Well - here we are, having begun another cruise and this time to a warmer climate all together.
We left Dover on Wednesday, the sun shining brightly as we debarked our passengers from the Baltic Cruise and embarked a host of new guests. One couple, David and Diana Bright walked up the gangway to the Saga Pearl II for their third visit this year - it's good to welcome them back again.
It is a while since I have been to the Mediterranean and the crossing has been very kind, the notorious Bay of Biscay almost went by unnoticed. I have to say it's notoriety is totally unfounded, of course, it can be rough at times but then so can any sea and I have sailed through.
Already the cruise is proving to be interesting, and just as everything was going so well, yesterday we were given some unsettling news. One of the highlights of any cruise to the Mediterranean is a visit to Barcelona, which really is a fantastic, vibrant city. Our itineraries are planned months in advance and we unfortunately learned that on the day that we are due to make our visit there will be a national strike.
As I write, we are looking at alternative days to visit and at adjusting our itinerary, I really don't want anyone to miss a day in Barcelona. Of course we will have to look at the required speed and the time it will take to get from port to port, but we will keep you posted.
Today we docked at Ferrol at 12.00pm. What a spectacular entrance to this natural and very sheltered bay guarded by narrow entrance with fortresses on either bank. Little wonder the Spanish established this as one of their main Naval Bases. If I'd known how impressive the port was I would have included Ferrol in my "Mystery Cruise"!
Ferrol is very much a gateway in enabling our guests to visit Santiago de Compostella, an ancient site of pilgrimage for Christians and one of three main places in the Middle Ages, the other two, of course, Rome and Jerusalem. Passengers were taken by coach to the town where the weather was glorious and the sites spectacular. The cathedral is awe inspiring, as is the Town Hall and the Palace of Saint Jerome. Guests saw the famous Jubilee Door which is only opened each Jubilee Year and later enjoyed refreshments accompanied by a choral recital. Amongst the other options many passengers chose to take a scenic coach drive along the Galician coast visiting various photo stops and enjoying the views.
We left at 6.30pm this evening and to accompany our departure a classical concert was given in the Discovery Lounge by our residents for this cruise 'The Fenyo Trio'. Led by Gustav Fenyo, they really are masters of their art and it is lovely to have Gustav back with us, he is a most generous artiste and always offers to play for our church services.
Whilst Gustav, Deborah and Tina were playing their recital to the classical music-loving passengers, others were out on deck enjoying the scenery and the gun salute from the battlements of the castle as we passed by. Fortunately no cannon ball were used. I managed to capture the moment as seen in the accompanying photograph.
After dinner our Cabaret Lounge played host to Paul Emmanuel, a most accomplished entertainer. Paul has been influenced by the music of Nat King Cole, and his show, 'Unforgettable' gave a most entertaining tribute to another master of his art.
Tomorrow we shall spend a very enjoyable day at sea - we count amongst our guest speakers the team from the Antiques Roadshow, and I expect they will be giving a very popular series of lectures - certainly something to look forward to.