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PORTUGAL & THE AZORES

from £1999
Our forays ashore mix seeing the sights with local guides and strolling along the coast, taking in the bracing sea air, and walking inland close to historic cities.

Way out in the Atlantic lie the nine volcanic islands of the Azores. In spite of spectacular lush scenery, year-round perfect weather, pretty villages and gorgeous beaches, the islands are a world away from mass tourism.

 SHORE WALKS AND EXCURSION HIGHLIGHTS:

 Praia da Vitoria - On the island of Terceira whose mountainous interior rises to over 1000m and where cliffs surround the coast. We visit the UNESCO World Heritage city of Angra do Heroismo, built during the Renaissance. Its striking buildings painted white and one other colour make it unlike any other European city. Outside the town we climb the low hill of Monte Brasil for some great views.

 Ponta Delgada - The capital of the island of São Miguel with a beautiful old town characterized by its black and white buildings. We visit and walk close to the amazing flooded caldeiras near Sete Cidades; the Vista do Rei view across the Blue & Green Lagoons is one of the world’s most amazing natural wonders.

 Lisbon - Portugal’s capital is famously bathed in clear Atlantic light. A local guide takes us on a fascinating tour through the city’s old town, reaching vantage points only the locals know about. We visit the Alfama where the dilapidated charms of the past mingle with its fashionable artisan present. We visit the medieval Se Cathedral and the Casa dos Bicos (House of the Spikes).

 Porto - Fast becoming a hot tip for a weekend break, Porto is another UNESCO World Heritage city. Its colourful buildings rise on hills above the Douro River. There are baroque churches dripping in gold, the maze of streets around Ribeira, the city’s historic centre, the ubiquitous smell of sardines and shellfish barbequeing, and of course the port wine maturing in oak barrels. The whole city is a feast for the senses.

 Funchal - Madeira is an island of many contrasts, from banana palms and custard apples at sea level to extinct volcanic caldera at 1800m.


Holiday Highlights

  • A walk on São Miguel in the Azores overlooking the calderas of the Blue & Green Lakes
  • Exploring the backstreets of Lisbon
  • Time in Horta on Faial, with its unique architecture, pretty harbour and views across to Pico Island

 

The holiday inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What's included in this holiday Items that are covered in the cost of holiday price.

    A shore visit programme organised by us and led by your tour leader. Almost all transport costs for our walking and sightseeing programmes from the ports visited. Occasionally there may be an optional museum entrance or cable car fare to pay for locally. Details are in our Holiday Information Sheets.

    Walking tours with local guides around many of the cities we visit.

    Tips to the restaurant staff on the ship – we ask you to tip your cabin staff, however.

    A full on board entertainment programme including stage shows, ship’s band and musicians, comedy and guest speakers. You can enjoy as much or as little as you choose.
Whats not included in this holiday Items that are not covered in the cost of holiday price.

  • Entrance fees to some museums and historic buildings (unless otherwise specified)
  • Personal expenses (such as your bar bill)
  • Discretionary tips
  • Optional excursions
  • Insurance
Please select Departure Date to view:

Please see Holiday Information Sheet for this holidays individual departures itinerary (located under View Departures & Book tab)

Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the outlined itinerary and advertised programme, local conditions can change due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. This may mean that routes and timings need to be amended or the order of days may change, sometimes at short notice.

This departure: Grade 4/SS

  1. Day 1

    Today we board Braemar in Southampton and set sail for France.

    Check in for the cruise begins one hour prior to embarkation. Embarkation at the cruise terminal usually begins three hours before departure and closes one hour prior to sailing.

    In Southampton you will be greeted by Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ staff, including porters who will arrange for your luggage to be delivered to your cabin. There will be a letter from your Ramblers Cruise & Walk Holidays’ leader in your cabin informing you of the place and time for you to meet the rest of the group.

    Sailing time is usually from mid afternoon to early evening and will be confirmed on your travel documents.

