Lisbon Cruise

October 2011 - trip organised by Carol Mantle

Report by Rosemary Sheppard
Photographs by John Sheppard are credited to him.

(Photographs not credited are downloaded from the internet)

After almost a year of planning and anticipation, twenty members of the Moraira Teulada U3A set off on a voyage of discovery.

Adventures of the Seas
Adventures of the Seas  cruise ship                                                                                                                                                 Photograph by John Sheppard

Early on the morning of the 28th October Carol Mantle wished us bon voyage and sent us on our way down to the Costa del Sol where we would be spending the night before setting sail from Malaga. Arriving at the Royal Costa Hotel, Torremolinos, in the afternoon we spent a very comfortable night before embarking on the Saturday morning on the Royal Caribbean ship, Adventure of the Seas.

For those of us who had never cruised before, the first sight of the ship was a real eye-opener and I heard more than a few 'wows' at the breath-taking lines of the vessel. Once aboard, of course, the facilities offered are truly mind-blowing, from the plush theatre, as big as anything you might see in the West End of London; to the Ice Rink, the scene of a very spectacular ice show; from the rock face for budding mountaineers, to the 9 hole miniature golf course - on a ship? Yes, really!   inside ship Photograph by John Sheppard

inside ship Photograph by John Sheppard
  John and I were soon able to make our way to our cabin - quite spacious with a very comfortable bed, television and mini-bar - and quickly unpacked before hurrying up to deck eleven to watch the ship cast off en route to Lisbon. The Med was quite smooth but as we sailed into the Atlantic, the seas became a little choppy. However, the ship is so enormous that one hardly felt any motion, and certainly not enough to deter us from an elegant dinner that night and a delicious breakfast the next morning. It is actually possible to eat round the clock, but we chose the elegance of the Vivaldi Restaurant with its fine dining while others opted for the casual fare in the Windjammer. We did visit Johnny Rockets one day where we were entertained by the waiters giving us a spirited rendition of 'Staying Alive' by the BeeGees. Great fun!!

On arrival in Lisbon we were free to go ashore and see the sights. Some of us took the two hour coach tour which enabled us to see the lie of the land, visiting the Tower of Belem, and passing amongst other things the Mosteiro dos Jeronimos and the pastry shop where large numbers of people were queuing to buy the custard tarts for which Lisbon is famous. On the following morning we were able to go ashore again and John and I took the chance to sample the custard tarts - very tasty - as well as a couple of the 365 different cod recipes which are the national dish of Portugal.   Lisbon


Later that day we set sail again, most of us watching with our hearts in our mouths as the ship's antenna barely cleared the huge bridge over the Tagus River, on its way back out to sea and south to Gibraltar.

Photograph by John Sheppard

The weather was very kind to us for our visit to the Rock and everyone was able to stroll around in the warm sunshine, either visiting the caves and dodging the baboons, or taking advantage of the chance for a spot of retail therapy in the main street where familiar chain stores (M&S and BHS, etc.) rub shoulders with a wide range of camera shops and cheap 'fag and booze' outlets. I think most people re-joined the ship with some purchase or another.   Then it was all aboard for the final night on the ship and the return to Malaga.

We seemed to have been aboard for far longer than the four nights of the cruise and were so sad to bid our floating home farewell. I'm sure that everyone enjoyed the experience and some of us, having got the bug, are planning to do a similar trip next year.

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