Apr 1, 2015
Apr 5, 2015
Apr 7, 2015
Apr 10, 2015
Apr 11, 2015
Apr 13, 2015
Apr 16, 2015
Apr 18, 2015
Apr 19, 2015
Apr 21, 2015
Apr 22, 2015
Captain Philip Rentell
Apr 1, 2015
Being the date it was I could expect the cruise director to ‘spice up’ the Today programme, and I wasn’t disappointed. Apart from his ‘tour of the funnel’ and numerous other little gags, I also invited passengers to sign up at the Pursers desk for a tour to take a look through the ‘reinforced glass section’ that had been put into the ship’s bottom during the last refit. Over twenty did and of course I had to disappoint them later.
As we entered the delightful harbour of Funchal we had to manoeuver past a new and very large British passenger ship (that shouldn’t be named) and the passengers over there seemed to be suitably amused when I had played through the deck speakers some rather stirring British film music. There was much waving from the numerous balconies that looked down at us as we passed. Our folks had been issued with small Union Jack flags so that they could express their ‘admiration’.
Once ashore the town was rather popular with cruise ship tourists on the main street however, just a block away there was some degree of normality. Mrs R and I reached the old market in time to purchase a dozen ‘Bella Donna’ for the garden and two new orchids for the conservatory, ‘Cattleya Amarel’ and Cattleya Rosa Escuro’. They’re the one type of plant that seems to survive on the neglect they unfortunately receive when we are both away.
The tours went off as usual, including a ‘Magic Moment’ to the Botanical gardens followed by a very Portuguese lunch overlooking the sea. We returned in time to see British passenger ship leave. Rather slowly I thought, but then with a brand new charge such as that, I should imagine the Master would be taking particular care to ensure all the computer controlled stuff was doing exactly what was anticipated.
Three days at sea remain before returning to Southampton, and all the indications are that the seas will be fair to us.
Captain Philip Rentell
Captain Kees Spekman
Apr 5, 2015
Today was the day I joined Saga Sapphire in Southampton.
At 6.30 am I set off from home with my wife Tina. We arrived on board at 9 am. Captain Philip Rentell was waiting for me and ready to hand over command of the vessel. As you can imagine this does entail a lot of paperwork and verbal enlightenments. Captain Rentell had already sent me some of the papers and information a few days ago, so I was more or less informed about the most important matters. When all was discussed and inspected Captain Rentell and his wife Helen left the ship for the drive to Cornwall and a well-deserved rest.
The ship was in full swing in preparation for the upcoming 31 day cruise. Fuel, water and provisions were loaded, the ship was made ready to receive our new passengers, contractors were on board to do the usual services and overhauls of the different equipment, crew went on leave and new crew joined etc.
At 4 pm we held the Life Boat Drill with our passengers after which we sailed from our berth under a sunny sky. While the ship sailed the 25 miles to the pilot station, Canon Richard Hammer, our chaplain, conducted an Easter Sunday Service. We arrived at the pilot station at 6.30 pm, disembarked the pilot and were on our way to the first port of call, El Ferrol.
As I do usually at the beginning of a cruise I will mention the senior officers and the persons working in and for the cruise department. Senior officers are: Chief Engineer Len Blinston, Staff Captain Xenofon ( Fondas) Livanios, Hotel Director Alfred Steindl and Cruise Director John Parton. John Parton is responsible for the cruise department consisting of : Assistant Cruise Director Pamela Johnston, Cruise Hostess Jemma Thomas, Social Hostess Nicola Cameron Clarke, Cruise Staff Jay Collins and Fernando Perez, Fitness Instructor David Calvo, Stage Managers Damien Hartshom and Marlon Mendoza and Gentlemen Hosts Colin Smith, Dave Leigh and Dennis Spooner. Guest Entertainers are: Special Guest Star Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Vocalist Kaweti Waotford, Violinist Claire Gobin, Magician Brett Sherwood, Hot Rhythm Friends Colin Bryant and Dave Peterson, vocalist Paul Emmanuel, Vocalist Philippa Healy, Pianist Harry the Piano, Flautist Tara Rochelle, Stars on Strings John Chisholm and Josef Probst, The Celtic Tenors Daryl Simpson, Matthew Gilsenan and James Nelson, Comedy Entertainer Graham Jolley, Flanders and Swan’s Timothy Highman and Duncan Atkins and from the BBC’s sitcom series ‘Allo ‘Allo the actors Richard Gibson (Herr Flick) and Kim Hartman (Helga). Guest Speakers are: Destinations lecturer Jeff Roberts, Celebrity Chef Tonia Buxton, Maritime Historian David Bray, Former Diplomat Stephen Day, Gallipoli speakers Peter Headley, Professor Dennis Shanks and Colonel Robert Likerman, Military Historian Brigadier Mike Shaw and Comedy Music and Entertainment Stephen Smith. Instructors are: Computers Lee Blakemore, Bridge Ian and Christine Buchanan, Craft Barbara Harvey, Dance Ron and Christine Davies, watercolour David Hemmingway and Poetry & Literature Appreciation Mei Tow. Our on board show team is the Explosive Production Cast. Our on board Musicians are: The Saga Orchestra, resident duo The Perfect Mood Duo, resident piano entertainer David Peterson and classical ensemble The Tiffany String Quartet. Our Chaplain is Canon Richard Hanmer.
With this information I am signing off for today and will inform you about our progress and experiences from El Ferrol.
Captain Kees Spekman
Captain Kees Spekman
Apr 7, 2015
Yesterday was a relaxing day at sea. After a smooth night and a good breakfast our passengers could enjoy the day in their own way. Some just took it easy with a book. Some explored the ship. Some attended the different activities and lectures made available by the Guest Speakers, Instructors, our Beauty Staff and Cruise Staff. The weather was sunny, but a bit fresh with an easterly wind, but all in all a comfortable day at sea.
The evening started with cocktail hour either in Cooper’s Bar with Dave Peterson at the piano or in the Drawing Room, where the Perfect Mood Duo entertained. After Dinner the Britannia Lounge hosted a performance by Timothy Highman & Duncan Atkins who presented an affectionate tribute to the madness and mirth of Flanders and Swann. This was followed in the Drawing Room by Easy Listening with The Perfect Mood Duo and in Cooper’s Bar by The Late Show with Dave Peterson at the piano till late.
This morning we arrived at the pilot station at the very civilised time of 7.45 am. The pilot boarded the ship under a cloudless sky and guided us the 6 miles to the berth, past beautiful scenery, and we were berthed by 9am.
