We spent a pleasant day in Madeira, travelling by bus to Camera de Lobos, a quaint fishing village. On our return to Funchal we participated in a madeira wine tasting. Very nice. We had the choice to return to the ship immediately by bus or later by shuttle bus. Due to the fact that our travel guide gave inadequate information as to where the shuttle buses would stop, we ended up walking back to the ship. It was an easy stroll of about 30 minutes for us, but for other folks it was hard work walking all that distance. We feel that the tour guide let us down on this count.
Took a tour bus booked on the ship out to Playa del Carmen. Pleasant place with nice beach, good shopping and restaurants. Shame though that we only had 4 1/2 hours. Given the departure time from the ship and the "all-aboard" time of 4.30 pm. we could have easily been given 2 hours more in Playa del Carmen. This was disappointing.
Here we did the Gran Canaria Intensive trip. It took us by coach down to Las Palomas and then up through the centre of Grand Canary, stopping for wine tasting and then on up into the mountains for lunch, visit to a local museum and shopping time. The wine tasting was excellent, as they gave us local olive oil, olives and goats cheese to taste as well. The lunch was typical of the community in the mountains where we ate and our travel guide took care of us all and made sure that we were all served correctly. She was very knowledgeable and made several impromptu stops where we could take photos, buy almonds and marzipan and local goods from the locals who were selling their wares at view points etc. This trip was extremely good value for money.
Took a tour booked on the ship out to Loro Parque. Loro Parque is really nice and very much worth a visit. Our tour guide was excellent. She made sure that we all got to see all the shows (the parrots, the whales and the dolphins. The sea-lion show was cancelled due to renovation works. The park itself was worth 5+ stars, but unfortunately, we only had about 4 1/2 hours for this trip. It could easily have been 6 to 6 1/2 hours, but RCCL seem to want all the day trips back at the ship by 3 pm latest, despite the fact that the "all-aboard" time is 4.30 pm. This took a big chunk out of our day, thus only 3 stars.
We had booked the St. Johns island tour, but due to RCCL's incompetence (see my comments above) we missed this and thus our day in St. Thomas was cut short and most disappointing. We found this totally unacceptable.