I have just returned from a 14 day cruise to Gibraltar, Lanzarote, Gran Canaria, Teneriffe, Madeira, and Lisbon. 8 days at sea, 6 in ports. We were on the Cruise and Maritime ship, Columbus which is fitting for the ports we visited. Along the way we saw a house which Columbus stayed in, and we sailed on a reproduction of the Santa Maria for a tour.
The Columbus is a former P & O vessel, but still has a lot of life in her. This was an unusual C&MV journey, however, as it was one of the first with children on board. A point for a later discussion.
The Columbus is a medium sized vessel, with two main restaurants, some specialty eateries, and several bars. There is a nice library, and two pools, plus some hot tub pools. All in all quite comfortable digs.
As I have commented in previous posts, I love traveling by sea. Cruises have many advantages for the traveler. Your accommodation, transport, and meals are all in one place. You only need to unpack once. Your “hotel” travels with you. Meals are generally generous and five or six courses are often on offer. If you calculate the various expenses cruising is a really good deal for the money.
That said it can be confining for some. Two or three days on even a large vessel does have some limits. But meals are regular and often, entertainment is every evening, and activities fill the days. Then there is the just chilling in the lounges, your cabin, or the pools to make the time pass. It is about you tastes, I guess.
Cruise and Maritime is experimenting with family cruises, and it has had some drawbacks. There was not as much quiet as on previous cruises, and children, let’s face it, get bored. Therefore there were some cases of kids pushing several lift buttons and then leaving, or spinning in revolving doors. Minor annoyances, but still there.
There were two “formal” nights in the restaurant, and it was great to break out the finery and “dine in style.” Our table waiter was great, and the section head waiter went out of his way to monitor our dietary needs, and to alter menus to suit those needs. We even had a meeting with the Executive Chef and Head Waiter to iron out our allergy issues. As a foodie sub-point, bread was freshly baked on board and after day three bread pudding started to be a regular feature in the buffet desserts (waste not want not).
Customer service was excellent, and we received an upgraded cabin as a plus. Large windows, great views, and a place to “call home.” Our steward was conscientious, learned our names immediately, and was ever ready to make things right.
We left Tilbury with temperatures around 20 degrees C, and headed for Gibraltar. The first night and next day were in the English Channel. This in turn took us into the Bay of Biscay, and the weather warmed as we went. It was time for many to take to the pools and decks for some sun worshiping.
As we approached the pillars of Hercules, the weather continued to be brighter, and 27-28 C welcomed us to “The Rock.”