Saga Pearl II blog - Captains' blogs
6th December, 2018
Our ‘Amsterdam Escape’ cruise seemed to come and go in the mere blink of an eye. Before we knew it, we were approaching Portsmouth Harbour again in the early hours to be safely alongside on a beautiful, calm & sunny winters Tuesday morning.
Today we would say goodbye to the majority of folk who spent the previous 3 days of fun with us in Holland & Belgium, and embarking would be approximately 400 passengers keen to see festive Germany, for we would be embarking on a 6-day trip to experience the birth-country of the now famous magical winter markets.
Several tonnes of food, beverage and technical stores were of course also loaded, to cater for a ravenous group of Saga passengers, all no doubt looking forward to Executive Chef John’s future feasts. Come 17:00, just as darkness fell, we set sail from Portsmouth, heading out of HM’s famous Naval Dockyard – being ever careful not to bump into any of those rather dangerous looking grey ships parked alongside on the way out.
Once out at sea, we turned to port (or the left, for the Saga newcomers/landlubbers…) heading up the English Channel, through the Dover Strait overnight and popping into the North Sea in the early hours. We had a day at sea to enjoy, allowing everyone to settle into life aboard (and find the bars) before we hosted our traditional Captain’s welcome cocktail party in the evening – concluded of course in tradition by muggins himself sharing some rotten joke or another before everyone went off to enjoy our formal welcome dinner shaking their heads no doubt.
Early the following morning, Thursday I think, we awoke to a gloomy day at the entrance to the River Weser which leads to Bremerhaven, some 40 miles upstream. Almost 200 years ago the people of this town decided to make their small fishing town into a large, deep-sea port, which in hindsight was rather a good idea as today it is a prosperous harbour. Along with around half of Germany’s fishing catch being landed there, it is also a busy commercial port – particularly for container vessels.
The fishing town of Bremerhaven is a pleasant stroll zone – especially with the Christmas Markets to enjoy. Alternatively, our passengers had the option of heading to Bremen to enjoy larger, more impressive Christmas Markets. Other trips to this historic city offered scenic tram journeys or walking experiences. If you are a car fanatic, perhaps an organised trip to the Mercedes-Benz works might appeal instead. The factory is only an hour’s trip away, and this exclusive tour offers an in-depth view & description into all stages from conception to construction. Finally, there was of course the option to take a trip to the Meyer Werft shipyard and see construction of our very own new ship – Spirit of Discovery.
Well into the hours of darkness, as everyone was enjoying their supper, the time came to depart and head back down the River Weser again, back into the North Sea. After a visit myself to the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, I too had very much enjoyed my day here, but was also keen to manoeuvre my little ship off the berth and proceed to sea – for there was one of Chef’s famous curries awaiting my consumption in the restaurant this evening…
Captain Kim Tanner
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