El Ferrol has been linked to the sea for more than two millennia, and a major shipbuilding centre for most of this time. Because of its location it has been conquered by Vandals, Suebis, Arabs and Christians. Today it is a large commercial port and the gateway to the northern province of Gallicia.
As soon as the ship was cleared by the local officials passengers could proceed. There was a choice of four tours to Santiago de Compostella:
Santiago on your Own: This was the perfect opportunity for the independent traveller to have transport to this magic place but be able to explore on one’s own.
A Day in Santiago visited the pilgrimage city of Santiago de Compostela with its charming old quarter and the magnificent Cathedral that dominates Obradoiro Square. The Cathedral has become the most popular site of Christian pilgrimage after Jerusalem and Rome, and during this tour one could admire the beautiful Jubilee Door (only opened each Jubilee Year), the traditional tomb of St James and the 12th-century ‘Portico da Gloria’, considered one of the world’s most important medieval works of sculpture. There was also time to wander and enjoy a Tapas lunch.
The Way to Santiago offered the experience to visit Santiago de Compostela on foot, just like a pilgrim! In the picturesque Galician village of Melide, our passengers collected a walking stick and shell of the camino before a stroll alongside meadows, farms and eucalyptus groves towards Santiago, crossing a creek on the medieval stone bridge. This walk was long enough to give a good impression of what it is like to walk the Camino de Santiago across Northern Spain. Arriving in Santiago - the end of the Way and the goal of all pilgrims – the guide gave a brief explanation about the Cathedral and the other places associated with the pilgrimage. After this there was time to wander before returning to the ship.
Complete Santiago: This tour concentrated mostly on the cathedral and its surroundings. The tour started with a visit to the Cathedral, where one could see the Jubilee Door, the tomb of St James and the Portico da Gloria - the former main entrance doorway that dates from 1188 and is one of the greatest surviving works of medieval sculpture. Leaving the interior of the Cathedral, our guests took a side exit and headed up to the roof, from where one can see the historic part of the city below, including beautiful Obradorio Square. Also seen from here was the Cross of Rags, where pilgrims used to burn their clothes after making their long pilgrimage. After this the guide took his charges around the Cathedral to view its different façades before everyone had a delicious Tapas lunch.
For passengers interested in the surrounding country side there was the Galicia’s Scenic Coastline Tour. This tour discovered the natural attractions surrounding El Ferrol today, driving along the coast with its typical Galician villages and enjoying views of the nearby beaches, forests and estuaries. Starting with a panoramic tour of El Ferrol, they passed the old military camp and the neo-Classical quarter which housed naval officers in the 18th century before being able to appreciate further examples of neo-Classical architecture in the city centre, where many of the older buildings now form part of the university. After this they drove along the coast to Pontedeume, which offers excellent views of the forest and estuaries, and where a short stop was made to give our guests an opportunity to take photos. Arriving at the mouth of the estuary there were refreshments in a local restaurant before the journey back to El Ferrol.
For those passengers wishing to explore El Ferrol independently there was a complimentary shuttle bus to the town centre, or one could go on foot as it was not very far. For the passengers on board the Cruise Staff had organised and were running different activities.
All on board was at 5.30 pm, and soon after we left the berth serenaded by a local bagpipe band. After turning the ship towards the exit channel the pilot guided us past the same scenic views we had enjoyed this morning. Once we had disembarked the pilot we set course for our next port of call, Cartagena.
The evening started with cocktail hour in Cooper’s with Dave Peterson at the piano and in the Drawing Room, where the Perfect Mood Duo entertained our guests. After dinner the Britannia Lounge hosted a performance by Paul Emmanuel, one of the UK’s leading vocalists celebrating the music of the legendary Nat King Cole. This was followed in the Drawing Room by Easy Listening with The Perfect Mood Duo and in Cooper’s Bar there was The Late Show with Dave Peterson at the piano.
Captain Kees Spekman
Captain Kees Spekman
Apr 10, 2015
Having left El Ferrol we had two relaxing days at sea during which the seas were very kind to us. Each day, after breakfast, the Guest Speakers, Instructors, our Beauty Staff and Cruise Staff were busy presenting, organising, hosting and treating. The first evening started with my Welcome On Board Cocktail Party in the Britannia Lounge where I received the passengers and they were offered drinks and canapes. After my introduction speech it was time for a delicious formal dinner.
After dinner the Britannia Lounge hosted a performance by Blackpool Tower organist Dave Peterson, who played music for dancing chosen by dance professionals Ron and Christine Davies, and then it was Show Time with Explosive Productions, who performed “The Concert They Never Gave” - a tribute to the six biggest recording artists of all times. This was followed in the Drawing Room by Easy Listening with The Perfect Mood Duo and in the Cooper’s Bar by The Late Show with Dave Peterson at the piano.
The second night began with cocktail hour in the Cooper’s Bar with Dave Peterson at the piano and in the Drawing Room, where the Perfect Mood Duo entertained our guests. After Dinner the Britannia Lounge Timothy Highman & Duncan Atkins presented an affectionate tribute to the madness and mirth of Flanders and Swann, followed by Easy Listening with The Perfect Mood Duo in the Drawing Room and The Late Show with Dave Peterson at the piano in Cooper’s Bar.
This morning we arrived at 7 am at the Cartagena pilot station. Soon after the pilot boarded the ship we entered the port and were berthed just before 8 am, just a short stroll to the town centre. Cartagena is a major naval station located in the Region of Murcia, by the Mediterranean coast, south-eastern Spain. It is Region’s second largest municipality and the country’s 6th non-Province capital city. Cartagena was founded around 227 BC, the city lived its heyday during the Roman Empire, when it was known as Carthago Nova (the New Carthage) and Carthago Spartaria, capital of the province of Carthaginensis. Then it suffered from a period of ups and downs during the Umayyad invasion of Hispania, under its Arabic name of Qartayannat al-Halfa. Much of the historical weight of Cartagena in the past goes to its coveted defensive port, one of the most important in the western Mediterranean. Cartagena has been the capital of the Spanish Navy’s Maritime Department of the Mediterranean since the arrival of the Spanish Bourbons in the 18th century. As far back as the 16th century it was one of the most important naval ports in Spain, together with Ferrol in the North. It is still an important naval seaport, the main military haven of Spain, and there is a big naval shipyard. The confluence of civilizations as well as its strategic harbour, together with the rise of the local mining industry is manifested by a unique artistic heritage, with a number of landmarks such as the Roman Theatre, the second largest of the Iberian Peninsula after the one from Mérida, a lot of Phoenician, Roman, Byzantine and Moorish remains and a plethora of Art Nouveau buildings, result of the bourgeoisie from the early 20th century. Cartagena is now established as a major cruise destination with an emerging cultural focus.
