The Home of Madeira Wine

Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

Oct 29 ~ Day #172
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Current Location: On board the Celebrity Century visiting the island of Madeira, Portugal

Today’s Total Expenses: $133.98

Cruise: $102.34 (cruise cost includes transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment)

Entertainment: $31.64 (€24.00 City Tour Bus)

Miles Traveled Today:
Sea Miles: 779 (677 Nautical Miles – Malaga to Madeira)

The Island of Madeira

Although we had most certainly heard of Madeira, to be truthful, we didn’t know it was an island in the Atlantic (not far from the Straits of Gibraltar).

Madeira, which belongs to Portugal, is a beautiful island with lots of tropical-type vegetation and a warm and inviting climate.

We were so impressed with this island that we even checked out the cost of real estate here and visited a real estate agent.

Again, there was a bit of a language barrier, but the agent we spoke to spoke a whole lot better English than we speak Portuguese. Actually, that’s not really tough because we don’t speak ANY Portuguese!

However, he was very, very helpful and the prices here, given the climate and the infrastructure, really weren’t that bad. It’s unlikely that we would settle here, but it was fun to look.

A Tour of Madeira

As you know, we don’t normally splurge for tours, certainly not from the cruise ship anyway. But, the local tour bus offerings seemed to be pretty reasonable, at least based on the other places we have visited.

We decided to splurge for a tour with a local company. This one was a hop-on, hop-off type of tour, which meant you could get on or off anywhere along the route for the entire day.

We decided to just stay on the bus for the entire tour to see exactly where it went. That way, we could decide where we’d like to get off later, so we could explore.

It was an amazing tour. It took us to the top of the mountain and it is beyond me how the bus made it up, or down, some of those hills and narrow streets. But, the view from the top was incredible. (Once more we were missing our camera.)

But that wasn’t the only place the tour went. As a matter of fact, we weren’t even half done yet!

From there we headed along the coast (which was pretty much all cliff) to a small fishing village. Once again, kudos to the bus driver who was able to safely navigate such narrow streets.

Once back into the town of Funchal, which is where the cruise ship was docked, we headed back to the ship for lunch.

Buying Madeira Wine IN Madeira

After a quick lunch on the ship we headed back into town.

The cruise ship was offering a shuttle for €8.00 per person, good for the whole day, but it wasn’t a difficult walk and only took us 10-15 minutes.

Along the tour route, one of the stops we made note of was the place where they make Madeira wine. So, we got the tour bus again and got off at this stop.

The shop was in an old stone building that you got to down a narrow alleyway. All the buildings must have been very, very old. There was lots of stone and huge wooden beams everywhere. The stones on the cobbled lane were worn from years and years of use.

Inside the shop were rough-hewn wooden tables and chairs where you could order glasses of Madeira wine and soak in the atmosphere as you enjoyed your drink.

We, however, went directly to the counter and asked about the various options. There are several ways to choose. Madeira wine comes in dry, medium and sweet. It also comes in different ages – 3 years, 10 years, etc. The cost, of course, will be based on your choices.

We simply couldn’t miss the opportunity to purchase Madeira wine while we were ACTUALLY IN Madeira, but we had no idea what to choose.

The very helpful lady behind the counter brought us a few samples to try so that we could make our decision. The first thing we determined was that we definitely wanted the sweet Madeira. After trying the dry and the sweet, there was no contest for us.

Although we would have liked to buy the 10 year old wine, our budget insisted that we purchase the 3 year old vintage.

We bought two bottles at the price of €9.75 each. We have not included this expenditure in our trip cost as this was purely discretionary. You can most certainly travel to Madeira without purchasing the wine – but we couldn’t.

Back To The Ship

After hopping back on the tour bus, we did another quick tour of the island before heading back to the ship.

If you’ve traveled by cruise ship before, then you know that they x-ray everything you bring back on the ship after a day in port. Any liquor, wine or beer is confiscated and held for you until the end of the cruise.

So we had to bid our Madeira wine farewell until we got to Miami. We did, however, make sure to tell them to take extra special care of it.

Entertainer Helen Jayne

Tonight’s entertainment on board ship was singer Helen Jayne.

This singer has an amazing range and her show was well received. Some of our dinner companions raved about her at dinner.

However, she just wasn’t our cup of tea, so we didn’t stay for the whole performance. Perhaps we should have given the positive reviews from the people at our table.

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