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21st December, 2012


Lisbon tram

We had a fairly rough ride across the Bay of Biscay but compared to the weather you are getting back home everyone on-board is realising how blessed they are to be heading towards a warmer and drier climate for Christmas.

After every storm comes the calm, or is it the other way around? Well we certainly awoke to a lovely morning in Lisbon, the Portuguese capital. Set on the banks of the River Tagus, Lisbon is an eclectic mix of Moorish and European influences. The Sapphire was awash with excitement, as all aboard were eager to disembark and explore this first port of call of on our‘Christmas in the Canaries’ Cruise.

The first tour to make its way off the gangway today, was the ‘Arrabida Mountains’ shore excursion taking passengers on a wonderful scenic drive to visit this lesser explored area of Lisbon. There they sampled some of the region's famous ‘Moscatel’ wine, and finished with a drive across the Vasco da Gama Bridge. All in all, a great morning out was had by all.

As always with our passengers the ever popular ‘Lisbon Panoramic’ was away in good time after the ship docked. Those participating saw all the most recognisable landmarks, like the ‘Belem Tower’ and the Statue of ‘Christ the Redeemer’ from the comfort of modern buses.

Lisbon tram

For something completely different there was a trip for all the nature enthusiasts to the ‘Ajuda Botanical Gardens’. These wonderful gardens were the main feature of the tour, and the trip was brought to a conclusion with a brief overview of the main points of interest of this vibrant city.

Once the small issue of the sailaway had been completed it was straight into a night of great entertainment with a dramatic reading of the Charles Dickens classic ‘A Christmas Carol’. Colin Bower, our visiting actor gave us part one of this literary masterpiece, with the remaining sections to come over the next few evenings. Whilst upstairs in the Drawing Room, there was a wonderful 'Carol Concert Sing-Along' with the Cruise Department and accompanied by our musical maestro Martin Orbidans on the Yamaha Grand.

So ended a very enjoyable first port of call. Tomorrow we have a restful, calm and sunny day at sea as we head towards Casablanca.

This may be the last blog entry over the holiday period so if it is may I take this opportunity to wish every one one of you a blessed & joyful Christmas and every good wish for 2013.

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.