Saga Pearl II blog - Captains' blogs
7th October, 2018
Sunday morning started particularly early for the Captain & team on Saga Pearl 2, for we had to cast off our lines from Kiel and dash 40 or so miles up the coast to the German / Denmark border and the southern Danish town of Sonderborg.
This is yet another new port for us, and in fact is the first time any cruise ship has called to this port apparently. This was evident as we approached our anchorage at 09:00, by the shoreline being crowded with local spectators all eager to watch us creep into the bay. Canon gun salutes were sounded as we dropped the anchor, and a local boat with photographers & a news crew on board circled us for some good shots.
We lowered our tenders into the water and commenced what would be an ideal day’s tendering – calm, bright and cloudless, but feeling quite crisp for the previous night a cold front had swept through, lowering the air temperature somewhat. It was around a 10 minute journey aboard our little boats to the harbour, where passengers could disembark and enjoy this historic & cultural town.
The town itself has had a chequered history, being forcibly occupied by Prussia for much of the 19th Century. A referendum was held in 1920, returning it to Danish rule. The main place of interest in town is Sonderborg Castle, which was home to the Royal Danish Army’s Sergeant School until 2013. Right in the centre of town (which is, in my opinion, a top spot for a castle) it now houses a museum devoted to local culture & history.
Saga’s organised trips today ventured to some interesting spots slightly further afield, including a place called Froslev Camp, built as a German internment camp during the Nazi occupation in 1944. Several thousand Danes were imprisoned here during WW2, and today it is one of Europe’s best-preserved POW camps. A scenic tour of southern Jutland was also offered, as well as visits to nearby Kolding and its Royal Castle, the Koldinghus. Of course, tours were also offered to Sonderborg’s own castle.
As the autumn sun lowered towards the west, our final tender from shore brought happy faces back on board in time for pre-super G&T’s whilst we on the Bridge prepared to weigh the anchor. More canon gun salutes and whistle-blowing followed from us to show our appreciation for these wonderfully hospitable Danes for the day, before we turned and headed back out of the bay. Overnight we would weave northwards through the Great Belts, before approaching another seldom visited Danish port tomorrow…but first, I had a delicious Chef’s Stroganoff to enjoy in the Veranda Restaurant; if our passengers had left me any!
Captain Kim Tanner
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