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Old 10-24-2010, 02:35 PM   #61
BethEJo
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What a great day Corinna - I love all of your pictures, but especially the ones of you and Minne

And your door looked fantastic with your magnets

Looking forward to the rest!!
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Old 10-24-2010, 04:51 PM   #62
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I am really enjoying your report, thanks for taking the time to write it. Desperate Shipmates sounds like fun, I can't believe Disney actually went so far as to plant a character on Dis, that's amazing! If you ever have time I would love to see pictures of the jewelry you were creating at your workshops. Take care, Karyn
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Old 10-24-2010, 05:00 PM   #63
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Originally Posted by akluss View Post
I am really enjoying your report, thanks for taking the time to write it. Desperate Shipmates sounds like fun, I can't believe Disney actually went so far as to plant a character on Dis, that's amazing! If you ever have time I would love to see pictures of the jewelry you were creating at your workshops. Take care, Karyn
Unfortunately I did not even think to take photos during the workshops and as I had a few people joining very late, I did not have enough materials to keep one of each for myself.

Corinna
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Old 10-24-2010, 05:16 PM   #64
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The desperate shipmates thing sounds fun .. we should have done that really. I can post photos of my jewellery class items if you like Corinna.
Love the photos. I miss the peanut butter choccy pie too ( but the apple crumble was delicious!)
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Old 10-24-2010, 05:19 PM   #65
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The desperate shipmates thing sounds fun .. we should have done that really. I can post photos of my jewellery class items if you like Corinna.
Love the photos. I miss the peanut butter choccy pie too ( but the apple crumble was delicious!)
Desperate Shipmates was so much fun and I really hope that they will do something like this on the Panama Canal Cruise.

If you would be able to post photos of the things we made in the jewellery making class, I would really appreciate it.

Corinna
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Old 10-25-2010, 09:48 AM   #66
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Great report, can't wait to read more!
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Old 10-25-2010, 05:39 PM   #67
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Loving all the character pics and the different clothes they are all wearing

Claire
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Old 10-25-2010, 05:42 PM   #68
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Loving all the character pics and the different clothes they are all wearing

Claire
Welcome back. I loved all the different costumes. I can't wait to see what costumes they will have for the Panama Canal Cruise. DH is trying to convince me that I won't need any more photos. Well, I am thinking CD again.

Corinna
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Old 10-26-2010, 01:57 AM   #69
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Sure thing. The company is called Dolphin World and I booked it through this link:

http://www.gibraltarinfo.gi/gibraltar-tickets.aspx

I would happily recommend both Dolphin World and the website through which I booked this.

Corinna
Thanks for the link Corinna. I have bookmarked it for next year.

Desperate shipmates sounds amazing! I can't wait to hear more about it. I think you should call into the DISUnplugged podcast & do a little review of it, I am sure they would be interested to hear all about the sneaky Rudy Finkus.

It was so nice of you to arrange jewellery classes for everyone & to take so much time out of your cruise to do it. I look forward to seeing Sarah's pics of what they made.
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Old 10-28-2010, 06:06 PM   #70
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I'm loving reading your review, Corinna! We are booked on the 2011 WBTA, and my 4-year-old keeps looking at your pictures over and over again. Can I ask what this year's rate was for the picture CD? For 14 nights, I'm afraid to even ask!!
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Old 10-29-2010, 12:41 PM   #71
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I'm loving reading your review, Corinna! We are booked on the 2011 WBTA, and my 4-year-old keeps looking at your pictures over and over again. Can I ask what this year's rate was for the picture CD? For 14 nights, I'm afraid to even ask!!
The cost of the CD was actually not too bad. I paid $399, which is the same price the charge for a 7 night cruise. So that seemed fair and the photos are fantastic.

Corinna
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Old 10-29-2010, 04:40 PM   #72
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Day 7

We had set the wake up call for 7:00 AM again. There is really nothing like being called by Mickey Mouse when it is time to get up. We got changed and went up to the gym for our stretching class. We went to the Wide World of Sports area on deck 10 again, but this time we went to the far end, which was much better in terms of noise and not quite so breezy.

Time was at the essence that morning. We had signed up for a private tour that one of the people on our cruise meet thread had kindly organized. In total there were 98 people doing this tour, but this was broken down into groups of 12 to 14 people, each of which had its own mini bus and driver.

