We were a little later arriving in Tenerife than expected, and then docking was evidently a challenge as we berthed alongside two Saga Liners (over which we towered). But minutes after docking the Spanish immediately cleared the ship and, encouraged by the beautiful morning sunshine we skipped breakfast – and with me in shorts for the first time – we set out into the Capital, Puerto De La Cruz. Our dinner companions suggested that the thing to do here was to get a taxi or a bus to one of the resorts. But we decided to give the city a try and after a simple breakfast at a Panaderia, we found the centre of the town, Plaza D’Espana, and the shopping streets, which radiated away from the harbour. We wandered along and bought the first presents for our grandchildren (in Zara) and Jan bought a pullover in Massimo Dutti. I paid two Euros for a penknife having forgotten to pack one and needing one for cutting lemons.
The shops were generally upmarket and the main roads were attractive in the morning sun. We enjoyed it very much and had a rather special and inexpensive lunch at a tiny two table Cafe, at the end of the main drag: crusty bread and Iberico Ham. It was perfect and was just half the cost of an umbrella we had to buy half an hour later as the heavens opened. The rain, heavy and persistent couldn’t be dodged, and we arrived back at the ship in the midst of other passengers, like us, spectacularly soaked.
We had a couple of hours by the Pavilion Pool – still under cover – before yet another good dinner. For the second time I had one of the main courses – Pasta – as a starter (before a second main course as a main course). Later, Jan went back to the Cabin while I went to the show. This was a Soprano from Sheffield who sang a selection from Opera and Musical Theatre. She explained that she had been in Sheffield this morning and the fact that she’d patently had little time to rehearse with the band was all too evident as she was persistently drowned, particularly by the percussionist. But it was still an enjoyable show. And then, quite unnecessarily, I wandered up to the Kings Court which was serving its midnight/late night buffet and I had some Beef Vindaloo and Daal which was rather good.
16th En route to Namibia
The first of eight consecutive sea days, but the first where the weather allowed us to spend time on deck. We had breakfast in the room: good rather than brilliant, we thought, before Jan went to her second Fencing lesson and I secured beds by the indoor pool, it being still rather cool outside and with a cool wind from the north. But we moved outside just before lunch, had burgers and other barbecue food on deck at The Boardwalk Cafe, and then spent a couple more hours reading on deck twelve, overlooking the starboard side.
Jan then went to the Spa, from which she has bought six day passes for $105 – rather a good deal and which gives her access to the sauna, steam rooms and a large and impressive hydrotherapy pool. And then, before dinner, we went to see the film in the really excellent Cinema (which doubles as The Planetarium). It was the much praised Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and it was as good a film as we’ve seen for a couple of years. Francis MacDormand and Woody Harrelson were both brilliant and must be likely Oscar winners.
17th En route to Namibia
Our second of eight sea days. It was very sunny all day and after my second attendance at The Photography Club, we spent most of our time by one of the two outdoor pools. We had lunch at the Boardwalk Cafe again before an increase in the wind made things less pleasant and we retreated to our Cabin. I went to an astronomy lecture – which provided a useful introduction to the southern skies – before we cross the Equator the day after tomorrow.
The day was enlivened by the need, after we’d passed the City, for the ship to divert to Dacca so a passenger could be transferred to a hospital. It must all be very scary for him or her her and her spouse or partner. We visited Dacca a couple of years ago from a Regent Seven Seas Cruise and it’s not the place you’d first choose for hospitalisation, so one assumes that the passenger is rather poorly although later, reports from other passengers, suggested that the transfer was precautionary. Hopefully, she and her spouse might be able to rejoin the ship at Cape Town.
I walked my three miles around the promenade deck. It’s often crowded during the day, at least on the sunny side of the ship and I find it better to walk early morning or, more often, at about six when half the ship have gone to the first sitting in the Britannia Restaurant. I walk quickly in the hope that the brisk exercise will compensate a little for the amount I’m eating. Individual circuits take about five minutes. There’s a certain natural order to the procession of other walkers. Someone ordained that we should orbit the deck anti clockwise and almost all of us follow that, which helps progress. But it’s amusing to see a handful of the same faces which, perversely, insist on walking against the tide, and spend as much time threading between walkers as they do in walking forward. I suspect they believe they’re free thinkers…
Another good dinner in the restaurant where the food seems to be consistently good and where the atmosphere is always pleasant. By contrast, my observations of the Grills Restaurant, which I pass during my early evening deck walks, is that the ability to eat at any time means that the restaurant is sometimes rather empty and lacking the welcome bustle of the Britannia. But service in the Britannia may not be quite up to the standards we experienced in 2009 on the Queen Victoria and certainly the Sommelier is inattentive (despite the cost of the most modestly priced wines being $37 including service charge).