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Saga Sapphire blog - Captains' blogs

21st August, 2012

As morning rose, we had had a nice comfortable night alongside. Despite having wonderful food onboard,and the Chef would probably fillet me for ever saying this, but we have a bit of a ritual, if we have an evening in port, we get some junk food from ashore!! I remember this happening when I was on Saga Ruby on our America cruises, our cadets job was to go ashore in each port and come back with an array of “stodgy food”.

So we had Norwegian pizza bnice which was very pleasant I have to say. Alesund is not your typical Norwegian city as there are no wooden clapboard buildings around the water front. This is because of the great fire of 1904 which destroyed most of the central district. It was rebuilt using the most popular architectural fashion at the time, the art nouveau style. This is now the city’s biggest claim to fame and its major draw card.

Obviously the tour exploring the city’s architectural heritage was the most popular of today’s shore excursions. The ‘Art Nouveau City Walk’, which surveyed some of the surrounding areas greatest sights, was incredibly popular and very well received. For those not interested in the town’s architecture, there was a wonderful trip to islands of Giske and Godoy.

We were set to sail at 1400. As we were squeezed into the inside berth of this pier, with two great cruise liners on the outside, I had to squeeze the ship between a mooring buoy and the end of the quay, while trying to turn the ship out of the berth. So the pressure was on as I could see all eyes from the bridge on the other cruise line watch me and presumably willing me to make a mistake. Thankfully I don’t mind being watched and between the deck officers, the Bridge team and the pilot, we moved the ship away from the berth in very fresh conditions and it was a text book manoeuvre. Even passengers came to me later to say they could tell by the body language of the other ships' officers that they were amazed I got the ship out without touching anything.

I also heard from one of my Bridge Officers whose friends was on the other ship, that they were amazed we managed to get in this tight spot. So I felt quite proud of myself when my deck officer praised me. I always feel uncomfortable with praise,as this is my job and what I am paid for but it was actually quite pleasing to hear my officers say that about me.

Anyway we turned and headed out of Alesund, disembarked the pilot and we headed south to Stavanger. The weather en route was very pleasant indeed, much of a contrast to the weather I had last cruise.

Back on board the ship, passengers could enjoy our two fantastic afternoon lectures. The first was by destinations lecturer with a difference Jeff Roberts. I say with a difference because Jeff not only informs you on the history and the features of the places we are going to. He also informs you on some topical subjects about the ports which audiences find extremely interesting.

Afterwards there was a fascinating insight into domestic politics, with Lord Morris of Aberavon. A member of parliament for over 50 years, and a Secretary of State for Wales, just to name a few of his credits, the retired politician gave us an insight into the greatest parliamentary scandals of the ages.

Of course there was the customary evening show in the Britannia Lounge and an alternative cabaret in the Drawing Room. For those with a different interest, guests could spend the evening watching a film in our cinema. Tonight we screened the modern classic Warhorse, one of the most popular films of the last twelve months.

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.