I hope Christmas and New Year was a great success, wishing everyone the very best for 2019 and all wishes come true – perhaps a World Cruise!

I took a Canary Island’s cruise for Christmas, from 23rd until 30th December – flight to Tenerife from Alicante where I joined ‘Zenith’.  It was all very exciting as I have cruised over the Christmas period previously, but on other lines.  ‘Zenith’ has several sister ships, on most of which I have cruised, including across The Atlantic.

Pullmantur are the ship’s owners and fares are realistic with drinks package, together with tips, are inclusive, resulting in a great saving when booking.

We boarded in Tenerife on Sunday afternoon 23rd December, for an evening departure on passage to the island of La Palma, arriving early morning the following day, 24th December. The cruise terminal is adjacent to the main High Street shopping area which was beautifully decorated and being Christmas Eve, the town was bustling, observing a life sized mechanical Santa alongside one of the major shops, creating interest for children and adults alike.

We departed early evening for Funchal, Madeira, with many festivities on board – arriving early Christmas morning. I am fortunate to have an excellent friend (Sergio) living on the island; a better friend one could never wish to meet.  He greeted me at the foot of the gangway and escorted me to meet his family at their home, resulting in a most fabulous Christmas Day which included a scrumptious turkey lunch – just like home when I lived in the UK. An exchange of presents was included.

A few days previously, on board, I had requested a cake to be made enabling me to take it ashore as an additional surprise present.  The hotel department obliged, producing a wonderful cake topped with fresh strawberries. 

A member of ship’s crew on reception (Safa) generously assisted with this, gift wrapping a box, (attaching a bow), in which the cake was placed and on presentation at the family home, it was extremely well received.

Later in the day, whilst being escorted for return to the ship, Sergio most kindly gave a tour of the city (in his Mini Cooper) where almost each street and square was illuminated with various displays – magnificent and a further  reason for a ‘must visit Madeira’. 

It is the most beautiful floral island with many attractions year round – illuminations are for the month of December only.

At this point and less than half way through the cruise, I had taken many pictures, mainly of the illuminations and  following a discussion with the Chronicle Editorial Team, a number are shown here, plus some of La Palma, with details of other ports visited,  Further photos to be included in the March publication.