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We’re at Funchal today. Arcadia slipped into the harbour at just after seven o’clock, and just before eight o’clock the Captain was announcing that all the formalities had been completed and passengers were free to go ashore. She also announced that the free shuttle bus service was starting at half-past eight. We were already up and about because we did some washing this morning, and to make sure we got it done efficiently I was intending to be in the launderette at eight o’clock, opening time. I needn’t have worried – I was the only passenger keen enough (or mad enough) to be doing washing at eight o’clock on a port day. But now it’s done and finished.

We went ashore at about ten o’clock intending to do our own thing – our only previous visit to Funchal hadn’t gone so well because we’d picked the wrong excursion (“Levada Walks”). The plan was to take the cable car up to Monte and this we were able to do. A map of Funchal and a guide to the cable car, both of which we picked up in the cruise terminal, were both helpful.

We got to the Monte tropical garden at about eleven o’clock and left at just after two o’clock so we gave it a good go. We both thought it was delightful. Completely artificial, of course, and not at all ‘Madeiran’, but very beautiful nonetheless. Then back down on the cable-car before a rather late lunch in a small restaurant – “Almirante” – not far from the bottom end of the cable car. We drank a half-bottle of Portuguese red wine; full-bodied and fruity, and very enjoyable. Then back to the ship with Val complaining first that her knees were feeling vague, then (after banging her head on the overhead luggage rack on the shuttle bus) that she was feeling vague all over, we got back to the ship a short while before four o’clock.

The weather today has been quite warm (23 degrees or so) and definitely steamy. This was not helped by a note we received yesterday saying that the Madeiran authorities had advised P&O of a Dengue fever outbreak on the island, and P&O advised all passengers to cover up today – full-length trousers, socks, long-sleeve shirts, etc. Val takes these things very seriously, so that was how were dressed; hence, added steam. But never mind – I don’t believe either of us were bitten, which may have been more the result of the insect repellent that was being sprayed on departing passengers at the foot of the gangway this morning than our clothing strategy.

This evening is another formal night, so I must finish now in order to go and check the menu. If we can agree on what we’re going to eat we can order a bottle of wine from the wine line again.

2 Responses to “Cruising on Arcadia – Funchal, Madeira”

  1. Phil Aylward says:

    Hi Tom, thanks for your reports, especially about Arcadia, my wife and I join the ship as you disembark next Friday, it is our first cruise with P&O, our only other cruise being on the Queen Victoria last year. We are very much looking forward to it and hope you continue to enjoy your cruise. Phil

  2. […] then we got to our first port of call – Funchal, Madeira; […]

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