Canaries Cruise 3: Santa Cruz de la Palma

Wow, I think we completely underestimated the difference between June in the Med, and December in the Atlantic! It was really rough last night, drawers were falling open, the boat was lurching up and down, and rather worrying bangs and crashes were heard. I did make it to the yoga class at 8 am though – was the only one there which was probably just as well, as trying to balance on one leg while the horizon was rising and falling outside was certainly an experience. We docked at 9, and I decided to try the eggs benedict for breakfast – not a good idea. The poached eggs are already cooked, and just warmed through before serving, the ham, muffin and sauce are all luke-warm. Stuck to the freshly prepared omelettes for the rest of the holiday, which were always first rate. Showered and dressed for the rather windy weather:
Black sandals
Turquoise crops
Turquoise/ purple strappy Tshirt
cream long sleeved craghoppers shirt
and what is rapidly becoming my favourite item this cruise – a light wool scarf in block stripes of grey, navy and turquoise. Light enough to squish into a handbag, warm enough to act as a shawl, effortlessly stylish when draped around the neck.

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Our first experience of Santa Cruz, main town on La Isla Bonita, was a sort of car boot sale in the car park.   I tried some of the local liqueur in fig, and bought a bottle of naranja for é1.80.  We strolled along the curiously named  and charmingly cobbled O’Daly Street, admiring the beautiful balconies and bright poinsettia plants growing everywhere.  Bought a necklace made of basalt stone, and an orange scarf trimmed with wooden beads.  The impact of the recession is hard to ignore – many places are empty, to let, or closing down.  I had hoped to go and see La Barca, a replica of Columbus’ ship the Santa Maria, but Rog’s feet were starting to hurt, so we cut down onto the Avenue Maritime, and enjoyed a couple of espressos while looking at the still crashing seas.  I’d done my research beforehand, and found my way to the recommended pastry shop on Avenido de la Puente, and bought a few delicious treats.  Rog went back to the boat, and carried on up the very steep side streets to the old town, for a fabulous view of the harbour.  I bought a bottle of La Palm wine and some goats milk soap, and was back on board for 1.20.  had lunch by the pool enjoying music provided by Top Men, and then wee Sammi came round with quiz sheets.  If I’d remembered correctly who wrote “Now We are 6” we might have won!

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Wine Tasting at 3 – enjoyed the company at my table as we tried chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, cabernet sauvignon, chateauneuf du pape and a rose d’anjou.

I swapped the long-sleeved shirt for a sleeveless coffee coloured blouse, the sandals for blue crocs,  and took photos of the sunset.

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It was formal dinner night – changed into my beaded maxi halter-neck dress and bronze wedges.  Champagne in the Jubilee lounge – was a bit odd, we weren’t too sure what was supposed to be involved in this Captain’s reception, other than it was an opportunity for the on board photographers to take some more pictures to try to sell us.  For dinner I had escargots, French onion soup, fish, and the cheeseboard with a glass of port.


Cruise tip of the day:  Sunday mornings can be a bit quiet, but that makes them a great time to take photos, when there’s not many people around.

Canaries Cruise Part 1: preparations.

I love the anticipation build-up to a holiday, and part of the fun is
all the various preparations and getting ready. So here’s what I’ve
been doing in the few weeks before our Canaries Cruise:

Make sure I have all the tickets and passports. Make a note of
passport numbers in the notes section of my phone. Check all
passports are in date. Check travel insurance is up to date, and
print out the cover note or contact details. Check what currency is
needed and arrange to pick up some notes from bank or post office –
try to get some smaller value notes or coins if possible. There’s
nothing worse than arriving at a foreign airport, needing a one euro
coin for baggage trolley or for tipping porters, when all you have is
a wad of 50 euro notes.

black leather passport holder with the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy logo embossed on it
Dig out suitcase. Spread all possible clothes and shoes on the spare
bed. Every time I walk past, remove something that is least likely to
be worn. I took a criminal 10 pairs of shoes with me last time I went
on a cruise – not making that mistake again! Choose a hand luggage
bag that will double as a day-bag for shore excursions. Since it
might be some hours on board before the main suitcase appears, I pack
in my hand luggage a T-shirt, pair of shorts, swimsuit and flip-flops
so that I can hit the pool to refresh after the journey. Put one
outfit (crop trousers, top, sandals, underwear) in husband’s suitcase,
so that in the unlikely event of mine going missing at least I have a
change of clothes. Likewise, put one of husband’s outfits in my
Will my phone be enough to take photos, or do I need a camera as well?
Find the various chargers or batteries. iPad and charger –check
there will be wifi on board.  Check what sort of plugs are on board, and pack a suitable adaptor.  Kindle for reading – make sure it’s fully
charged. Possibly a paperback that can be used for leaving on sunbed.
Find last year’s suncreams, anti-mosquito sprays and insect repellent.
See if more really truly are needed – best option is to take a half
full bottle and then leave it there to save luggage space on the
return trip. (More room for duty-free goodies!) Same logic for
moisturiser and deodorant. Pack a first aid kit/ medical supplies
with aspirin and paracetemol, plasters, diocalm and rehydration salts,
antihistamines, rescue remedy, arnica cream, alcohol wipes, hand
sanitiser and alka-seltzer. Put any prescribed meds into a weekly
pill box, doubling up if away for more than one week. If any liquids
are going into hand luggage, make sure they are in containers less
than 100ml, in a clear plastic bag.
A few weeks before departure, do a toning exercise regime. This year
I am doing Jillian Michaels Ripped In 30. Banish pale limbs by using
a self-tanning moisturiser. I like the Palmer’s Cocoa Butter one (£4
from Boots). There are cheaper ones available, but this is the nicest
smelling. And paint finger and toenails – avoid bright reds and strong colours. Soft coral, milky coffee, or a shimmery lilac will look summery and sophisticated.