I’m a huge island fan, so I was very intrigued by this guest post by Ali Renn about the Canary Islands. I hope you’ll find it interesting too.
A cruise to the Canary Islands has to be the perfect winter escape. In order to enjoy the best of the British weather, many people purposefully choose to go on holiday later in the year, whilst for others, the build up to Christmas somehow eases them into winter and a cosy evening indoors by the fire can often make the wind and rain seem more bearable. However, once the festivities are over, the dark, wet mornings begin to feel relentless and we all start to crave some sunshine. P&O Cruises has a wide range of cruises from Southampton to the Canaries available during the winter months, so if the miserable weather leaves you feeling down, why not consider ditching your raincoat and reach for your summer wardrobe instead?
The seven Canary Islands, dotted approximately 70 miles off the coast of Morocco, are bathed in sunshine all year round; even in the so called ‘winter’ months, temperatures rarely drop below 22°C. The diversity of the landscape will become apparent as your cruise ship sails into port and you take in the drama and majesty of the scenery appearing before you. Forget about these islands being good for the package holiday – there’s so much more to them than just beach resorts; whatever your interests, a day ashore any one of the islands will not disappoint. You could be hiking across fields of petrified lava, strolling through pretty whitewashed villages and verdant vineyards, or sunbathing on one of the many brilliant black and white sand beaches. The Canaries are also home to four of Spain’s seven major national nature reserves, with the volcanic crater of Mount Teide on Tenerife and Lanzarote’s Timanfaya National park being just two. With each of the Canary Islands having something truly different to offer, they are the perfect location for cruising and an extremely popular destination for those searching out some winter warmth (click here for more info on Canary Island cruises).
All of our Canary Island cruises last 12 to 14 nights and sail roundtrip from Southampton; this is great as it means that as long as each piece weights no more than 20kg and it all fits comfortably in your cabin, there will be no limit on the amount of luggage you can bring! With no long wait at the airport and no exhausting flight to endure, boarding a ship is a breeze compared to boarding a plane. Your bags will be whisked away and delivered to your cabin, so your holiday can begin from the moment you step on board; explore your new surroundings or grab a bite to eat, whatever you fancy. Those winter blues will drift away before you’ve even left Southampton!
During your cruise, you’ll sail leisurely around the Canary Islands and could be visiting destinations including:
Tenerife: The largest of the Canary Islands and the most populated island in Spain, Tenerife has a varied landscape of snow capped mountains, vast pinewoods and long stretches of glorious beaches. It is definitely worth taking a wander through Santa Cruz; once a fishing village, this bustling port now features many cosmopolitan bars, restaurants and charming boutiques. However, a trip to the Pico de Teide should be on the top of your “to do” list – this splendid mountain is the highest peak in Spain and dominates Tenerife’s horizon; surrounded by a moonscape of rock formations, it’s a fantastic place to walk.
Gran Canaria: With the picturesque courtyards of the old quarter and the Sahara-like sands of Maspalomas, Gran Canaria has something for everyone. Bandama, an extinct volcano set 1,900 feet above sea level, offers panoramic views over the island whilst the flamboyant displays of tropical plant life, birds and fish at Palmitos Nature Park are a must-see. The capital city, Las Palmas, is good for shopping, has a fantastic choice of beaches and many sights of historical and architectural interest. In order to see as much as possible, consider taking the Las Palmas by Bike shore excursion – you’ll break free from the crowds and cycle through the cobbled streets amongst the people, culture and traditional architecture.
Lanzarote: Popular with sun-worshippers, Lanzarote has an average annual rainfall of just 140mm and enjoys year-round sunshine. If you can tear yourself away from the volcanic red, black and white sand beaches, be sure to explore the island’s spectacular lunar-like landscape, best seen from Fire Mountain in the Timanfaya National Park. The Jameos el Agua cave is just as fascinating; overlooking a saltwater lagoon, it’s home to a colony of white crabs, unique to the island.
La Palma: If your cruise includes a day ashore in La Palma, you’ll soon discover why it’s known as “the fair isle”. Explore the pretty harbour of Santa Cruz on foot and then stroll along the Avenida Maritime promenade towards the quaint old quarter near Plaza de Espana. Here you’ll find many magnificent pieces of architecture including a 16th century fountain and a stunning Renaissance church. The handicrafts market has an array of distinctive pottery and a selection of local delicacies to tempt you, and the island also has a spectacular volcanic crater, Caldera de Taburiente, where rare animal and plant life are in abundance.
Of course, with the range of itineraries available, your ports of call will differ, they will however typically include stops at Spain and Portugal too, and so you could be exploring the colourful island of Madeira, home to a breathtaking display of sub-tropical plants and flowers and discovering the rich and diverse cultural heritage of Lisbon and Seville (from Cadiz).
You have the option of sailing on a ship designed exclusively for adults, or on a family-friendly ship, but whichever you choose you can be sure it will have exciting and luxurious features designed to make your experience unforgettable. We can trace our roots back 175 years and so we know how to make a cruise really special.
You can expect superb food around the clock and a range of entertainment to suit all ages. On board Azura, for example, you’ll find an incredible choice of bars, restaurants and spa facilities as well as an art gallery, bookshop, library and shops. You could dance the night away on a beautiful dance floor, catch a West End style show in The Playhouse theatre, soak up the atmosphere in Manhattan, the New York inspired show lounge, or catch a film screening at the open air cinema, SeaScreen.
Your children will be spoilt for choice too – P&O Cruises provides a free of charge, on board children’s club called The Reef, which offers them a fun, safe place to play and meet new friends in age specific clubs. Staffed by enthusiastic, well-qualified Reef Rangers, you can leave your children here while you relax for a few child-free hours knowing they are safe and enjoying an action-packed adventure of their own. (Click here for more info about P&O Cruises on-board entertainment.)
For two weeks of respite from the dreary weather and a break from the constant whines of bored children who are unable to go out to play because it’s raining, a winter cruise to the Canaries has to be a tempting consideration!
Please visit www.pocruises.co.uk to find out more information.