Canary Islands Cruise on Fred. Olsen’s Braemar: Day 4

Silver Travel Advisor Alan Fairfax writes his Blog from the deck of Fred Olsen’s Braemar on his Canary Islands cruise in March 2013.

Braemar - Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines Last night was the Captains Welcome Cocktail Party. First stop is to have the obligatory photo taken with the Captain before entering the Neptune Lounge for drinks and canapés. For drinks you have a choice of Champagne or Bucks Fizz. Orange juice has never been a favourite of mine so I had the Champagne. It was to the passenger’s credit that nearly all of them adhered to the formal dress code of the evening. Ladies in their finest evening dresses and men in dress suits or white tuxedos. Finally the Captain came to the stage and in true cruise manner welcomed everyone aboard and introduced his senior management team. From here it was up three decks to the Grampian Restaurant for the ‘Gala Dinner’. My choice was Grilled Vegetable Terrine followed by Forest Mushroom soup, Mixed Salad with Mustard and Honey Dressing and Beef Wellington as the main course. Bearing in mind that I am trying not to put any weight on I had the Mixed Flavour Ice Cream to finish. Again this was all washed down by a beautiful crisp and fruity white wine. It is amazing how quickly the time goes and soon we were the last people in the restaurant. It was then a visit to the Observatory for a night cap.

This morning we arrived in Puerto del Rosario the capital of Fuerteventura. This is the second largest of the Canary Islands and only 50 miles off the North West coast of Africa. Today was my last tour of the cruise as tomorrow we are at sea and I then leave the ship the following day at Lisbon.

Aloe Vera plantation, Fuerteventura Today’s tour was entitled ‘Fuerteventura Highlights’ and an early start due the lunchtime departure of the ship. After boarding the coach we met our guide Rosita and Miguel our driver. The town is fairly small and all the roundabouts are decorated with plants and trees. In the middle of many of them are statues that are a memorial to an event or a person. Again this is an island with a good modern road system. First stop was the Avisa Factory whose founder started the first Aloe Vera factory in Europe in 1989. We were given a demonstration of how the plant that resembles a Cactus but is in fact part of the Onion Family is grown, cultivated and harvested. On cutting open one of the leaves it exuded a yellow liquid which once drained leaves the pulp that is used to make the finished product. Following the demonstration you have the opportunity to buy the product at a discount price from the factory shop.

This island is very different to the other Canary Islands in that although the second largest it also has a much smaller population. It has not allowed tourism to spoil it and as such does not have the large holiday resorts as found on Tenerife and Gran Canaria. The landscape is barren and the mountains are not as high. Someone described it as a ‘Star Wars’ landscape and I think that describes it perfectly.

Church at Betancuria, Fuerteventura Next stop was Betancuria, the original capital of Fuerteventura. To reach this necessitates driving up one side of a mountain and down the other. Again spectacular views. On arrival we were ushered into a small viewing auditorium where we watched a video of Fuerteventura through the ages after which we strolled through this quaint white walled village with the old white washed church holding prominence. Against the white walls the various colours of the Geraniums were shown to their best. Back on the coach we retraced our steps across the mountain towards Puerto del Rosario with a stop on the way to visit an open air museum.

Arriving back at the ship at 1.15pm our tour was the last board. 30 minutes later we were leaving our mooring and moving into the main channel. Exiting the small picturesque town harbour we began our course northwards along the African coast to our next and for me final port of call, Lisbon.  

Time for a late lunch and once again an opportunity to sample one of the wonderful Fred Olsen salads from the buffet. The mussels still in their half shells were absolutely delicious. Strawberry cheesecake to finish. Oh dear the diet seems to have gone to pot again. Never mind tomorrow I will visit the gym.

Tomorrow my blog will review the cruise and the ship so don’t miss it. Has it been a good one? Read tomorrow’s blog and find out.

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