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Intergenerational: Toros, Flamenco and Palaces on Spain’s Great River

Program Number: 20642RJ
Start and End Dates:
7/15/2015 - 7/25/2015; 7/16/2016 - 7/26/2016; 7/23/2016 - 8/2/2016; 8/16/2016 - 8/26/2016;
Duration: 10 nights
Location: Spain
Price starting at: $3,666.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; River Boats; Intergenerational
Meals: 24; 9 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 8 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

Program intended for grandchildren from 11 - 15 years of age.

A river voyage on the Guadalquivir — “great river” in Arabic — is an amazing way for you and a grandchild to experience Andalusia, the colorful Spanish region known for its Flamenco dancers, fearsome bulls and Moorish fortresses. From life-size replicas of Columbus’s ships to a farm where bulls and horses are bred to the magnificent Alhambra, delve into the exciting history and culture of Spain together.

Activity Particulars

Walking up to two miles per day; some stairs and uneven terrain.

Itinerary At-a-Glance

Aboard MS Belle de Cadix, 7 nights; Granada, 2 nights.

Day 1: Overnight flight from the U.S.A.

Days 2-3: Arrival Seville (Spain) / embark MS Belle de Cadix:

Explore the Alcázar, a royal palace that was originally a Moorish fort, and the world’s largest Gothic cathedral. Aboard the ship, sail past wetlands and enjoy an introductory lecture about Spain. Dig deeper into the culture of Andalusia and experience Cádiz by night.

Day 4: Cadiz:

Discover this city of narrow streets, flower-bedecked plazas and the oldest covered market in Spain. Continue to Jerez to visit a farm that breeds horses.

Day 5: Jerez:

Visit a Bull farm in the countryside of Cadiz

Days 6-7: Seville:

Learn about Christopher Columbus at Huelva. Visit La Rábida, the Franciscan Monastery where Christopher Columbus stayed while he waited for financial backing from King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella for his voyage to the New World. In Seville, visit the Plaza de Toros, one of the oldest and grandest bullfighting rings in Spain and learn about the culture and Myth of the bullfighters.

Day 8: Córdoba:

Step inside the Great Cathedral-Mosque, built when this was one of the most advanced cities on earth.

Days 9-11: Disembark / coach to Granada / departure:

Experience El Albaicín, the medieval section of the city, and the traditional Gypsy Quarter. Take a field trip to the Alhambra, a fortress-palace of stunning Moorish architecture, gardens and fountains. Lodging: Centrally located hotel.

Ms Belle de Cadix

Spacious and light, this three-deck river cruiser is designed to ply the most beautiful rivers in Europe. 361 feet in length, it features 90 cabins, dining room, lounge, bar, sun deck and small swimming pool. This ship is operated by a French family-run company known for its enthusiastic and passionate staff.


Seville, capital of Andalusia, is a city of flamenco, flower-draped balconies and Moorish tile. Ancient Iberian, Phoenician, Roman and Islamic, Seville has welcomed the great civilizations that shaped both Spain and Europe.

