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11th April, 2012


Saga Sapphire in Barcelona

For our next port of call we sail into Barcelona, Spain which is one of the major Mediterranean ports and the financial and publishing centre of Spain. I rescheduled our arrival as there were many cruise ships arriving. So I rearranged with the pilots for an earlier pilot so when we arrived at 0630, we were first priority and we sailed in. I swung the ship off the dock and “reversed” into position. We were all fast at 0730. Our passengers collected their crosswords and sudoku ready to begin the day either independently or on a shore excursion in this wonderful city.

The first excursion to depart this morning was the 'Barcelona Panoramic' tour showing our passengers the city’s highlights from the comfort of a coach. Leaving the port, they headed first to the city’s imposing Gothic Cathedral. From here they carried onto the Olympic village built for the 1992 Olympic Games. Close by is the Forum coastline where there was a short break to relax at their own leisure, before returning back to the ship.

The next tour to leave us was the 'Montserrat with Rac'k train excursion visiting the sacred mountain of Montserrat or ‘Sawn Mountain’, where guests could admire spectacular views over the mountain ridge. After the 15 minute ascent by rack train, our guests visited the 16th century basilica, which was founded in 1025 in commemoration of an apparition of the Virgin on the mountain. Once at the top of the mountain our passengers were allocated a ticket that allows you entry into the Montserrat Audio-Visual Exhibition. Also given time our passengers could listen to a performance by the Escolania Boys Choir, one of the oldest boys choir in Europe, before returning back to the ship.

The last tour our guests enjoyed was 'Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia', Antoni Gaudi’s unfinished masterpiece, is one of Barcelona’s most popular tourist attractions. On this excursion our guests had the opportunity to discover this remarkable church, before spending time wandering the surroundings at your leisure. Construction will continue for at least several more decades on this church which Gaudi himself said ‘The expiatory church of La Sagrada familia is made by the people and is mirrored in them. It is a work that is in hands of god and the will of the people.’

Those who stayed onboard could join cruise staff Rebecca, as she organised classic cruising games such as beanbag boules, shuffleboard or even 'Connect Four Fun'.

Tonight’s entertainment began with a fun general knowledge quiz in the Drawing Room with cruise staff Michelle followed by cabaret and cocktails with the sounds of our resident duo Perfect Mood.

Following dinner, guests could enjoy a classical concert in the Britannia Lounge with the Cairn String Trio as they presented ‘A night at the Movies’ including works by John Williams, Morricone and Mancini.

Showtime this evening came in the form of Steve Galler, the man with the golden banjo as he presented an unforgettable show taking a trip down memory lane with songs of old. We then continued the evening with more music for dancing from the Sapphire Orchestra and our gentlemen hosts. Those wanting to enjoy a nightcap could join Andy Law in Coopers bar for a sing-a-long and a cocktail or two.

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.