Arcadia (IV) & Queen Mary 2 in Madeira
Land on the 2nd November 2011, and very soggy land at that!  Despite the port schedule having us and Arcadia as 8am-6pm, we were, in fact, 9am so the P&O was safely tucked up in the rain waiting for our Queenly presence.  Arcadia had left the day before us but not being a liner, needed three sea days like her Cunard cruise ship Vista sisters.  We only took two because we're better.  This was Mary's first visit to the Canaries since her maiden voyage in January 2004 so quite an event.  It was also my first visit since the Aurora New Year cruise in December 2007.  We backed turned and backed into the narrow channel but it was like a paddling pool on deck.  Occasionally the rain would stop only to start again quite quickly.  Steve Read's friend, Ray Allott, was aboard Arcadia so we tweeted pictures of each others' ships.  I had a feeling they'd beat us there on a technicality - docking first.
After a snooze, I went for the shuttle around noon, hoping it would have given the weather plenty of time to improve.  The port area had changed a lot since my last visit almost four years earlier, most notably the terminal so no more walking along the dock, depending on ship, which was a shame.  It also made the journey to the shuttle and back to the ship longer than it used to be.  As I was taking photos, Captain Oprey came down another gangway and walked along the dock!  It really is a shame we can't.  They even had a barrier between us and Arcadia down there.  The waterfront of Madeira had changed since that awful mudslide, so I'm really pleased the people have bounced back.  It was still spitting so after a sandwich at a cafe, I decided to catch the shuttle back.  I'd considered walking but, apart from my back, they had removed some fabulous places to take photos in the port area I couldn't be bothered.  Inside the terminal were no directions back to the ship and when they were eventually found, it was raining heavily, taking more than half an hour to get back on.  Bulldoze it!!!
And so 6pm came and off we went, winning both horn battles with the would-be Queen Arcadia.  She followed us about twenty minutes later, heading over to the Caribbean - lucky buggers! - while we made our way towards Tenerife, hoping for no rain.
To read the review of my Queen Mary 2 cruise click here.

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© Patricia Dempsey 2nd November 2011
Not to be reproduced without permission