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Wind Surf Cruise Diary
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Copyright © 1995-2002 
Linda Coffman

 

Cruise Diva's CRUISE DIARY
~ Lisbon to Barcelona ~

Wind Surf Stateroom
Wind Surf Stateroom
Wind Surf Suite
Wind Surf Suite
Wind Surf Bathroom
Wind Surf Bathroom

Lisbon & Portimao, Portugal

April 28, 2002 - On the estuary of the Tagus River, Lisbon is ideally situated to begin a journey of discovery. After all, it was from this lovely city of seven hills that Henry the Navigator departed on an expedition in 1415 and set the stage for Portugal's colonial expansion. Since the Moors controlled the land route, Portuguese explorers took to the sea and eventually Vasco da Gama discovered the elusive sea route to India around the Cape of Good Hope in 1498.

Our Wind Surf journey began with a seamless embarkation and check-in process on board. Mimosas and finger sandwiches were served to sustain us while we completed last minute paperwork. Luggage arrived in our stateroom before we did and, with so much efficient storage space, unpacking and settling in was a breeze. At 188 square feet, the stateroom feels much larger and the bathroom is truly generous.

Relaxation set in as we began to meet our shipmates and enjoy a sunny afternoon on deck. Our pace slowed until time for the boat drill. It was then that we got our first taste of how different this cruise will be. Only 300 passengers are sharing our masted sail yacht and no one required assistance to don their life vest. Nor did anyone blow the attached whistle. This is a well-traveled group of passengers, intent on seeing a combination of traditional as well as off-the-beaten-path ports of call. We'll arrive in style and comfort. The Wind Surf's extraordinary profile turns heads.

It's a treat to adhere to our own agenda and wander to the dining room when we're hungry, rather than on a schedule. Tables for two are plentiful, but we notice there are also a few large groups of friends traveling together and their needs are handily accommodated.

We will also be well fed this week. Sirloin grilled to perfection and crème brûlée were just two of my dinner choices. We didn't dawdle over dessert and coffee, though. Our 10:30 pm departure from Lisbon promised a special sight... sailing beneath the 25 April Bridge at dead low tide--the only time Wind Surf could make it under the longest expansion bridge in Europe. Several sights, including the bridge itself look familiar. First, the 25 April Bridge is a "miniature" replica of San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge. Then, across the Tagus, the Cristo Rei, a smaller copy of Rio de Janeiro's Christ the Redeemer statue, seemed to bless our passage with a bon voyage. Finally, a huge golden moon shimmered above.

It occurred to us later that our vantage point on the pool deck probably wouldn't have been the best spot to be if Wind Surf's masts hadn't made it under the bridge... and it looked close (probably not as tight a squeeze as we imagined, though). It was a breathtaking moment, one that we hoped would immediately be followed by the raising of the sails. Alas, jet lag overtook us and we set off for bed before they were unfurled. We'll watch those sails raised as we leave Portimao tomorrow.

April 29, 2002 - We slept like babies, rocked to sleep with a gentle rolling sensation. Seas were a bit rough; however, Wind Surf exhibited her seaworthiness throughout the night. The toughest choice of the day presented itself at breakfast in the Veranda... French toast or a made-to-order omelet?

As we approached Portimao we passed The World of Residensea. The passengers onboard that new ship had nothing on us as we docked, while they tendered ashore. Wind Surf set a milestone during this, her first port call at Portimao. She is the first and largest cruise ship to ever dock here. This fishing port is a study in contrasts with 17th Century Palaces and colorful gardens standing in the shadows of blossoming high-rises.

Pria da Rocha, the beach at Portimao, Portugal

The highlight of Portimao is Pria da Rocha, the wide golden beach studded with rock formations and resort hotels. Cafes and shops line the boulevards and even in late-April, the sunny warmth drew guests to sunbathe on the sand. 

Wind Surf arranged for two complimentary shuttles to town and Pria da Rocha and provided information sheets and maps for those of us who wished to explore on our own.

We completed the afternoon with tea sandwiches and sweets in the Compass Rose lounge--just the thing to hold us over until the evening Champagne Cocktail Reception hosted by Captain Mark Boylin and Hotel Manager Francois Birarda. We look forward to another pleasant dinner and the gathering of the "Cigar Aficionados" afterward.

My only disappointment of the day was not seeing the sails this morning. Hopefully, they will be raised tonight as we make our way to the ancient and exotic port of Tangier, Morocco.

Day Two -> Tangier, Morocco

Back to the Lisbon to Barcelona Cruise Diary Index 

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