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Today is the first full day of the cruise, and also the first of three successive sea days. So we are doing the usual “what shall we do this morning, dear?” thing. We’ve already done our three laps round the promenade deck, and we’re now in the Spinnaker Bar waiting for our coffee.

As an aside, I think the ships have been slowed down – on our first Canary Islands cruise, on Ventura, we got to Madeira on the late afternoon of the third day i..e. after a passage from Southampton lasting 72 hours, whereas on this cruise we will be at sea for 84 hours or so before reaching Madeira.

The formal nights are not on the evenings I was expecting. We have an initial three days at sea, followed by five successive port days, then a mixture of sea and port days. I had therefore expected that the first and third of the initial sea days would be formal nights, plus the last-but-one sea day, plus one of the port days in the middle of the cruise. In fact the second sea day – which will be the second full day of the cruise – will be the first formal night. Then the second one will be the night we leave Madeira and before we arrive at La Palma, the third one will, as expected, be a sea day before arrival at Lisbon, and the fourth one will be the day of the call at Vigo. I wonder why this is? Perhaps because today, the first sea day, is a Sunday? But that’s not an uncommon occurrence. Perhaps it’s down to the individual Captain’s preference, and Captain Breton prefers not to have parties on Sunday. Certainly today’s church service received greater prominence in Horizon than I recall on other ships, and there was a broadcast of church bells over the ship’s loudspeaker system five minutes before the service began.

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