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16th September, 2012


I was called to the bridge the previous night as the pilots wanted to tell me we had to delay our arrival at the pilot station. This had been set up for 4:45am, but the pilots wanted us to wait until 6:00am so reluctantly I agreed. We picked our pilot up at the entrance to the Archipelago at 6:00am on a rather blustery morning, and we set of at 12 knots through the islands. I have to say this approach and transit must be one of the most picturesque arrivals with the many islands playing host to quaint summer houses with their little jetties and the speed boats outside. My kind of living!

The pilot was very good and helped us push on as he knew we were late, and once we arrived in Stockholm, rather than waste time turning, I berthed the ship straight in. We were all fast at 10:15am, 30 minutes late. Considering we were initially delayed 1 ¼ hours I was pleased we made up time. I then decided to give the passengers back their 30 minutes so arranged for sailing 30 minutes later. Stocholm was bathed in beautiful warm sunlight and the lengthy sail in was phenomenal. The wonderful archipelago that precedes the Scandinavian city was a delightful way to start off what was to be a fantastic day.

The archipelago offers the city a natural defence from the harsh winter weather of the Baltic Sea. Its shallow waters and multiple twists and turns, deliver a tough navigational challenge, but it also provides many picturesque moments and some gorgeous scenery. For those who didn’t want to head off in an organised group and wanted to do their own thing today, there was a shuttle bus that dropped all in the centre of town. From there the ‘Royal Palace’, the main shopping street and ‘Museum Island’ were only a stone’s throw away.

The shore excursions department provided all with some interesting tours taking passengers to many of the city’s highlights that weren’t easily accessible. These highlights included a trip to Drottingham Palace, the summer residence of the royal family, and of course a visit to the famed ‘Vasa Museum’.

Once back on board there was plenty of entertainment to look forward to in tonight’s program. To kick off proceedings there was an early evening cabaret featuring our hilarious pianist Martin Orbidans in the main lounge. Or for our Britannia Club members there was a cocktail party in the drawing room, taking in the views of the beautiful sail out.

The main show in the lounge tonight was a double billing featuring two wonderful, but contrasting vocal talents. The first performer to grace our stage was the gorgeous Holly Holyoake and her blend of classical crossover music. This was followed by ‘Mr Cruising’ himself, Jamie Michael Stewart, finishing it all off with another rousing performance.

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.