Funchal - Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)

Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)



Berlitz’s Ratings

Ship: 275 out of 500

Accommodation: 113 out of 200

Food: 236 out of 400

Service: 244 out of 400

Entertainment: 58 out of 100

Cruise: 221 out of 400

Overall Score: 1147 out of 2000

Funchal Statistics

Size: Small Ship

Tonnage: 9563

Lifestyle: Standard

Cruise Line: Portuscale Cruises

Former Names: none

IMO Number: 5124162

Builder: Helsingor Skibsvog (Denmark)

Original Cost: n/a

Entered Service: Oct 1961/May2013

Registry: Madeira

Length (ft/m): 503.6/153.5

Beam (ft/m): 62.5/19.0

Draft (ft/m): 20.6/6.4

Propulsion/Propellers: diesel (7,356kW)/2

Passenger Decks: 6

Total Crew: 155

Passengers (lower beds): 493

Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 19.3

Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 3.1

Cabins (total): 244

Size Range (sq ft/m): 102.2-252.9/9.5-23.5

Cabins (for one person): 5

Cabins (with private balcony): 0

Cabins (wheelchair accessible): 0

Wheelchair accessibility: None

Cabin Current: 220 volts

Elevators: 3

Casino (gaming tables): Yes

Slot Machines: Yes

Swimming Pools: 1

Hot Tubs (on deck): 0

Self-Service Launderette: No

Dedicated Cinema/Seats: No

Library: Yes

Onboard currency: Euros


A classic older ship with much onboard character

Overview. Funchal suits couples and single travelers seeking a first cruise aboard a small vintage ship with lots of character and charm, at a very reasonable price. Portuscale Cruises, the new owning company, was introduced to the cruise industry in 2013.

The Ship. Funchal has a classic 1960s small-ship profile with well-balanced, rounded lines; it is one of only a few ships left in service with a real riveted hull. It has good teak wood decks, including one outdoor deck with sheltered promenades, although they don’t completely encircle the ship.

Originally built as the Portuguese Presidential Yacht, a dual-purpose mail/passenger ship, it was rebuilt as a one-class cruise ship in 1972-3 and has since undergone regular refurbishments. The interiors benefit from some fine woodwork, heavy-duty fittings, and intricate wrought-iron stairways. One deck houses the main public rooms, the most popular of which is the Porto Bar, which really is reminiscent of a classy 19th-century gentleman’s club.

Funchal may be old but looks quite splendid after its extensive 2012-3 renovation, and has been nicely refreshed throughout, including all-new cabins. While it cannot be compared to the latest brand new, larger ships, Funchal has a delightful character and charm, and lots of human touches that the large resort ships have lost. The feeling of camaraderie and friendliness from the loyal crew, some of whom have been aboard the ship for many years, offsets some of the hardware negatives.

Accommodation. The cabins are compact but with tasteful decor, and come in both twin- and double-bedded configurations.

Each has a private bathroom, and there is just enough closet and drawer space. All bathrooms are typically provided with soap, shampoo, shower cap, shoeshine, sewing kit, and bathrobe (suites only).

Dining. There are two tastefully decorated dining rooms, Lisboa and the smaller Coimbra. Both have ocean-view picture windows on port and starboard sides. There is one seating, and tables are for four, six or eight (there are none for two). The food is European in style - it includes plenty of fresh fish - and is quite good. The wine list includes Portuguese wines (from the owner’s own vineyards) at modest prices.

Entertainment. The Ilha Verde Lounge is an H-shaped showlounge. The room has a flat floor, and several thin pillars inhibit the sight lines to the floor-level stage from some seats (better from the raised sections at the back). As this is a small and older vessel, entertainment is a low priority (think cabaret rather than production shows).

Spa/Fitness. There is a small wellness centre, which includes a beauty/hair salon, male and female changing cubicles, fully-tiled hammam (wet sauna), two massage rooms, and a fitness area with kinesis wall and other muscle-training equipment (with an ocean view over the ship’s stern).