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23rd May, 2013


Having just re-joined Saga Sapphire, with Captain Rentell heading off for a bit of leave, my first task was to get our freshly embarked passengers to Norway without ensuring that their stomachs receive too much of a work out before making landfall.

This was not made any easier by the weather, and particularly the 9ft north-westerly swell and accompanying gale force winds on the second night and early hours of the morning of our arrival at the port of Stavanger.

With the weather brightening at least, as we entered the port for Norway’s third largest city that is also considered to be the “oil capital of Norway”, we took our place along with the three other cruise ships in this increasingly popular port of call.

One of these ships was the vessel called “The World”. Now it is not often that you can say you set off to see the Norwegian Fjords and ended up seeing the world, but in this case it was true!

Whilst passengers were ashore walking around the charming city, or off on tour visiting Pulpit Rock in the sunshine, on board we were arranging with the Norwegian pilots to stay in the sheltered waters en-route to Flam as opposed to the original plan of proceeding out to sea until entering the impressively large Sognefjord where Flam is located.

This would ensure that the prevailing large swell would be avoided, providing a comfortable passage and so that speed could be better managed in order to guarantee our arrival in time for the scheduled train departure for the Flam Railway. The added bonus being a more scenic experience as our passage would be in narrow waterways, using the series of small islands as a lea before entering the fjords themselves.

Fortunately the pilots were able to accommodate our wishes so the deck crew lowered the top mast to ensure that we would be able to transit under some of the lower bridges.

At 1800 we departed Stavanger to execute our new passage plan towards Flam with the sun still shining, following out another cruise ship in a rather small convoy as we both headed north.

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.