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21st November, 2011

The start of a long but exciting journey...

Taking delivery of the Bleu de France

After months of planning and anticipation, we're finally here in Palermo and Saga Sapphire's refit is underway.

We took possession of the vessel, Bleu De France, on November 4 and our crew and contractors began to arrive daily to make preparations for the transformation.

Matt Henderson is our Captain for the project. Chief engineer, Len Blinston, who many of you know well, is also here with me, along with security officer, Rob Payne and housekeeper, Anne Mette. I will introduce you to other members of the team as we go along.

I have a fellow Austrian with me (pictured) named Markus Langmann. Markus is our hotel controller. One of his many tasks is to help dispose of the several tons of garbage we are producing every day from ripped out cabins and public areas. You can see the cranes in the background. It seems that as long as we provide acceptable coffee and good food for the workers, we seem to be getting along well despite not speaking the same language.

Horst and Markus

We are now at the demolition stage on deck 10 for the new balcony cabins we are building. This area used to be a fully equipped buffet restaurant. It is amazing how fast this demolition is underway. Just today we have started to cut the entire steel structure of this restaurant which will then be lifted off by the cranes.

In the hangar beside the yard, they are building the steel shells for the new cabins which will be lifted on and then fitted with brand new pipes and utilities before being furnished. I will produce some pictures in time to let you all see how this comes together.

There are several stray dogs in the yard. One has appointed herself as our official guard dog by taking up a position at the gangway day and night. We have named her Sapphirra (pictured). She has come to expect a daily breakfast of sausages as a reward for her efforts. In return, she has proved herself to be a reliable member of Rob’s security team.


The next time I write, I will have some pictures of the show lounge as it is now, as well in pieces. It will receive a complete refurbishment and I will keep you posted with the developments.

The next job for the yard is to start cutting the side of the ship on deck 8 to create more balcony cabins - I will take pictures of this also.

That is it for now. I am off to see the local Don to pay my respects.

The team

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