Cruise
M 1405
on the Braemar
from Santa Cruz de Tenerife
around the Canaries, Madeira and Morocco.

Date: Port: Flag: Tour escort: Comment:
18/02/2014 Santa Cruz, Tenerife - Turnaround day
19/02/2014 Santa Cruz, Tenerife Northern Panorama Cheese & Wine in La Laguna!
20/02/2014 Valle del Gran Rey, La Gomera - Quite quaint
20/02/2014 San Sebastian de la Gomera - Army day!
21/02/2014 La Estaca, El Hierro Volcano Interesting
22/02/2014 Santa Cruz de la Palma North of the Island Tapas and Rum Liquers
23/02/2014 Funchal, Madeira - César Manrique lecture
24/02/2014 Funchal, Madeira Landscape, Food & Wine Sumptuous!
26/02/2014 Agadir, Morocco Taroudant Glorious day
27/02/2014 Arrecife, Lanzarote Wine Regions Bright but breezy
28/02/2014 Santa Cruz, Tenerife - Not home until 1 am!


Here's my report on the cruise:

On the the turnround day I walked around the city in the morning taking photographs, slept for two and a half hours and then walked the length of the southern prom. After dinner in the Palms Café, we had a party on the aft deck with the lovely Fely and the recently re-instated Braemar orchestra followed by the MIT band. Very few passengers were present after their tiring day travelling, but I did get to dance with Carol and Jeanette. Unfortunately my cold dragged on for another day.

Tenerife Auditorium

Tenerife Auditorium


Staying over in Santa Cruz de Tenerife another night led to me escorting the Northern Panoramic tour. We visited the Saharan sand beach of Playa de la Teresitas on the north east coast and the rocky beach of San Roque on the north coast via the mountains. We stopped for wine and cheese at the luxurious Hotel Nivari in La Laguna. We then visited the tourist information office in the period mansion with lovely Canarian courtyard. After a late lunch of just soup I attended the Cruise Director's welcome meeting. I slept through the drill since the Captain announced it was only for those newly embarked the previous day. We then attended the travelling alone party. After dinner also of just soup we had the walk-on in the Neptune Lounge. I danced between the shows but then went straight to bed as my cold in the head had got worse.

Gardens on Tenerife

Gardens on Tenerife


The next morning I felt better with no headache and a return of my appetite, but my nose was still running and I had a terrible cough! I walked ashore for the first time in Valle del Gran Rey on La Gomera to take some pictures. We couldn't escort tours as we had a sailaway at a novel 11:30 am, ready to pick the tours back up at San Sebastian de La Gomera on the other side of the island. I watched the close sail past of Fred. Olsen senior's hotel complex (visions of Costa Concordia?) then slept for two and a half hours. I walked into San Sebastian but the overcast weather was unsuitable for photography. I made the mistake of re-booting my Samsung phone in the main square which launched a slew of app downloads over the excellent free wi-fi. We were on duty at both of the Captain's Welcome cocktail parties. We danced both between and after the lovely Madeline Brown's show. She sang several Doris Day, Liza Minelli and Barbra Streisand songs.

La Gomera, can you see Mount Teide?

La Gomera, can you see Mount Teide?


My cold had moved to my chest on it's fifth day of persistence. On my first visit to El Hierro I escorted my first choice Volcanoes tour. We climbed up via the capital Valdeverde past César Manrique's mirador La Peńa to the cloud covered plateau. So we didn't see the famous caldera. We descended to the sunny, southern resort of La Restinga. After partaking of the free wi-fi on the prom, we had a short series of films of the submarine volcano which had erupted 2 kilometres offshore in 2012. This is creating a new island, currently underwater, which will extend the Canaries in a south westerly direction. This shows that the expanding Atlantic oceanic crust is moving north eastwards over the hot spot deep in the earth. We returned north via another mirador (viewpoint) overlooking the expensive and exclusive parador on the east coast of the island. Incredibly the outdoor car park here had free wi-fi! Back at the capital we had to change to two smaller coaches as ours had developed transmission troubles. After a late lunch and John & Julie's social foxtrot and barn dance class I slept heavily for an hour and a half. We danced between and after the shows of the comedian Tony Wallace. He dubbed the island Hell Hierro because of it's lack of attractions! The Captain decided to leave El Hierro early and we were berthed in La Palma before midnight. I danced with Jane the Titan rep for the first time amongst the usual suspects.


