One of the most magnificent aspects of the cruise experience became apparent to me as I was editing my video of last yearâ€™s Trans-Altantic cruise. The passengers take in a unique perspective of their destination when they arrive and depart their destinations at sea. My husband and I have always felt that the Sail-A-Way was the best part of a cruise. Most tropical cruises feature live pool side music during the sail-a-way, but during a cold weather cruises, where we had no party band or tropical heat, we have come to realize that the scenery makes that portion of the cruise most memorable.
Our last cruise brought us to many exciting destinations from Barcelona to the Canary Islands, and then on to St. Maarten, and San Juan. We departed Barcelona during the last week of November and continued the cruise for two weeks into December. Much of this cruise featured cool weather. Despite leaving Madeira and Lanzarote in somewhat cold and overcast weather, I placed my video camera on a tripod on our aft balcony and just let it run as we sailed off into the sunset. What I noticed when we departed and also when I reviewed the video is the interesting way that as we sailed away from the islands more and more beauty was revealed. As the island got smaller and smaller, I recalled all the activities of the day and tried to locate the places in town or in the mountains where we had visited during the day. I felt like I was seeing the familiar sights of the day from a new perspective that allowed me to relive the beautiful things we had seen all at once.
In Madeira, we had walked all around the town, and then taken a taxi to the mountain suburb of Monte. From there we took the islandâ€™s famous wicker toboggans half way down the mountain. From the harbor we could see just how far we had traveled on foot during the day. No wonder our feet and legs were so tired. The sunset lighting lit up the islands from the West, splashing dramatic shadows across the mountain island.
Our arrival and departure in Lanzarote was equally dramatic. My husband was shocked as he saw the volcanic dunes of this desert isle rising from the sea on the morning of our arrival. After our day at the Timanfaya National Park, also known as Tierra del Fuego, we really appreciated the stark beauty of this incredible place. The island receives so little rain that the very little vegetation grows, and though the last major eruption took place in the 1730â€™s, the island seems to only have risen from the sea just yesterday.
Our final stop on that cruise before crossing the Atlantic was the island of La Palma. This particular day was rather cold and rainy so we didnâ€™t even get off the ship. However, the dramatic change of scenery as we departed that day is some of the most memorable of the cruise. The weather had begun to change and as the sun moved down the horizon it popped out from underneath the clouds and dramatically lit the west side of the island as we sailed past. No land vacation could have duplicated this beautiful site.
It seems that the view from the ship has been the best part of many of our cruises. How could we forget the spectacular scenery from our Mexican Riviera cruise. As we left Puerto Vallarta, the expanse of the beach became more apparent and the dramatic scenery of the hotel architecture backed by steep mountains created a picture that could not be see nor imagined from the shore. We could pick out the resort hotel where we had visited friends and the bay where we took a snorkel excursion on our previous visit. In Hawaii, our visit offered one of the most unique volcanic viewing experiences. Our day on the big island was highlighted by our visit to Volcanoes National Park, but that visit did not include any viewing of the lava flows because of the extensive hike required to reach them. However, our cruise ship sailed around the island at night, giving us the opportunity to see â€œNatures Fireworksâ€ from the sea. One of my favorite parts of our Alaska cruise was our departure from Vancouver. As we sailed away from the big city the sky scrapers became smaller and smaller, and the dramatic British Colombian mountains rose more and more to dominate the horizon. Another highlight for many during their Alaskan cruises is the opportunity to view tidewater glaciers from the perspective of the sea. Vacationers can visit all of these places with and land based vacation, but unless they book a sunset cruise or ocean excursion, they will never get to see these spectacular destinations from this perspective.
During your next cruise be sure to position yourself where you can watch your destination port disappear from the horizon as you depart. It will create a memorable experience that will be with you for a lifetime.
Be sure to click on the highlighted text at the top of this article or visit our video gallery to see the first of our many videos from this Trans-Atlantic Cruise and our many other cruises.