Our passengers could choose one of four tours today.
Elche & the Huerto del Cura visited the town of Elche (or Elx), famous throughout Spain for its ancient palm forest. Home to more than 300,000 trees the forest is said to have been planted by the Phoenicians in 300BC and part of it is now an enclosed private garden. This town is home to the delightful Huerto del Cura or Priest’s Garden, home to an abundant variety of plants and cacti. The trees are not purely aesthetic as they are still the town’s chief industry - they produce dates, and the fronds are in demand all over the country for Palm Sunday processions. Some of the attractions are the Imperial Palm, a tree with a trunk divided into eight branches and the blue-domed Baroque Basilica of St Mary, which was built between 1672 and 1784 on the site of a former mosque. The richly-decorated main doorway is the work of Nicolás de Bussy, a sculptor born in Strasbourg in 1651 who spent most of his life in Spain. This magnificent church is the setting for the most important event in the town’s religious calendar - the 'Mystery of Elche’ passion play. Performed every year on August 14 and 15, the play is recognised by UNESCO as part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Also visited was the Municipal Park, bequeathed to the city in 1661 by landowner Nicolás Caro. This beautiful park is dotted with fountains and ponds, and, in addition to the inevitable date palms, includes bougainvillea, rosewood, magnolias, poplars, fig and banana trees, and even a rare tulip tree from Gabon.
The Villages and Valleys tour started with a drive through the foothills of the Sierra Carrascoy, heading into the province of Murcia to visit La Fuensanta, a pilgrimage centre that takes its name from a nearby holy spring, for some panoramic views of the local farms and orchards. Guests could visit the fine Baroque church, which contains a statue of Our Lady of La Fuensanta, and frescoes that depict the religious processions that take place here each year during Holy Week and in September. There was then a panoramic drive to the Valley of Ricote, the last area to be inhabited by the Moors before they were expelled from Spain in the 17th century. The valley consists of several villages of varying sizes. The tour stopped at Archena, to enjoy a typical snack consisting of local sausages, cold meats and bread served with either fruit juice, tea or coffee, followed by a panoramic drive through the valley to the village of Abarán. The last stop, before a scenic return trip, was at the ‘Noria’ or waterwheel, which dates back to 1805 although its design goes back to the Middle Ages. Raising five-and-a-half gallons of water every second, it is the largest working waterwheel in mainland Europe.
Best of Murcia began with a journey through the foothills of the Sierra Carrascoy, to the city of Murcia, capital of the province of the same name. Settled by the Moors in the 9th century and conquered by the Christians in the 13th century, this bustling city offers an array of architectural delights. Visited was the Monastery of the Virgin of Fuensanta, the Patroness of Murcia. From here there are panoramic view of the Murcian orchards, which produce more fruit and vegetables than any others in the Mediterranean. From here the tour proceeded to the city, to visit the Cathedral in the main square which was built in the three architectural styles of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque. Next to the Cathedral is the Bishop’s Palace. From here our guests continued to another of Murcia’s historic buildings, the Royal Casino. Located in the city centre, not far from the Cathedral, the Casino dates from 1847 and is also in a mixture of different architectural styles, with interiors modelled on Roman and Moorish buildings. Declared a National Historic Building in 1983, it was completely refurbished between 2006 and 2009, and all the original decorative features were restored. From here the tour passed through the Squares of Santo Domingo and Romea, before returning by coach to Cartagena.
The Walking Tour and the Roman Theatre discovered the highlights of Cartagena, originally settled in 223 BC. The city has flourished under Roman, Muslim and Arab rule, and today offers a vast cultural legacy. The walk started along the sea wall to the Town Hall Square and the main avenue, offering interesting modernist buildings from the beginning of the 20th century. From here it was on to the Roman Theatre, the most important archaeological site in the region. The theatre, in the heart of Cartagena, was lost for more than 1,500 years and dates back some 2,000 years to the heyday of Cartagena's period as an important Roman city. Built on one of the highest hills in the city, its tiered rows of seats were dug out of the rock so that 6,000 spectators had a view of the stage. From here there was then lots of time to explore the town independently.
Soon after the pilot boarded we left the berth. After turning the ship towards the exit channel the pilot guided us to the pilot station, where he disembarked and we set course for our next port of call, Palma de Majorca. Before the evening started there was time for a lecture entitled “Churchill in Defeat and Victory” by former Diplomat Stephen Day C.M.G., M.A.
This evening the Britannia Lounge hosted a performance by Paul Emmanuel, the man with a wonderful voice and warm personality. This was followed in the Drawing Room by Easy Listening with The Perfect Mood Duo and in Cooper’s Bar by The Late Show with Dave Peterson.
Captain Kees Spekman
Captain Kees Spekman
Apr 11, 2015
This morning we arrived at 7 am at the Palma pilot station. Soon after the pilot boarded we were entering the port and were berthed just before 8 am. Shortly after the officials boarded the ship was cleared, and passengers could proceed ashore and our tours could be dispatched.
Northern Delights & La Garanja was a leisurely excursion highlighting the spectacular scenery and history of Majorca. It started with a scenic drive along the rugged north coast with its pine forests, and almond and olive trees before arriving in Valldemossa, famous for its Carthusian monastery and renowned for its outstanding beauty. From here the tour continued to the superb 17th century Majorcan manor house of La Granja de Esporles. Standing in rustic surroundings, the house was built on the site of a 10th century monastic farm and is surrounded by fountains and formal gardens. The interior of the manor house is a museum depicting life on the farm two centuries ago.
Scenic Palma & Valdemossa started with a drive along the seafront, lined with hundreds of yachts, and past the magnificent Gothic cathedral and Almudaina Palace. This was followed by a drive through the city's old quarters, with both Gothic and modernist-style buildings, and the lively Ramblas. From here followed a drive through landscapes of pine forest, and almond and olive groves to Valldemossa, positioned high up in the mountains. The town is characterised by steep streets, stone façades and old churches and convents. Our guests visited the famous Carthusian Monastery, where Frédéric Chopin and the French author George Sand stayed in 1838-9. After this it was back to Palma to view the famous Bellver Castle and Bay of Palma before returning to the ship.
