For our next port of call Saga Sapphire sailed into Stockholm, Sweden. The arrival to Stockholm has got to be one of the more spectacular we sail into with 4 hours of sailing through the archipelago, weaving in and out of the little islands. This morning was quite challenging as we were right on the edge of the visibility limit at which the pilots would take us in. We had about 200 feet of visibility so it took all our training and the assistance of the pilot to get us through the very narrow entrances to the archipelago. Thankfully once we got into the islands, the visibility improved and we started our sail through to Stockholm. I love watching the little summer houses of all shapes and sizes, on these little remote islands. This is the way I live, living in rural Scotland, beside the loch with no streetlight, and could just imagine how easy and stress free life would be living in a small shack, with a jacuzzi at the bottom of the garden with a boat as well. Bliss!!
Once we arrived at the berth, I took the ship through a classic 'ferry' manoeuvre, basically a 3 point turn. Swung the bow to starboard off the berth and then moved astern into position. With a promising start to the day weather-wise we were alongside at around 8.00am. After a day at sea our passengers were eager to step ashore and see Stockholm.
Four tours departed this morning with the first being the City Hall and Vasa Museum which many of our guests took part in, this excursion took our passengers on a drive through the city, and across the Western Bridge to the island of Kungsholmen for a visit to the distinctive redbrick City Hall in the Old Town. Our guests then visited the island of Djurgarden where they visited the Vasa Museum on the waterfront to see an amazing restoration of the magnificent Vasa warship, which sank in Stockholm harbour after being launched on her maiden tour in 1628, they then returned to the ship for lunch.
The Second Tour Drottningholm Palace took our passengers to an island in Lake Malaren to the west of Stockholm. Drottninghom Palace was the first Swedish site to be placed on the World Heritage list, and is one of Europe’s most enchanting royal residences. Also on this tour guests visited the magnificently decorated State Apartments and could stroll through the French and English-style landscaped gardens.
The most popular tour today was the third tour Waterways of Stockholm taking our passengers by boat through the many waterways to enjoy the city from a different perspective and sail past the national park of Djurgarden enjoying the ‘city that floats on water,’ before returning to the ship.
The final tour to depart was the relaxing Stockholm Panoramic Tour where our guests could enjoy a moving panorama of sights from the comfort of their coach during this tour of Stockholm. Our guests passed by such areas as the Royal Dramatic Theatre, along Strandvagen before venturing onto the island of Djurgarden. The tour concludes on the island of Kungsholmen, viewing the impressive City Hall, the site of the annual Nobel Prize banquet.
With an earlier departure this afternoon our passengers had a variety of entertainment at their fingertips joining the Cruise Staff for games such as Deck Quoits and Majority Rules. For those keen dancers they could join Cruise Director Jo Boase and the Cruise Staff for an afternoon tea dance in the Britannia Lounge.
Tonight’s Team Trivia took place in the Drawing Room with Explosive Production Singer Michael as he tested our guest’s general knowledge, following with 'Cabaret and Cocktails' and the sounds of Perfect Mood before dinner.
After dinner we started this evening’s entertainment in the Britannia Lounge as many guests enjoyed the Lundonia Trio’s second classical concert of the cruise proving to be very popular they presented ‘Baroque Wonders’ including works by Bach, Handel and Vivaldi.
To continue onto Cabaret Showtime, Lindy Hop dance instructors, Maggie & Geoff Forrest opened tonight’s show with 'Lipstick, Powder and Paint' followed by BBC Radio 2 recording artist, Geoff Taylor with ‘More songs from the Great Crooners’ as we continued the evening with music for dancing from the Sapphire Orchestra and our gentlemen hosts.
Following showtime guests could enjoy gourmet bites in the grill or listen to the wonderful sounds of Perfect Mood our resident duo in the Drawing Room over a late night drink. Or alternatively guests could join pianist Andy Law for a night-cap and a possible sing-a-long until late in Cooper’s bar.