18/4/17. Our third cruise has been as enjoyable as the previous two, so far at least. It started with 6 “sea days” as we headed for our first port of call, Ponta Delgado in The Azores. Although some people find these days at sea somewhat boring we enjoy the indulgence of having no commitments or things that “must be done”. We played bridge each afternoon with Marc and Ron (so Christine and Jim will need to watch out when we get back to Tadworth!) and caught up on several films on our list of those that we had missed while we have been traipsing around the world, including Hidden Figures and Lion, both of which were as excellent as the reviews suggested.
Christine took upon herself the task of organising church services on both Good Friday and Easter Sunday mornings and was surprised to find herself in front of about 900 people (Stephen’s estimate) for the second of these. Although she had not “appeared” in front of so many people before she didn’t let it daunt her. Stephen was immensely proud of her!
Stephen’s highlight also occurred on the same day but was much less worthy! He was complemented on his “beautiful cyclist’s legs” by a lady as he walked out of the service! He was slightly overwhelmed by this (but kept his composure enough to offer to hold onto her white stick!!) (That last part was a joke.)
There are the usual overwhelming quantities of food available at any time, day or night. Christine has particularly enjoyed going to afternoon tea most days – even though she cannot drink tea (it gives her a migraine). Of course what attracts her are the cakes – especially the scones with jam and cream!
The weather has been on the disappointing side with generally cloudy skies and much colder than we had been expecting (hovering around 20°). Also on occasions the wind has been strong (30-40 knots at times) which has made the water quite choppy. As a result the ship has rolled noticeably at times although the stabilisers have kept this to a sub-seasickness level, even for Christine who has a strong susceptibility to motion sickness of all sorts.
The two stops in port so far – Porto Delgado and Lisbon – have both been extremely pleasant and relaxing. As the organised tours are ludicrously expensive ($69 for 2½ hour walking tour round Lisbon -per person! – for example) we have elected to do our own thing. In Porto Delgado we looked round a very impressive garden and the food market before wandering thing the town soaking up the atmosphere and sitting outside the tourist information office downloading podcasts over the wifi.
Although there is more to see in Lisbon, it being a much larger city of course, we adopted a similar approach as we had a long weekend there about three years ago when we saw most of the sights. Therefore we were content to just walk around the streets of the old town and the shopping area looking at the very nice architecture and people-watching.