After a day at sea, during which the day’s highlights included a fashion parade of some of the ship boutique’s clothing modelled by the crew, and a geographical quiz, we just relaxed by the pool where most passengers partook of the included alcoholic beverages. I always feel a little cheated on cruises that include alcohol because the closest I get to partaking is the consumption of a Diet Coke or a Virgin Mary.

The next day we docked at Funchal, the capital of the island of Madeira. Again, we chose to go our own way. Several very fit passengers chose to go bike riding, using the ship’s mountain bikes. These rides were led by the entertainment director and his assistant. I was usually out of breath by time I walked to the taxi, which we decided to use to go on our own tour around this picturesque island. Funchal is very mountainous and as our English-speaking driver drove the hills with ease, I could not help but feel sorry for the bike riders. Our driver dropped us off at the Botanical Gardens for an hour so we could enjoy a stroll. He turned off the meter and went home for lunch.

We declined to take part in one of Funchal’s tourist favourites, which means going downhill in awicker basket over the cobblestoned streets. SeaDream 1 overnighted here, allowing passengers the opportunity to enjoy some of the local cuisine. On board by the pool under the stars, we viewed a big-screen presentation of a Frank Sinatra concert.

We set sail for the Canary Islands about noon the next day.