Centrally located hotel.
Meals and Lodgings
   CroisiEurope MS La Belle de Cadix
  Seville, Spain
Cadiz, Spain
Santa Maria, Spain
Seville, Spain
7 nights
   Hotel Melia Granada
  Granada, Spain 2 nights
 CroisiEurope MS La Belle de Cadix
Type: Riverboat
  Description: The MS La Belle de Cadix sails on the Guadiana, the Guadalquivir and along Atlantic coast.
  Ship Information: Year Built: 2005 Year Refurbished: 2010 Length: 361 feet Width: 37 feet Total Cabins: 88 (40 cabins on the upper deck, 27 cabins on the middle deck, 21 cabins on the main deck) Total Passengers: 176 Cabin size: 151 sq. feet
  Contact info: 12, rue de la Division Leclerc
Strasbourg,  67000 France
phone: +0033 3 88 76 44 44
  Room amenities: All cabins have individual controls for AC and heat. Cabins are equipped with satellite television, a radio, a hairdryer and a safe for your valuables. The private en-suite facilities include a shower, toilet, sink, and are provided with towels, but not washcloths.
  Facility amenities: Amenities include: lounge with bar, dining room, sun deck with loungers and umbrellas, barbecue deck, jacuzzi at the prow (front) of the barge, bicycles on board available for use by passengers, and free WiFi on board.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Hotel Melia Granada
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: The Meliá Granada is located in the heart of the city of Granada, near the cathedral, Calle Navas, Alcaiceria, the Puerta Real, Calle Elvira, Plaza Nueva, Realejo, Paseo de los Tristes, the Science Park and the Congress Centre.Its strategic location in the city centre, personalised service and excellent facilities make it the perfect choice for your visit to Granada. Neat the hotel, you can visit exclusive boutiques and fashion houses. Plus nearby there is a one of the city’s main leisure and entertainment areas with numerous tapas bars and restaurants. Meliá Granada is also just a short distance from the most trendy nightspots and major shopping streets such as Reyes Católicos, Recogidas or Mesones.
  Ship Information: n/a
  Contact info: C/ Angel Ganivet, 7
Granada,  18009 Spain
phone: +34958227400
  Room amenities: Available with double bed or two single beds, these rooms provide 37 inch LCD TV, free Internet, minibar, safe and fully equipped bathroom. Equipped with all the services and facilities you need to make your stay in Granada truly unique. Services Room service (*) 24 hour wake-up calls Meliá Conecta customer service Express laundry and ironing service (*) Porter Equipment Functional and practical furniture Double bed or two single beds Cot (on request) Large desk with chair Double wardrobe Two lamps built into bed headboard Free cable Internet Air conditioning /heating 37 inch LCD TV with more than 30 Spanish and international channels Digital Plus 3 telephones (two in the room and one in the bathroom) Fully equipped bathroom Meliá bathroom amenities Hairdryer Iron and ironing board (on request) Make-up mirror Safe Minibar (*)
  Facility amenities: - Near the Cathedral and Capilla Real, the Alhambra and the Generalife, Albayzin, Sacromonte, Realejo and the Paseo de los Tristes - 50 metres from Calle Navas and very close to Alcaiceria , Puerta Real, Calle Elvira, Plaza Nueva and the Science Park - 5 minutes from the Congress Centre - Near the most exclusive shopping centres and boutiques. The perfect choice for culture and shopping - Rooms with wonderful views of the Alhambra and Generalife, Albayzin or the Sierra Nevada - Wonderful breakfast buffet - The hotel provides a fully equipped mini-gym for the exclusive use of our guests - Excellent access to the city, the Alhambra and Granada airport
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Program starts with an Orientation at 5 PM onboard the ship in Seville on Day 2. You will be staying at CroisiEurope MS La Belle de Cadix that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends with breakfast at the hotel on Day 11. You will be staying at Hotel Melia Granada the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. No other documents are needed.
  Parking availability:
No parking available.
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: The airport bus in Seville is around 2€ and can be caught every 30 minutes.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Seville
  Transportation to site: Getting from the airport into the center of Seville is easy and quick. The journey will take you around 15 mins and costs between €15 and €22 depending on which time of day you travel. The taxi rank is just outside the terminal building.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Granada
  Transportation from site: The airport is about 17 km outside the city of Granada. A taxi from the city to the airport will cost you about 25 Euros and should take about 20 minutes.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: US Departure and Overnight Flight.
(Wednesday, July 15)
 In Transit Overnight: Overnight flight to Seville.

Day 2: Arrival Seville / Program Orientation
(Thursday, July 16)
 Arrive To: Arrive in Seville and transfer to the ship.
 Afternoon: We will gather in our private meeting room where the Group Leader will greet you with a warm welcome and introduce everyone. We will review the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, discuss responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. After orientation you may join your Group Leader for a walking discovery of the area around the Guadalquivir river in Seville. We will board the boat starting at 5 pm. You will have time to settle into your cabin before the presentation of the crew. The ship will be docked overnight in Seville.
 Dinner: Welcome dinner on board.
Accommodations: CroisiEurope MS La Belle de Cadix
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: Seville Old City, Alcazar & Cathedral - Sailing the Guadalquivir
(Friday, July 17)