The Narrow-gauge Train to Soller took our passengers on a 17 mile scenic train journey offering beautiful panoramic views of the Majorcan mountains, orange groves, small fairy-tale villages and quaint wayside stations. Soller is a beautiful small town set on a hillside, with bars, shops, an attractive old town hall - the Casa de la Vila - and a fascinating parish church dedicated to St Bartholomew. Although it dates back to the Middle Ages, it was partly rebuilt in the Baroque style in 1688 and was given a stunning new neo-Gothic façade by Catalan architect Joan Rubió in 1904.
Simply the best of Valdemossa & Daie: Since the 19th century the self-governing village of Valldemossa has been promoted internationally as a place of outstanding beauty. Located at the foot of the northern mountain range, the tour took passengers along the mountain road, through vineyards and scented orange groves, to the fortress-like Carthusian Monastery of La Cartuja. The Monastery, now sometimes referred to as The Valledemossa Charterhouse, was founded as a royal residence and was later converted into a monastery of the Carthusian order. Following the confiscation of monasteries by the Spanish government in 1830, this historic estate was sold to a private owner, and today stands as a museum. From here the tour continued past 1300 foot cliffs along a winding road to the small picturesque coastal village of Deia. Deia, situated about ten miles from Valldemossa, is perhaps best known for its literary and musical residents and its idyllic landscape of orange and olive groves grown on steep cliffs overlooks the Mediterranean. Passengers were able to visit the former home of Robert Graves. Now a museum dedicated to his life, the house has been returned to very much how it was when Graves returned in 1946 after sitting out the Spanish Civil War and WWII. A prolific writer both of novels and poetry, Graves is perhaps best known for his books “I, Claudius” and “Claudius the God”. Last but not least was lunch at the deluxe hotel La Residencia, which is perched on a hillside amidst those wonderful olive and almond trees.
Once all our passengers were on board, we set sail for our next port of call, Cagliari.
After Dinner this evening Show Time in the Britannia Lounge was a lively performance by our Explosives Production cast. They got all our toes tapping to the sound of 'Let's Swing' with a performance of swing and big band music. This was followed in the Drawing Room by Easy Listening with The Perfect Mood Duo and in Cooper’s Bar by The Late Show with Dave Peterson at the piano.
Captain Kees Spekman
Captain Kees Spekman
Apr 13, 2015
Yesterday was a relaxing day at sea. After breakfast the Guest Speakers, Instructors, our Beauty Staff and Cruise Staff were busy presenting, organising, hosting and giving treatments. The evening started with a cocktail party in the Britannia Lounge for all our passengers, as we thought that it would be a nice idea to start the formal night in this manner. After this, everybody was treated to a great dinner.
After dinner the Britannia Lounge hosted a performance by “The Hot Rhythm Friends” staring Colin Bryant on saxophone and clarinet and Dave Peterson at the piano. The entertainment then continued in the Drawing Room with The Late Show by vocal entertainers Joel and Aaron followed by Easy Listening with The Perfect Mood Duo, or in Cooper’s Bar there was The Late Show with Dave Peterson at the piano.
This morning we arrived at 7 am at the Cagliari pilot station. Soon after the pilot boarded the ship we were entering the port and were berthed just before 8 am.
Shortly after the officials boarded, and once the ship was cleared our passengers could proceed ashore.
There was a choice of four tours today:
Scenic Sardinia Drive was a relaxing way to admire the stunning scenery and panoramic views of the countryside north of Cagliari.
A Taste of Sardinian Culture took the passengers to the agricultural and wine-producing community of Maracalogonis, where the wild boar and Sardinian deer still roam and the village’s inhabitants maintain their local traditions. Our guests were treated to a performance of folk dancers in traditional dress and a taste of the local wine and biscuits made using an ancient island recipe.
Ancient Ruins of Nora began with the coach tracing the route traditionally taken each May by thousands of pilgrims following the trail of St. Efisio, a Roman soldier and Christian who was martyred in 303 AD by the Emporer Diocletian. Nora was founded in the ninth century BC by the Phoenician traders. The city enjoyed its greatest prosperity under the Romans, but was abandoned in 800 AD. The ruins are very extensive and include Carthaginian warehouses, Roman baths with mosaic floors, the remains of temples and a well preserved theatre.
The Cagliari City Tour encompassed many of the important sites of the town. These included the Basilica of Our Lady of Bonaria, Monte Urpino, the National Archaeological Museum, the Cathedral of Santa Maria, the Bell Tower, the Elephant Tower which was built by the Pisans, and the Bastion of St. Remy.
For those passengers wishing to explore Cagliari independently a shuttle bus took them to the port gate, which was a stone’s throw from the centre of town.
The evening started with cocktail hour in Cooper’s Bar with Dave Peterson at the piano and in the Drawing Room, where the Perfect Mood Duo entertained our guests. After Dinner the Britannia Lounge featured pre-show music for Latin and Ball Room dancing followed by that Master of Magic, Brett Sherwood.
Meanwhile, Saga Sapphire is heading for our next port of call, Piraeus.
Captain Kees Spekman
Captain Kees Spekman
Apr 16, 2015
We started with two relaxing days at sea during which the seas were again very kind to us. After breakfast the Guest Speakers, Instructors, our Cruise Staff, and Beauty Staff were busy presenting, organising, hosting and giving beauty treatments. On the first day at sea passengers also had the chance to have a look behind the scenes at where all that delicious food is prepared with an afternoon tour of the galley. This first evening began with The Early Show in the Drawing Room where The Hot Rhythm Friends, Colin Bryant and Dave Peterson, presented a Sing-Along-Swing-Along Happy Jazz session while our passengers enjoyed their pre-dinner cocktails. After Dinner the Britannia Lounge hosted a performance by Master Magician Brett Sherwood. This was followed in the Drawing Room by Easy Listening with The Perfect Mood Duo and in Cooper’s Bar by The Late Show with Dave Peterson at the piano.
The second day again offered a swinging noon performance of the Hot Rhythm Friends in the Drawing Room. Pre-dinner cocktail time saw Dave Peterson at the piano in Cooper’s Bar or there was close-up table top magic with Master Magician Brett Sherwood in the Drawing Room. This evening’s Show Time in the Britannia Lounge was a performance by “Dynamic West End Star” Philippa Healey. Our guests could then head up to the Drawing Room for Dance Party with fabulous floor-filling favourites performed by Joel, Aaron and Michelle, followed by easy listening with The Perfect Mood Duo or in Cooper’s Bar the Late Show with Dave Peterson.
