Transatlantic Eastbound Cruising from Miami to Lisbon!

I spent the latter part of 2022 cruising and vacationing for about 6 weeks in total and this involved 2 cruises; North Atlantic and Southern Atlantic as well as 6 days in Lisbon, Portugal. Obviously, this would be a huge blog, so I will break it up into sections and do separate blogs of my favorite places that I visited. I have chosen to go again on the NCL Sun for this crossing; remember it is the same ship that I was on in Alaska when we made contact with a Glacier in Hubbard Bay.

I always like to share my airline travels first coming from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico as this time I chose to go with American Airlines Business Class on miles through Dallas. I arrived late in the evening 2 days before my cruise because I decided to meet a friend and client the next day who live in the Miami area. The first part was a 21-day cruise from Miami, Florida up the coast of the USA with stops in New York City and Newport, Rhode Island before the 5 days at sea to get us across the Atlantic to the Azores Islands. We had a very smooth quiet sailing on the North Atlantic until we reached the Azores whereby our scheduled first stop in Horta, Azores had to be canceled due to rough seas, and tendering was just not safely possible.

So we move on to the next day to the next port of Praia da Victoria, Terceira Island, Azores. Luckily we had several planned stops in the Azores or we would have missed these fabulous islands completely. The Azores are under Portugal rule; therefore the government structure, money, and language are compatible with the Portuguese. We are able to dock here and the weather improved greatly so I am off the ship for the first time in 6 days for my “Explore Terceira Island” tour. The island is only 153 square miles in total so it is easy to get from one side to the other and we do just that with stops in the middle for overviews, Biscoitos, and amazing black volcanic rock along the shorelines. This island is the host to a US Air Force detachment as the Azores are a very strategic location for the defense of Europe.

The next day is the close-by stop of Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel Island, Azores for a 2nd stop in the Azores. The tour today takes me up high to Fire Lake where an extinct volcano has created a wonderful freshwater lake providing all the water for the entire island. Known as the Green Island, there is plenty of rainfall to keep it full providing clean fresh water for all the residents. It is the largest and most populous island in the Azores with 290 square miles and over 140,000 inhabitants. The large pastures and plentiful agriculture are a wonderful sight to see and it is hard to believe it is also of volcanic origin. We make a stop in Ribeira Grande on the northern coast where we enjoy a relaxing walk around to see all the unique architecture of all buildings made from volcanic rocks and stones. We made a short stop and visit the Caldiera Velha Hot Springs and it was very hot springs water that had to be cooled by a nearby stream. Then our last stop was a pineapple farm where the native crop is grown in greenhouses.

After another day at sea, we arrive in the Canary Islands, Spain where we have planned 3 stops on the islands of La Palma, Tenerife, and Gran Canaria all of which are under Spain’s control and government with Spanish Euros and Spanish as the official language. It is unique to note that these islands are so different from each other in terms of climate and geography, and I was pleased to be able to see the variety. First of the ports is Santa Cruz de la Palma on the island of La Palma where I decide to explore the “Volcanoes & Wine” tour. Remember this island just had the most recent eruption at the end of 2021, so it is very active and we were able to see several of the extinct ones including Volcan San Antonio (1677), Volcan Teneguia (1971) and Cumbre Vieja (2021). It sure was very interesting to see the devastation and isolation that lava flows from volcanos can cause. The first stop at Fuencaliente (Volcan Tenguia) was near the coast and it is very apparent how much lava flowed here not that many years ago. It also happened to be an area where they were already extracting salt from the ocean via shallow depressions. Luckily the eruption did not totally destroy an operation that is still producing sea salt today. The saltwater is pumped into these “beds” and allowed to evaporate in the hot sun and all that remains is pure sea salt. I had to purchase some and it is very good!

Fuencaliente Salt Works and Lighthouses (last eruption 1971)

We move onto Volcano #2 San Antonio where you are allowed to walk up and around the rim of the volcano crater. It was a bit frightening because the narrow path had the cold caldera on one side and the valley below on the other!

Volcano San Antonio (last eruption 1677)

The day continues with a short break at a local coop Winery Teneguia to taste some wines. The tour guide was a long-time inhabitant of the island and provided some unique insight into how and why things happened the way they did on La Palma during the weeks before and after the eruption in 2021. Very Scary Story!

But we move on to the next island to the port of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, located on the island of Tenerife. This island brings back lots of memories from my childhood as it was the favorite vacation destination of my German Aunt and Uncle. I have signed up for the tour called “Northern Island Views” and the views we got! Heading across the island to the city of Puerta de la Cruz we get great vistas of the coasts along the way and end up in the primary tourist center for vacationers from all over the world. The multitudes of condos, apartments, and hotels provide the capacity to handle these large crowds who enjoy a wonderful beach with a large beach club right at the shore’s edge. It is easy to see how popular this island has become to European tourists for their winter getaways. Before we arrive there we made a coffee break stop in the hills above at Meson el Monasterio restaurant built by Germans to look like a monastery although it never was. It was an interesting place with great views, a bird park, and great food.

Time to move on to the last Canary Island on the cruise, the port city of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria on the main island of Grand Canary. Here I was intrigued to go on the “Painted Caves” tour which takes us first to Cenobio de Valeron an archeological site from the 15th century. They seem to have been built as silos or storage caves for the inhabitants at the time to protect their harvest and food from predators. It was a long 200+ stairs to get to them, but it was very interesting. We make our way to nearby Galdar, the home to the Painted Caves excavation and museum. These are also a working archeological site that depicts actual and hypothetical structures of the first inhabitants of the Canary Islands. A quick stop for an afternoon snack break at the De la Marquesa private botanic gardens concludes our day.

Another day at sea and we are in the port city British Territory of Gibraltar! I will make a separate blog about this location, one of my favorite stops from the whole cruise and you can see it here !

A day later and we are in the port city of Malaga, Spain. I am on the Hop On, Hop Off bus this day boarding on a very cold windy day to see the sights of the city and I simply make my way around the 2-hour-long complete tour. Malaga’s history goes back almost 2800 years and is now a bustling high-tech city it boasts as the birthplace of the famous Spanish painter and sculptor Pablo Picasso.

Onward we sail west again to the port of Cadiz, Spain; considered the gateway to Seville, Spain a few hours to the north. My tour takes me on a stroll through Cadiz and it was very interesting to see the abundant architecture and use of local materials like rocks from the ocean to build the city. The area we are docked in is located on a narrow peninsula, so a few minute’s walk puts you on either side of the harbor area. Originally founded in the 18th century, Cadiz is the capital of the Province of Cadiz.

The longest cruise in my life at 21 days, puts me in the city of Lisbon, Portugal where I will rent an Airbnb for the next 6 days before I cruise back to the Americas. Of course Lisbon, Portugal deserves its own blog, so look for here!


One thought on “Transatlantic Eastbound Cruising from Miami to Lisbon!

  1. This is so amazing ! Thank you so much i love this   !

    Sent from my iPhone

    <

    div dir=”ltr”>

    <

    blockquote type=”cite”>

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s