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15th March, 2016


The run south was rather comfortable, but just a little chilly with the wind out of the east. The welcome cocktail party was a delight, so many of our regular passengers, the majority in the Britannia Club, four of whom will be celebrating their 500 nights with us during this one month voyage to the eastern Mediterranean.

As we approached Finisterre on Monday morning before breakfast, that chilly wind had increased to around force 5, bringing with it enough swell to be noticeable. The motion from the ocean was all over within a few hours however, and as we rounded the ‘corner’ so the wind died away, almost completely. So a great start and the arrival into the River Tagus was on schedule, but initial cloud developed into something a little more substantial as the morning progressed and there were two hours of rain.

Tours had gone away in the dry though, and by the time they returned bright sunshine had returned. Only those that went walk about might have become just a little damp as they dodged into the various shops for shelter. Across the dock there was much construction work taking place in preparation for a brand new passenger terminal. The location is so much better than before as it is just a ten minute walk to the centre of town and the splendid pedestrian shopping street. I always enjoy Lisbon, even if, as on this occasion, I am unable to get ashore. It is one of the few great cities that has a marvellous river approach where splendid architecture and a special atmosphere just seem to give it the edge.

We left on the flood tide, turning the ship close off the jetty and passing under the great ‘25th of April’ bridge that connects the city with the Almada district just as a train was passing overhead, the second time that day. Fifty years ago I had passed by the same spot for the first time, but before the bridge had even been completed, where did those years go?

Captain Philip Rentell

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