Rome – Transatlantic 2009 Day 13 – Funchal, Madeira

Yesterday, we had our last port of call on this cruise before beginning the journey across the Atlantic Ocean. Our port of call was in Funchal, Madeira (part of Portugal). We had visited Funchal on the transatlantic last year, so we had no tours lined up and instead planned to walk around town seeing some of the local attractions and doing some shopping.

We had a slightly delayed arrival in Funchal with the gangway finally dropped about 10:30. It had been planned for 10:00, so the Captain extended our stay by one half hour with a departure of 5:30 pm. This was the first time when trying to go ashore that we tried very near the opening of the gangway and paid the price of waiting in a snaking line on stairs. Normally, unless we have a tour, we usually try to wait an hour to let the lines disappear. We should have here too.

Funchal is another hillside town on the ocean. It has about 150,000 inhabitants and is another quaint town where tourism is the number one industry. Unfortunately, we were docking in Funchal on Sunday so a bunch of the attractions, such as the Madeira wineries, were closed. Enough of the tourist souvenir shops were open that we were able to get some shopping done. I think we should have brought an extra suitcase for all the stuff Suzanne and the kids have bought. I have yet to find a souvenir (short of the watch) for me. It’s tough to find the right size shirt or sweatshirt for me. I will get a Celebrity Solstice baseball cap on the ship at some point. I have one for each of the Celebrity ships that we have sailed on.

After a couple of hours on shore, Sean and I headed back to the ship while the girls wanted to do some more shopping. The cruise ship docked fairly far from town and it was about a 2 mile walk each way to/from the ship, so we continue to get plenty of walking exercise. I am anxious for the sea days to begin!

The girls returned from shopping about 30 minutes later. The kids headed to the Fun Factory while Suzanne and I decided to take another nap (three for me if you are counting – a new record!). We enjoyed another wonderful sail away at sunset on the back of the boat while playing a bit of Bocce Ball on the lawn club.

I have to say, I was pretty spent after our four days in Rome and our 5 ports in 6 days at the start of the cruise. We had been pushing pretty hard sightseeing and staying up late. I decided that I was going to forego dinner last night and instead enjoy a light meal in the cabin while watching a couple of movies. I just wanted to begin relaxing. Plus, I was starting to feel a bit of a cough coming on.

Sean joined me for the first movie and then went to the Fun Factory for the dance party. Suzanne and Savannah used this opportunity to try one of the specialty dining restaurants where they had been wanting to eat at. The restaurant was Silk Harvest. They thoroughly enjoyed the night as did Sean and I. It was the first time I had sat in a cruise cabin and watched a movie, but I rather liked it. They have a pretty extensive list of free movies you can watch on demand on the TV. My meal was pretty simple: a bowl of soup and a chicken quesadilla.

Suzanne went and caught the show and went to another session of karaoke while I watched the second movie. Sometimes I think Savannah is the only smart one amongst us as she turned in early again a bit after 10:00. The rest of us finally hit the sack about midnight.

That evening, the ship began to move a bit. The ship was doing a bit of up and down. Being in the front, I think we might have felt it a bit more. It took a little extra time to fall asleep with the motion, but our journey across the Atlantic had begun. Looks like we won’t get a repeat of the glassy conditions we had on the crossing last year.