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31st December, 2013



Despite our somewhat delayed departure from La Gomera, we managed to arrive in Funchal bang on time, and on a beautiful morning with the sun coming up over Deserta Grande. We followed one cruise ship inside and then another two followed us. Outside two were already at anchor and more continued to arrive during the day, including Saga Ruby. It was quite a gathering, which included that residents ship ‘The World’ where I was told that even the annual maintenance charge for an ‘apartment’ would be mind boggling to most of us.

The city, as may be imagined, was very very busy with cruise and other tourists. An eclectic mix of street bands and singers provided plenty of atmosphere, playing local music or something a little less ‘normal. The old market was bustling and I pottered around the plantsmen, buying a few bulbs to experiment with once I return home. Down below in the fish market great slabs of Tuna were being chopped up to order and the local bulging eyed black fish, Espada, were hanging over the stainless steel benches.


The evening, of course was reserved for a very special formal cocktail party and dinner, which was a very fine affair that even included an address to the haggis by our very own bagpiper. The entertainment continued all the way up to midnight, by which time there were seven cruise ships in the bay, the last three jockeying for position just outside the harbour entrance in order to give their passengers the best spot from where to see the fireworks. And they were magnificent, eight minutes of explosive delight above the city and also coming from barges anchored outside the breakwater. Ears were ringing by the time the sky went dark again and the last massive bangs had faded.

We sailed less than an hour later as other ships also either made preparations to come alongside or head off in various directions. It will be another year before so many cruise vessels will be seen at this spot again.

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The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.