Dear Friends and Customers,
Some sleepless nights have given me the chance to create another web-gallery, this time with the pictures of a three-hour visit on my beloved Portuguese passenger ship Funchal.
You can find pictures of her on
Unfortunately, I have no idea how to integrate text into this gallery. Therefore, here are some impressions and notes.
The ship is now owned by the newly-formed Portuguese "Portuscale Cruises", who seemingly understand that an old ship today is of some value for all real-ship-lovers.
But the first impression is a negative one, as the fantastic Danish styled reception disappeared as well as the beautiful spiral staircase close to it today being, for “security reasons”, walled in and wall-papered in a horrible fashion.
The same goes for the carpet and this fine old ship has now lost a lot of its character.
The interior was definitely not one of the most striking points of the Funchal in more recent times.
So the question must be asked, are some of the newly-designed rooms really a step backwards?
Such as of the debatable "Safari Bar", the forward lounge.
The dining room in contrast is dominated by Bordeaux-red and although being very light, it feels extremely cosy.
I found the new corridors very stylish.
Some of the old artwork is still in place, but most impressive is the fact that new pieces have been added - and not only that - they theme the ship itself in a fashion that bears a lot of likeness to Portugal, consisting of tiles as they do.
The best feature today is that the outer deck-spaces have been largely renovated and improved.
Although her original silhouette has only been spoiled a little, the passengers gain a lot more comfort and space on the open deck at the stern of the ship.
Even some more spiral-staircases have been installed framing the area there and creating a hint of a Sagafjord amphitheatre.
The Funchal has an open promenade on each side of the ship that are, as all essential decks should be, properly planked with freshly sanded wood.
The handrails are freshly sanded and covered with high-gloss varnish as well, the obvious sign of good maintenance.
I was moved to see that the old brass window frames at the forward part of the superstructure were sanded and varnished as well, in a most careful way.
The upper parts of the superstructure have not yet been properly renovated, so the funnel and the masts still appear to have rust that has been painted over, but I am sure that the crew will soon improve that to suit the general high level of overhaul.
The re-introduction of the old colour-scheme is something to die for!!
Even the addition of the scrolled P on the funnel, for some spectators felt to be elegant, for others absurd, does not really spoil the classic look of the ship now with its dark hull with white-red boot-topping.
By the way, the black of the hull is a very, very dark blue.
We were only given few hours on the Funchal and that was by coincidence.
I was so pleasantly surprised by this opportunity that I forgot to take pictures of the reception or to ask for access to some cabins.
I had no tripod with me, either, and the strong midday sun was fine for outside pictures, but inside, it spoiled the result with its harsh contrasts in light quality.
I think that the Funchal is the most beautiful active cruise ship, something I have felt since I first saw her in 1988.
For travellers like me, who want to be sure that the most beautiful ship in port is the one to return to after an excursion, she is the only choice for sure!
The interior is, in my view, somewhat lacking in theme, very often not understandable and it consists of some strengths and weaknesses which do not evoke an emotion worthy of the beauty and uniqueness of the vessel.
Therefore, on a cold grey day in the North Atlantic, it might be more attractive to be inside her running mate Azores. In the southern sun, Funchal’s open decks and sheltered promenades must be a real pleasure.
Finally, I am sure that her new owners do not think that the process of improving this fine and unique ship is complete.
But more important, the commercial success of the Funchal will be a criterion that can only be guaranteed in one way, by booking a trip on this outstanding ship created in the shadow of the Hamlet-castle on the north of Zealand in 1961, a ship that has never changed its name.