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17th March, 2019

En Route to Madeira

Hello Blog Followers,

Captain Stuart Horne here back driving Saga Sapphire. Yes I have been absent for some time; but it's great to be back, albeit just for two weeks. ‘Holiday maker’ I hear you say!

Due to operational needs Richard covered my February slot and I am relieving Julian for this particular cruise, the Celestial Canaries, then Julian returns for Flavours of the Iberian Peninsula. I am then back for my scheduled tour of duty on April 11th, A Norwegian Saga. All rather complicated, but we’ll be settled down and in ‘routine’ by the end of March.

Big month for me this month, it’s my 60th Birthday. Heaven knows how I got this far, but I still feel like a spring chicken – flightless; you know how it is!

What a month we have had in the UK, wild and wet – even snow this weekend I hear, but for my Guests on this cruise, well I am taking them away from all of that misery with our jaunt down to the Canaries via Madeira and calling into Lisbon on the way back north.

So, back to the cruise. Lots of familiar faces on this cruise, it's my second home – oh it is, and a good number of first time Saga cruisers. A great bunch.

Following our departure from Dover we pushed out into the English Channel and was heading westerly towards the Atlantic by 1900 on Thursday. Winds were high and a moderate to high swell was rolling in across the Atlantic as we rounded Ushant, off the NW Brittany coast on Friday afternoon. Striking out across the Biscay, the winds and the swell took their toll on the ship's speed. Through Saturday afternoon the conditions started to ease, and this morning, having been five hours behind schedule, I am now only 3.5 hours late. As it is ‘down-hill’ to Madeira, and Chief Engineer Len has the engines at full tilt, I may be able to drag that back to 2.5 hours late, let's see in the morning.

I am a about to get on the PA to advise my Guests of our late arrival and re-jigged departure for Funchal, but sadly there’s not a lot I can do about the weather.

As always, Jo CD, Julian HD and their teams are doing a great job tinkering with timings and events to ensure we give our Guests a great experience, a Funchal ‘sail-in’ fiesta on Veranda deck aft – shame I have to drive the ship!

Chat tomorrow.

Captain Stuart Horne

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.