The Wonders of Madeira and the Canary Islands – Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Experience the colour and flamboyance of the worlds second-largest carnival
11-day expedition cruiseto Madeira and the Canary Islands during carnival season, taking in the celebrated carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
Discover the diverse nature and cultures of eight different islands, from Porto Santoss golden beaches to lush Madeira andscenicLa Palma.
Encounter picturesque trails, volcanic landscapes, UNESCO-listed habitats and world heritage sites on this unforgettable Atlantic island adventure.
Diverse island landscapes
Setting sail from Gran Canaria, our cruise takes in island of fire Lanzarote, verdant Madeira,La Isla BonitaLa Palma, the spectacular hiking trails of UNESCO-listed El Hierro and stunning Garajonay National Park in La Gomera.
Experience the colour and flamboyance of the Santa Cruz Carnival, second only to Rios famous celebrations. See the joyous highlight of the event, the Garan Coso Apotheosis, or join excursions to Teide National Park and its colossal centrepiece, El Teide.
Flight to Las Palmas
Your journey begins in the continent in miniature
Welcome to Gran Canaria an island that over time has seen its fair share of pirates, explorers and, more recently, geologists.
Head to the cobbled streets and old churches of Vegeuta, in the capital Las Palmas. Enjoy spectacular views over the city from the Cathedral of Santa Ana. Nearby is the volcanic basin Caldera de Tejeda, home to the sacred Roque Bentayga rock formation.
To see more of the island, join our optional Pre-Programme, which includes a trip to the impressive Bandama Crater. Then its time to board MS Spitsbergen, settle in and relax your expedition is underway.
Fire island of Lanzarote
Natural wonders, spectacular volcanic landscapes
Just 78 miles off the African coast, Lanzarotes spartan, desert-like landscape and eroded volcanic formations are a geologists dream.
Once a popular fishing port, Arrecife is now a charming, sun-kissed town. Explore the Old Towns whitewashed fisherman houses, 17th century church San Gins and 18th century Casa de los Arroyo.
Lanzarotes stunning beaches are a must-see. Head to the white sands of El Reducto beach, protected by natural reefs. Or join an optional excursion to discover Timanfaya National Park or famous Jameos del Agua lagoons and long lava tubes.
Carnival at Santa Cruz
Welcome to the worlds second-biggest carnival
Exploding in a riotous display of bright colours, hip-swaying beats and delicious smells, CarnavaldeSanta Cruz de Tenerife is an unforgettable experience.
Second only to Rios world-famous celebration, this friendly, safe and accessible UNESCO-listed carnival is a dazzling showcase of dancing, elaborate floats and decorated cars. Youll see the Carnival Queens inGran Coso Apoteosis, or Grand Carnival Parade, before a spectacular firework display.
Away from the lively, vibrant buzz of the carnival, you can join an optional excursion to the dramatic Teide National Park and El Teide, the worlds third-largest volcano.
Unwind and learn during a relaxing day at sea
Its time to get to know your ship, the Expedition Team and your fellow travellers as we spend a leisurely day sailing towards the Madeira archipelago.
Soak in the on-deck hot tubs, work up a sweat in the gym, enjoy a sauna or take in ocean views from our Explorer Lounge, cold drink in hand.
Dont miss the first of our Expedition Teams fascinating lectures on Madeiras history and wildlife, including birds and whales. Or learn about important conservation projects, like how locals are working to remove invasive plant species from the islands National Park.
A lush island rising from the sea
Our day in Madeira begins with an included tour, where well explore the quaint capital Funchal, before sampling the islands famed fortified wines.
See the beautiful wooden ceiling of Funchal Cathedral, head to the farmers market to try theananas-bananaor pineapple banana which only grows here, and take the cable car to the picturesque village of Monte for glorious views.
For something different, why not slide your way back down to Funchal incarros de cesto, wicker baskets with seats set on wooden skis. Or join an optional exursion to see the islands charming hamlets, set among terraced fields.
The sands of Porto Santo
History and nature on a small, golden island
As we approach Porto Santo, keep your binoculars handy for dolphins and seabirds including Corys Shearwaters, Northern Gannets and Bulwers Petrels.
Ashore, you can explore the palm-lined square of Largo de Pelourinho, including Christopher Columbus house, before sipping some vinho do Porto Santo in a friendly bar.
Youll also have the chance to help conserve the islands golden sands on an included beach clean-up. Or join optional walks to spectacular Ponta da Calheta or Pico do Castelo and Pico Branco. Why not drink from theFonte da Areia, said to guarantee eternal youth?
Return to Canary Islands
Learn more about the fascinating Canary Islands
From volcanic landscapes to centuries of history, youll want to learn more about the Canary Islands before we arrive back there. Our Expedition Team are on hand to help, with more lectures today in the Explorer Lounge on everything from local wildlife to vineculture.
Its also a great opportunity to reflect on your adventures so far, edit your photos and stroll on deck while looking out for whales, dolphins and seabirds.
Later, enjoy delicious local produce in one of our onboard restaurants, then end the day watching the sun set from the panoramic windows of the Explorer Lounge. Bliss.
La Palma: Isla Bonita
Discover beautiful Santa Cruz
Known asLa Isla Bonitaor The Pretty Island, La Palma is home to unspoiled pine and laurel forests, banana trees and palm groves.
Santa Cruz in La Palma is very different to the Santa Cruz we visited in Tenerife a few days ago. Head to the vibrant main street lined with magnificent Renaissance-era buildings with lavishly adorned plants and flowers, a fantastic example of Canarian architecture. Then explore the eccentric La Palma Island Museum set inside an old convent.
Hiking in La Palma is superb. Join us on an optional excursion to the volcanoes and spectacular Caldera de Taburiente National Park with walks among the best in the archipelago.
The beauty of El Hierro
Explore the youngest, smallest and westernmost Canary Island
With lava-sculpted rocks, flower-filled fields and shimmering natural pools, remote El Hierro is a truly remarkable island. No wonder UNESCO has classified it as a World Biosphere Reserve.
Walking is the best way to explore the island. On an optional excursion well visit the islands photogenic forests, meadows and volcanic formations, connected through criss-crossing trails.
As Hierro has no natural harbours, the islands settlements are all inland. Four miles from shore, you can wander the streets of the easy-going capital Valverde and soak up the traditional atmosphere.
Untamed La Gomera
The sights and sounds of historic Canaria
La Gomera isnt just the second smallest Canary Island, its also the most untamed, where youll find island life at its most authentic.
In San Sebastians Old Town, you can visit the Iglesia de la Virgen de la Asuncion, where Columbus and his crew are said to have prayed before setting sail.Then on to the Archaeological Museum to learn about the first settlers here.
The islanders developed a loud whistle calledel silbo to communicate over long distances a demonstration is always a highlight. Or why not join an optional hike through beautiful Garajonay National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Finish in Gran Canaria
Ending your journey in the most diverse of Canary Islands
Our expedition ends in Gran Canaria, exploring its dunes, subtropical valleys and picturesque pine forests.
With 60 miles of beach and almost620 milesof marked trails, the island is a paradise for walkers. Youll feel like you have this UNESCO Biosphere Reserve all to yourself.
Later, why not head to the cobbled streets and bright houses of Vegueta, Las Palmas Old Town? Or joining our optionalPost-Programme before heading home. Whateversnext, youll leave with incredible memories of the nature and culture of these unique islands.