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“Great way to see dolphins”
Review of Santa Maria

Santa Maria
Book In Advance
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$41.95*
and up
Santa Maria de Colombo Galleon Cruise Tour
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Sailing along the coast of Madeira in the replica of Santa Maria boat.
Reviewed August 6, 2013

We went on this boat and enjoyed a unique trip, the crew were very polite and the boat is impressive with all the features of a real galleon type ship. There is a ships dog and a pair of macaws on board also. It wasn't long into the trip when dolphins were spotted and the captain does his best to get close so everyone can see, he also pointed out a hammerhead shark.
A glass of Medeira wine and a slice of Madeira cake was a nice touch, there is the opportunity for a swim in a secluded bay where the water is just heavenly.
All in all, a really nice 3 hour trip out giving a different view of the island and the great sea around Madeira, recommended.

2  Thank Mikemand
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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192 - 196 of 409 reviews

Reviewed August 4, 2013 via mobile

I have been on the boat twice. The crew are good at making this an experience for children especially. We have seen dolphins on both occasions and the swimming was excellent. I would thoroughly recommend.

Thank wardenhodges
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 29, 2013

We spent a fantastic morning on the Santa Maria this week. We were lucky enough to see around 10 dolphins and also a Bryde's Whale! Absolutely amazing to see these creatures in their natural environment and close up too. It's a great platform to view from as you're so much higher above the sea than the other boats we saw. After this we cruised around the island to a little beach where we could leap from the ship into the sea for a swim. Fantastic clear blue sea perfect for snorkelling. Then back onto the ship for a welcome glass of Madeira wine and slice of cake.

All in all a great way to spend 3 hours, great value and a great experience. Would gladly do it again if we're ever back in Funchal

1  Thank adski1970
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 15, 2013

On a previous visit to Madeira we had been on one of the catamarans on a day when the weather turned awful and so it was choppy and rainy before the sun returned for the trip back along the coast. No signs of whales or dolphins or turtles due to the turbulent seas. We had watched the Santa Maria chugging past our hotel each day rarely under sail and so had not been too impressed - after all in Columbus' day there was not Caterpillar engine to rely on getting to the West Indies! This time we decided that even though we felt the boat was too slow to find any whale or dolphin action it would be good to go out on a working replica (Golden Hind just sits in dry dock in London so no trips on that and the same is true for the Caravel replica in Mossel Bay). Rather like others we thought the ship was well built and had some good original types of features. The parrots and ship's dog were an added bit of fun. The Madeira and honey cake was welcome too but we were disappointed that the main sail was lowered just for five minutes the other side of Cabo Girau and the rest of the time we were on very modern horsepower. The crew hardly spoke a word the whole trip and it seemed that they were bored. They sent round a folder with photos showing the building progress of the replica and some tourist information and that was that. The captain kept looking through his binoculars but there were no dolphins, whales or turtles to be found that day and as the trip rather hugged the coast we suspected that would be the case. Rather disappointing really and no encouragement to go on the ship a second time.

1  Thank Barbara52_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 8, 2013

Well, rather than a historic recreation of Columbus' ship my 5 year old son thought it was a pirate ship, particularly with a bilingual talking parrot on board, which for him was a massive plus. I do get seasick easily, and the sea was a bit "lumpy" so I endured the trip rather than enjoyed it. That said, I would recommend this to children with great imaginations and also as an experience for those with better sealegs than me, Watching the mean raise the sail was impressive, the trip and view of the island great, and the food and honey cake (which was renamed pirate cake by my son) very enjoyable. I understand that it is possible to sea whales etc but we didn't catch them.

1  Thank tikitaka_pfc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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