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Saga Sapphire blog - Captains' blogs

11th January, 2014

Madeira is our first destination of the New Year’s cruise and is said to have been the location of the world’s first sugar cane plantation and so with that the islands sugar trade quickly became important. Formed by the volcanic eruption, Madeira lies in the Gulf Stream. Today’s traveller’s come to Madeira for the varied and luxuriant scenery, from mountain slopes covered with vines to picturesque villages  and a profusion of wildflowers. Madeira is such a picturesque island with its quaint streets, exceptional views, and beautiful countryside. A must do is the cable cars here, going up to the top taking in the beautiful scenery only to come back down again, but in the wicker baskets pushed by the local’s. This is a very novel experience, and something I believe they only do here in Madeira. With temperature’s reaching 19 degrees today, the weather has really started to look promising for the remainder of the cruise.

A few discovered the wine lodge’s for a taste of the islands famous wines which were of course brought back to the ship in bag fall’s.

Driving around the island, it’s lovely to see how it’s improved once again after the devastation from the land slide only a few years ago.  There are many sub-tropical plants here as well as different wildflowers which have earned Madeira its name ‘the floating garden’. The African tulip trees are undoubtedly my favourite which of course grow well in this wonderful environment.  Many decided to go on tour this morning with the ever popular leisurely Madeira excursion being the best attended. Here they passed the village of Monte which actually passes the island’s famous toboggan run as well as tropical gardens and a handsome baroque church. They also enjoyed views of Madeira’s highest peaks whilst enjoying quick refreshments which I assume was there local cake. A few chose a rather fun and exciting jeep safari which took them both on and off road through hidden valleys and mountain roads. For those guests on the Palheiro garden’s tour, I’m sure they would love to come back to Madeira when the island has one of their annual flower festivals, where big floats are covered in many varieties of flowers parading down the streets, with both young girls and boys dressed in traditional costume dancing.

This evening’s entertainment in the Britannia lounge is the ever entertaining Bettine Clemen, having over 110 flutes Bettine plays a variety of music usually to film. With 2 excellently received shows, I think it’s fair to say Bettine is a firm favourite with our guests. To finish the night off one of our resident explosive productions singers Scott Unsworth, was put in the spot light up in the Drawing Room singing some well-known classics.

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.

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