We have hit land! Yes, after 6 full days at sea, we arrived in our first port of call. Ponta Delgada is located on Sao Miguel Island. This was the view from our room when we arrived.
We had a full day port adventure booked through Disney Cruise Line (we did all of our port adventures through Disney Cruise Line). We met our guide, boarded our motor coach and we were off to our first stop of Riberia Grande. Just on the bus ride you could see how beautiful the island is and we hadn't even seen the best parts yet.
When we arrived in Riberia Grande, we had about a 25 minutes stop but our guide kept us together as a group and guided us around. He was very organized and kept everything running on time. He walked us through the city center that was established in the 1500s. He gave us some history of the buildings and the areas (which I should have written down because I don't remember it now). It was a beautiful and clean little town.
Our next stop was a tea plantation. Chris and I both agreed that we had never really thought about where tea comes from so we found this interesting. Again, our guide walked us through and showed us the machines that are used to dry and sort the tea leaves. We then at a little time to walk around, sample some tea which was available for free and take some photos.
On to stop number three, which was the botanical gardens. There were port adventures that spent a lot of time in this location. Our time here was just a brief stop in one area for pictures but it was my favorite stop on tour. We were very high and the views were amazing. The area was just beautiful
Stop number four was at the geothermal springs. Right in the middle of this little town is a whole series of hot springs.. like boiling hot. There were multiple signs warning you not to touch because it is boiling hot water. There is steam coming up from them as well in different spots. There is also a distinctive sulfur like smell as well. More about that later.
Our next stop was at Furnas Crater Lake where there are even more hot springs. In this area, pots are buried in the morning containing Portuguese stew and the stew is cooked by the heat from the springs underground. Around noon, the different restaurants come and dig up their pots and take them back to serve. You could see the different mounds where pots were buried and signs marking which restaurant that pot belonged to.
There was also a beautiful lake on the other side. We saw some ducks and big fish in the shallow end of the lake. The sulfur like smell was really strong and we wondered what that constant breathing in of that does to the wildlife there. There was no mention of issues so I guess it is ok or they are used to it. I know the smell was starting to get to me.
Our final stop was to go to a hotel that had a large banquet room where we would get to have a lunch of the Portuguese stew that was cooked underground like we just saw at Crater Lake. Servers came around with large trays and unless you asked for something different, they gave everyone "one of everything." Well, that sounded like a good idea because you would want to try a little bit of everything in the stew. But there was a lot of items in the stew and we all ended up with huge plates of food. There were potatoes, sweet potatoes, kale, cabbage, carrots, pork ribs, chicken, beef, chorizo,and blood sausage. And it all smelled like sulfur. Now thankfully, it didn't taste like that. For the most part, everything tasted ok. Most items were soft, as if you had cooked them in a crockpot. But there was so much food and the smell was getting to me. I only ate about half of my plate and most of the other people at my table did the same. I hated to see all this food wasted and I wish this had been set up as a buffet or maybe family style with large bowls so everyone could take what they wanted.
We ended with a dessert of sliced pineapple and some coffee and then we had a few minutes to walk around before boarding our bus to head back to the ship.
I really loved this city and port adventure. Ponta Delgada was beautiful. I felt that the port adventure gave us a great overview of a lot of aspects without feeling rushed. Our guide was great on keeping everything moving and he answered questions on the bus as well as providing information.
When we got back on board, we had a little time to relax and then it was time for our night time activities. The evening show was Greg Lonvini who was a violinist. He was definitely talented but 45 minutes was more than enough for me.
Our dinner was at Carioca's and we had the Season's menu.
I have been a huge Disney and travel fan since childhood. I love going to new places and, of course, heading to Disney as often as I can.