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Saga Pearl II blog - Captains' blogs

4th January, 2018

Well, a few days along the north African coast, and a lot of entertainment, food & drinks later, we found ourselves approaching the famous British outpost of Gibraltar in the early hours of the 4th January. Most had, by this stage, recovered from their New Year hangovers.

A fine sunny day dawned again and just as I was making my morning announcement from the Bridge to inform everybody of the positive weather forecast, a thought dawned on me - it hadn’t rained on us this cruise! How fortunate, given that it is winter time. Today was the day that many headed into the duty free shop to check out various items (namely of the liquid variety) to be escorted home and placed into the drinks cabinet. It is a pleasant stroll from the dock area to the town, marked by a large medieval city gate leading into a busy square lined with bars, restaurant and…of course a fish & chip shop. For every British outpost must have one of these.

Others who weren’t so keen on topping up their booze cabinets, headed off on dolphin-watching tours (I later heard that these lucky folk saw hundreds of dolphins), guided trips up the ‘Rock’ on the cable-car, a tour to the Gibraltar’s Fortress, excursions to see spectacular views at Europa Point, and even to see a labyrinth of caves situated within Gibraltar Rock. Presumably, once these tours had concluded, some people then headed straight to the Duty Free shops…

The sun shone all day although the breeze picked up as it often does in Gibraltar, making it necessary for some to hold on to their sunhats. Berthed next to us though, was an enormous cruise ship called ‘Mein Schiff’ (I’m no expert, but I think that means ‘My Ship’ in German). Fortunately she afforded us great shelter from this westerly breeze, making for very pleasant conditions on deck for those who just wished to spend the day lazing on board instead. We remained in Gibraltar late into the evening, before sailing out into the busy strait separating Europe from Africa on our final leg of this cruise, back to Southampton.

But the cruise is far from over yet – there are not enough hours in the day to cram all the events planned into. Entertainment from surprise acts (the “Singing Waiters”) lay ahead, as well as from famous guest acts such as instrumentalist Kenny Martin, as well as from our own motley crew in the form of a somewhat haphazard, traditional Pantomime. Cocktail parties, food feasts and action-packed events all laid on to nip in the bud any thoughts of an afternoon siesta in the Library as we head north to cooler climes…

Captain Kim Tanner

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