NCL Epic - Transatlantic Nov/Dec 2019 - Part 3 - Tenerife - Atlantic Crossing.

Day 9 Tenerife

Early morning and we are docked in the port of Santa Cruz Tenerife. As we have breakfast on the balcony watching the sun slowly rise up, yet another Aida vessel glides alongside to join us.

We are taking a 5 hour scenic tour bus from Santa Cruz with  several viewpoint stops as well as shopping & lunch in the resort  town of Puerto de la Cruz. Our route will take us through the lush,  green areas of the north side, where banana plantations are squeezed into the terraces 'nobody wants our ugly little bananas' said our guide, aw, really made us laugh. As we climb over the mountains to Puerto we're offered stunning views of Mount Teide standing 3718metres or 12198 feet, whose last eruption was 1909 thank goodness!

On the way we stop for traditional coffee and cakes at a hotel that has been created from an old monastery complex that is set among beautiful tropical gardens.

Puerto de la Cruz is a very attractive resort town fronted by a new stylish esplanade and row upon row of stylish restaurants and shops. Its the perfect place to stop in the midday heat for some shade and wonderful Tapas.

Its easy to see why this beautiful town has become so popular with European travellers as it offers culture, history, scenery and all the amenities you could possibly need including a vast lido. I could easily spend a week just relaxing here trying a different restaurant every day, they all look so tempting.

Tapas Lunch: we choose beautiful shrimp/prawns in a sesame infused batter and the local goat cheese breaded and served with a redcurrant glaze at the excellent seafood Restaurant La Cazuela. So good we order more as we sit people watching and chatting to family back home in the cold, whilst sipping cold beer and crisp white wine in the perfect 29 degree climate (84 farenheit!)

The Epic takes on more fuel in Tenerife to prepare for its 5 day crossing of the Atlantic. Our next landfall will be the British Virgin Island of Tortola - some 3100 miles to the south west. The weather outlook is good so hopefully we can spend a relaxing few days in the sun.

In fact its almost sunset by the time we leave on a warm still night watching the jagged mountains of the eastern tip of Tenerife slip into the distance.

Days 10-14 Crossing the Atlantic Ocean 

It has been quite non stop for the last 9 days so its great now to know that we have several days to recharge and relax as we cross the Atlantic. We are not very sure what the weather will have in store for us as we have only ever made Transatlantic crossings on the northern routes (Celebrity Eclipse: UK to Canada then NYC and NCL Jade: Amsterdam to Iceland to Canada)

You very quickly slip into the relaxing style of a TA crossing. I tend to wake early - something its hard not to do on a westerly crossing as  the clocks go back an hour each night. For exercise I prefer to walk around the Epics empty decks as the sun starts to rise. As each day takes us a little further South and West it is becoming noticeably warmer every morning.

After a few turns around the promenade decks (or the nearest thing that the Epic has to such a thing) its off to the calm quiet buffet to grab tea and toast which I take back to the cabin. You could have this delivered by room service but its nice to have a routine and a stretch of the legs.

Its hot and humid, a bit much for us Brits!and its December in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Thank goodness for air conditioning.

After breakfast our usual day begins with the journey up to the very front top deck of the Epic. Its a little bit of a semi-secret retreat accessed by an elevator in the great outdoors buffet area.

On the 3rd day at sea Capt Marco explains on his daily 11.00am update that we will be crossing the tropic of Cancer this afternoon - so its hello to the tropics. By the way did you know the tropic of cancer was so named because when the mapmakers drew that line for the first time (about 15AD) it just so happened that the sun was in that constellation.

And so we slowly carry on at a constant 21knots. Looking at the speed of a ship is always a slightly odd thing when it comes to distance and time - things become misleading. Whilst we are smoothly if slowly making way across this huge ocean you have to remember that even 21knots is the equivalent of 580 miles per day. Ships stop for no one and never take a break - its a magical way of traveling that allows you to appreciate distance and size of this huge planet.

Its now time to take advantage of some of the other platinum perks - free laundry. Now this one works great and is a real benefit. A  platinum perk that doesn't seem to be  having much success is the free internet minutes as the ship seems to be having a general problem with its IT system which at the moment can use up nearly all your free minutes simply trying to log you in or out. The slightly bizarre advantage to this is that the desk resets your minutes every day because of the problems so we practically have constant free internet if a not very reliable service.

We have a large angled balcony cabin on the port side of the ship which is flooded with (now hot) sun from dawn till dusk .Portside is always an advantage if heading West. Its a good job this is an extra deep balcony because after lunch time the shade at the rear of it is more than welcome.

The evenings are passed either in the cavern if the Beatles are playing or watching a stunning guitarist who sits near the Maltings bar called Eugenio whose repertoire  covers guitar classics from Santana, Eagles, Pink Floyd and Queen to name but a few.

An incredibly talented guy who uses loops and effects with the guitar to pick ouy the vocal line as a solo -  a real hit with the crowd though it does once again highlight one of the NCL Epics epic fails - lack of enough distinctive public bars that dont feel like they have just been dropped in a  long internal corridor.

These nice  warm December   nights also means there's more entertainment now taking place outdoors on the top decks - usually Latin based but perfect for the Puerto Ricans on board who dance at any opportunity.

Its also been  time to revisit all our favourite restaurants. We tend to split our visits around Bistro (French), Cagneys (America Steakhouse), and La Cucina (Italian). All have ranged from good to excellent with just the odd disappointment (The current duck  in Le Bistro is a pretty poor offering indeed compared to the dish they served last year).

And so as the sun sets quickly over the Atlantic we press on and on. Another starry warm night beckons - and if your lucky enough to catch the right moment at a window seat in the perfectly western facing windows of La Cucina you may be lucky enough to witness a green flash sunset ahead on the horizon.

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