  2. Day 2

    We have the best part of two days at sea to relax and enjoy the ship’s facilities. There is usually a range of activities available on board – you may choose to join a fitness class or visit the on-board gym, attend one of the on board lectures, treat yourself to a treatment in the spa or just simply relax in one of the lounges with a coffee and a book from the library. Each evening a Daily Times newsletter will be placed in your cabin, detailing events and timings for the following day.

  3. Day 3

    Arriving in La Coruña in Galicia, north west Spain, around lunchtime, we’ll use a local guide to discover a city of rich Celtic heritage in a province of vast green landscapes. Wandering the old city on foot we’ll see medieval buildings and monuments, plus the splendid waterfront and the Tower of Hércules, said to be the only Roman lighthouse still in existence.

  4. Day 4 to 5

    We have two days at sea to enjoy the comforts of Braemar as we sail down the length of the Iberian Peninsula and continue out into the Atlantic towards the Azores.

  5. Day 6

    We have a day and a half to enjoy Horta on Faial. The town has a beautiful location, in a bay with hills rising behind. Characteristic white buildings with a black trim and red roofs rise up the hillsides. On our first afternoon we enjoy a walk around the city, including a visit to the marina where sailors have painted murals of the breakwater to attain divine protection on their voyages.

  6. Day 7

    Today we take transport out to the beach at Almoxarife to the north of Horta. Our walk takes us along cobbled roads and field tracks back to Horta. It is a leisurely walk passing old farm house and restored windmills.

    11.km (7 miles), 350m ascent & descent, 4 hours

  7. Day 8

    From where we come ashore in Ponta Delgada transport takes us out to the crater lakes in the west of the island. We walk from the spectacular viewpoint at Vista do Rei at a height of over 500m, initially following the crater rim, towards the coastal town of Mosteiros. The views over the Blue and Green Lakes are spectacular. Transport will pick us up and take us the final couple of miles into Mosteiros before we return to Ponta Delgada for free time.

    8km (5 miles); 100m ascent, 400m descent, 4 hours

  8. Day 9

    We have a day at sea as Braemar heads south east towards Madeira.

  9. Day 10

    We have a choice of walks depending on the weather. The good weather option starts up at the pass at the Boca da Corrida at nearly 1200m. From here we walk to the pass at Boca do Cerro from where there are sensational views to the island’s other big peaks and down into the massive eroded caldera which makes up the centre of the island. We then return the same way.

    7km (4.3 miles), 330m ascent & descent, 3 hours

    From Boca do Cerro there is the option to climb part or all the way up to Pico Grande (1654m), but this is a rough and steep path at times and involves a further 400m of ascent and descent.

    If it is cloudy in the mountains we take transport to the far eastern end of the island. Here the stark and beautiful promontory of the Ponta de São Lourenço nearly always has good weather, though sometimes it’s a bit breezy.

    8km (5 miles), 180m ascent & descent, 3 hours

    On returning to the ship there will be time to explore Funchal itself or take the cable car up to Monte.

  10. Day 11

    We have a day at sea to relax and ejoy the comforts on board Braemar as we cruise towards the Portuguese mainland.

  11. Day 12

    We enjoy a morning in the Portuguese capital. A local guide shows us what makes Lisbon one of Europe’s most attractive and interesting capitals, with its steep cobbled streets, a waterside setting and imposing 18th century buildings.

  12. Day 13 to 14

    We have two final days at sea to enjoy the facilities on board Braemar.

  13. Day 15

    We arrive in Southampton at around 07:00 for disembarkation after breakfast.

Travel Details

For our holidays which sail from the UK, departure ports vary

Trip Map

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Our Accommodation on this holiday

Below is the accommodation featured on this holiday. If you are on a multi-centre holiday, these are highlights of the places where we stay. Please refer to your Holiday Information sheet (which can be found under View Departures & Book), for your departure date and for all your accommodation details.

Black Watch

Black Watch is sleek, intimate and harks back to the days when cruise ships were revered for their style and charm. The ultimate home-from-home at sea; Black Watch is spacious with a friendly and familiar feel, and provides guests with a traditional cruise experience.  Having undergone a thorough refurbishment in late 2016, Black Watch features a selection of stylish suites and rooms, restaurants and spacious public rooms that provide up to 804 guests with everything needed for a comfortable, enjoyable and stress-free stay on board, while retaining the elegant style of a traditional cruise ship. 

