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Today’s excursion (“Essence of Gran Canaria”) was a disappointment; too much driving around in a coach, not enough time at any of the destinations. It was compounded by the fact that because of the change in itinerary, we are in Gran Canaria on Sunday instead of Friday. This has meant that a visit to Teror village and church meant fighting our way through a busy Sunday street market and also (wrongly, in my view) trying to see the church and the local sanctuary to the Virgin at a time when the local people were using them en masse for worship.

The weather was disappointing today – cloudy and not very warm. It’s not been very good all cruise, in fact – it has been cooler than usual at each port of call, and generally cloudy. We have seen some rain, most of all at Madeira where our Levada walk got quite wet, but there have been some spots of rain at other places. I walked around Las Palmas beach this afternoon (Playa Las Canteras) and it reminded me of Devon or Cornwall in August: cold sea, grey skies, and not many people braving the beach. So the destinations on this cruise have not lived up to their billing.

The turn north from Gran Canaria is the signal that the cruise is more than half over, and we are heading for home. Tomorrow is a sea day, followed by calls at Lisbon and Vigo; then just one more day at sea, and we shall be back in Southampton.

I ought to say something about the organisation of the excursions. It has been good. Passengers departing on excursions gather in the Tamarind club to collect stickers and await announcements, etc, and so far there has been plenty of room in there for everyone to sit. The administration of the tours has been efficient, and I have not seen any signs of confusion, etc, among the excursion staff. Gangways have been rigged from various decks – deck 4, the bottom of the passenger lifts, today, but deck 5 and (I believe) deck 6 have also been used at other ports – and exit from and re-entry to the ship has generally been efficient. At Funchal the port’s gangways were used, and these were strictly one-way so that turns had to be taken between parties going off the ship and those returning, but today and on other days the ships’ own gangways have been in use and these allow two-way traffic. We have not needed to tender  so far and I don’t believe we will at Lisbon and Vigo so I will not have seen that side of operations.

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