This morning we arrived at the very early hour of 6 am at the Piraeus pilot station. The reason for this early hour was that we have to wait for a slot between the many ferries that service this port and the many islands, as due to their tight schedules they have always priority. After a bit of a wait we managed to slip in and were berthed ahead of schedule at 7.30am. Shortly after the officials boarded the ship was cleared, and the passengers could proceed ashore.
Today’s tours were:
Athens on Your Own: This tour offered dependable transport, with a guide, to and from Athens for the independent spirit. Our passengers had a beautiful day to see this historical city on their own.
Acropolis and Archaeological Museum: On the way to the centre of Athens passengers saw some of the city’s most important sites, such as Constitution Square, the Monument of the Unknown Soldier, the Temple of Zeus and the Olympic Stadium. The city is dominated, of course, by the Acropolis. Occupied since prehistoric times, its principal monuments date from the fifth century BC when Athens was at the height of its power. The tour followed the footpath leading to the summit, where our guests saw the Propylaea, the Temple of Athena Nike, the Erechtheion and the world-famous Parthenon. This was followed by a visit to the National Archaeological Museum, a treasure-house of Cycladic, Minoan, Mycenaean and Classical Greek art. The museum’s best-known exhibits include a bronze statue of Poseidon, the Golden Mask of Agamemnon, a carved head of Hygeia, the Goddess of Health, and beautiful Minoan-style frescoes from Santorini.
Panoramic Athens and its Suburbs offered views of a mixture of the ancient, old and modern Athens. There were the marinas of Zea and Microlimano, two of the most attractive spots in the vicinity of Piraeus, the Olympic Stadium, built in the 19th century on Roman foundations, where the first modern Olympic Games took place in 1896, Constitution Square, the Monument of the Unknown Soldier, the Acropolis and the city’s attractive coastal suburbs of Glyfada, Voula, Varkiza and Vouligameni.
Cape Sounion & the Temple of Poseidon took guests along a scenic coastal road, which offered splendid views of the Saronic Gulf, passing through some of Athens’ most attractive suburbs. When the tour arrived at Cape Sounion the first site visited was the Temple of Poseidon, which dates from the fifth century BC and stands on the edge of a cliff about 200 feet above the sea. This Temple, where the Ancient Greeks worshipped Poseidon their mighty god of the seas, is one of the most breath-taking and deeply moving sights in Greece. Our passengers enjoyed the magnificent sight of the sun setting at the Temple before it was time to return to the ship.
The evening was a total Greek experience. It started in the Britannia Lounge with Cocktails and Cooking presented by the vivacious Celebrity Chef Tonia Buxton, followed by a Greek themed menu in the Pole To Pole and the Verandah restaurant. After dinner the Britannia Lounge offered a performance by West End Star Philippa Healy with her brand new show. This was followed by a Greek themed surprise party on the Verandah deck till late.
Our second day in Piraeus started with a beautiful sunrise and blue skies. It was yet another pleasant day to appreciate being a cruise ship passenger in port. Today’s tours were:
Ancient Corinth. This tour visited the ancient town of Corinth, where St Paul lived and preached for two years. In Classical times Corinth was a very rich city, and this is evident in the surviving ruins from this period which include the huge Agora or market place and the Temple of Apollo. Excavations have brought to light temples, fountains, shops, porticoes, baths and other monuments. Outside the main site are the Fortress of Acrocorinthos, the Theatre, Odeon, Potters’ Quarter, cemeteries and other remains. After a guided tour of the highlights of the vast site, including a visit to the Archaeological Museum, the coach drove back to Piraeus, making a short stop along the way at the Corinth Canal. The Canal is four miles long, 26 feet deep and 70 feet wide and was constructed between 1881 and 1893.
The Oracle of Delphi. The grandeur of Delphi, where natural beauty and ancient ruins blend in an extraordinary way, has to be seen to be believed. Set on the slopes of Mount Parnassus, 2,300 feet above sea level, it was once considered to be the centre of the Earth. The visit started at Delphi’s Sanctuary of Apollo, where one joined the paved Sacred Way to reach the Doric Temple of Apollo, where the High Priestess Pythia sat on a tripod and delivered the Oracles. On terraces above the temple are the well-preserved remains of the Theatre and Stadium, used for main events during the Pythian Festival. By the entrance to the sanctuary is the Kastalian Fountain where Pythia washed before speaking her prophecies. At a lower level, across the road, is the Sanctuary of Athena with its prominent circular building known as the Tholos. After touring the site there was the opportunity to visit the Archaeological Museum, with its extensive collection of sculpture that includes the world-famous Charioteer. Our guests then enjoyed a delightful lunch before returning to the ship.
Byzantine Hiking took passengers into the forest, where they enjoyed the fresh mountain air and beautiful views from Mount Hymettus. The trails offered Mediterranean flora such as pine trees, sage, thyme and dozens of other plant species and a wonderful panorama of Athens from high above. Visited was one of the city’s most important Byzantine monuments, the Monastery of Kaisariani. On a hillside at the foot of Mount Hymettus the monastery, surrounded by a high wall with gates on the east and west sides, was founded in the late 11th century, and is dedicated to the Presentation of Christ at the Temple. The main church is cruciform in plan, with four columns supporting the dome: the Chapel of Aghios Antonios to the north was added in the 16th century and the domed porch a century later. The prominent bell-tower was not added until the 19th century. Inside the monastery are some notable 17th-century wall paintings. The walk concluded with a welcome refreshment stop in a peaceful local café before the drive back to Piraeus.
All on board was at 5.30 pm, and soon after the pilot boarded we left the berth. After turning the ship towards the exit channel the pilot guided us to the pilot station, where he disembarked and we set course for our next port of call, Syros.
This evening the Britannia Lounge featured music “From the Tower Ballroom” performed by former Blackpool Tower organist, Dave Peterson. This was followed by our Explosive Productions singers and dancers presenting the music of the Beatles in “Twist and Shout” - a tribute to the music of the “Fab Four”.