View the deck plan for Black Watch

Black Watch has several restaurants; welcoming bars and lounges offering an array of music, dance, comedy and entertainment. There are inviting open deck spaces; and a teak-lined promenade.  You can soak-up the sunshine at the Marquee Bar; or enjoy the sophistication of a Traditional Afternoon Tea, accompanied by breathtaking views, in the Observatory. To satisfy your caffeine cravings, visit The Bookmark Café for luxurious coffees and indulgent chocolates. In the evening, settle-in amongst the familiar surroundings of the Morning Light Pub; then take in the after-dinner show in the Neptune Lounge. In the Lido Lounge you can simply sit back with a drink in hand, or hit the dance floor!  Black Watch also has an upgraded 4K, 3D cinema if you fancy a ‘movie night’.

On board facilities also include two swimming pools, a fitness centre including a sauna, steam room and beauty salon, two sun decks, Jacuzzis, several lounges and bars, a card room, small casino, library, coffee shop, internet room and restaurants. The ship has a medical centre, a boutique, a shop where you can buy essentials such as sun cream or toiletries, and there is also a self service laundrette and ironing room on board.

All guest cabins are are equipped with climate control, an interactive smart TV, hairdryer, desk, phone, fridge (which can be stocked as a mini-bar) and tea and coffee making facilities as standard.  Allocated cabins will be an inside cabin unless you have paid a supplement to upgrade. 

Your cabin steward will keep your cabin in immaculate condition, replacing any linen or towels as or when required. Separate towels are provided for poolside use. Black Watch operates a satellite telephone system, with telephones in each cabin, and personal mobile phones enabled for international roaming should work on board. The voltage on board the Black Watch is supplied at 220 volts (requiring a continental style 2-pin plug).

Payment on board is in Sterling, and a credit account system is operated on board allowing purchases to be charged to your account which must be settled at the end of your cruise.


Braemar

Capable of comfortably accommodating up to 929 passengers, Braemar has a un-crowded, intimate feel, with friendly staff. Large windows bathe the ship's public areas in natural light and provide spectacular views. One of the focal points on Braemar is the beautifully painted, five-deck-high Atrium area, while the cascading outside decks at the stern really enhance the ship's elegant profile and offer stunning vistas no matter which outside deck you're on. 

View the deck plan for Braemar

Refreshed with new fixtures, décor and furnishings during her extensive refit in late 2017, there are updated restaurants, bars and lounges offering sumptuous cuisine, and fantastic daily entertainment.  From the grand Neptune Lounge, which hosts lectures and live shows, and the Coral Club, with its resident bands and large dance floor, to the welcoming Morning Light Pub and the intimate Observatory Lounge, there's a venue to suit every occasion on board Braemar. Spend time at the fully-equipped Fitness Centre, indulge yourself at the Atlantis Spa, relax in the pools or Jacuzzi or feel the sea breeze on a walk around the ship's open promenade. 

On board facilities also include two swimming pools, a fitness centre including a sauna, steam room and beauty salon, two sun decks, Jacuzzis, several lounges and bars, a card room, small casino, library, coffee shop, internet room and restaurants. The ship has a medical centre, a boutique, a shop where you can buy essentials such as sun cream or toiletries, and there is also a self service laundrette and ironing room on board.

All guest cabins are are equipped with climate control, an interactive smart TV, hairdryer, desk, phone, fridge (which can be stocked as a mini-bar) and tea and coffee making facilities as standard.  Allocated cabins will be an inside cabin unless you have paid a supplement to upgrade. 

Your cabin steward will keep your cabin in immaculate condition, replacing any linen or towels as or when required. Separate towels are provided for poolside use. Braemar operates a satellite telephone system, with telephones in each cabin, and personal mobile phones enabled for international roaming should work on board. The voltage on board the Braemar is supplied at 220 volts (requiring a continental style 2-pin plug).

Payment on board is in Sterling, and a credit account system is operated on board allowing purchases to be charged to your account which must be settled at the end of your cruise.