We went to Goofy's Galley to quickly get something to eat. We had a selection of fresh fruit. They also had some Stollen Bread that morning, which made me very happy. I was even able to have a Mango Smoothie. Smoothies are normally a no go area for me as they often contain bananas. I have a severe allergy to bananas and therefore cannot chance this. I asked if there's contained banana and they got the folder with ingredients out and confirmed that it did not. Being able to have a Smoothie was a real treat.

We quickly went back to the cabin to get our things and then headed down to the gangway. We were meeting up right outside the ship at 8:30. Things had been extremely well organized. Every mini bus had a group leader and a character that made identification easy. We were in group Kermit. Everybody was given a sticker with the character for their group. The group leader had a flag with the corresponding character and there was also a sign with character for the van.

Shortly after we got there, pretty much everybody from our group was there. We were just missing our group leader and her friend. One of the other people in the group took charge of our flag. Shortly afterwards, the last two people arrived and we moved off to were the mini buses were parked. We were introduced to our driver, Olivia.

Once we were all on the mini bus, Olivia gave us a run down on what to expect from the day. We were heading for the cable car first, which was not scheduled to open until 9:30. However, Olivia was wondering if they were going to open early as they knew that a cruise ship was in town. Unfortunately this was not the case. Still, the cable car station is right by the sea and I just took the time to take some photos.




















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Old 10-29-2010, 04:41 PM   #73
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Just before 9:30, the ticket booths opened and we got in line for our tickets. Once we had our tickets, we walked up a ramp to the cable cars. We were amongst the first people to get on.

The cable car links the seafront in Funchal with the suburb of Monte, which is on top of the mountain. To get there, the cable car travels nearly 4 km and covers a change of altitude of 560 meters. This is a lot for two people who don't really do heights. I did really enjoy it. The view was absolutely fantastic and I never felt that I was too far off the ground. I took plenty of photos on the way.















































When we got off the cable car at Monte, we were offered photos for sale that had been taken of us at the cable car station in Funchal. We declined politely. We had to wait a little while for everybody from our mini bus to arrive. Once everybody was there, our driver took us the short distance to the start of the famous Tobboggan run.

This was something I was feeling in two minds about. I had seen some videos on You Tube and I was wondering if this was just a little too thrilling for me. I also knew that I would regret it if I did not do it.

The tobboggan ride has been going since around 1850 and it used to go all the way to Funchal. It was the idea of a British lawyer, who lived in Monte, but had to go to Funchal to work. He was sick and tired of walking the nearly 4km every in the morning and then back again in the evening. So he came up with the idea that his servants could take him backwards and forwards in a wicker basket. The tradition stuck and spread. This became the main mode of transport for the people living in Monte.

Things have somewhat changed. This is now strictly a tourist attraction. It only goes about half way to Funchal now, but 2 km is quite enough. It is also a oneway ride. At the bottom, the wicker baskets are loaded onto trucks and the men that operate them go back to the starting point in mini buses.

The average speed is 7 or 8 km/h with a top speed of around 20km/h, but it feels a lot quicker as you are quite low to the ground. The steep and windy roads add a thrill element as does the fact that the Tobboggans are sharing the road with normal traffic.

We were the first people to get in a Tobboggan and we were off. Near the start, we were overtaken by Olivia in the mini bus. I was a little taken aback when we started to slide sideways and straight towards a drainage ditch at the side of the road. Still, everything was well under control. The ride was a lot of fun. I don't have any footage of this, but I found a video clip on You Tube, that gives you a good impression what it was like.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=olPhb1CE59U

At the bottom of the hill, there were people trying to sell us photos and souvenirs. We headed over to where Olivia was waiting with the people that opted not to do the tobboggan ride.
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Old 10-29-2010, 04:43 PM   #74
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Once the whole group was back together, we headed off. Olivia was a wealth of information, telling us loads about the history and the economy of Madeira. There seemed to be nothing that she did not know.

Next on the itinerary was a stop at an observation area, where I managed to get more photos. Madeira is such a pretty island.











You could see though that tourism is the main industry. Pretty much wherever we stopped there were souvenir stalls or souvenir shops.

After our brief photo stop, we went back on the mini bus to drive to the north side of the island. Olivia had explained to us that before they started to build tunnels all over the island, it would have taken about 4.5 hours to drive from Funchal to the north side of the island. Now it can be done in a little over an hour. We did get stuck in some roadworks though. Madeira was hit by some devastating floods in February and the road we were on was completely swept away. They were doing a great job rebuilding it, but for the time being it is single file traffic through the area.

