Doris Visits Madeira with an overnight stay.

madeira-shipAfter three days at sea which seemed to fly by, we arrived in Madeira, otherwise known as the Garden Island because of the wonderful display of sub-tropical plants and flowers. A few months before we arrived there was a terrible bush fire that destroyed homes and killed three people. The results were seen from the cable car.

You can walk into town from the ship and it is easy to see the route and how far it is.
It is hardly surprising that large and colourful flower markets are one of the most arresting features of Funchal, Madeira’s capital, though next door is the fish market that reminds you the island has a history of using the sea. Madeira is also known for its aquarium where you can dive with sharks, rays, morays and hundreds of other fish. Whale and dolphin watching are other featured activities for visitors to the island which is about twice the size of the Isle of Wight.

The market town is easily walkable and the further you go the steeper and narrower some of the streets become. On Santa Maria street, where there are many restaurants art work can be found on most of the doors. It features on the main Madeira film. Locally made wicker furniture gives a positive aroma to the clean air. Lacework and tapestries are also local trades as is the ubiquitous Madeira wine.

It will not surprise you that Funchal is also the base for tours to the island’s botanical gardens; the fishing village of Camara de Lobos where Churchill went to paint, this also features on our main Madeira film. Camacha, the wicker centre; the Levada walks, part of an ancient irrigation system; and to Reids Hotel for traditional afternoon tea, making cruises to Madeira a must do. Many of these sites and more feature in our Madeira film.

The Monte Tropical Gardens

madeira-gardensThe Monte Tropical Gardens are so extensive that you could spend a day there and walk back to the ship. Inside there is a three storey museum, and the gardens and the museum feature in their own film although a short piece is in the main Madeira film. In the museum you will see art and sculptures from Zimbabwe and an exhibition of stunning minerals and stones.

The Toboggan Ride

Lastly the toboggan ride is great fun and one of the things Funchal is famous for. We thought we would show you the run in full although it is shown briefly in the main film. If you want to know what the toboggan run is like the full four minutes is covered.

The cable car, tropical gardens and toboggan ride are enough for one day without all the other things the island has to offer.

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Tours available from your ship will probably include

  1. Tea at Reid’s
  2. Famous Toboggan Ride
  3. Evening with Folklore (if overnight)
  4. Deep Sea Fishing
  5. Cable Car and Toboggan
  6. Levada Walk
  7. Jeep Adventure
  8. Discover Whales and Dolphins by ‘rib’.
  9. The Caves of São Vicente
  10. Eco City Tour, Tuhxi Madeira
  11. Farmers Market and Botanical Gardens
  12. Leisurely Scenes of Madeira

The Canary Island Cruise is one of the most popular on the Britannia.

Click here to see the cruise and book on the Fred Olsen site and get the latest and best deals on Canary Islands.

The Britannia is always popular on this route so book early, take advantage of Early Saver Deals when available for this cruise. We have a great film of a Canary Island cruise seeing all the main islands and the ship , that will give you a flavour as to why the Canary Island Cruise is so popular. Find a LATE DEAL over a coffee from your arm chair? Doris Visits allows you to SEE THE CRUISE BEFORE YOU CRUISE THE SEA. We have videos of many of the cruise stops you might make from Miami to Tahiti, from Bruges to St Maarten. Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter and share.

If you like a raunchy romantic read like Bridget Jones and 50 Shades, then the first of the Solo Cruiser book series, Virgin Voyage takes place during a Canary Islands Cruise, and Madeira is the first island Violet stops at. Download them on Kindle before you leave for Southampton (by Coach)