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V28 - Christmas Madeira Island Sailing

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*Travellers must be between 14 and 80 years old on the date of sailing to be eligible for the trip.

Itinerary: Funchal – Porto Santo – Funchal

Dates: December 22 (Embark 16h00) - December 27 (Disembark 10h00)

Voyage highlights

  • A magical Christmas voyage aboard the Santa Maria Manuela
  • Trade long, cold winter nights and celebrate the ‘season of light’ in Madeira’s semi-tropical warmth
  • Share the festive spirit with both old friends and new
  • Set sail from Funchal’s historic volcanic shores
  • Enjoy hands-on sailing experience
  • Dive into the crystal-clear blue waters of Porto Santo, home to a breathtaking 9 km beach
  • Before or after the voyage, soak up the vibrant Christmas spirit of Funchal with its lively festive markets, live music and dazzling lights; the perfect complement to a magical voyage.

Voyage description

Escape the long cold winter nights and celebrate the ‘season of light’ in the semi-tropical warmth of Madeira on this magical Christmas voyage aboard the Santa Maria Manuela. Join us afloat and share the festive spirit in nautical style with old friends and new as we sail from the captivating island of Funchal to the picturesque anchorage and golden sands of Porto Santo. Upon our return, we navigate through the natural sanctuary of Ilhas Desertas before returning to Funchal for our Christmas feast and celebrations.

Funchal's renowned Christmas festivities await, offering warm sunny sailing, deep blue seas, and miles of sandy beaches—all awaiting your discovery on this voyage.

As we set sail eastward under the shadow of ancient volcanic Madeira, the Christmas lights of Funchal adorn the night sky, casting a magical glow over our journey. As we leave the lee of the island and the rolling swell begins to flow under our hull we get the first sense that we are indeed in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The water is so blue here that it almost seems the gods spilt a pot of ink when designing the archipelago.

During our short passage between the islands, you're invited to fully engage in all aspects of sailing, from helming to trimming sails and from navigation to going aloft. Porto Santo’s nine golden kilometres of pristine sand, bathed by the turquoise Atlantic waters, offer a breathtaking panorama. Anchoring before this beach, voted "the best dune beach" by '7 Wonders: Beaches of Portugal' in 2012 and said to have medicinal qualities, promises a rejuvenating experience. . After a dip in the tepid waters of Porto Santo, unwind amidst the sand dunes before returning to the ship for sundowners.

Leaving Porto Santo, we sail past the Ilhas Desertas Nature Reserve—three uninhabited islands in their purest state: Deserta Grande, Ilhéu Chão and Bugio. Home to the mystical Shearwater, which is known to nest on the rocky shores of this moon-scaped island, Desertas islands are home to a colony of Mediterranean monk seals, also known as sea wolves, the rarest seal in the world.

We arrive back in Funchal in time to celebrate Christmas night with a feast, sharing the festive cheer with fellow guests and crew under the glittering lights adorning the ancient volcanic slopes a truly magical backdrop for this special night.

When it comes to celebrating the Christmas season, Madeira’s intensity is unmatched. Allow time before or after the voyage to explore Funchal’s famous Christmas markets, with every building, tree and lamp aglow with festive lights and serenaded by live bands. Among Funchal’s unique seasonal offerings are the Presépios Christmas cribs which give a nod to the region’s deeply rooted Catholic faith.

Not in a rush to leave the party? Extend your stay and indulge in Funchal’s world-famous New Year’s Eve fireworks display, a spectacular finale to your Madeira experience.

While many destinations experience long, cold, and dark nights, the weather in Madeira boasts mostly sunny skies and pleasant temperatures year-round. Average temperatures typically hover around 20 degrees Celsius during December and January, making it especially ideal for avid outdoor enthusiasts.

When preparing for your voyage please bear in mind:

  • Your passport must have at least 6 months validity at the time of travel
  • The SMM is granted no flexibility for the embarkation and disembarkation times from the customs authorities
  • All guests must be between the age of 14 and 80 yrs at the time of travel