While we were waiting for our turn to pass the area, Olivia gave us the menu for the restaurant that we would have lunch at and asked us for our choices so that she could phone them through. It was a set menu consisting of a choice of two soups, 6 main courses (three fish dishes and three meat dishes) and a choice of two desserts. It was traditional Portugese cuisine and sounded delicious.

Lunch choices made, we were soon on our way again. We drove through some pretty little villages and over some very windy roads and Olivia explained what we were seeing as we went along.

The next stop was another observation area and this is the only point on the island where you can see both the north and the south coast. The view was stunning.
























After I had taken enough photos, I had a quick look at the souvenir shop. Apart from the usual tourist stuff, they sold local knit wear, embroidery and some local produce like a local drink called Poncha, which consists of a local rum, lemon juice and honey; the famous honey cakes, Madeira wine and tradional sweets that come in eucalyptus, banana, anis seed or passion fruit flavour. I got a bag of passion fruit sweets and they were rather nice.

After our stop, we continued on our way to Porto Moniz, where we would have lunch. On the way we were driving over the highest point of the island. Madeira is volcanic and the highest point is essentially the crater. This felt little strange, but the very steep and windy roads to and from the highest point provided some pretty views.

We also found out that there no snakes in Madeira and no land-based predators. There are birds of prey and we saw a few of those. On the land, rabbits are the top of the food chain. There is a hunting season for rabbit, but hunting is only allowed on Thursday and Sundays.

Porto Moniz is at furthest north-western point of the island. It has a public swimming pool at the seafront that is made up of natural volcanic rock pools. When we were planning this, most people in our mini bus had wanted to swim. However, on the day, some had forgotten their swimming stuff and others were just too hungry. Graham and I still wanted to swim and it was decided that wanted to swim could for an hour and the rest would go ahead to the restaurant, which was just across the road from the pools. Unfortunately when we got to the pool, there were impressive waves and the red flag was up so we did not get our swim either.

Everybody headed to the restaurant. Lunch was one of the bargains of the cruise. It cost 11 or 12 Euros per person and included a three course meal as well as water and wine. As soon as we sat down, we were brought some traditional garlic bread to share for the table. This was soon followed by our soup. I had chosen the vegetable soup and Graham had the fish soup. For our main course, Graham had Black Scabbard Fish with bananas, which is one of the local delicacies with potatoes and vegetable. I had grilled pork steak with fries and salad. For dessert, we both had the passion fruit pudding. Lunch was lovely. It was very simple, but very tasty.
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Old 10-29-2010, 04:44 PM   #75
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After lunch, we had just over an hour of free time. We headed over to the seafront just above the pool and watched the waves. I took some photos and Graham got the video camera out. I also had a quick look around the souvenir shops in the area.



















http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2yLhfPbPFX4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cCoqJYjmfHM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7V3hQNwt78


Once we got back to the mini bus, we started on our way back to Funchal. On the way, we stopped briefly by a pretty waterfall.







We also had another stop at a little village with a pretty church. Graham found himself a wall and was sitting down enjoying the sunshine. I decided to go exploring and have a look at the church, which really was pretty.











Once we were back on the mini bus, we headed back to Funchal via the express way and a lot of tunnels. We saw the effects of the floods. Some houses had been literally swept away and other houses were half standing, but the other half had been swept away by the flood waters. We got stuck in a traffic jam, but made it to Funchal in time.

We had booked a tour and tasting at Old Blandy Wine Lodge, which is part of the Madeira Wine Company. The tour was very interesting and I liked the two samples that we were given at the end. Graham was not too sure about one of the samples and a lot of people around us did not like the Madeira wine at all.

We headed for the shop to get some wine. Graham was a little concerned that they would not let us back on the ship with our haul, but I assured him that Disney allows you to bring as much alcohol as you can carry. Madeira is famous for its fortified wine, but they recently have started to make a table wine as well. This was on special offer were you could get three bottles for EUR10. I also got a bottle of sparkling wine for the Champagne Girl Party the next day. Of course, it would have been rude not to get some Madeira wine. We got a small bottle of a new type of Madeira that is made with two different types of grapes as well as a gift pack of 4 mini bottles of 5 year old Madeira with one bottle each of the four different styles (dry, medium dry, medium sweet and sweet).

After the tour, we were taken back to the ship. There was a short line to get on the ship, but as expected, nobody even blinked at our wine.
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