Our November cruise to the Canaries had something of a chaotic start. A week before we were due to leave there was a problem with the cabin, and instead of leaving Portsmouth at the start, I’d be joining the ship in Tenerife halfway through the cruise.
However, Storm Ciaran put paid to all that. After leaving Portsmouth, the ship was forced to harbour in Falmouth until the worst of the storm had passed over. On the plus side we were able to join the ship there on Day Two. Storm Ciaran took its time, and the ship was held there for three days. It became increasingly obvious that our cruise would never get as far as the Canaries.
My lectures were on famous British novelists, and I confess I was somewhat apprehensive when I stood on stage ready to give a lecture as we sailed through a decidedly choppy Bay of Biscay. I’d had a bad experience many years ago when I was left clinging to the grand piano which was bolted to the stage as my laptop slowly slid further and further away from me much to the amusement of my audience!
Our other ports were La Coruna, Vigo, Lexios and Lisbon all of which we’d visited on earlier cruises. The only port of call on our original itinerary was Lisbon – one of my favourite cities. I’m so pleased I wasn’t the Port Lecturer. The poor woman engaged for that role spent all her time in her cabin surfing the internet and attempting to put together presentations for the other five ports. Last year I did four cruises as the Port Lecturer for the same cruise line, so I knew just what was entailed!
Spain is not the country of choice for cruising in November. Many of the attractions were shut down for winter and the weather wasn’t great. It rained all the time we were out on a trip in Vigo. Portugal was a trifle warmer, and the sun actually put in an appearance in Lisbon.
We may not have had the Canaries sunshine we’d anticipated but Alex and I managed to have a great time. We had a super walking tour of the old town in Lisbon. Our guide kept up a constant flow of information about the history of the city which, as a history lover I found fascinating.
I can’t believe it will be Christmas in a few weeks’ time. Apart from trying to sort out a book box of all my Fiona Mason Mysteries and preparing my history lectures for the next cruise in January, I’ve a house to tidy (mammoth job) and clean before the family descend for the festivities, never mind sorting out Christmas cards and all the other preparations. I can only hope that 2024 will be less hectic than this year though I’m not making any bets.