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29th September, 2015

Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel

Weather wise the first sea day after we left Southampton was not great, overcast and just a little windy from the north west. So we gave our passengers a day to settle in and get squared away, they will be with us on our voyage to Canada for over four weeks. On board are well over 500 Britannia Club members, folk that have had done more than 35 nights with us in the past. This of course meant that the remaining few were slightly outnumbered, but we will make a particular effort to ensure they are looked after in just the same way.

For me, the welcome party on the second night was just a sea of faces I recognised, many of whom have become close friends over the years. It is a great feeling. By the third day, when the weather had become far more clement, everyone that I met appeared to be in a relaxed mood, eager to see their first port of call, Ponta Delgada in the Azores. It is perhaps unusual to go to Canada via the Azores, but I can say that it is far more pleasant weather wise than taking the direct route and punching through whatever weather systems one might meet on a North Atlantic crossing.

Sao Miguel is known as the Green Island, no doubt for obvious reasons, but there was very little rain during our visit. A quick passing shower came through Ponta Delgada in the morning, but the remainder of the day was fine and the folks who went off on tour had a great time I heard. From the ship there was cloud covering the far off peak, but the sky was a magnificent blue. The sun reflected from the white painted buildings and, when I managed to get ashore for an hour, the temperature was pleasantly warm. The street side cafes were busy, but not unpleasantly so, and many of the shops remained open despite it being siesta time. My wife had acquired a little something earlier, for which I was advised that I had in fact saved money.

It was indeed a pleasure to stop at Ponta Delgada in September rather than our usual winter calls made either going or coming back from the Caribbean. I have always thought that a cruise in the summer, taking in several of the islands, would prove to very popular. Why not let me have your thoughts via social media.

We left a little later than scheduled, to begin our four day jaunt up to the much cooler waters off Newfoundland. The adventure now really begins.

Captain Philip Rentell

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