Buonna Serra from a rainy and very cold Palermo with snow capped mountains in the distance.
I am writing this blog in the evening as it can be challenging to find the time during the very hectic and noisy days. We are awoken every morning by what sounds like mechanical woodpeckers, accompanied by drills, welding and grinding machines and the yard siren, so no need for an alarm clock. Work is also continuing later into the evenings and every day brings new challenges with ever more contractors and deliveries arriving at the ship.
In the public areas the Pole to Pole Restaurant is now having carpet laid and screens are being installed to allow the ‘Around the World’ theme to come to life. All the chairs are being re-upholstered in cream leather, the existing tiles are being polished and new marble flooring is being laid in the ‘European’ themed area. We have two new state of the art wine display racks also being installed. I am really looking forward to seeing this room come together once everything is in place.
New equipment is being installed in The Grill Restaurant and the newly built galley is now fully visible. The BBQ area on the Veranda Port Side is also near completion and so is the bar on the starboard side. Behind the scenes we can see the new dish wash area getting its final touches.
The balcony cabins on Deck 10 aft are now being fitted with balcony doors and the bathtubs are in the bathrooms. All suites and cabins on Deck 10 are having WiFi installed, which is a first for Saga. WiFi will also be available in the Academy, Drawing Room and Britannia lounge. Our IT communications team have become known as the ‘Cable Guys’ as they have installed over 7.5 miles of computer cable and 1.25 miles of fibre optics to connect the computer systems with satellite communications.
They have also replaced all 24 existing amplifiers which made up the public address system to ensure announcements are heard onboard in the interests of passenger safety. This in itself took six weeks to check over 1000 speakers. Our IT communications Superintendent from Head Office, Nicholas Acors, was on site for this to lead the team. This meant he spent his Christmas and New Year onboard, of which he said the highlight was not having to do any washing up. He is a serious risk to my food cost as he enjoys his food, to say the least. I must remind him the buffet isn’t supposed to be ‘all you can eat’.
We are going digital and have replaced the cabin televisions with flat screens for a sharper picture and next on their list is to install the outside cinema screen on Deck 11. The team also managed to squeeze in the installation of extra electronic charts and a third radar on the Bridge.
Our Chief Electrician, Matthew Higgins, has also provided me with a few statistics to share with you, so here goes… we can produce eight million watts of power onboard, which is enough to power a village. We have in the region of 50,000 lights onboard and this doesn’t include the pin or rope lights. If you calculate the average light bulb as 60 watts then we can light 133,334 and still have enough power onboard to boil 200 kettles of water. That’s quite some power.
Finally, today was a very important day as we officially became Saga Sapphire. The Bleu de France was renamed on the Maltese registry as Saga Sapphire and new paperwork, certificates and ship’s stamps issued. This meant log books and articles had to be closed and reissued and all the crew had to be gathered to sign off the Bleu De France ship’s articles and sign onto Saga Sapphire. It will probably take some time before we see the words ‘Bleu de France’ disappear completely from our daily paperwork but it does feel good to be officially on our new Saga ship. The name is on the hull for all to see. Enjoy.
Ciao e buona salute,