Here is part two of our amazing Transatlantic cruise on the Marella Explorer, this time I will look at our itinerary and the wonderful ports we visited.
This was a cruise of 1st`s for us both. 1st time we have sailed for more than a week, 1st time in an Inside cabin, 1st time with so many consecutive sea days and 1st time we have visited all these ports.
Cartagena – My 1st time ever in mainland Spain, but not my last. Just a short stroll from the ship into town and a quick look around the shops. Nothing too exciting here but an ideal gateway to Murcia, the regional capital city.
Malaga – Next port of call was Malaga, which we really enjoyed. Again a short stroll to the fantastic Muelle Uno (Quay One), a collection of shops lining the harbourside. “With modern shops, restaurants and bars bordering one side of the central orange tree-lined promenade and exclusive yachts flanking the other, Muelle Uno is not your average shopping complex.” Five minutes further and you find yourself in another shopping area. A quick visit to Pandora then it was back to the ship.
Cadiz – Onwards to the home of the Spanish Navy, Cadiz. The weather was not on our side so we had a quick look around the grey streets and sought shelter in the local museum. A lot of people use this to pop along to Seville, famed for oranges & Christopher Columbus`s tomb. Maybe next time.
Funchal – After a day at sea, we pulled into the capital of the Portuguese island of Madeira, Funchal. Unfortunately, it was a public holiday so we could not visit the museum of its favourite son, Cristiano Ronaldo, CR7. A slightly longer walk along the waterfront brings you into the heart of the town, a collection of cobbled streets, Botanical Gardens, museums, cafés & restaurants and a beautiful cathedral. One of the most popular tourist attractions is the cable car up to the mountain village of Monte the back down the cobbles in a wicker toboggan.
Antigua – After our relaxing six days across the Atlantic we arrived into the West Indian island of Antigua. The locals claim to have 365 beaches, so 1 for every day of the year. Unfortunately, the rain put us off from venturing too far from the ship. After lunch, the sun came out so we explored the local shops. If we come back again, I would like to head out to one of the main tourist attractions, Nelson’s Dockyard, or at the very least walk barefoot on one of their many beaches.
St Lucia – Next day we arrived into St Lucia, and more rain! We docked in Castries, set in the shadow of a mountainous skyline, where you can take the water taxi to the local shopping area. We walked in, so to work off some of the calories we had gained on the ship, but to be honest it was not really worth it. Due to the weather, we even managed to miss seeing the famous Pitons as the visibility as we sailed out was not great.
Grenada – Our penultimate day was spent on the “Spice Island”, Grenada, probably our favourite stop. Again we set off on foot, passing the ruins of the early-18th-century Fort George, perched on the hilltop overlooking Carenage Harbour. No visit here would be complete with visiting the local market and purchasing their famous spices. We definitely want to come back to this beautiful island, and hopefully, visit the Grand Etang National Park. There you can see a lake in a volcanic crater & try to spot the wildlife in the rainforest.
Barbados – All too soon it was time to go home, and we arrived into our last port, Barbados. Again nothing but torrential rain, and as it was a Sunday, no point in heading into town as it was all shut. Even more disappointing was that we did not see Rihanna either!
Despite the weather, we both had a fantastic time, Marella did not let us down. Roll on our next adventure.
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