We were due to fly out from London Gatwick to Funchal in the morning, but the heavy snow fall resulted in many flights being cancelled. Fortunately our Thomson flight to Funchal in Madeira, though late, took off without too many problems. On arrival in Funchal we were met by Thomson representatives and taken by coach to the Celebration. Before and during the journey we were given our boarding welcome packs including a map of the ship and details of the entertainment that night. Seeing our ship from a distance was a heart-throbbing moment. Embarkation was smooth and efficient. The whole organization by Thomson was brilliantly done.
Besides being security checked as we got onto the boat, we were pleasantly surprised that we were given handwash gel to cleanse our hands. Considering our previous concerns of stomach sicknesses on other cruises, this was a great reassurance.
We soon found our way around the boat - the restaurants, bars, entertainment areas, gym, library, cinema, etc. Our cabin, an outside twin, was small, but we had all that was needed for our 1 week stay. A longer cruise would have required a larger cabin.
Our outside twin cabin was somewhat cramped, with only 1 easy chair, which meant sitting on the bed the rest of the time. The walls were thin, which meant we could hear the TV in the neighbouring cabin. The wardrobe spaces were surprisingly large for such a smallish cabin, and we appreciated having a porthole to watch the world go by.
Our tour in Funchal included a cable ride up to a small village where we could hurtle back down in a toboggan. The views of the island whilst in the cable car were pretty spectacular.
The tour also included entrance to the Botanical Gardens where we were amazed at some of the plants that were in full bloom although it was early February.
We ended the tour with some Madeira wine tasting - very pleasant!
The island of Tenerife was a great disappointment for us. We had been particularly looking forward to seeing Mount Teide, but our tour was cancelled as heavy snow and bad weather had resulted in the Mount Teide National Park being closed for safety reasons.
Instead we had free time in Tenerife and we stayed in the capital, visiting a couple of museums and galleries.
We would like to visit Tenerife another time, and if we get a chance to visit Teide, then our rating for this port of call will rise to 5+.
Las Palmas in Gran Canarias was a fascinating place to visit. The main reason for our visit was to see the Bandama crater. The drive up and then back down was hair-raising to say the least. Our driver was to be congratulated for successfully negotiating all the hairpin curves and other obstacles.
The beautiful houses and public buildings in Gran Canaria were also explained to us by our knowledgeable guide. We visit the house, now a museum, that Columbus once stayed in and this helped us to appreciate the role of the Canary Islands in history.
Being volcano enthusiasts, in La Palma we chose the tour that would take us to see some of the islands craters and calderas. We also visited a small botanical garden and an area that highlighted the varying architecture of the Canaries.