Note: About 2h walking and about 2.5 miles

 Breakfast: On board.
 Morning: Field Trip: Explore Seville with your expert local Guide: Start the morning with a panoramic visit before walking cobblestone streets of the oldest neighborhood of Seville - the Barrio Santa Cruz (ancient Jewish Quarter) and exploring the magnificent Cathedral. Built on the site of a mosque, it is the third largest church in Europe and the largest Gothic building in Europe. It also boasts the largest altarpiece in the world and the Tomb of Christopher Columbus. You will finish your tour with a visit to the spectacular moorish Alcázar Royal Palace and gardens.
 Lunch: On board.
 Afternoon: After lunch as we sail out of Seville, join your Study leader on deck as she comments the sites of the city. Later enjoy some time on deck to relax or soak in the small deck pool while the ship follows the current of the Guadalquivir on it's short sail to the next port of call. Later on attend a presentation by your study leader, and examine the History of Spain from the arrival of the Moors until their ultimate expulsion from Iberia under the reign of Isabella and Ferdinand in 1492. This presentation is aimed at younger participants, however all are welcome to join.
 Dinner: On board.
 Evening: To round the evening off, choose to join your group leader on a walking exploration of Cádiz by night. Built on a rock and surrounded on all sides by the sea, this fortified city is connected to the mainland only by a narrow strip of sand.
Accommodations: CroisiEurope MS La Belle de Cadix
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

(Saturday, July 18)
 Breakfast: On board.
 Morning: This morning enjoy a brief panoramic discovery of Cadiz that features the Plaza de Topete & Mercado Central, the oldest covered market in Spain. Later we set off for our excursion to Jerez, Jerez is famous for its horses and also the birthplace of the famous Flamenco. First, we visit a family horse farm to see some of the finest horsemanship in Spain. We enjoy a boxed lunch at the horse farm and a brief panoramic of Jerez before returning to the ship.
 Lunch: Enjoy a picnic lunch provided by Croisi Europe.
 Afternoon: After lunch enjoy some time on deck while we sail.
 Dinner: On board.
Accommodations: CroisiEurope MS La Belle de Cadix
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Bull Farm
(Sunday, July 19)
 Breakfast: On board.
 Morning: This morning's field trip is a visit to a “ganadería” (a ranch where bulls are raised), with the chance to learn about this living symbol of Spanish culture first hand, and from the experts.
 Lunch: On board.
 Afternoon: After lunch enjoy some time to rest and relax on the deck enjoying the scenery as we cruise back towards Seville. Children's Presentation: Seville, Flamenco and Bull fighting the Culture of Andalucia.
 Dinner: On board.
Accommodations: CroisiEurope MS La Belle de Cadix
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Toros & Flamenco
(Monday, July 20)
 Breakfast: On board.
 Morning: The Culture and Myth of the Torreador. The Plaza de Toros de la Maestranza is considered the oldest and grandest of Bull fighting rings in Spain. Seville is often called the birthplace of this Spanish sport. This morning we study the culture and myth of the Torreador. NOTE: We will not see an actual Bullfight presentation.
 Lunch: On board.
 Afternoon: Field Trip/ Presentation: The flamenco dance museum is the key to access the magic world of flamenco dancing. We learn more about Andalusian culture and experience flamenco dancing. All are invited to participate in a Flamenco dance class.
 Dinner: On board.
Accommodations: CroisiEurope MS La Belle de Cadix
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Columbus
(Tuesday, July 21)
 Breakfast: On board.
 Morning: Columbus and Huelva Columbus - Preparing for the Journey: Huelva and its environs is a Mecca for those interested in Christopher Columbus, with a number of significant tourist attractions relating to the famous explorer. Cristóbal Colón (as he is known in Spain), south of Huelva city is the 15th-century Franciscan Monasterio de Santa María de la Rábida. La Rábida is where Columbus stayed between 1491-92 waiting for financial backing from the Catholic Monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella, for his voyage to the New World. We end the morning in the nearby, Muelle de las Carabelas (Harbour of the Caravels) a waterfront exhibition with life-size replicas of Columbus's three ships: the Niña, the Pinta and the Santa María, built for the 500th anniversary celebrations in 1992.
 Lunch: On board.
 Afternoon: This afternoon is free to explore on your own or rest on board the ship.
 Dinner: On board.
 Evening: Enjoy a Flamenco Show on board.
Accommodations: CroisiEurope MS La Belle de Cadix
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: In the footsteps of the Moors - Cordoba
(Wednesday, July 22)
 Breakfast: On board.
 Morning: Field Trip: Cordoba's Cathedral / Great Mosque: The Church - Cathedral of Cordoba popularly know as the Mosque of Cordoba or the "Mezquita", stands over a Christian church built in the Visigothic period (5th C). After Moorish conquest of Spain, it was used as a Mosque. From 786 to 988 the original church was rebuilt into a Grand Mosque. In 1236, following Cordoba's fall to Ferdinand and after over 500 years of use as a mosque, the site was re-consecrated Christian and a cathedral was erected in the center of the mosque in 1523. It is the foremost Islamic monument in Spain and a unique example of the inter-play of Christian and Moslem cultures in Spain. Your GL will arrange a quiz to test your general knowledge!
 Lunch: In the old city.
 Afternoon: Field trip - Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos Just southwest of the Mezquita (Mosque), the Alcázar, or Castle of the Christian Monarchs, began as a palace and fort for Alfonso X in the 13th century. From 1490 to 1821 the Inquisition operated from here. Today the castle’s gardens are among the most beautiful in Andalucía. The building houses an old royal bathhouse, the Baños Califales. Take time to gaze at the 3rd-century Roman sarcophagus, with its reflections on life and death. Afterwards, Enjoy some free time before dinner on the barge.
 Dinner: On board.
Accommodations: CroisiEurope MS La Belle de Cadix
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Granada's Alhambra and the Arab District
(Thursday, July 23)
 Breakfast: On board.
 Morning: This morning, we disembark our river cruise and head by coach to Granada. En route to Granada, your local expert will give a presentation about the importance of the city as a center of learning and the contribution of the Moors to Spanish and World Culture. On arrival we enjoy a guided field trip to The Alhambra. More than a just a palace, it is an entire walled city within the city of Granada. There are royal apartments, forts, gardens, pavilions, and sumptious gardens which offered protection from the summer heat. The Alhambra visit ends with an expert guided tour of the Nasrid Palace - the most spectacular Islamic building in Europe dating from the 14th Century and filled with Arabic inscriptions and geometrical patterns, perfectly proportioned rooms, and peaceful courtyards.
 Lunch: At the hotel.
 Afternoon: Field trip - Historic Granada. The Albaycin is the old Arab Quarter. It comprises approximately the area between the hill of the Alhambra, the hill of San Cristobal, the Sacromonte and Elvira. The Albaycin is like a different world within Granada. This is due to the strong Muslim influence in this area. It was the place where the first Siri court was built in the eleventh century.
 Dinner: Choose to stay in the Albaycin area for dinner or return to your hotel. Your Group Leader will provide you with restaurant recommendations.
Accommodations: Hotel Melia Granada
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 10: The Mediterranean sea, Paella and Farewell
(Friday, July 24)
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Depart by coach to the coast for a morning spent enjoying a Mediterranean seaside village.
 Lunch: On your own.
 Afternoon: Free time to enjoy Granada on your own, or prepare for departure, followed by a paella making activity in Granada.... Aprons on as we learn how to make a traditional Spanish Paella, with the help of local restaurant chefs; afterwards sit back and enjoy your result.
 Dinner: Farewell Dinner in Granada.
Accommodations: Hotel Melia Granada
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 11: Departure
(Saturday, July 25)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Coach transfer to airport for return flights to the U.S. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please be in touch via the Road Scholar Social Network, where you can share memories, pictures, and comments. Best wishes for all your journeys.
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

