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15th May, 2012


Saga Sapphire

After a hectic two days in St. Petersburg our next port of call was beautiful Tallinn, Estonia. The capital of the Estonian Republic, the coastal settlement, is only 53 miles from Helsinki across the Gulf of Finland, midway between St. Petersburg and Stockholm. We embarked our pilot at 0630 and headed south towards the port and city of Tallin. It was an 11 mile run south and we achieved this in just over 40 minutes. Our berth this morning was the new finger pier on the outer harbour. I had ordered a tug boat as I was told by the agent that the winds were due to be very strong but the morning brought light winds so I cancelled the tug. As we approached the berth, I lined the ship up with the pier, stopped both engines about ½ mile out, doing about 7 knots. With the 37,000 tons of steel, the momentum kept us moving ahead, slowly decreasing in speed and as we started to overhang the berth, I gave a few kicks astern on the engines just to slow the speed until in position, and the last kick, stopped the vessel in position. We were all fast by 0745 .With an early berth, this gave our passengers plenty of opportunity to explore this wonderful city.

Guests could choose from a variety of tours to really experience the most Tallinn had to offer today. One of the first tours to leave was the 'Tallinn Old Town Tour' letting our passengers discover the highlights of Tallinn Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on foot. Starting in the Upper Town they saw the castle, the Russian Orthodox Church of Alexander Nevsky and the 13th-century Gothic Dome Church. They then strolled along 'Long and Short Leg Streets' to the 15th-century Blackheads Fraternity House for a folk show and refreshments before ending the tour at St. Catherine’s arts and crafts centre.

Another popular tour that left the ship today was Tallinn Highlights taking our guests on a drive through the cultural centre of Tallinn and along the medieval city walls that encompass the Old Town. Disembarking the coach they strolled past the Transfiguration Church enjoying a folk show and refreshments at Blackheads Fraternity House. Our guests then walked through Pikk Street and across Town Hall Square continuing by coach along the main thoroughfare towards the central park of Kadriorg. They also had the opportunity to visit the Song Festival grounds, where the national song festivals are held with some 30,000 singers concluding the tour at Pirita Marina the venue for international regattas and Olympic yachting.

On-board Saga Sapphire cruise staff Donna, Kayleigh and Emma entertained our guests with games such as Jenga, Deck Quoits and Family Fortunes throughout the day.

Saga Sapphire

I allowed Steve James, our newly appointed Staff Captain take the ship away today. I have known Steve since he came to us from the Royal Navy back in 2002, I think it was and then he decided to join Saga and its been a pleasure to see him rise though the ranks. He did a great job of taking the ship away, and off we sailed to our next port,Waarnemunde, in Germany.

As we sailed away at around 5pm guests could join all of the cruise staff out on the back deck for a cocktail with musical accompaniment from cocktail pianist Andy Law.

We invited those keen quizzers to join cruise staff Rebecca at 6pm for a Rock & Roll themed 'Team Trivia' in the Drawing Room followed by Cabaret and Cocktails and the sounds of resident duo Perfect Mood.

Tonight’s showtime was a double bill starting at 9.30pm opening the proceedings were Explosive Productions followed by Comedian Gerry Graham with Good Clean British Fun – Lord Bilston and lots of giggles throughout. Continuing a jam packed evening of entertainment the Britannia Lounge saw cocktail pianist Andy Law in the spotlight with our favourite piano entertainers to rock & roll and other toe-tapping number one hits! This followed with music for dancing from the Sapphire Orchestra and our gentlemen hosts.

For those who wanted a night cap could join duo Perfect Mood our resident duo for cocktails and a possible sing-song until late in Cooper’s bar.

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.