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  • After lunch we had free time in the afternoon in the delightful surroundings of Vila da Praia.



    Some found a sunny sheltered spot to relaxed onboard...



    ...while others, heading towards the old windmills, set off to walk around the town.

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    • This port had already turned out to be a marvellous location to take photos of the ship, the weather contributed magnificently, and there would be more opportunities to come during my afternoon walk!



      Variations of light and the interplay of sun and shadow seemed to emphasise the lush green of the landscape.


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      • On my way towards the windmills I paused to turn and look back at Serenissima, and once again this presented me with a favourite photo! ...not only of our dear ship but surely illustrating in general the essence of small-ship cruising .

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        • Can you take more!!!!!
          ...despite the delights of the windmills, the whitewashed houses and picturesque streets, the church and the bakery, I was drawn repeatedly to look across the water at Serenissima.

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            • Eventually it was time to return to the ship.


              That evening was the Captain's drinks party and welcome dinner. There was a whole succession of courses before the main and among them a simply exquisite slant on a fish mousse or terrine - a kind of Asian fusion of taste and contrasting soft and crispy textures.


              A very yummy and photogenic souffle!


              I also photographed and drank this local Azores dessert liqueur, another example of the new crew's efforts and interest in local specialities and produce.

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              • During dinner something remarkable happened.

                I had just taken a place at a table for four by the window and, glancing casually out across the sea between conversation, suddenly had a double-take, a 'can't believe my eyes' moment. But the surreal impression was real - the peak of the volcano Pico caught in the evening light above a layer of cloud!

                The ship was sailing a considerable distance from that island, also called Pico, which we wouldn't visit for some days, but the dormant volcano's cone rises to 2351m above sea level. (It's the highest mountain in Portugal and also the highest elevation of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge by the way!) There was a ripple of amost hypnotic silence along the length of the dining room as the guests at table after table saw what others were looking at, and then followed murmurs of wonderment. Comparisons were made with sightings of Japan's Mount Fuji, much in Portugal's favour! Then comings and goings for cameras, but I think I had already captured the best of moments. A sublime end to a memorable day.

                Last edited by Seagull; April 21st, 2017, 07:54.

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                • Superb pictures. #1157/3 and #1158/1 as well as #1159 show the elegance of these ships. In my opinion this class of HRG ships is a masterpiece in ship design.
                  And yes, #1162 is showing a magic moment! Thank you so much for sharing.

                  Serving local food is a perfect option and should be in most cases not more expensive than storing and cooling "standard food" for a whole cruise. I am not able to comment the change of the crew, because i don't know about the situation before. In this case, when a cost reduction is combined with an improvement in service and quality, it is hard to argue against it.
                  Lofoten '07 ...... Nordnorge '11

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                  • Beautiful images of a true beautiful veteran vessel... she looks almost pristine with the green backdrops!

                    - PS: And that souffle does look absolutely delicious.... I haven't had a souffle since my days in Crystal Cruises!
                    With best regards from Jan-Olav Storli

                    Administrator and Owner of CaptainsVoyage.
                    Main page: http://www.captainsvoyage.com
                    Old forum: http://captainsvoyage.7.forumer.com/
                    Join us: Save the "Kong Olav" on facebook

                    Surround yourself with positive, ethical people who are committed to excellence.

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                    • Seagull
                      Seagull commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Captain, so pleased you like my photos of ship AND souffle. - the other food I recollect you mentioning from those days past was escargots. During my most recent trip on Serenissima, they also appeared on the menu! Yummy

                  • Day 4 - 20th April 2016 - Lajes das Flores, Flores island, and Corvo island.


                    Arriving at sunrise



                    The pilot boat Diogo de Teive accompanied the ship into the port of Lajes das Flores

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                    • View towards the open sea



                      The guys have got used to me (and my camera) looking towards the crew area aft on deck 4.

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                      • Disembarking for a morning excursion



                        We returned to the ship for lunch.

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                        • In the afternoon Serenissima set sail for the island of Corvo, the remotest, smallest and northernmost island of the Azores, which you can see on the horizon in this view from deck 4


                          Approaching Vila do Corvo, the only settlement on the island.

                          As we got closer, it became apparent that the considerable swell would prevent our landing in the zodiacs. It was not surprising - weather conditions regularly disrupt the island's sea connections to Flores, a very small boat which operates one or two days a week as passenger ferry and the local cargo boat. By air, flying conditions to the exposed 800m runway can also be challenging.

                          To my delight, it was decided that we would circumnavigate the island, which gave an excellent impression of the geology of the coastal cliffs and, in the changeable weather, dramatic scenery.

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                          • Once again the ship had a hurtigruten feeling about it, and guests were sitting outside on the aft deck with cameras and binoculars and hot drinks.



                            The afternoon was also an oppottunity for spending time on the bridge.
                            Captain Etien Bonačić is on the right of the photo.

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                            • Ralf__
                              Ralf__ commented
                              Editing a comment
                              What a wonderful time you had! It is indeed a hurtigrutel feeling while watching the pictures. Independent from the destination you feel really at home on this ship. I habe so often read that when reading cruise reports. On serenissima i would feel the same.

                          • So awesome to be able to join you for the journey through your superb images.

                            The ship is pristine, she is such an elegant ship and such a far cry from the modern block-ships of today. She is a treasure indeed.
                            With best regards from Jan-Olav Storli

                            Administrator and Owner of CaptainsVoyage.
                            Main page: http://www.captainsvoyage.com
                            Old forum: http://captainsvoyage.7.forumer.com/
                            Join us: Save the "Kong Olav" on facebook

                            Surround yourself with positive, ethical people who are committed to excellence.

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