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Saga Sapphire blog - Captains' blogs

12th April, 2012

A new day and a new port for Saga Sapphire as we sailed into the beautiful city of Valencia, Spain. We were all tied fast by 8am this morning as guests enjoyed the sunshine beaming down on our lovely ship.

Many chose to take a leisurely trip into the city whilst others opted for the excursions on offer. For those who chose to stay on board Resty was hosting activities including deck quoits, darts and scattegories throughout the day.

On departure, we were carrying out our pre-departure checks in the engine room. During these checks, it was found that the cooling system on port side of the engine wasn’t performing. I informed the passengers that we would be staying overnight in Valencia to give Chief Engineer Len time to look at the issues properly.

Tonight the Britannia Lounge laid host to a full ship cocktail party with Robin Shaw, Chief Executive of Saga Shipping as he invited all our passengers for pre-dinner cocktails. Following dinner those keen quizzers could join cruise staff Rebecca for a fun general knowledge quiz in the Drawing Room followed by a musical interlude with cocktail pianist Andy Law.

Production showtime tonight saw Explosive Production’s present ‘The Big Wheels of Motown’ with a song and dance extravaganza reliving the golden age of Motown bringing us hits from the motorcity. We then continued the evening with music for dancing from the Sapphire Orchestra and our gentlemen hosts.

In the morning, I got an update from Chief Engineer Len that upon further investigation, a lengthier repair was going to be required. Sadly this was going to take a few days. I had to break the disappointing news to the guests, that the cruise would have to be curtailed.

But we enjoyed a last night together, a farewell party that was very well attended. I made my farewells, and as I was walking off stage, Cruise Director Jo called me back. Then from stage left, a piper appeared in the way of one of our passengers, playing the bagpipes for me, and as I walked off, all of a sudden, the room was full of passengers waving their napkins for me, in way of support. I felt extremely touched. I have to say I am not somebody who likes praise; it makes me feel uncomfortable as I am paid to do this job, and I try to do it as sincerely and as honestly as I can (great advice by my father). Although the guests were going to leave the ship in Valencia, they were full of praise for the ships company, who in my book are the real heroes.

The next morning I was on the quayside with my colleagues as the first of our passengers travelled home, again in style. Saga had chartered their own aircraft and Saga staff from head office and the ship went to the airport and organised everything. Even Horst Pint, Hotel Director, took a bus load of waiters to the airport to help our passengers and their baggage. You can imagine what funny looks he was getting from the airport staff with this bossy Austrian in uniform, directing waiters and busboys with suitcases in an Airport check in hall…

But nothing less for our guests. And for those passengers who did not wish to fly, we had luxury coaches going overland through France, with a 2 night stopover in a hotel, again with volunteers from the ship to be a friendly face on the bus and another bus to Santander and to Portsmouth. I was in awe at the organisation in such a short period of time and thanks go to Chris, our Shore excursions Manager, Horst and the Pursers, and all the Saga Holidays staff in head office. What I would call a great team effort!!

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.