Andalucia Map 578

Author: Michelin Travel Publications

Description: A travelers' map of Andalucia and the Costa del Sol at a scale of 1:400,000 with city plans of Seville, Malaga and Granada.

Bracebridge Hall, Tales of a Traveller, the Alhambra

Author: Washington Irving

Description: This collection of Irving's writing, published by the Library of America, is the only book in print that contains "The Alhambra," his romantic account of travels in Southern Spain.

Culinaria Spain

Author: Marion Trutter (Editor)

Description: Organized by region, this profusely illustrated guide to virtually all aspects of Spanish cuisine is full of recipes, tips and cultural information.

Death and the Sun, A Matador's Season in the Heart of Spain

Author: Edward Lewine

Description: A glimpse into Spanish culture by way of the celebrated art of bullfighting. Lewine spent a year with one of Spain's most celebrated matadors, and writes with a visible reverence for the exciting tradition in this cultural portrait.

Death in the Afternoon

Author: Ernest Hemingway

Description: Hemingway's ode to the sport of bullfighting, considered one of the best on the sport.

Driving over Lemons, An Optimist in Andalucia

Author: Chris Stewart

Description: Stewart's memoir about moving with his wife to a farm in Alpujarras is charming and insightful. Unlike many expatriates, Stewart manages to ground himself far enough into the community to make lasting friends -- as well as a home for his young daughter.

Eyewitness Guide Seville and Andalusia

Author: Eyewitness Guides

Description: This wonderfully organized and visually rich guide features excellent maps and essays on the culture, history and geography of the region. With a pullout city map of Seville.

