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8th September, 2012


The ship woke this morning already docked in the beautiful port of Ålesund, because we had tied up late last night. The storm had abated as we knew it would and we were greeted by blue skies. I always find this calm after the storm very rewarding. Even in harsh weather, it is always a challenge to manage the ship, to make the best of a bad job, to ensure you get through the weather, and being on Saga Ships with the crews and officers I sail with, I always feel very confident with the vessels I command.

We have 500 newcomers to cruising and sadly, sometimes we do get some harsh weather we have to sail through but I always like to try and reassure the passengers about what noises they will hear, and the motion to expect. As I always say, nobody pays me enough to risk my life so all can be reassured of that, so I have confidence in the ships and the challenge of using all your skills and training to manage the ship on the high sea is very rewarding. I draw on my experience when I worked in the harsh North Sea for 12 years, in the winters to make sure we keep as comfortable as possible. And then as the storm is stilled and you get this lovely awakening of clear skies and calm winds, it is a great feeling.

Ålesund is a town which is famous for its architecture, and was inspired by a great fire that happened at the turn of the century. Since most of the central business district was decimated by the fire storm, it was decided that it should be rebuild in the most technologically advanced architectural style at the time, hence the vast collection of Art Deco buildings.

The proximity of the ship to the centre of town and the fact it is famous for its architecture, it was no surprise that the walking tour was extremely popular today. It was a 2 ½ hour guided walk around the most important and recognisable buildings and was finished with a piping hot coffee at a local establishment. For those who weren’t interested in the Art Deco history, there was the chance to get away from it all and enjoy the natural beauty of ‘Islands of Giske and Godoy’.

The late lunch sail out occurred under beautiful clear skies and there was plenty going on around the ship. A feature of the afternoon’s proceedings was the Evening Worship held in the Britannia Lounge at 5.15pm. An interdenominational service, led by myself and featuring the Filipino Choir and various members of the Cruise Department.

The evening’s entertainment kicked off with the ship's own pantomime. Featuring members of the Cruise Department, and a few special guests, it was a fun way to lead into another great British entertainment institution, the music of the Beatles. The on board show team performed their own tribute to the great works of the ‘Fab Four’ with their production show ‘All You Need Is Love’. Alternatively in the Drawing Room there was a comedy bonanza with the hilarious Bob Webb doing a late night set to close out the night, whilst beforehand Martin Orbidans got everyone in the mood with his blend of comedy, vocals and music.

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.