Ship Visit to FUNCHAL
(Classic International Cruises)
Falmouth - Saturday 1st May 2010
Report by Harry Spong
On a fine morning in May, eight members of the Ocean Liner Society met up at the entrance to Falmouth Docks in anticipation of a visit to the Portuguese cruise liner FUNCHAL. Falmouth is situated in far south west England in the county of Cornwall and some members had travelled considerable distances to partake in the first Society visit to a cruise ship for some time.
Just before 11.00am we boarded the FUNCHAL and were immediately offered refreshments in the Porto Bar which is situated on the Promenade Deck. Needless to say everybody opted for a tea or coffee, the bar menu was in Swedish and by the time we had translated it the tea and coffee had arrived. After a short speech of welcome from the Hotel manager we found ourselves in the very capable hands of Zanja the Housekeeping Manager who hailed from Riejka in Croatia. After handing out a brochure about FUNCHAL and the four other ships in the fleet of Classic International Cruises, she gave us a short history of the career of the FUNCHAL.
The ship was built at Helsingor in Denmark in 1961 and even though her owners have changed over the years she still retains her original name. The FUNCHAL is best described as a classic cruise liner of approx 9,500tons gross, 152 metres length, 19 metres beam and capable of 16 knots. She can accommodate 602 passengers but normally carries about 500. There are 244 cabins including 10 suites arranged over five decks. On this particular cruise a circumnavigation the British Isles the ship had left Gothenburg in Sweden two days previously and Falmouth was her first port of call, unusually our visit took place on a non turnaround day and for this we thank Classic International Cruises for allowing us on board.
After coffee we set of on what turned out to be a very comprehensive tour of the ship. Azores Deck (Deck Four) has mixture of cabins and is also the restaurant Deck. The ship has two restaurants, the Lisboa and the Coimbra, the main restaurant is Lisboa and the smaller Coimbra is used for private functions such as birthdays and corporate events. Zanja our guide was able to show us every type of cabin from the cheaper cabins situated on Estoril Deck to the larger suites located on Azores Deck. All the cabins were well fitted with all the usual facilities. After touring the cabins we took a look at the Show Lounge, the Club Lounge, the small Internet room and the various bars. A tour of the outer decks followed, the ship has plenty of deck space and has real wooden decks. Our next stop was the Bridge fitted with a real steering wheel, not a joytstick in sight, and then to lunch in the Lisboa Restaurant. The food and service was excellent and the wine flowed freely but as most of our party were driving we imbibed sparingly. All too soon our visit was over and it was time to leave the FUNCHAL. On our way out of the docks one of the passengers stopped us and said that her fellow Swedish passengers thought we were joining them on the Cruise, unfortunately we were not.
My wife and I watched the FUNCHAL sail from Falmouth at 5.00pm bound for Cobh in Ireland. The ship is a classic, full of happy crew and contented passengers and I am sure all of us wished we were sailing on her. Thank you to Peter for arranging the visit which was enjoyed by us all.
Restaurant images ©2010 Peter Godliman - All other images ©2010 Ian Boyle