A Record Season in the Harbour of Funchal

Cruise ships are expected to make 280 stopovers.


This year, the cruise winter season will start earlier, on the 1st of September, with the arrival of the first regular cruise.

Similarly to previous years, AIDAcruises will open its cruise winter season with AIDAsol calling in at Funchal on the 1st of September. This is the ship that will be visiting the island every Tuesday until the 26th of April.

Calling in at Madeira 35 times, AIDAsol is expected to be the ship with the most stopovers at the island.

In November this tour operator will strengthen its cruises in the Canary Islands by introducing AIDAblu, AIDAsol’s twin, with a capacity of 2550 passengers; a ship that will be visiting our island every Monday until the 11th of April.

After AIDAblu finishes its season it will be AIDAcara’s turn to start cruising the Canaries throughout the summer and winter of 2016.

In total, AIDAcruises will stopover at Funchal 60 times, one them a debut.

Regarding Thomson Holidays, whose focus is on the British market, Thomson Majesty is set to be the first stopping over at Madeira, on the 12th of November, the last cruise, being set to call in at Madeira on the 28th of April, finishing the season slightly later than in previous years.

With a capacity of up to 1700 passengers, Thomson Majesty will have a total of 25 stopovers meaning that it has the potential to bring 42500 passengers to Funchal over the entire season.

A novelty from Thomson Holidays is that, unlike in other years in which their ship came to Funchal on Mondays together with ships from AIDA, this season, Thomson Majesty will come to Funchal every Thursday, in the same schedule from previous years.

Starting November 3, fortnightly, until early April, TUI Cruises’ Mein Schiff 4 will visit us on Tuesdays, while Mein Schiff 3 will stopover in April during a positional cruise. In total, ships from TUI Cruises will call in at Funchal’s harbour 13 times. In other words, between Mein Schiff 3 and Mein Schiff 4, TUI Cruises may bring up to 2750 passengers to Madeira.

As has happened in the last few seasons, Mein Schiff 4 will visit the harbour of Funchal fortnightly on Tuesdays and remain there overnight until 2p.m. Wednesday.

From late September to November, MSC Cruises will have MSC Splendida doing five cruises sailing the Mediterranean which can be embarked in Funchal. Until the end of the year, joining MSC Cruises’ other ships calling in at Funchal will be MSC Opera (sailing the Canaries from Genoa) and MSC Fantasia.

Among this firm’s 19 stopovers at Funchal are MSC Fantasia, MSC Splendida, MSC Divina, MSC Opera, MSC Sinfonia and MSC Orchestra.

In regards to Norwegian Cruise Lines, it should be noted that this operator now has a ship with double the capacity sailing the Canaries. A ship that Funchal will be seeing very frequently, the Norwegian Epic.

Throughout eight months, the North-American Norwegian Cruise Lines will call in at Funchal’s harbour 9 times, the Norwegian Jade stopping over two times, and the Norwegian Epic 7. The Norwegian Spirit is also expected in May.

Tour operators such as Fred will also be visiting our island during the high season – September to April – though not with the same itinerary for the whole season.

The same happens with Olsen Cruise Lines (15 stopovers), P&O Cruises (21), Costa Grociere and Royal Caribbean (8) and Celebrity Cruises, who will be visiting us six times.
The busiest month in this high season will be November, with 57 expected stopovers, followed by April 2016, with 51 stopovers, and December, with 48.

What makes this season so exciting for ship-lovers is the amount of encounters between ships belonging to the same companies, something that should happen 4 times.

The first encounter will be between the Arcadia and the Oceana on the 30th of October. On the 2nd of November, Black Watch will meet Braemar and then, on the 13th of November, it will be MSC Opera and MSC Splendida. Finally, on the 27th of November, Ventura and Oceana, belonging to P&O Cruises, will both be at the harbour of Funchal.

Concerning debuts, this season will have the first stopovers by Mein Schiff 4, on the 2nd of October, Maggelan (for the first time) on the 2nd of November, Aegean Odyssey, on the 9th of November, AIDAmar on the 29th of February and Le Lyrial on the 12th of April.

Thirty seven cruises are expected to stay overnight at the harbour of Funchal.

The day the harbour will be most occupied throughout the 9 months will be the 31st of December, with the gathering of 10 ships.

Three ships are expected for the 27th of October, Britannia (4200 passengers), Celebrity Reflection (2900 passengers) and AIDAsol (2550 passengers).

November is going to be one of the best months: on the 2nd Seven Seas Mariner (760 passengers), Braemar (977 passengers), Black Watch (900 passengers) and Magellan (passengers) will visit the harbour of Funchal.

November will have Queen Elizabeth, Azamara Journey, Silver Spirit and Horizon, as well as Rhapsody of the Seas (2416 passengers), MSC Splendida (4100 passengers) and AIDAsol (2550 passengers) reaching the harbour of the island’s capital.

Great affluence is also expected for April. On the 5th Funchal will have Eurodam (2300 passengers), Mein Schiff 4 (2750 passengers), AIDAsol (2550 passengers) and Horizon (1750 passengers) in its bay. On the 12th, there will be four ships (AIDAsol, Nathional Geographic Explorer, Le Lyrial, and Rotterdam), and on the 14th again four ships (AIDAcara, Thomson Majesty, Pacific Princess and Costa Magica).

Regarding the golden island, a visit by the Voyager is expected for the 5th of November as is one from the Prinsedam, on the 16th of November and one from the Amadea, for the 24th of April.

Though the figures for the passengers that each ship is going to bring to Funchal are unknown, bearing in mind the total capacity of all ships, 500.000 passengers are expected.