Contributed by: filbert Thursday, December 23 2010 @ 07:30 AM CST
Text by Snookums, Pictures by Filbert
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November 20 (Saturday, Day 26, At sea) -
Filbert ate breakfast while Snookums read in bed. She ultimately decided to get up and went to the gym. After lunch outside on the back of the ship, Filbert read on the balcony, with his back to the sun, while Snookums read at various locations around the ship. At 5 PM Snookums attended the Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz movie, “Knight and Day”. She was glad she didn’t pay to see it. (But the ship’s popcorn was very good!)
We turned our clocks back an hour before going to sleep which left us with five more hours to gain before docking in Ft. Lauderdale. No jetlag for us!
November 21 (Sunday, Day 27, Funchal (Madeira), Portugal) -
We woke up and got ready for our shore excursion that Gary and Charlotte did the last time they were here and insisted that it was great and that they were going to do it again. Of course we had to do it, too! We took a bus for a short tour of Funchal, population 120,000, and got off at the cable car place. We boarded the cable car for the 10-minute, 2-mile scenic trip up to the town of Monte and had about 30 minutes to explore Monte.
|The sleds at the top of the hill|
|The tropical garden at Monte|
|Carros de Cesto Tobogan|
|Gary and Charlotte were not quite ready|
|Our adventurers and their drivers|
We had another 15 minutes to shop at the single souvenir store and Snookums bought an embroidered kitchen towel. (Madeira is known for embroidery and Madeira fortified wine.)
We all climbed back in the bus for the rest of our tour. We went to Pico dos Barcelos, which was a lookout point that offered a fantastic panorama of the whole of Funchal city, its bay, harbor and the surrounding hills. By now the rain that had been threatening all day finally started to spit and the top of the cable car route was shrouded in fog/clouds.
|Funchal and flowers|
|Madeira, four types|
The four of us got back to the ship with the intention of Snookums, Filbert and Gary walking back to town after lunch. However, while we were eating lunch outside on the back of the ship, under cover, the rain started coming down much heavier and we decided that we didn’t need to go back to Funchal. But, it was a great last day on land before having seven days at sea.
Snookums and Filbert were invited to a cocktail reception hosted by the captain and the hotel manager before dinner. We had been invited to this type of cocktail reception on prior HAL cruises but it was when we were in the next category up of suites. We figured we got invited to this one since we were put on a list of some kind due to our nice letter that we wrote to the CEO after our September, 2010 Alaska cruise. In any event, Filbert enjoyed his free red wine and Snookums enjoyed her Sprite Zero. (The ship is out of Caffeine Free Coke Light.)
We went to dinner and found out that Gary called the front desk asking why he and Charlotte weren’t invited to the cocktail reception and was told that it was for 4-star Mariners (a frequent cruiser level). Well, Snookums and Filbert aren’t 4-star Mariners, either, and he told the front desk this. He was called back in 30 minutes and was told that they should have been invited, too. We all think that this really does prove that Snookums and Filbert were only invited due to being on some “list” and the front desk didn’t want to ruffle feathers so Gary was told that he and Charlotte could go, too. (Although the cocktail reception was happening while he was making the call so it wasn’t too convenient for them to go.) Gary and Charlotte didn’t want to go, but it was the principle of the thing. Both couples have almost identical numbers of days sailed with HAL (and both couples are making 4-star status during this cruise) and both couples have the same cabin type. So, why did Snookums and Filbert get invited and not Gary and Charlotte? We thought it was pretty funny.
Next: Rough seas, a landing, and basketball!