31st March, 2019
Leixoes (for Porto)
After a very smooth bay of Biscay crossing we made our approach to Leixoes which is the sea port for Porto. It was a beautiful morning for our arrival and we had booked the pilot for 0700. Chris our 3rd Officer kept the Con, embarked the pilot bang on schedule and then guided the ship into the main harbour, which is a bit of tricky one, with a couple of tight turns in confined waters, and then a swing of 160’ before going stern-first through a very narrow cut to the berth.
I took the con once Chris had completed the swing and then “backed” her up to the berth – an excellent job he did especially as he had only returned from leave 3 days before. We were all fast by 0740 and ready for disembarking our guests at 0800.
Porto, also known as Oporto by the British, is the 2nd largest city in Portugal after Lisbon, and one of the major urban areas on the Iberian Peninsula. Located along the Douro river estuary, Porto is one of the oldest European centres and is of course famous for port wine.
As we were docked in Leixoes, which is approx. 20 minutes from Porto we provided a free shuttle bus to the city centre. Unlike many cruise lines shuttle buses are always free with Saga.
As it was such a beautiful day I decided to head off on my road bike and along with Joey, one of our Quarter-Masters (QM’s) we cycled along the banks of the Douro river into the centre of Porto (photo attached) and covered 28km in all. It was wonderful to be back on my ride bike in a warm climate!!
Our guests had a fantastic day and all were raving about Porto. All were on board by 1630 and by 1700 we slipped our lines and Simon our Staff Captain (new to Sapphire) conducted the manoeuvre and it was the perfect way to get an instant feel for the “intricacies” of this ship. With minimal guidance he took the ship and we then set courses towards Gibraltar.
Captain Julian Burgess
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