Sunday, October 27, 2013

Cruising on MV "FUNCHAL" passenger facilities

                                                    Junior suite on Navigators Deck
                                                       Porto Bar
                                                             Internet Center
                                                        Restaurant LISBOA
                                                          COIMBRA Restaurant
                                                            Beauty Center

                                                 Ilha Verde Lounge and Library and card room below
"FUNCHAL" has seven decks OBSERVATION/NAVIGATORS/PROMENADE/AZORES/MADEIRA/ALGARVE and ESTORIL. Restaurants LISBOA and COIMBRA are located on the AZORES deck as well as the Wellness and Beauty Center, the ship has also a medical Center on deck MADEIRA, the majority of the passenger facilities though are located on PROMENADE deck and include ILHA VERDE LOUNGE, PORTO BAR, GAMA BAR, LIBRARY AND CARD ROOM, SHOPPING ARCADE, INTERNET CENTER, CASINO and sheltered decks, the ship has also on offer a Deck Buffet known as the LIDO on the NAVIGATORS deck.All the passenger facilities are brand new, she retains a very cozy and classic atmosphere for what she has a reputation for decades, very comfortable surroundings without being very luxurious, the ship has 244 cabins which will be reduced for 240 with capacity for approximately 500 passengers. GAMA LOUNGE is shown below. For further photos of the "FUNCHAL" interiors please visit my Facebook Group here Photos taken on board 19 and 20.9.2013

Saturday, October 26, 2013

After following "FUNCHAL" for nearly a week it was my turn to step on board as a passenger for the short trip from Porto to Lisbon. This was an exciting moment for me, "FUNCHAL" has been for decades like a toy for me, one of the last original built Passenger Liners from the 60's, the last survivor of what was once a proud Portuguese Mercantile Fleet, she is today a unique ship, there are very few passenger ships like "FUNCHAL", she has rounded lines a streamlined profile with real wooden decks, two of them sheltered, the amount of outdoor space available for her passengers it's just amazing for a ship with barely just under 10.000 G.T., her interiors are full of charm and character. The last time I have sailed on her was back in 1987, she is today a completely different ship in terms of decor, hardly recognizable, what has not changed much throughout the years is her profile and the feeling of being at sea on a delightful ship, some of her decks were actually lengthened and the swimming-pool area completed modernized giving the ship even further additional space for passengers to savour those unique moments of being at sea. The return of "FUNCHAL" to cruising after three years laid-up in Lisbon has been followed all over the World with great interest relegating for second plan most of the new cruise ships. "FUNCHAL" cannot compete with brand new passenger ships, she is a unique ship with a specific market, the market constituted by passengers that love traveling on a real ocean liner and then cruising, to be back on this ship after all these years has been unforgettable for me, she has a special place in my heart and sincerely hope her precious cargo "passengers" will book on regular basis in order to keep this beautiful ship alive for many years to come. Recently I have created a group on Facebook that follows the ship everywhere she goes and brings back her prestigious past spanned for over five decades, to follow this FB group and eventually becoming a member, please click here. Photos taken 19.9.2013 and 20.9.2013

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

"FUNCHAL" at La Coruna, 18.9.2013

It's been twelve days since my last entry on this blog concerning "posts" connected with my ship stalking of "FUNCHAL", after Le-Verdon-sur-Mer and Bilbao, the next port of call for the ship would be La Coruna, I will never forget after the ship's departure from Bilbao I have followed her for over 30 miles on the road that leads to Santander, a delightful journey with the ship always in sight but unfortunately out of reach to my lenses, nevertheless quite an experience. "FUNCHAL" would stay at La Coruna in Northern Spain from 9 am to 3 pm, also in Port the DISCOVERY on a cruise with British passengers and HAMBURG, after some photography at the port, I've decided to wait for the ship's departure, shame about the weather, once again windy with some showers. Photos 18.9.2013

Saturday, October 12, 2013

CUNARD and P & O "WORLD CRUISES" highlights for 2015, two epic voyages

CUNARD and P & O have announced their 2015 "WORLD CRUISES" programs. "QUEEN VICTORIA" will depart Southampton on the 20.1.2015 on a 103 nights epic voyage, named "PACIFIC WORLD VOYAGE", the highlights will be the maiden calls at Puerto Limon at Costa Rica, Christchurch in New Zealand, Rarotonga at the Cook Islands, Bora Bora at the French Polynesia and San Juan del Sur at Nicaragua, the ship will return to Southampton, May the 3rd she will join the other two QUEENS to mark the 175th Anniversary of Cunard. P & O's "AURORA" will also depart Southampton on the 8.1.2015 on her "SOUTH AMERICA & SOUTH PACIFIC VOYAGE", the ship will transit the full extent of the Magellan Strait and call at Moorea at the French Polynesia, Rarotonga at the Cook Islands and Akaroa in New Zealand, the ship is back at Southampton on the 23.4.2015. Photos of the two ships in Southampton back on the 7.12.2007, "QUEEN VICTORIA's" maiden arrival to the Port, after departing FINCANTIERI.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Cruise Ship "ASTOR" arriving Lisbon

Lisbon is spoiled for choices in terms of cruise ships diversity, not as many visits as Barcelona or Southampton but more variety of passenger ships, here is the ASTOR arriving at the Portuguese Capital, 23.9.2013

M.V. "FUNCHAL" at Bilbao

After LE-VERDON-SUR-MER, "FUNCHAL's" next Port of call would be Bilbao in the Spanish Basque Country, I have visited the city many times arriving or departing from the nearby Santurtzi Port on cruise ferries, the PRIDE OF BILBAO and the CAP FINISTERE. After the opening of the fabulous GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM in 1997, the cruise ship calls rocketed creating the need for better passenger facilities with a designated Terminal, this is how the new GETXO CRUISE TERMINAL was born, for all the information on this new infra-structure please click here. The surrounding area is beautiful with an excellent leisure marina, restaurants and bars and a very nice sandy beach. I arrived with plenty time to spare before the scheduled departure of the ship for 3 pm, unfortunately the weather was not on my side, decided to ask the Port Security officer for the best place in his opinion to photograph the ship underway, the person on duty was incredibly nice and co-operative, he even found me a place to park in front of his cabin, making sure that the coaches returning the passengers to "FUNCHAL" would negotiate the passage safely, after a few minutes of conversation without a doubt the best place would be the pier, where one can walk to the very end and almost touch the ships, the weather would not be a setback, so decided to find a proper "berth" for my car and brave the elements, when I got to the end of the pier it stopped raining, "FUNCHAL" was just slipping her moorings helped by two tugs, surely due to the strong winds, she was once again dead on time saluting the other passenger ship in Port, the SEVEN SEAS VOYAGER. If it wasn't for the weather this experience would have ranked among the most memorable recently, I remember just saying to "FUNCHAL" see you tomorrow at La Coruna and off she went gently rolling at the breaking water of the famous Bay of Biscay. Photos 17.9.2013