Island Hopping in the Azores

Island Hopping in the Azores

From GBP £4,995


Far out in the Atlantic, some 800 miles from the Portuguese coast, the nine islands of the Azores are known for their spectacular volcanic scenery, abundant flora and peaceful lifestyle. But, the appeal of this remote and unsophisticated archipelago is difficult to define in words. If you appreciate dramatic scenery, exploring islands where time appears to be standing still, watching for passing whales and learning about the local people and their customs, then this could be the voyage for you. The islands are also perfect for walking enthusiasts with paths through verdant mountain landscapes and we have included some hiking opportunities which, weather permitting, will be a joy for the keen walkers in our group.

Trip Name
Island Hopping in the Azores
Vessel Type: Small Ship Length: 87 metres Passenger Capacity: 107 (from Dec 2018 - 95) Built / refurbished: 1960 / 2013 / 2018 We are delighted to have had the MS Serenissima on long term charter since 2013. There are so few ships of her generation still cruising and the fact that she is is a great testament to her owners who invest considerable sums to keep her in top form. In December 2018, the vessel will once again undergo a significant refurbishment after which she will accommodate a maximum of just 95 guests. MS Serenissima is a charming vessel and one of her best known and loved features of this vessel is its unique style. During a major refit the then owners commissioned Swedish interior designers to create a Gustavian style interior. This bright Swedish 18th century influenced, country house style works particularly well on a vessel of this vintage, providing intimacy and classic nautical sensibility often lacking in larger vessels. The vessel is equipped with a fleet of Zodiac landing craft allowing us to visit remote places where normal tender arrangements are not possible. The European Captain, Officers, Expedition Staff, and crew offer a first class service and have been selected for their professionalism and caring attitudes. The atmosphere on board is warm and welcoming and dedicated to discovery and relaxation. AIR-CONDITIONING The ship is air conditioned throughout. Please note that only the Serenissima Suites have individually controlled air-conditioning. DAILY PROGRAMME A Daily Programme, detailing the following day’s arrangements as well as any specific information about the day’s activities is produced onboard and delivered to your cabin each evening during the turn down service. DINING, DRINKING AND DIETARY REQUIREMENTS The Venice Restaurant onboard serves international cuisine and accommodates all guests at a single open seating. Tables seat 4 to 10 diners. In addition, there is an outside dining area for when the weather and itinerary permit. Breakfast and lunch are both buffet style, dinner is waiter service only. Complimentary (red and white) house wine, beer and soft drinks are included with lunch and dinner. Bar drinks and other beverages with meals are not included; these may be purchased onboard and paid for at the end of your cruise. Complimentary tea and coffee are available between 07:00 hours and 23:00 hours at the tea and coffee station located in the Andrea lounge. Please advise of any special dietary requests in advance. DISABLED FACILITIES The ship can accommodate passengers with mobility restrictions and wheelchair dependent passengers in cabin 407, which has a wider door and no step into/out of the bathroom and shower area. There is a lift serving decks 3 to 6, but there is no stair lift. DOCTOR A medical doctor is available on board 24 hours a day. A fee is charged for any consultations and medication prescribed. Please ensure you carry adequate supplies of any regular medications you may require.  ELECTRICITY The electrical outlets in the cabins and public areas are 220V and take a two-round-pin plug (as in continental Europe). There is a 110/220V, 60Hz outlet for electric shavers in the bathroom. We recommend that you bring an international adaptor. GRATUITIES Gratuities to crew and whilst on excursions are included in the cost of your holiday. INTERNET The onboard library has a computer equipped for email/internet access and Wi-Fi access is available in public areas, although you will require your own laptop, tablet or smartphone, and charges apply – 100mb for €15 Euros, or 500mb for €25 Euros. Please note that connection is dependent on weather conditions and location. LANGUAGE All members of the crew speak English. MONEY The following payment methods are accepted for settlement of shipboard accounts: Cash (Euros or British Pounds), Credit Card (MasterCard, Visa, American Express), Debit Card (MasterCard and Visa). Please note that personal cheques and Travellers’ Cheques are not accepted. PUBLIC AREAS • Andrea Lounge (on Deck 5). The bar is open from 11.00 until 24.00. • Harald Jarl Lounge (on Deck 5). There is a small library here with books and games. There is also a computer for public use (charges apply for internet access) • Lido area (on Deck 5) with a Jacuzzi and fitness room with two running machines • Observation Deck (access from Deck 5 lido area) • Deck 5 and Deck 6 outside seating areas SNORKELLING Snorkelling equipment is kept onboard. Please note that there is no snorkelling from Zodiacs. All snorkelling stops will operate from a beach.  TELEVISION The ship is equipped with a satellite TV system which receives 15 channels. TV reception depends on the satellite dish and on occasion it may not be possible to receive a signal. There is one central video channel on which it is possible to listen to the lectures delivered in the Andrea Lounge. There is also a channel for the ship’s camera located in front of the ship. ZODIACS Some destinations may require the use of Zodiacs to go ashore. These are usually on expedition cruises though may sometimes be used on destination cruises.  PLEASE NOTE: Deck plan varies for 2019 cruises, no inside cabins.