Captain Kees Spekman
Captain Kees Spekman
Apr 18, 2015
Well, when you read the name of the port in the heading many will say, I thought that the next port was Syros. The reason to go to this beautiful island was that having departed from Piraeus we were informed that, due to the persistent southerly winds, the water level along the berth at Syros was lower than expected and that the tug boat crews had announced that they were now going on strike on 18 April. Suddenly the ship had to go into high gear to find a replacement port, organise the immigration and customs officials, have some shore excursions in place, one of which was to an island and needed both busses and boats, and the shuttle bus into town. With the combined effort of the management team ashore, my team on board, and the Port Agent we were successful. Our passengers were advised of the change, which was very gracefully received. So, this morning, we arrived at 7 am at the Mikonos pilot station, which is actually only 15 nautical miles from Syros, and were berthed at 8 am.
Mikonos is part of the Cyclades, lying between Syros, Paros and Naxos. The town is called after Mikonos, the son or grandson of Apollo. It was first settled in 300BC followed by the Ionians in 100 BC, the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, the Venetians, the Catalans and the Ottoman Empire till 1821 when there was the Greek Revolution, during which Mikonos played an important role, led by the national Heroine Manto Mavroganous. The island was prosperous till 1904, when the Corinth Canal opened and took trade away. Thanks to numerous important excavations, carried out by Archaeologists on the island of Delos, tourism soon came to dominate the local economy. This is still the case today.
Shortly after the officials boarded the ship was cleared and our passengers could proceed ashore to enjoy the sights. Today’s tours were:
Exploring the Secret Island of Delos. Delos is one of the Cyclades islands about a 30 minute boat ride from Mikonos. According to Greek Mythology it is the birthplace of Apollo, the god of light, and his sister Atemis, the god of the moon. On the island there are signs of occupation going back some 3000 years. Our guests visited the Agora of the Competaliasts, the Temple of the Delians, the Minoan Fountain, the Terrace of the Lions, the Temples dedicated to Hera and Isis, the Sanctuary of Dionysus, some well-preserved Hellenistic houses, including that of Cleopatra, with their exquisite mosaic floors and the old Roman Quarter with the ancient statues of Dyonysus, the god of wine and celebrations.
Panoramic Mikonos was the opportunity to explore Mikonos from the comfort of a coach offering views of the island’s superb beaches and distinct landscape laden with stark white houses and red or blue domed churches. A special stop was made in the traditional village of Ano Mera, where the Monastery of Panayia was visited and a nice meal of appetizers and Ouzo was enjoyed in a local restaurant on the village’s tranquil square.
For passengers wishing to explore independently there was a shuttlebus to the centre of Mikonos.
Once all our passengers were back on board the pilot boarded and we left the berth. After turning the ship towards the exit channel the pilot guided us to the pilot station, where he disembarked and we set course for our next port of call Canakkale.
The evening started for the Britannia Club members and me with the Britannia Club Cocktail Party in the Britannia Lounge, during which there was time to have a chat with some of the 378 members, of which 41 were Sapphire members. For the other passengers there was the pre-dinner cocktail hour in Cooper’s Bar with Dave Peterson at the piano and in the Drawing Room, where the Perfect Mood Duo entertained the guests. After Dinner the Britannia Lounge was the venue for Cabaret Showtime featuring the spellbinding, staggering virtuosity of Harry The Piano who has the uncanny ability to play any tune in any style. This was followed in the Drawing Room by Easy Listening with The Perfect Mood Duo and in Cooper’s Bar by The Late Show with Dave Peterson at the piano.
Captain Kees Spekman
Captain Kees Spekman
Apr 19, 2015
This morning we arrived at the pilot station at the early hour of 6 am because after the pilot boarded it was still about a 12 mile run to our berth. At the berth there was a stiff breeze blowing and, as it can be rather treacherous with changing currents, we had a strong tug boat on the stern. After turning the ship we backed to our berth and were safely tied up at 8 am for our overnight stay.
Çanakkale is the chief town of the province of Çanakkale on the southern coast of Dardanelles at their narrowest point. Little more than a half a mile separates Europe from Asia here and thanks to this strategic position the port features in many history books. Battlements first constructed by the Ottomans in the 15th century have proved their worth throughout the centuries, most recently in 1915 when allied forces were thwarted in their attempt to occupy Istanbul. Çanakkale is the nearest major town to the site of ancient Troy and has the "wooden horse" from the 2004 movie 'Troy' exhibited on the seafront. It was in 1865 that Frank Calvert, an explorer, and Heirich Schliemann, a pioneer archaeologist, began digging through a hill outside the city and discovered the remains of Troy.
As would be expected from the title of this cruise, in this centenary year today’s tours were all about the Gallipoli Campaign of 1915.
Battlefields of Gallipoli – Helles. This was a visit to remember the sites and battles following the deadlocked Western Front of 1915. It was a pilgrimage of remembrance as well as a history lesson.
The tour started with a drive to Fort Dardanos upon which, on the morning of 18th March 1915, Allied warships advanced and at 11:30 opened fire. They had come to destroy the Turkish forts, for unless these could be silenced the British minelayers could not operate safely to render harmless the lines of mines across the Straits. Opposing them at Kephes Point was Fort Dardanos, with Turkish guns and gunners commanded by Lieutenant Hassan. Despite an estimated 4000 shells having been fired within a half mile radius of its direction, the guns at the fort were not silenced.
There was then a short ferry ride to Eceabat with a stop at Alçýtepe. This village, which offers fine panoramic views over Gallipoli, was one of the objectives of the April landings, but was never captured from the Turks. From here the passengers visited the Allied cemetery at V Beach where the converted collier ‘River Clyde’ brought hundreds of troops ashore, many of whom died within minutes. The nearby Helles Memorial is the main monument to the entire Gallipoli campaign and also commemorates Australian and Indian servicemen who have no known grave. After lunch at a local restaurant the tour visited the Lancashire Landing Cemetery, where over 1,000 members of the 1st Lancashire Fusiliers are buried, and the Twelve Tree Copse Cemetery, where the 180 New Zealand troops, who fell at Helles, are commemorated. The journey continued via the notorious Gully Ravine to the Salim Mutlu Museum, which contains weaponry and other finds collected from the battlefields by a local grocer.
A ferry crossing of the Dardanelles brought our passengers back to Çanakkale at the end of a memorable day.
