Just back -- HAL Rotterdam, Rotterdam to Barcelona
We have just returned from a great cruise! Jet lag is beginning to wear off so I can post ...
We sailed on HAL Rotterdam from Rotterdam. The planned itinerary was to visit Lisbon, then Gibraltar and Southern Spain, then on the way back two more ports in Portugal.
When you travel, stuff happens.
Shortly after embarking we were advised that the port pilots in all Portuguese ports were on strike! We missed Lisbon, then later received news that we would miss all Portuguese ports. The Captain and staff struggled to revise the itinerary, and after two rounds of changes we visited some more Spanish ports (including Palma de Mallorca, where my DW got some lovely pearls).
HAL really worked very hard to salvage a situation that was beyond their control. Nevertheless it was very disappointing to miss the Portugal ports, which were really the main reason we took the trip. We really had to scramble to rebook our shore tours. The companies we had booked with were very accommodating, especially Tours By Locals who gave us full refunds for the Portuguese tours and worked very hard to rearrange three other trips for us.
The compensation we got from HAL was a free glass of champagne at dinner on the night we should have been in Lisbon.
Well, when stuff happens you can either whine or relax and enjoy it. The passengers (900 Dutch and 300 American) were very accepting and I heard very little whining. We all just went ahead and enjoyed what we did get.
But we will have to go back to Portugal some day ...
I am sorry you missed Portugal, especially if there was a specific reason you wanted to see it.
My personal opinion is that it is not an outstanding experience. I have been to Lisbon quite a few times, including spending almost 10 days there one time when I worked for HAL and we had the Staendam in dry dock there.
I just don't feel the country has that much to offer that cannot be outdone by Spain. I hope you get to see it someday, but I would not feel too sad in the long run thinking you missed something extraordinary.
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