The flight out was total chaos. We arrived at Manchester airport at 6.30am for our 9.30am flight with Condor (Thomas Cook group). Check in had commenced, yet we stood in the queue for an hour before we reached the check in desk and the queues got even longer during that time. Soon after we were through security the flight was soon showing as delayed for half an hour (10.00am). We were called to the gate 6 at 9.10 am yet boarding did not commence until 10.20am. We have flown from Manchester many times and have only ever seen a gate like that used when landing, not for starting a flight. There were not the usual rows of seats, but just a long corridor with a few seats here and there along the sides. Hence, most people had to stand for over an hour and the resulting queue stretched back to gate 4 so when announcements eventually started, they could not be heard at the end of the queue. However, there were no announcements during the first hour we were there. The plane eventually pushed back at 11.00am, one and a half hours late and almost two hours after we were called to the gate.
The flight itself was OK and on arrival in Tenerife we went straight to the coaches as the luggage was to be taken straight to the ship. After the last person got on our coach we were then left sitting there for another 40 mins before the coach left the airport. There was absolutely no information as to why, until 10 mins before we left when someone came on the coach to say they did not want to take us to the port as there would then be big delays at check in. Yet we would have had access to drinks and toilets at the check in area in the port and people could still have waited on the coach there if they wished. We never wish to fly outbound with Fred again because of this treatment. The return flights were OK as check in was done on board and we were only called off the ship when the coaches were ready.
We were on board the ship for 4 weeks as we did two back to back cruises starting on 12th November. Both cruises visited Cape Verde and the Canary Islands. Braemar is our favourite Fred Olsen ship and we were not disappointed this time. It is an extremely happy ship and all the staff are happy in their work and were very efficient and helpful at all times. I have to give particular mention to Eshel, who manages the Grampian restaurant impeccably and Ricky who was our waiter in The Grampian for the first cruise and who we often saw at lunch times in the Thistle during our second cruise. Chaider was in charge of the tea and coffee station outside main mealtimes for all 4 weeks and was both extremely hard working and friendly throughout that time. Kerry, the future cruise salesperson has a good knowledge of the fleet and is very helpful when making bookings.
Originally in 4108 (a grade H inside) but moved because A/C not working properly.
6089 good and quiet - restricted view, but could see quite a lot.
4091 a good cabin
Got a local tram to La Coruna which is a really nice old town with lots museums and spectacular churches. Many places close in the afternoon, but there is a vibrant atmosphere once things re open about 5pm.
The town of Santa Cruz is walking distance of the port and again had a lovely atmosphere, especially at night with the Christmas lights.
We had a land holiday here in the past so know the island well. On our first visit we got a local bus to the visiter centre for the Taburiente and walked through the countryside to El Paso (about 4 kms) which is a lovely old town. On our second visit we took the local bus to Los Llanos, were we spent time in the town. The bus rides were over the mountains so there were good views.
We just walked along the coast and back through the town. It is a very quiet town, especially as it was Sunday, but also very pleasant.
On first visit we walked along the coast and had a drink in the upstairs bar in the tall hotel (Arrecife Gran Hotel I think), from where there were some really good views. Service was slow though.
On our second visit we got a local bus to Costa Teguise which was interesting and pleasant for a day trip, but nothing special as it is just a tourist resort.
We got a local bus to the old town, (which has churches, museums and art galleries) on our first visit. It is very nice but as we have visited a couple of times we got a bus a bit further on to the terminus of the local bus on our second visit and went for a short walk and had a drink/snack before returning to the old town for a while.