The Gallipoli Campaign. In 1915 the Gallipoli Peninsula was the scene of one of the longest and most bloody battles of World War I. Allied soldiers fought the Turkish army for eight and a half months in an attempt to secure the Dardanelles, in a campaign that cost the lives of 26,000 Australian soldiers and 36,000 from other Commonwealth countries. The tour started with a 30 minute ferry ride across the Dardanelles and a 30 minute coach drive to the British Memorial at Cape Helles. Standing in a prominent location overlooking the Aegean Sea, this monument commemorates the officers and men who fell in the fighting and have no known grave. After stopping for lunch our guests continued to Anzac Cove, named after the Australian and New Zealand troops who landed here on April 25, 1915. After a short stop at the Lone Pine Memorial and Cemetery, site of a major battle between Australian and Turkish forces in August 1915, a further drive took the passengers to Chunuk Bair. One of the main Allied objectives during the campaign, Chunuk Bair was captured from the Turks but lost soon afterwards. The cemetery here contains the New Zealand War Memorial which bears the names of 850 soldiers. From this poignant site our passengers returned by coach and ferry to Canakkale.
For passengers wishing to explore independently, there was a shuttlebus to the centre of Çanakkale and for those who wished to remain on board Cruise Staff had organised and hosted different activities.
The evening of the first day started with pre-dinner cocktail hour in Cooper’s Bar with Dave Peterson at the piano and in the Drawing Room, where the Perfect Mood Duo entertained the guests. After Dinner the Britannia Lounge featured Cabaret Showtime presenting the sophistication, culture and glamour of Violinist Clare Gobin. This was followed in the Drawing Room by Easy Listening with The Perfect Mood Duo and in Cooper’s there was The Late Show with Dave Peterson at the piano.
On the second day the shore excursions on offer were:
Battlefields of Gallipoli Anzac. The landing at Anzac Cove on April 25, 1915 is commemorated in Australia and New Zealand as Anzac Day. It was on that day that large numbers of assault troops, mostly from the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC), landed at night on a narrow beach at the foot of sheer cliffs, one mile north of their intended target.
This tour started with a 30 minute ferry ride across the Dardanelles to Eceabat. From here the coach drove to Bigali Village, where guests visited the former home of Turkish leader Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who led the Ottoman Army’s 19th Division during World War I. The coach then drove to Anzac Cove to visit the Ari Burnu Cemetery, at the north end of the cove, followed by the Lone Pine Memorial and Cemetery before proceeding to Chunuk Bair. From this movingsite, our passengers returned by coach and ferry to Çanakkale.
The Legendary City of Troy is known as the centre of an ancient civilisation that existed over 4,000 years ago. A significant feature of Greek and Latin literature, Homer first mentioned the story of Troy in his Iliad and Odyssey. Troy was established in 3000BC and gained a reputation as a centre of heroism, love and civilisation. According to Greek mythology, Helen was the beautiful daughter of Zeus and Leda, whose abduction from Paris by her husband Menelaus caused the Trojan War. The ruins were discovered by the German businessman and amateur archaeologist, Heinrich Schliemann, who excavated the site from 1870 to 1890, using Homer’s Iliad as a guide. Our guests had the opportunity to visit the Temple of Athena, the Bronze Age ramp and the town's ramparts. On the way back to the ship there was a stop at the Turgutreis Bastions, named after a famous 16th-century Ottoman admiral.
The Town & Coastal Panoramic tour offered a relaxed sightseeing from the comfort of the coach. It took the passengers to the centre of Canakkale to experience the atmosphere of the city and enjoy its history, architecture and culture. Canakkale is the nearest major town to the site of ancient Troy and, as such, our guests were taken to the 'wooden horse' featured in the 2004 movie Troy. From here the tour proceeded to the Tusan Hotel, situated by the beach, for a refreshment break and free time where the passengers were able to chat with their guide about the area and its history. Soon after all our passengers were back on board the pilot boarded and we left the berth. After turning into the Dardanelles we steamed downstream to the pilot station, where the pilot disembarked and we set course for our next port of call Thessaloniki.
The evening started with pre-dinner cocktails in Cooper’s Bar with Dave Peterson at the piano and in the Drawing Room, where the Perfect Mood Duo entertained the guests. After Dinner the Britannia Lounge featured a performance by Explosive Productions with their show “Come On Over To My Place”, which is a tribute to the first male vocal harmony super groups.
Captain Kees Spekman
Captain Kees Spekman
Apr 21, 2015
This morning we arrived at the pilot station at 7:00am. After the pilot boarded we were soon entering the port and approaching our berth. The water level along the berth is too shallow for Saga Sapphire, so we ordered some pontoons to be put in place which kept the ship in the deeper water and allowed for safe tying up. The ship was safely moored “downtown” at 8:00am.
Thessaloniki, also known as Salonica, is one of the biggest Greek seaports and one of the largest ports in the Aegean Sea Basin. With a population of over a million in the greater metropolitan area, Thessaloniki is a modern city that is a gateway to the region of the Balkans and south-eastern Europe, as well a cultural and commercial hub. It is the second-largest city in Greece, after Athens, and one of the oldest in Europe. It was founded around 315BC, on the site of prehistoric settlements dating back to the second millennium BC. It is named after the sister of Alexander the Great. Many consider the White Tower to be the symbol of Thessaloniki. This 15th century structure was used as a Turkish barracks for many years. When the city was captured by the Greeks during the Balkan War of 1912, the tower was whitewashed as a symbolic gesture of cleansing and acquired its present name, although the passage of time has now weathered the colour to a pale grey.
Shortly after the officials boarded the ship was cleared and our passengers could proceed ashore.
Today’s tours were:
Royal Tomb of Vergina. The Royal Tombs are located near Mount Pieria, at the end of the most fertile plain of Greece. Vergina, ancient Aigai, was the first capital of the Macedonian Kingdom and for centuries was the place where members of the royal family were buried. This tour visited the original royal tomb of King Philip II, father of Alexander the Great, where our guests could admire an exhibition of the unique gold and silver treasures discovered at this site as well as the architecture of the tombs and the superb wall painting showing the King hunting, accompanied by his famous son and his friends. An underground museum houses the exhibits, which includes a golden chest found inside King Philip's tomb, containing his bones washed in wine and wrapped in a purple cloth, was opened in 1996 and is one of the finest in Greece.