Day 1 - Day 1 - London to Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel, Portugal.
Fly by scheduled flight. Arrive this afternoon and transfer to the MS Serenissima for embarkation. Enjoy welcome drinks and dinner as we sail this evening.
Day 2 - Day 2 - Santa Maria.
Today’s planned itinerary includes visits to the remote settlements of Sao Laurenco and Maia, known for vineyards which rise steeply up high sea cliffs in terraces. This coastline is accentuated by a dramatic waterfall, lava tube caves, seabirds and marine life. Time and conditions permitting, the MS Serenissima will continue its circumnavigation of Santa Maria and cruise around the Formigas (or Ant Islands).
Day 3 - Day 3 - Terceira.
This morning explore Angra do Heroismo, a charming UNESCO heritage town with a distinct Mediterranean flavour of cobblestone streets with a certain quiet charm. Enjoy a walking tour that takes in the Misericorda church, Convent do Sao Francisco, public gardens and museum. In the afternoon there will be free time to hike to Monte Brasil, offering wonderful views over the island, or alternatively relax and wander the historic town at your own pace.
Day 4 - Day 4 - Graciosa.
Known as the ‘White Island’, Graciosa has a gentle rolling landscape, dotted with windmills and traditional whitewashed houses. Visit Furna do Enxofre (‘Cave of Sulphur’), a geologically unique phenomenon and one of the original examples of the volcanic Azores, and take the winding stairway down to the magnificent volcanic cavern and lake. Also see the village of Santa Cruz and the charming Matrix church. Return to the ship for lunch and spend the afternoon at leisure to explore the small town of Vila da Praia.
Day 5 - Day 5 - Flores & Corvo.
Named after its abundant flora, Flores is often regarded as the prettiest of the Azores. A rugged terrain island with flowers growing in the deep canyons and waterfalls casting hues of blues and green as they splash down to the sea. Visit the vertical basalt cliffs of Rocha do Bordoes, formed by the cooling of lava. See a stunning array of natural features including calderas, fajas, rivers, waterfalls and valleys. This afternoon we will use our small ship to circumnavigate the tiny island of Corvo, the smallest island in the archipelago. If weather and sea conditions permit, we will try and make a landing by Zodiac and enjoy the peace of the island with walks in the small community or to the caldera.
Day 6 - Day 6 - Sao Jorge.
This largely rural island is of geographical interest with its cliff shoreline marked with flat fajas sweeping to the sea. We start our full day tour on the western part of the Island, Ponta dos Rosais, visiting a Forest Park and cheese factory. As we move to the north we enjoy the view over the Fajas, an area of flat land at sea level resulting from the erosion of cliffs. As we make our way to the south side towards Calheta we will stop for lunch at a local restaurant before continuing on to Urzelina to visit the remaining tower of a church buried under lava from the eruption of 1808. Now it is surrounded by fruit trees and vegetation. Upon our return to Velas we will take a walking tour of this charming old-world harbour town.
Day 7 - Day 7 - Pico.
Explore distinctive Pico, home to Portugal’s highest peak and numerous black lava flows. The UNESCO-designated Lajido Acros tells the story of early winemakers who used the volcanic soil for the grapes and, on a visit to a vineyard, we will enjoy a tasting of the local product. After a typical Azorean lunch we will learn about whaling life in the Azores at the Museum of Lajes returning to the ship via the Lagoa do Capitao offering views over the north of the island.
