After a wonderful day exploring the Azores, our next port stop was Madeira. Originally, I booked a third-party tour for the day, but a few days in advance, I was looking at the tour and comparing it to our times in port and I realized that the tour was scheduled to get back two hours after the ship was set to depart. Obviously, I canceled it and quickly booked one of the available tours on the ship called “A Taste of Madeira”.
Our tickets said to meet in the theater so we headed down a little early and were shocked to see the line for the theater stretch all the way to midship. We waited at least half an hour to get a sticker that told us what bus to board. We have taken several ship excursions on other cruise lines in the past year and I have not experienced anything like this. This was not how I wanted to begin my day in Madeira.
We followed the line of people to our enormous bus where we stopped at a few roadside pullovers to look at the view. Our last overlook was at Cabo Girão, a popular destination with the highest cliff skywalk in Europe. There were so many people, it was hard to get to the edge to take a picture and if you wanted a picture of yourself, it was near impossible to get one without anyone else in it (left). This was a far cry from our amazing, small group tour of São Miguel at the last port stop with a driver that seemed to take us away from the crowds.
After seeing the sights, we finally got to the tasting part of the tour. There was a snack table of Madeiran cheese and crackers and we got to try Madeiran still wines. The wine was interesting and not something you can find in the States. This was probably my favorite part of this tour, but I’m sure we could’ve found a restaurant to do something similar if we had chosen to explore Madeira on our own.
After our bus took us back to town, we took the Teleférico up to Monte to see if we could ride the famous toboggan. Unfortunately, the line was too long and we weren’t sure if we would make it back to the ship on time. So, we took the Teleférico back to Funchal and walked back to the ship.
While Madeira is a beautiful island, I feel like we barely got to see it. Part of that was because of my poor pre-planning and part of that was the limited time we had. We will have to return sometime with time to wait in line for the toboggan and really get to experience the island. This experience compared to our day in the Azores really has me thinking about how great third-party excursions are and how people who are afraid to step out from the cruise ship’s safety bubble are missing out on some truly amazing experiences. Expect a post on this in the near future!
Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to check back next week when I review the Norwegian Getaway after 12 nights onboard! To read more about this trip, check out Cruising the Atlantic to Portugal and Spain trip report. To read about some of our previous trips, visit my Trips Page. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page and follow me on Instagram! For my list of gadgets to make your travels easier, click here. To see inside my camera bag, check out my updated Gear Page.