Dorian Memorial & Salonika Front Line. The Salonika campaign began in October 1915, when the Allies sent an expeditionary force to Salonika to support Serbia against an invasion by Germany and her allies. This tour took passengers, after a drive around the highlights of Thessaloniki, to the Dorian Memorial, which stands roughly in the centre of the line that was occupied by the Allies and Commonwealth forces for more than two years. During the entire campaign, the British Salonika Force suffered some 2,800 deaths in action, 1,400 from wounds and 4,200 from sickness. This memorial marks the site of the battle and commemorates more than 2,000 Commonwealth servicemen who died in Macedonia but whose graves are not known. It was designed by Sir Robert Lorimer, with sculptures by Walter Gilbert, and was erected in 1926. The surrounding cemetery contains 1,338 Commonwealth war graves, mostly of the officers and men from the 22nd and 26th Divisions who gave their lives during the fierce fighting in 1917-1918. One French soldier and 45 Greek soldiers are also buried here.
Thessaloniki Highlights & Mika Memorial. The first call of this tour was to the Mikra Memorial and Cemetery in the suburb of Kalamaria, which houses the graves of 1,810 Commonwealth troops from the First World War and 147 war graves from other nationalities. In the cemetery is the Mikra Memorial which commemorates 500 nurses, officers and men from Commonwealth countries who were lost at sea when their troop transports or hospital ships were sunk in the Mediterranean. The names on the memorial include those who perished when the White Star Liner Britannic, sister ship of the Titanic, was sunk by a mine in 1916. This was followed by a visit to the Archaeological Museum which houses a magnificent collection of Macedonian and Greek sculpture, the Church of St Demetrius, dating from the seventh century, built in the form of a five-aisled basilica and restored after the great fire that devastated much of the city in 1917. On the return drive the tour stopped at the house where Mustapha Kemel Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, was born. Appropriately, it now forms part of the Turkish Consulate complex.
Dion & Mount Olympus. According to Greek mythology a number of gods resided on Mount Olympus: Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, Hestia, Hera, Ares, Athena, Apollo, Aphrodite, Hermes, Artemis and Hephaestus, all lived in ‘crystal mansions’, ruling over the mortals below. At 9,575 feet it is the highest mountain in Greece. This tour started with a drive to Dion, site of an ancient fortified city that was continuously occupied from the Classical period until early Christian times. The site is home to excavated buildings from various periods including large temples, private homes, public buildings, shops and public baths. Many artefacts, including some from the Dion site and Olympus, are displayed in the museum, as well as a fine 2200 year old statue of Hera. The next stop was the picturesque village of Litochoro, where our guests enjoyed lunch and a stroll around the village, which offers wonderful views of Mount Olympus.
For passengers wishing to explore independently it was only a very short walk into town, and for those passengers remaining on board the Cruise Staff had organised and were running different activities.
Once all were on board the pilot boarded and we left the berth. We had to use two compulsory tug boats to move us sideways from the berth a goodly way, after which we were lined up with the port exit. We left the port, disembarked the pilot and set course for our next port of call, Lemnos.
The evening started with pre-dinner cocktail hour in the Drawing Room, where The Hot Rhythm Friends Colin Bryant and Dave Peterson played music that puts a smile on your face and a song in your heart. After Dinner the Britannia Lounge once again featured the spellbinding, staggering, virtuosity of Harry The Piano. This was followed in the Drawing Room by Easy Listening with The Perfect Mood Duo and in Cooper’s Bar by The Late Show with Dave Peterson at the piano.
Captain Kees Spekman
Captain Kees Spekman
Apr 22, 2015
This morning we neared our anchorage at 7 am. Because this port has no facilities to accommodate Saga Sapphire we have to be at anchor. With kind seas and under a blue sky we were at anchor at 8 am. While I was busy making sure that the ship was safely at anchor, other crew members of the deck department busied themselves preparing the tenders which we would use to ferry the passengers and crew to and from the shore, the tender platform which is the docking station along the ship and the embarkation point for our passengers and crew into the tender, and the landing stage shore side. Shortly after we had anchored the first tender went ashore to receive the officials, who cleared the ship from the pier as they first wanted to go for a coffee before coming to the ship.
Today’s tours were:
“Lemnos Boat Trip” offered the opportunity to view the wonderful landscapes, romantic beaches and idyllic coves and bays with their clear blue water from aboard a caïque. The boat cruised the East coast of Lemnos, with its secluded bays and isolated beaches. The caïque is the workhorse of the Aegean islands, and often the same boat is used at different times for fishing, carrying tourists, family transport and the shipment of goods. Being small, they can easily slide into small harbours and draw close enough to many beaches so that passengers can walk down a short ladder onto the sand or even wade ashore.
“East Moudros Cemetery & Poliochni Site”. This tour started with a 50 minute coach drive to the archaeological site of Poliochni on the east coast of the island. Seven layers of civilisation have been excavated here, one above the other. It is considered one of the earliest large urban centres of the Early Bronze Age and to have been the first city in Europe with a basic social and civic structure. This Neolithic town pre-dates the Egyptian dynasties, the Minoan kingdom of Crete and even the earliest level of Troy. From here the tour went to East Moudros, where the main military cemetery of Lemnos is located. Established in 1915, it contains 885 Commonwealth graves from the First World War and one Second World War burial. There are separate French and Indian memorials, in addition to a monument commemorating the sailors from HMS Agamemnon who died during the Gallipoli campaign. After some leisure time in the picturesque harbour town of Moudros, set on a wide natural bay, the tour returned to the ship.
“Myrina Museum & Poliochni Site”. This tour took our passengers back to ancient times. It started with a visit to the archaeological museum in Lemnos. This neo-Classical building was recently renovated. The objects exhibited there were discovered during excavations by the Italian Archaeological School and by the Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities. From here the tour proceeded to the archaeological site of Poliochni. “Poliochni Archaeological Site and Wine” offered ancient history with a visit to the site of Poliochni, and a taste of the local wine with a visit to the Chatzigeorgiou Wine Factory, where our passengers could sample some famous Lemnos wines, together with local snacks and cheeses. Lemnos is especially known for its sweet white dessert wine.
For passengers wishing to explore independently it was only a very short walk from the tender landing into town. The last tender from the shore to the ship was at 5.30 pm. As soon as all the passengers and crew were on board the tenders and the platform were stowed and secured and anchor weighed. Soon we were clear of our anchorage and on our way to the next port of call, Istanbul. The day had not yet finished however, as we were going through the Dardanelles between 10 pm and 1 am the next morning.
The evening, in the meantime, started with pre-dinner cocktail hour in the Drawing Room where the Perfect Mood Duo were playing and in Cooper’s Bar, where Dave Peterson entertained our guests at the piano. After Dinner the Britannia Lounge featured the sophistication, culture and glamour of Violinist Claire Gobin.
Captain Kees Spekman