Funchal is situated on sheltered hillsides that overlook a wide bay, and is the capital of Madeira. This bustling city with mosaic pavements, narrow cobbled streets, outside cafes and bars, features various markets selling local produce. Cruise ships berth within view of the centre - it's about a 20-minute walk to the centre and a little more to the cable car. There are taxis available and sometimes a free ferry service across the dock. The seafront area features several floating restaurants.
Visitors can take the modern cable car up to picturesque Monte to see the Church of our Lady and then take wicker-work toboggan ride down previously cobbled streets. A taxi is needed to visit the Botanical Gardens. These tranquil gardens are laid out on terraces with views of Funchal and Ribeira de Joao Gomes Gorge. From Funchal tourists can visit the small fishing village of Camara de Lobos, the 2nd highest sea cliff in the world at Cabo Girao, or Riveira Brava, high up into the clouds to Encumeada, Sao Vicente, Pico do Arieiro, Santo da Serra.
Madeira is often described as the "Island of Eternal Spring." Situated off the coast of Morocco, Funchal is Portugal's other world. Entirely volcanic in origin, the peaks of Madeira stretch out of the sea from "valleys" in the ocean depths. The volcanic soil combines with mild climate to produce an abundance of green and multicolored vegetation. Along Madeira's centre runs a mountain chain providing a spectacular contrast to the fertile coastlands where principal crops like sugarcane, grapes and bananas flourish. Terraces of farmland extend into the hills and add tiers of green beauty to the landscape.
Madeira Airport Cristiano Ronaldo (aka Funchal Airport) is named after the Madeira-born football player. The international airport is located approx 13 km (8 ml) east-northeast of Funchal and serves mostly flights to European large-city destinations, mainly due to island's importance as vacation travel destination.
By annual traffic, Funchal Airport is ranked Portugal's 4th busiest (after Lisbon, Oporto and Faro-Algarve) and is operated by country's airport authority company ANA Aeroportos de Portugal. Regularly scheduled flights connect daily to UK (London, Bristol, Manchester), Germany (Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Leipzig, Hannover, Munich, Stuttgart), France (Paris, Lyon, Nantes, Bordeaux, Marseille), Belgium (Brussels), Portugal (Lisbon, Ponta Delgada Azores), Spain (Canaries, Bilbao, Madrid), Switzerland (Basel, Zurich, Geneva), Italy (Milan), Luxembourg City.
In August 2016, a wildfire through the Madeira island affected some of the cruise itineraries with included visit to Port Funchal. P&O Cruises cancelled the Azura ship's August 11 call at the port, replacing it with a day at sea. The wildfire was caused by the August's high temperatures and strong winds. It prompted the evacuation of over 1,000 (residents and tourists), destroyed around 40 homes near Funchal and killed 4 people. Due to the smoke, flights to and from Madeira Airport were also disrupted. The fire started on August 9 (allegedly by arson) at the S Roque parish. It quickly spread throughout the island's southern part and to Funchal.
On New Year's Eve (NYE / December 31, 2017), the port had docked a total of 10 cruise vessels celebrating here the new 2018 with a grand fireworks display. The ships included MS Balmoral (Fred Olsen), 3 AIDA ships (AIDAprima, AIDAsol, AIDAvita), Mein Schiff 2 (TUI), Columbus (CMV), Queen Elizabeth (Cunard), Horizon (Pullmantur), Ventura (P&O UK) and Marella Dream (Marella / Thomson). During NYE 2019, the cruise port reported a record day with 13 ships for the fireworks show - Balmoral, Columbus, Marco Polo (CMV), Amera (Phoenix Reisen), Saga Sapphire (Saga UK), AIDAcara, AIDAstella, Mein Schiff 3, Pullmantur Zenith, P&O Aurora, Cunard Queen Victoria, Marella Explorer, Ocean Majesty (Majestic International Cruises).
- Owned by Carnival Corporation and operated by AIDA Cruises, AIDAprima is supplied (bunkered) by Galp LNG. The liner has average daily consumption of 42.000 standard households. LNG for the ship was delivered via cryogenic cistern truck, maintaining the gas at very low temperatures. Port's LNG supply service is partnership with the Sousa-owned Gaslink company that specializes in transportation and logistics between mainland Portugal and Port Funchal.
- Galp Energia is Portugal’s only integrated oil and gas operator. The company specializes in oil and natural gas production and refining, marketing and sales, as well as power generation. In 2016, Galp Energia reported a turnover of EUR 15 million and Net income RCA EUR 537 million. The company employs around 6500 people, has active presence in 11 countries, operates 25 refineries and 1435S service stations.
- In seaports, Galp provides low emission bunker fueling through LNG supplies, having the capacity to refuel LNG-powered vessels at any seaport in Portugal. Logistics are via partnership with Grupo Sousa.
In July 2018 was inaugurated the weekly ferry service Madeira-Portugal mainland (between Funchal and Portimao). The service is provided by Naviera Armas (ferry company) and available during summer months only (through late-September). Ticket prices are between EUR 29 (Madeira residents) and EUR 85 (non-residents).
For New Year's Eve 2018, in Port Funchal docked 10 different cruise liners bringing over 34,000 tourists. The largest among the visiting on Dec 31 vessels were Queen Victoria (Cunard), Ventura (P&O UK), Marella Dream (Marella), AIDAnova (AIDA), Zenith (Pullmantur), Balmoral (Fred Olsen), Columbus and Marco Polo (CMV-Cruise and Maritime Voyages).
Funchal cruise terminal
Cruise ships to Madeira Island dock along a quay at Funchal port. The harbor is located at about 20-min walking distance from the town's center.
Port Funchal cruise ship schedule shows timetable calendars of all arrival and departure dates by month. The port's schedule lists all ships (in links) with cruises going to or leaving from Funchal, Madeira Island, Portugal. To see the full itineraries (ports of call dates and arrival / departure times) and their lowest rates – just follow the corresponding ship-link.
|4 May, 2020|
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