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“Fun and enjoyable trip”
4 of 5 bubbles Review of Santa Bernarda

Santa Bernarda
Certificate of Excellence
new jersey
Level Contributor
163 reviews
52 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
“Fun and enjoyable trip”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 26, 2012

We went out on the Santa Bernarda during late May and had a very enjoyable experience. The captain was great, gave directions in four languages. It was a rough weather day, so he was especially diligent about explaining sea sickness and willing to give back fees if anyone was concerned. We still went and enjoyed the voyage. Unfortunately, we did not get to visit the caves due to the rough conditions and the concern for safety. If i had more time in the area, I would have gone back for a calmer sail.

There is plenty of free parking at the docks, for those with cars. It is not a real easy trip to the dock area due to the one way streets. Be careful that you don't plug the company into the GPS and go to their office. It is not where you actually board the boat.

There was quite the assortment of young and old on the boat - so unless you really get sea sick, it is a good trip for all ages.

Visited May 2012
2 Thank henry21_7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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125 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
66 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 92 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 16, 2012

I agree with other reviewers: terrific ship (you would never know it was once a grim modern fishing boat); amusing, professional and multi lingual captain; helpful and capable crew and great scenery.

We went on the short, afternoon cruise, which culminated in the exploration of caves on a rowing boat, equipped with an outboard motor. This doesn't sound much but it was a memorable experience as the crew member steered us into small cracks in the rock that opened into vast caves, some of which had not seen the sky for hundreds of hundreds of millions of years, others of which were sunny inlets, complete with a beach.

It was a calm day but even so one could feel the power - and unpredictability -of the Atlantic.

One crew member told me later that these expeditions into the caves could only be carried out by highly skilled locals, who had grown up with the sea.

We were fortunate with the weather. If the sea is too rough then, at best, the rowing boats can only potter along the rock face. If the tide is high or low the boats are also unable to explore the caves.

Best, therefore, to check the weather forecast and sea conditions before booking. I would also suggest that you should avoid trips with more than 30 people - since the ship would feel over-crowded.

Overall, a thoroughly enjoyable trip.

Visited June 2012
2 Thank ryeats
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stavanger, Norway
Level Contributor
13 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
“A memorable experience.”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 12, 2011

A pirate ship was the vessel but the crew are no cut throats. A very enjoyable, informative and relaxing €30 tour of the glorious coast over the course of the 3 hour 45 minute trip. Passenger safety was important throughout and the numerous crew members all seemed able seamen/women. The captain is a character with impressive multiple language skills. The vessel is well maintained and obviously loved. A tip is to find out the daily weather conditions as a rough sea can stop the cave visits which are the essential cherry on the cake.

1 Thank Gulfveteran91
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melton Mowbray, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“An entertaining and absorbing day out”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 9, 2011

The Santa Bernarda ia a wooden hulled two masted ship with a raised aft and fore-deck marketed as the "pirate ship". We booked a full day voyage for two adults and two children for €180. We cruised up the coast past cave-holed cliffs and moored off an isolated beach accessible only by the towed launches in which we were taken on a tour into the nearby caves before being dropped at the beach for a couple of hours relaxation and a terrific barbecue (in the price) of piri-piri chicken, spare ribs, skewered meat and vegs, salads and fruits with unlimited wine and soft drinks.

Afterwards the ship cruised back west past Portimao and returned to harbour under sail with engines cut.

A real antidote to lazy pool days and water parks!

Captain Bernard (is that really his name?) strikes a good balance between jovial entertainment and serious care for his passengers' comfort and safety.

3 Thank TrippyPink
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Surrey, UK
Level Contributor
32 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Fab afternoon out”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 23, 2009

We stay in Portimao a lot and decided to do something different one afternoon and chose this trip and we are so glad we did. My husband, my 16 year old step son boarded at 2.30pm and after a briefing from the Captain, we spent an hour or so sailing along the coastline then boarded a smaller boat expertly navigated by Jose, spending a good half hour looking into caves along the coastline. When we got back to the main boat, it then set anchor and we were able to jump off/dive into the sea(which was the highlight for my 16 year old), which after a bit of coaxing I managed to do - and happy that I did! The staff were all fab and helpful, spoke many languages between them and for those whose sea legs didn't make the boat with them, they knew exactly what to do. We got back around 6.30pm and we all thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon and we are thinking of when we are next in Portimao to do the all day trip with BBQ lunch.

2 Thank Silvastar14
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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