Ghosts of Spain

Author: Giles Tremlett

Description: Tremlett captures the Spanish character, history and modern politics in this masterful portrait, interweaving the story of his love for the country (where he has lived for 20 years) with interviews, anecdotes and observation.

Granada, A Novel

Author: Radwa Ashur, William Granara (Translator)

Description: A beautiful and haunting cultural tale about a Muslim family living in Granada at the time of its conquest by Ferdinand and Isabella.

Granada: A Pomegranate in the Hand of God

Author: Steven Nightingale

Description: Nightingale illuminates the long obscured medieval zenith of Granada, once considered an intellectual hotbed until it was sacked by Ferdinand and Isabella in 1492. Granada’s cultural accomplishments include the first modern translations of Greek philosophy and the introduction of algebra.

I, Juan de Pareja

Author: Elizabeth De Trevino

Description: This Newbery Award-winning children's novel, based on a true story, chronicles the evolution of the friendship between the Spanish painter Velazquez and his African slave. Ages 9-12.

If You Were There in 1492, Everyday Life in the Time of Columbus

Author: Barbara Brenner

Description: A "you-were-there" history of medieval Spain, written for middle-schoolers and fun for the family. This clever illustrated history gives the facts of life in the cities and countryside from a child's point of view.

Lonely Planet Spanish Phrasebook

Author: Izaskun Arretxe

Description: This handy pocket phrasebook includes pronunciation, basic grammar and essential vocabulary.

Moorish Spain

Author: Richard Fletcher

Description: This book on the history and culture of Islam in Spain is detailed but readable.

Only in Spain, A Foot-Stomping, Firecracker of a Memoir About Food, Flamenco and Falling in Love

Author: Nellie Bennett

Description: In this exuberant memoir, an enthusiastic young Australian discovers a passion for Spanish culture (especially flamenco) as she explores Seville and Madrid.

Platero and I

Author: Juan Ramon Jimenez, Eloise Roach (Translator)

Description: This lyric portrait of life -- and the little donkey, Platero -- in a remote Andalusian village is the masterpiece of Juan Ramon Jimenez, the Spanish poet awarded the 1956 Nobel Prize for Literature.

Secrets in the House of Delgado

Author: Gloria Miklowitz

Description: Set in Spain in 1492 in the thick of the Inquisition, this historical novel tells of what happens when a Catholic orphan, taken in by a Catholic family of Jewish ancestry, agrees to spy on her protectors. For ages 9-12.

Seville Map

Author: Streetwise Maps

Description: A laminated, folded walking map of Seville. Two Sides. 8.5x27 inches.

Shadow of a Bull

Author: Maia Wojciechowska

Description: In this compelling award-winning, young-adult novel, everyone expects Manolo to become a bullfighter like his father. Not surprisingly, it features vivid descriptions of bullfights.

Spain or Shine

Author: Michelle Jellen

Description: Elena goes to Spain to strike out on her own, but the 16 year-old must first overcome her insecurities. The third book in the SASS (Students Across the Seven Seas) series.

Spain, The Root and the Flower

Author: John A. Crow

Description: Take this book with you to Spain: it's an absorbing, well-written account of Spanish cultural history from prehistory to the Romans, Jews, Moors, Golden Age and on to Franco and his legacy in modern Spain.

The Alhambra

Author: Robert Irwin

Description: Irwin's brief, indispensable guide introduces the stunning Moorish palace and fortress complex, revealing its mysteries, myths and significance with wit and insight.

The Face of Spain

Author: Gerald Brenan

Description: Brenan searches for Lorca's unmarked grave (and knows not if he has found it), travels to the great mosque in Cordoba, the Synagogue of Toledo and other touchstones of Spain's history, in this immensely pleasurable portrait of Spain in 1949, the wounds of the war still fresh.

The Ornament of the World, How Muslims, Jews, and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain

Author: Maria Rosa Menocal, Harold Bloom (Introduction)

Description: A lively, illuminating portrait of the Andalucian Kingdom, its cultural achievements and religious tolerance from the eighth century to 1492.

The Story of Spanish

Author: Jean-Benoit Nadeau

Description: What began as a small dialect spoken in northern Spain became the world’s most spoken language after English. The husband-and-wife team responsible for The Story of French (FRA98) are here to tell you how, with an emphasis on the pervasiveness of Spanish culture.

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