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10th June, 2013



From Gdynia Saga Sapphire headed west through the Southern Baltic before turning North to transit the Great Belt and Samsoe Belts once again. The highlight of which for our passengers was passing under the “East Bridge” which makes up one half of the “Great Belt Bridge”, and is the world’s third largest suspension span. The other half of the Great Belt Bridge, as you can probably guess is called the West Bridge and is a box girder construction. Each part connects together at Sprogo Island. The two pylons of the East Bridge structure are actually the highest structures in Denmark, excluding radio masts, standing 833ft above sea level. There is 213ft from the bottom of the bridge to the surface of the water so there was plenty of room for Saga Sapphire to pass underneath even with the top mast up (we can, and often do, lower this to give us an extra 15ft for passing under some bridges).

After the Belts it’s just a short passage through the upper Kattegat before reaching the Norwegian coastline and our destination of Sandefjord. Situated in the county of Vestfold, just west of Oslofjord and neighbouring the county of Telemark, the location is ideal for exploring in either direction, or just enjoying the local scenery and town itself.

Sandefjord has great maritime tradition and it was here that the Goskstad Viking ship was excavated from, which is now in the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo. Sandefjord was also a big whaling port up until the 1960’s. Today the locations role in shipping is more synonymous with ships paint and coatings, being the HQ for Jotun, the same paint brand we use onboard to keep the Saga Sapphire’s hull and superstructure from turning to rust!

Sandefjord doesn’t get cruise ships in often, and that was evident to see by the warm welcome we received on our arrival. A full band played and children from a local international School which teaches in English, were waving flags and cheering as Saga Sapphire moored alongside.


I spoke with one of the teachers on the quayside and invited them to come aboard to show the children around on a guided tour. Erik the 4th Officer and fitness instructor Michelle were volunteered for the task of showing the two classes of children around. Before concluding their tour on the bridge, the children were taken for ice cream and sweets up at the deck 11 pool. Probably not the wisest thing to do, to give young children sugary foods, and then let them lose on the Bridge, but they were all very well behaved under the watchful eyes of their teachers despite the excitement. Who knows, maybe one day one of these children will make a career out of going to sea as a result of their experience on board?

We departed that evening from the narrow fjord, first manoeuvring ¾ of a mile astern to find room to turn, before heading out to sea.

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.