22nd June, 2019
Well hello faithful Saga blog-readers, Captain Kim Tanner here, having taken over from Captain Stuart Horne a few days ago in Dover.
It’s a pleasure to be here on board beautiful Saga Sapphire again – although I would be lying to say that I didn’t miss the little Pearl a wee bit. However of course, I have been greeted by dozens of friendly familiar faces, passenger & crew alike, since arriving.
After wishing Captain Horne a happy leave period, I got down to recalling where all the buttons and knobs are located on the Bridge, in order to control this fabulous machine. Steering wheel and throttles successfully located, it was time to depart Dover on our next adventure: the Grand Baltic.
It was a grey day, but dry at least, and I can safely say that nobody was disappointed to see Dover fade into the horizon as we backed out of the harbour and headed eastward through the busy English Channel. We would spend the first two days of this cruise at sea, progressing north-east into the North Sea before rounding Skagen into the Kattegak Sea and south towards central Denmark and wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen.
Two days at sea are an ideal amount of time to allow everyone to unpack (myself inclusive) and find their way around the ship, settling into the routine of food, drink, more food…and a little more drink. Day & night times were packed with entertainment, games and music – interspersed of course with sumptuous meals & snacks.
On Saturday morning we awoke to a lovely sunny day with Copenhagen on the horizon to the south. We approached the port, making our various machinery tests just before the port entrance, prior to entering the harbour. Copenhagen runs a voluntary pilotage scheme which means that it’s not necessary to use the skills of a local pilot unless you specifically require, and as myself and my deputy are well-familiar with the port we didn’t see the need to embark one today. We swung the ship in the harbour entrance (much to the annoyance of a vocal, impatient Italian ship Captain on board one of those monster cruise ships in the queue to enter behind us) before backing down to our berth on the corner, right next to the famous ‘little mermaid’ statue.
Shortly after 08:00, the ship was cleared into Denmark and our cruise composer Jobo announced over the PA that everyone could head ashore to enjoy their day in the sunshine. Options for everyone today included either a pleasant walk along the coast/riverside along a promenade into the city centre, or for those less energetic Saga provided a regular shuttle service to ferry one in and out of the city.
Of course, there were the usual abundance of local tours provided by our ‘Explore Ashore’ team, taking off in various directions. These comprised of city tours by foot, coach and boat. There was one which focussed on castles, another which strayed off to a quaint old fishing village along the coast, yet another which explored the famous Tivoli Gardens, and even one which ventured over the famous ‘Bridge,’ crossing the Oresund Strait into Sweden and the city of Malmo.
It was a glorious day and, just before evening G&T time, it was time for us to depart and continue into the Baltic towards Poland for our next call, the day after tomorrow. The sun shone for our sailaway when we steamed out of the harbour past numerous other cruise ships which had arrived since we had done. A very pleasant evening to be out and about on deck, marred only for me by the fact that I was stung on my arm by a bee as I was manoeuvring the ship off the berth. Much, of course, to the amusement of my team. Had he been present, my father would have delighted upon taking the opportunity to make his favourite comment when witnessing my moments of minor misfortune: “Couldn’t have happened to a nicer chap, young man…”
Captain Kim Tanner
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