To Madeira, the Cape Verde & Canary Islands - Xmas 2012

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To Madeira, the Cape Verde & Canary Islands by Fred Olsen

For a change from Xmas in the Islington Hilton, we went off for a cruise on this lovely Fred Olsen ship we have been on before with Ken lecturing on classical music but this time, as pax.

The MV Braemar, photoed at Santa Cruz, Teneriffe

There are two trains per hour from London Waterloo direct to Southampton.

The trip took us from Southampton to

Funchal, Madeira
Mindelo, Cape Verde Isles
Praia, Cape Verde Isles
Porto Novo, Cape Verde Isles
Santa Cruz, Teneriffe
Las Palmas, Gran Canaria
Lisbon, Portugal

& back to Southampton

Wednesday 19th December 2012 - Boarding

We got a courtesy bus straight away from the station, even thogh there were only 4 of us on it. The check-in was very efficient but the lounge, a bit pathetic, although it looked newer than the one we waited in for the Balmoral two years ago. Sad sandwiches for £5.90 but loading was remarkably swift. Our numbers were 98 & 99 but were on in 23 minutes from the start. We bumped into Elliott Taylor on the way in (& several other crew members were 'old shipmates', as were some passengers). Usual small but well laid out Braemar cabin, a long way forward. Only Avis' bag had arrived, so I went to the Palms for tea. Although it was before 3, there were cakes available. My first cream tea since the last cruise. I found not more bags nor Avis, so went back to the Palms, where I found her & we were soon joined by Win, a dishy old widow, also a Northerner school teacher. Then, it was lifeboat drill, as usual. We saw Mark the magician, who had been on the Saga cruise with us, as we went back down. As my bags had arrived, we could finish the unpacking. All done by 5: pretty good. At dinner, we were on a table for four & there was another one next to us, so we all resolved to treat it as a table for eight & we would circulate. I had John, an ex-headmaster Catholic (!) next to me. We soon agreed that certain subjects were off the agenda after he asked me what I thought of Gay Marriage. I said I was straight & didn't mind what the gays did. We briefly visited the pop group in the Coral Club. The girl could sing in tune. The floor show in the Neptune was up to standard. We knew Steve but not the others. Ricky the Cruise Director, had given me a warm welcome & remembered my name.

Three Days at Sea

The first two days at sea & the nights were quite rough, altough by no means the worst that Biscay can dish out. June, on our table, suffered from sea sickness, so her Albert, on his first European cruise, did not have a good time. However, they reappeared for the third dinner. During the days, we variously read, went to lectures (David Shute, ex of the "Today" programme, was very good) & I worked on a talk about Bartok. We found the MIT group & they played my request for "River Deep, Mountain High". "MIT" stands for "Made in Thailand", as Steve the drummer & Maria, the singer, formed the group there. As usual, I hit it off with the musicians. The third day was calmer & warmer.

A decent Sunset at last

Port 1 - Funchal

Port 2 - Mindelo, Cape Verde Isles

Port 3 - Praia, Cape Verde Isles

Port 4 - Porto Novo, Cape Verde Isles

Port 5 - Santa Cruz, Teneriffe

Port 6 - Las Palmas, Gran Canaria

Port 7 - Lisbon, Portugal

Next Page - Lisbon

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Contact: Ken Baldry at 17 Gerrard Road, Islington, London N1 8AY +44(0)20 7359 6294 or e-mail him
URL: Last revised 29/5/2012 ©2012 Ken Baldry. All rights reserved.