Saga Sapphire blog - Captains' blogs
7th September, 2012
Welcome to Geiranger, one of the most beautiful fjords in Norway, if not the world. This morning we moored just a few hundred yards from the small jetty where our tenders would set down and passengers could step onto the quayside.As Geiranger is a busy anchorage for all cruise ships during the seasons, the anchorage can become very congested. I remember in the early days(listen to me, I feel old!!) we all anchored and all the ships swung on their anchors and you had to monitor the situation, to make sure you didn’t touch if some ships swung the other way. Now, the port have constructed 3 bollards around the bay so you anchor and then tie up to a bollard as well so all ships stay in the right, and same direction. Today we have the anchorage right next to the river and we were only 70 metres from the shallows. The wind was howling down the fjord today so we had to use both anchors and a tug to help keep the ship in position. The shore tender which we had hired to help send our passengers ashore said the wind conditions were too strong, but I considered our tender operation could go ahead as I know the experience of my coxswains. And today went very well.
It was a chilly morning but the buzz and anticipation of venturing ashore was keeping everybody warm on the inside.
The first tour to disembark today was a trip to the dizzying heights of one of the surrounding pinnacles, ‘Mount Dalsnibba’. A warm and comfy coach took all of the strain out of the upward climb and transported passengers to the top for some phenomenal views. There was also the ‘Herdal Summerfarm’ adventure for something completely different. Here guests had a chance to enjoy some local produce and a typical Norwegian farming experience.
For those who ventured ashore by themselves today, a plethora of exciting experiences awaited them. Whether it was going off to enjoy one of the fine walking trails, or cycling down the mountains, or even visiting the delightful town centre for a spot of shopping, a great time was had by all.
Once back on board there was the small matter of the sail away to relish. As the ship meandered its way to Alesund, guests enjoyed a delightful afternoon sipping warm hot chocolate and savouring the sights of Geiranger, including the world famous ‘Seven Sisters’ waterfall, and not forgetting its accompaniment the ‘Veil’.
Our tug in Geiranger, had to race ahead as we needed it to berth in Alesund as the forecast for the wind was to increase so I was pleased we were alongside tonight.
Well we continued on wowing the guests with the entertainment on board the ship tonight. There was a double bill in the main lounge featuring our wonderful UK guest acts Elaine Del Mar and Bob Webb, or upstairs for all the cool cats the Hot Rhythm boys played a late night jazz set in the Drawing Room. For something completely different our resident cocktail pianist Martin tinkled the ivories to wee small hours of the morning in Cooper's.
We approached the berth in 40 knot winds with our guests awaiting in the bus on the quayside, who have travelled by road from Geiranger. The two tugs strained to ease us alongside and we were shortly safely alongside at 2200. All slept soundly as we allowed the gales to pass overhead and calm for the morning.
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