Fun in the Canary Islands with Cousins

Independence of the Seas

September started with another out-of-the-ordinary itinerary — a 10-day cruise to the Canary Islands September 1-12. It was great to see the Canaries – Tenerife, Gran Canaria, and Lanzarote, and also to return to Madeira. Ole was able to join me ashore for a tram ride up the mountainside in Madeira, a walking tour, and a light lunch at the top. I spent time in the Canaries on an excursion to the interior of Gran Canaria where I saw preparations for a national festival in the small town of  Teror, as well as a horseback trek in Lanzarote – which looks like the moon, as you can see from the photo.

On September 12, we again had family onboard. Ole’s cousins Aud and Eilif from Mo I Rana in Norway joined us for a 14-night Mediterranean cruise, and it was our great pleasure to be able to share the ship and the sights with them. After all, we’ve wanted to have them aboard for years – but it’s daunting for them to fly from the North of Norway all the way to Miami or Ft. Lauderdale for only a week. They flew from Oslo on September 11, and were fortunate enough to get a hotel in Southampton during Boat Show week! When I went to collect them, I had to talk my way into the Boat Show proper (without a ticket) to get to the hotel – but we met up, killed time with a little coffee, and cursed our luck that we wouldn’t be able to spend any time prowling the show.

They were flat-out stunned speechless at the Independence and her amenities – and Eilif is quite the photographer. The first couple of days they spent roaming and photographing everything – finally coming to a routine of joining me in “the office” every morning at 10 or so for the first coffee and smoke of the day.

We pretty much designed our own excursions, with the exception of Pisa, where we joined a ship’s bus to make sure we got back to the ship on time and in one piece. Our highlights included a hop on/hop off bus tour of Lisbon, a Metro trip to the cathedral in Barcelona, a walking tour and lunch in Cannes, and a great find in Cagliari – the ruins of a Roman Amphitheater a 30-minute walk from the port.

Highlights of the two weeks they were onboard with us included some pretty fabulous meals — lunches out in Barcelona and Cannes; informal dinners in Ole’s cabin featuring local sausages, ham and cheese; and superb dinners cooked up and served by some of Ole’s Croatian, Polish and Russian engineering guys in “undisclosed locations.”  One of the best aspects of Eilif’s visit involved a unique vantage point for watching Independence cruise under the bridge into Lisbon.

We were sad to see them leave on September 26 – but they left with promises to come back next year, perhaps with more of the family. We don’t regret for a minute the weight we put on entertaining them!

Ole was asked to extend his contract for a week, so rather than signing off and heading home the same day as Aud and Eilif, he’ll be signing off October 3 in Civitavecchia. We spent the last week of October going through the cabin, organizing and packing.

Speak Your Mind