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18th October, 2012



The pilots face was a picture when I greeted him on the bridge, a huge beaming smile of recognition. For nine years from 1995 Palma had been a regular Saturday call, so there was naturally a friendly working relationship with pilots, agents and the like. Nowadays Palma is a very irregular port on our itinerary, which is a shame as the old town in particular is a lovely place to amble around.

The shuttle bus travelled the esplanade, around the bay and past seemingly thousands of moored yachts, to drop the independent passengers just across the road from the magnificent cathedral of Santa Maria. This cathedral, completed in 1601 in the Catalan Gothic style, dominates the skyline as you approach the port from the sea.

The area around has been sympathetically developed and restored, allowing the visitor to take in the scene from many vantage points. Just behind, the narrow streets, with plenty of little boutique type shops, run down towards the main avenue where traffic mingles with horse drawn carriages.


A variety of artists had set their painting up against the medieval sandstone walls, or just sat on a folding chair with a pad to sketch the willing tourist. Cafe’s adorned the tree lined avenue and busy street corners, there seemed to be little evidence of the present austerity.

Another smiling pilot boarded for our departure, pronouncing my name in the typical Spanish way, Fileep, and pointed below at the other, who was standing on the dock to bid farewell. I was quite touched. We backed off the berth in a tight manoeuvre which took us relatively close to a 300 million dollar super yacht undergoing a refit. With the unlikely name of ‘A’, it is apparently owned by a Russian billionaire and is of questionable modern design more reminiscent of a US stealth warship. Who knows what lies within its sleek exterior.

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.