After breakfast during our day at sea between Gibraltar and Vigo, the speakers, instructors, Chaplin, dance hosts and cruise staff were busy organising and carrying out presentations, performances, lessons and activities during the morning and the afternoon.
The evening started with cocktails featuring a Latino Cocktail Bar, followed by dinner. After dinner the Discovery hosted ‘Strictly Cruise Dancing’ - a dance competition during which some of the passengers showed off their dancing abilities.
This was done in front of the expert jury consisting of the F&B manager, the dance captain and myself. A very enjoyable task! This was followed by the comedy and artistry of master marionette artists John Chrisholm and Joseff Probst presenting their ‘Stars on Strings’, followed by music for dancing from the Pearl II Quartet.
After this Shackleton’s bar hosted ‘Late Night Live’ with Clive Carrington at the piano until the small hours.
This morning we arrived at Vigo Pilot station at 7:00am and were berthed at 8:00am. Situated in northwest Spain, Vigo is a city in the province of Pontevedra and the Spanish autonomous community of Galicia and a neighbour of towns such as Tui in the Portuguese speaking part of the territory. A small village during the Middle Ages, Vigo suffered many Viking attacks and in the 16th century Sir Francis Drake raided the city twice – once in 1585 and one in 1589 – occupying it temporarily and leaving many buildings burnt.
The Battle of Vigo Bay occurred in 1702 during the early years of the War of Spanish Succession. A Spanish fleet departed from Vigo in 1719 and attempted to invade Scotland in support of the Jacobites, resulting in the city being occupied by a British force for ten days.
During the 19th and 20th centuries the city grew rapidly, resulting in urban planning changes which have made Vigo less structured than other Galician cities such as Pontevedra and A Coruna.
As soon as the ship was cleared by the local authorities the passengers could go ashore. Today’s excursions were included:
Vigo and Bayona. This was an easy going coach tour that discovered Vigo and the beautiful coastal town of Bayona. Virgin of the Rock (the Madonna holding a ship in her outstretched hand) on San Roque Hill, Bayona, one of the most important sea towns in Galicia thanks to its harbour and fishing fleet, were on the agenda (this was where Columbus landed following his voyage to the New World in 1493). There was time for a leisurely walk around before heading back to Vigo and seeing the bridge of La Ramallosa (one of the most beautiful medieval-style bridges still standing in Galicia).
Tui Cathedral and Wine Tasting. This tour visited Tui, a compact city with narrow streets and traditional Galician buildings, which is set on a hill close to the Portuguese border and alongside the River Mino. Apart from being a pretty town it has a 12th century cathedral, which after several invasions, was converted into a fortress, studded with battlements. There was also a visit to a Parador to taste local wines, accompanied by light traditional snacks.
For passengers who wished to explore independently we were berthed a short walking distance from the town centre and for those who remained onboard the cruise staff hosted activities and games.
All aboard was at 11:30am, after which we soon left the berth, the port and disembarked the pilot, before we set sail for Southampton.
This gave us an afternoon at sea during which the speakers, instructors, Chaplin, dance hosts and cruise staff were busy organising and carrying out presentations, performances, lessons and activities.
The evening started with the Farewell Cocktail Party, during which the passenger Choir gave a performance. After dinner the Discovery Lounge hosted ‘Show Time’ featuring pianist and entertainer Caroline Dennis, followed by music for dancing from the Pearl II Quartet.
After this Shackleton’s hosted the Late Night Shackleton’s Show ‘The Glitter Ball Girls’, featuring the Explosive vocalist and Cruise Director Kayleigh. Clive Carrington rounded off the night at the piano till the small hours.
The ship will now be at sea for another day before arriving in the last port of this cruise, Southampton. There I will hand over command to Captain Wesley Dunlop and go on leave.
In May I will be joining Saga Sapphire as Master and look forward to telling you all about my experiences and the cruises then.