Skip to navigation Skip to content
< back

New Year's Eve and New Year's Day in Funchal

Saga Sapphire blog - Captains' blogs

1st January, 2013

Funchal fireworks

This New Year’s Eve & New Year’s Day will be a treasured memory for many of our passengers, it certainly will be for me too.

New Year's Eve

We could not have asked for better weather, that is for sure. The morning of our arrival at the “Jewel of the Atlantic” or the “Floating garden of the Atlantic” as Madeira is often referred to, was just perfect. Calm seas, warm sunshine and a clear blue horizon you could see for ever, or so it seemed.

There was a buzz of excitement around the ship as preparations were well underway for the New Year’s Party and Funchal’s world famous firework display. Cruise Director, Tanya, had masterminded a full entertainment programme, starting at 6.00pm with a cocktail party in the Britannia Lounge at which Piper Major Willie Cochrane addressed the “haggis” with typical Celtic passion and enthusiasm!

Whilst everyone was sitting down to another lavish meal in the two restaurants, my team on the Bridge were manoeuvring the Sapphire amongst the “floating resorts” to secure the best possible anchorage from which to view the firework display.

Having eased our way into the best spot we dropped the anchor and lay quietly to a light breeze until the midnight hour.

Five, four, three, two, one!

Funchal fireworks



Happy New Year Funchal!

As everyone made their way back to their cabins my team & I remained on the Bridge and at 2.45am rang finished with engines having secured the Sapphire alongside for the remainder of the day.

New Year's Day

Today all aboard Saga Sapphire awoke to yet another glorious day.

It was such a fun party last night and apparently there were some sore heads about, but this did not stop most people heading ashore as soon as breakfast was over to see what was on offer on the delightful island of Madeira.

Even though some were celebrating until the wee small hours of the morning, there were a number of tours heading off ashore to enjoy warm weather.

The first of these was the ‘Leisurely Madeira’ tour. Taking in many of the island's most famous sights, including a superb stop to photograph the capital itself, and finishing with a visit to Monte to see the beginning of the famous toboggan run, this relaxing trip was perfect for those weary late night revellers.

The other shore excursions to depart from the Britannia Lounge were not for the faint hearted. The ‘Levada Walk’ was a two-hour trek that followed the path of former irrigation channels painstakingly carved from solid rock to provide water to the drier south of the island. Whilst the second of these more active tours was the four wheel drive safari that took passengers deep into Madeira’s hidden valleys.

I cannot remember a more perfect New Year’s Day! The weather was magnificent and it was a delight to just walk ashore and enjoy the festive atmosphere and photograph the beautiful Nativity displays in the main street of Funchal. Well done Madeira you celebrate the true meaning of Christmas properly and do it well.

All we needed now as we slipped our ropes at 5.30 pm is for the high pressure to build and we have a superb two day crossing to El Ferrol.

It’s looking good as I go to press.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

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.