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3rd January, 2019

Grand Turk

It was a perfect “cruising” day at sea before our arrival into Grand Turk. That meant glorious sunshine, a gentle breeze over the open decks and the ship gliding through the water at a slower speed. These are the days our guests long for. It was an early start for our arrival into Grand Turk as there are some ports I like to get into just before sunrise, as the wind often strengthens soon afterwards. With no pilot and no tugs available it was “all down to us” and with a 20-25 knot E’ly wind it was a challenging arrival. With some great teamwork we arrived safely alongside at 0630, 10 minutes after sunrise. The officials did not arrive until about 0730 and the ship was cleared soon afterwards.

Our location at Grand Turk is a beautiful spot with a fabulous beach within a couple of hundred yards of the ship (as you can see from the photos). The beach is all laid out for the cruise ships with sun loungers, parasols and a swimming pool all complimentary. There was a Carnival ship due in at 1130 so I advised all the guests to get ashore early and reserve their sun beds!

Grand Turk is part of the Turks and Caicos Islands which are British dependencies and is surrounded by coral reefs. Most of the tours were focused on the water with 3 Glass bottom boat departures, and a Catamaran Sail & Beach Break which my wife and daughters joined – they said it was fantastic and the bay they stopped at was probably the most beautiful they had seen. There was also a Truck safari for those that wanted to see Grand Turk by land.

I manged to pop off for lunch with my family and find a little restaurant away from the crowds, where my daughters got to sample some conch. It was a very quiet and casual lunch – amazing when we were only 200 metres from the main beach. After a little relaxation on the beach it was time for me to head back to work.

As we had a slow sped run to Tortola we delayed sailing a couple of hours so the F&B team could arrange a very special “Pirates of the Saga Sapphire BBQ Dinner” with perfect conditions on the back deck. The set up started around 1600 and what an amazing job the team did – All the attending staff were dressed up as pirates and the deck was very creatively decorated. The food selection was amazing and in all the theme of a Pirate BBQ – the photos don’t really do the whole evening justice. With everyone fed and “watered” – well with run punch, cocktails and wine of course, we slipped our moorings just before 2100 and moved astern to clear the berth and then set sail for Tortola.

Captain Julian Burgess

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