Day 8 - Day 8 - Faial.
Our day begins with an island drive where we explore the fairly recent volcanic activity at Ponta dos Capelinhos. See how a 1957-1958 volcanic eruption transformed the area and created a new land mass. Continue to the impressive Caldera, now a nature reserve, which is 400 metres deep and nearly 1500 metres in diameter. As we return to the ship we will see the botanical gardens which are devoted to the endemic plants of the Azores. Alternatively, if weather permits, we will arrange to hike the Caldera. This afternoon we enjoy a walking tour of Horta.
Day 9 - Day 9 - Sao Miguel.
Enjoy a full day exploring the island of Sao Miguel, known as Ilha Verde, the green island and home to some of the most stunning viewpoints in the Azores. This morning we head west towards the Sete Cidades volcano from where we can enjoy excellent views over the Lagos de Canarios. We will continue our drive along the attractive northern coast before arriving in the Furnas Valley, an enormous valley and luxuriant garden in the east of the island where we enjoy lunch. We will also visit the village of Furnas and the botanical gardens before returning to the ship and sailing this evening. For the keen hikers, if weather permits, we will arrange to walk the 13 kilometre trail in Sete Cidades.
Day 10 - Days 10 & 11 - At sea.
Join the lecture programme, find a spot on deck to watch for wildlife or enjoy a book in the library.
Day 11 - Day 12 - Lisbon.
Set on seven hills on the banks of the River Tagus, Lisbon has been the capital of Portugal since the 13th century. It is a city famous for its majestic architecture, old wooden trams, Moorish features and more than twenty centuries of history. Following disastrous earthquakes in the 18th century, Lisbon was rebuilt by the Marques de Pombal who created an elegant city with wide boulevards and a great riverfront and square, Praca do Comercio. Today there are distinct modern and ancient sections, combining great shopping areas with culture and sightseeing in the Old Town, built on the city’s terraced hillsides. During your tour enjoy an informative commentary on a relaxing drive through the town seeing the Monument to the Discoveries and Belem Tower as well as the famous Jeronimos Monastery. Enjoy dinner on board as we moor overnight.
Day 12 - Day 13 - Lisbon to London.
Disembark this morning and transfer to the airport for our scheduled flight to London.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
11-04-201923-04-2019GBP £0Standard Single
11-04-201923-04-2019GBP £0Standard Stateroom
11-04-201923-04-2019GBP £0Classic Stateroom
11-04-201923-04-2019GBP £0Superior Stateroom
11-04-201923-04-2019GBP £0Deluxe Stateroom
11-04-201923-04-2019GBP £0Junior Suite
11-04-201923-04-2019GBP £0Owners Suite
11-04-201923-04-2019GBP £0Serenissima Suite


    • Visit Graciosa Island, the second smallest island in the archipelago and the most northern of the central group. Explore the highlights of the island, discover Santa Cruz and walk around the beautifully paved town square.
    • Discover Terceria Island which is known as a dynamic island and is the second most inhabited in the archipelago. Enjoy nice views of the pretty town of Angra do Heroismo.
    • Enjoy a full day exploring the island of Sao Miguel, known as Ilha Verde, the green island and home to some of the most stunning viewpoints in the Azores.