Cruising the Canaries and Madeira on Saga’s Spirit of Adventure

Marion Ainge soaks up some winter warmth and laps up a luxury experience

I’m standing next to a vibrant display of Tenerife’s indigenous flowers, when a man stops, looks directly at me and says with a smile ‘Oh look at that Bird of Paradise!’ It’s just a joke but his wife doesn’t seem too pleased.

Tenerife is just one of the ports of call on this Saga Spirit of Adventure Celestial Canaries 14-night cruise.

Onboard Spirit of Adventure

Launched in July 2021, this unique, boutique ship radiates luxury, comfort and style. In the small ship category with 987 passenger capacity, the ambience is relaxed and sociable, Spacious, but so easy to get around, with no long queues to get on and off. Although Saga’s target audience is the over 50s, on this cruise most passengers perhaps are in their 60s to 70s, looking to exchange the cold winter for some warm sunshine. The all-inclusive facility includes a wide selection of drinks including quality wines and cocktails, plus gratuities, Wi-Fi and more.

My cabin on Spirit of Adventure

Every cabin is generously-sized and each has a balcony as standard. In my luxury twin room on Sun Deck 13 I love the walk-in wardrobe. The décor is tasteful and contemporary, there’s a king-sized bed, a spacious bathroom and shower cubicle and a set of full-size designer toiletries.

Facilities and entertainment on Spirit of Adventure

You’ll never be bored on sea days. I often relax in the lovely Spa hydrotherapy pool and feel glowing, fresh and rejuvenated following my Biotech facial. From dance/fitness and craft classes to quizzes, lectures, bridge painting and carpet bowls and more – there’s something for everyone. In warm weather, guests relax on the sun deck and sip cocktails at fun, sail away parties. At night guests enjoy West End style shows in the Playhouse Theatre and musical entertainment in the Britannia Lounge and Supper Club.

Dining on Spirit of Adventure

Food is five-star on the Spirit of Adventure. On formal nights, special dishes such as Chateaubriand and Lobster Tail are on the menu. Creative dining is available in the main Dining Room, The Grill and The Terrace, Supper Club and two speciality restaurants, the Amalfi and the highly recommended Nepalese Khukuri. The Living Room is a friendly spot to enjoy a coffee and or light bites all day every day.

El Ferrol and Arrecife Lanzarote

Following an en route stop at Spain’s El Ferrol we dock at Arrecife, where a visit to the Cesar Manrique Foundation is a must. In 1964, the architect/artist/sculptor designed, built and created his own unique house and stunning pool in and around five volcanic lava bubbles, accessed by spiral staircase.  Manrique surrounded himself with beauty -paintings objects d’art and beautiful women. His legacy for his beloved island is the non-profit-making Cesar Manrique Foundation, which opened in 2019 and includes his house, an art gallery and exhibition.

Las Palmas, Gran Canaria

On our panoramic tour we pass Playa del Ingles to travel into the organic wine-growing area where the black stone encourages healthy vines and good produce. This area is also known for its coffee plantations, dragon fruit trees, palms, pines, bananas avocados papaya, mango tomatoes and potatoes. A stay in a mountain village cave house with pool and barbecue is great fun and popular with families. 

Santa Cruz: Tenerife

There’s a bit of a north south divide in Tenerife. The more popular south is hotter and busier. In the north, properties are cheaper, the weather more temperate and vegetation more lush and green due to gentle rainfall. In stylish Puerto de la Cruz, we visit the impressive botanical gardens and the lovely orchid gardens, a one time favourite haunt of Agatha Christie and Winston Churchill. Walking along the small promenade, I listen to a busker and watch surfers ride the sparkling sapphire sea. In the classy Cafe de Paris, I sip a Barraquito, speciality orange liqueur coffee in a small glass 

San Sebastián, La Gomera

La Gomera’s unique whistling language, El Silbo, is still used today in the more remote areas of the island.  At Las Rosas we hear a demonstration and can make out some of the words. At 4,000 feet above sea level, The Garajonay National Park is home to one of the few surviving laurel woodlands, considered a ‘living fossil’.

Santa Cruz La Palma

Within a historic building, in La Hacienda silk museum workshop, rich-coloured silk is spun and woven on traditional old looms. Around 35 metres of silken thread is extracted from a silkworm pupa. The silk-making skill dates back to the 18th century and is passed down through generations. Silk from this workshop has been used to make Manolo Blahnik stilettos and a Prada gown, shown in a Madrid fashion show. Buy a tiny pair of silk baby shoes for 35 euros or a small neckerchief for 100 euros.


Madeira is well known for the thrill-filled wicker toboggan downhill ride, the island’s son, Cristiano Ronaldo, Madeira wine and the cliff-top, pink-painted Reid’s Palace Hotel. It’s about a 20-minute walk along the pleasant promenade, with its white and red-roofed houses on a backdrop of stepped, wooden terraces, from the port to bustling Funchal.

Just to mention, at the Reid’s Palace Hotel, it’s around 30 euros for afternoon tea. On Saga’s

ships, a delectable, daily afternoon tea, is presented at no additional cost. Just another special touch by Saga who seem to have got everything right.


Saga offer a five-star service for the over-50s on land and sea. They look after their ever-smiling staff who in turn provide the utmost care and comfort for their guests. Every cruise is all-inclusive and every cruise booking offers a chauffeur service to the port.  Saga, who are Silver Travel Advisor partners, have been operating for 70 years and have 2.3m customers. The company is dedicated to providing the highest quality experience on their two boutique cruise ships and for their worldwide escorted tours, river cruises, short breaks and hotel holidays.

Find out more

Chat with Silver Travel Advisors to book a Saga cruise like Marion’s. Call 0800 412 5678.


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Marion Ainge

Freelance travel writer & member of the International Travel Writers’ Alliance

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