Cruise & Walk around the Canaries - 8th – 21st December 2011
A rambling holiday with a difference!
A few years ago I spent a very pleasant, although energetic, couple of weeks walking on two Canary islands. Wanting to repeat the “sunshine and shorts” type of walking with great views again this winter – but at a more leisurely pace – I discovered a Ramblers Worldwide Holidays “Cruise and Walk” trip.
So at the beginning of December a companion and I embarked on Fred Olsen’s ship Balmoral at Southampton docks (no struggling to an airport and the inevitable frustrating queues!). Here we were welcomed by our holiday representative, Ann who was to cruise with us for the next two weeks. It was she who organised the transport and led the walks at each island we visited. We were also given a very interesting walking tour of Lisbon by a very knowledgeable local guide. As expected, the walking was superb: wall-to-wall sunshine, temperatures in the low 20s, and wonderful views.
The cruising part was also very enjoyable: excellent and plentiful food, comfortable cabins, several types of professional entertainment so boredom was not an option – something that I was afraid of before the trip. Sea-sickness was also totally absent on the fully-stabilised ship, despite it being small by cruise ship standards (only 1360 guests) – even in the rough seas and gale force 8 winds that we experienced as we rounded Cape Finisterre at the end of the Bay of Biscay crossing. In all we cruised 3,467 NM and walked about 35 miles on five islands, as well as the city tour of Lisbon.
Would I do it again? Well, there are similar “Cruise and Walk” trips to the Norwegian Fjords, the Baltic and other warmer climes, even round Britain, so absolutely yes! Mind you, Balmoral’s next cruise – around South America (89 nights) – could tempt me (when I win the Lottery!)