I awoke with ear-ache for the first time in fifty years as my cold entered its sixth day! On La Palma I escorted the Northern tour, having done the caldera and southern tours previously. The weather was damp and overcast all day. The sub-tropical rain forest (or more correctly fog forest) walk was interesting. The Canarian red wine and tapas were good, as was the flavoured rums. I sampled the lovely caramel and orange liquers. After lunch and my siesta, I walked back into Santa Cruz de la Palma to access the free wi-fi outside McDonalds. Back on the ship, I danced during the first half of the sailaway, but had to slip away to host a U3A meeting of 16 people. Unusually we danced both before, between and after the shows in the Neptune Lounge.


On the morning at sea en route to Madeira the show company ran the first line dancing class as I prepared for my lecture entitled: "César Manrique: Artist and Architect of Lanzarote" which was well-received as usual. Hollie taught the Electric Slide to Achy, Breaky Heart; a one wall version of Stroll Along Cha Cha to Quando and a partner dance which she called the Braemar Polka danced to Cotton Eyed Joe. After a roast beef lunch and my siesta, I walked into the hotel quarter of Funchal. I swanned into the famous Reid's Palace Hotel wearing my badge and carrying my clipboard. I was able to explore the place with it's lovely guests-only gardens! On the way back to the ship I luckily stumbled across the brand new Cristiano Ronaldo museum to add to my port talk. I then hosted the ex-servicemen's meeting in the Morning Light Pub. After dinner I led the pre-show Tropical dancing participation session as usual. I taught the Macarena and the Party Samba, and then led off the Cha Cha Slide, YMCA and the Conga!

Camara de Lobos

Camara de Lobos

After an overnight in Funchal I escorted the Madeira Landscape, Food & Wine tour. We caught the cable car up to Monte and then drove over to Sir Winston Churchill's favourite fishing village Camara de Lobos. We viewed the 580 m high cliffs at Cabo Girao before visiting a small vineyard in the grounds of a hotel to sample both the dry and sweet fortified Madeiran wines. We had a tremendous lunch of enormous beef kebabs grilled over a wood barbeque. After lunch I toured the hotel's lovely gardens before visiting another viewpoint on the way back to the ship. In the early evening we attended the Oceans cocktail party. For a change we had a packed pre- show dance session and then danced between and after the variety show of the lovely singer Madeline and comedian Tony.




Bill, Martin, Julie & John

Bill, Martin, Julie & John

On the final sea day Nikita taught the California Frieze to I Like, I Love It; the Cowboy Charleston to Kelly's Kannibals and recapped the Braemar Polka partner dance. John & Julie ran a rumba class after lunch and then we had a tea dance. With an Asian buffet in the Palms Café, we ate in the Thistle restaurant for the only time this cruise. I had the prawn cocktail, mixed grill and maple nut ice cream - none of which we get in the Palms Café! The between shows dance session was a bit iffy so there was no dancing after the second show.


In Agadir in Morocco, I escorted the tour to Taroudant. This involved an 80 minute drive across the desert. We were taken to a nice hotel, the Palais Salam, for refreshments by the pool. I had the Hawaiian orange and pineapple drink whilst using their free wi-fi! Keeping the group together in the markets was tricky but I managed to not lose anyone, although one couple from another group did find themselves AWOL. Unfortunately we didn't see any mosques or other period buildings. Back at the ship, after lunch and my siesta I swam and jacuzzied for the first time this cruise on our first really hot, sunny day. In the evening we attended the two farewell cocktail parties but it was again too rough to dance.




Lanzarote

Lanzarote

In Arrecife on Lanzarote, I escorted the Wine tour. We visited two bodegas and the peasant's house museum. Back at the ship for lunch I was planning to walk into town from the new cruise berth, but slept for two hours instead.



Mount Teide, Tenerife

Mount Teide, Tenerife

Back at Santa Cruz de Tenerife, I was off the ship by 8:30 am and outside McDonalds by 8:45. I did a little more photography, getting back to the ship by 10:30 ready for our 11 am departure to the airport. Unfortunately the incoming Monarch flight was over two hours late, so I shelled out 5 euros on a serrano ham and cheese baguette and finished off this blog. The airport added another hour's delay so I didn't get home until 1 am. I still had my cold after twelve days of suffering, the longest I have ever had! My colleague Bill later wrote: "Many thanks for being a great companion on both cruises"


Scorecard:


Good points:

Bad points:


Revised Powerpoint Presentations:


Good, free wi-fi:


For the record ...