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18th September, 2014

Palma, Majorca

This morning at 8:00am we docked in the port of Palma which is the cosmopolitan capital of Majorca.  We embarked the pilot outside the breakwaters in a typical Mediterranean morning, with glass like seas. The port is quite small and you have to run hard to port to get inside the new piers and as soon as you are turned to port you have to turn hard to starboard to line up with the pier. Again these sort of challenges as I was being sunburnt are rather nice!!

 Past settlers have left their mark on this vibrant city and it retains a wealth of attractions including the Beliver Castle which has dominated the skyline since the 14th century and also the cathedral, a Gothic masterpiece which took over 400 years to complete.

Today the Shore Excursions Team had organised three tours. The ‘Rugged North Coast and La Granja’ which was a leisurely excursion highlighting the spectacular scenery and history of Majorca. Passengers drove along the rugged North coast. Passengers visited Valldemossa one of the most beautiful villages on the island. Nestling in a valley in Majorca’s northern mountain range, it is surrounded by woodland and mountains.  Valldemossa is famous for its Carthusian monastery which is now a museum. Passengers also visited a 17th century Majorcan manor house which was built by a noble family on the site of a 10th century monastic farm. It is surrounded by fountains and formal gardens and the interior of the house is a museum and depicts life on a farm from two centuries ago. The ‘Panoramic Palma and Valldenossa’ tour gave passengers the opportunity to see sights such as the Gothic Cathedral and Almudaina Palace by coach and also get away from the hustle and bustle and visit the contrasting town of Valldemossa. The final tour on offer was the ‘Narrow-gauge train to Soller’ Passengers were given the chance to experience this historic railway and since 1912 the three foot gauge electric train has operated daily along the 17 mile route between Palma and Soller. This is a beautiful scenic journey with views of the Marjorcan mountains, orange groves, and quaint wayside stations.

For those passengers who had not booked to go on one of our organised excursions there was a complimentary shuttle bus service which ran to and from Palma city centre. This is a lovely city to explore with many historic sites to visit, not to mention some excellent shopping and plenty of bars and restaurants. Or alternatively passengers were able to spend the day relaxing on the nearby beach in the 28 degree heat.

At 5:00pm we sailed away from Majorca, heading towards our next port of call.

Kosta, my Staff Captain, took the controls to take the ship away. It is always good to let your deputy drive the ship as why should I have all the fun!!  The onboard entertainment this evening was provided by Master Magician Philip Hitchcock as the main Cabaret Showtime. This was followed by a late night Cabaret in the Drawing Room with the Cruise Director Matthew Shaw.

Captain Alistair Mclundie

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