for refreshments.
Those in search of water-based fun might want to check out Siam Park, an awesome water park with themed attractions, slides and water flumes. Adrenalin junkies can try out the Tower of Power, a waterslide with a height of 28 metres which will enable you to reach a staggering 50mph per hour on your descent while passing through an aquarium full of rays and sharks – not for the faint-hearted! There are also more sedate, child-friendly attractions such as The Lost City, a splash park with multiple towers, nets bridges and 15 water slides.
Loro Parque, the sister park of Siam Park, is a zoo like no other, boasting dolphin attractions, parrot shows and more. It also has a large colony of penguins which can be seen at Planet Penguin. More unusual attractions include the Porcelain Parrot Museum, a collection of delicate and unique collection of ornamental parrots made over the past three centuries. Families can take their children to Kinderland which offers a collection of suspended bridges and trees for little explorers. If you’re in need of some relaxation, head to the Zen Garden, an underwater attraction with an Asian theme.
Food and drink to try
During your shore trip, don’t forget to try some of the local Canarian specialities. They do their own type of tapas which includes small morsels of delicious titbits such as papas arrugadas, delicious potatoes boiled with a salt crust and served with a spicy sauce called mojo picon. If you’re looking for a taste of the familiar, try churros de pescado – fish goujons in batter served with aioli. Tenerife has five wine-growing regions, too, so it’s worth trying the local vino, or you could go for some traditional Spanish sangria instead.