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Tunis

Saga Sapphire blog - Captains' blogs

21st November, 2013

Tunis

A morning at sea was very welcome this morning for most as there was once again another late night up in the Drawing Room, after Explosive Productions vocalists Hannah Kennedy and Emma Swallow had performed their girl’s night in cabaret. We approached the pilot station at 1045, a little earlier than scheduled, as I wanted to swing the ship before we berthed. I was here about 5 weeks ago so was expecting the Pilots to ask us to sail up the channel ourselves which they did. I lined the ship between the red and green navigational buoys and sailed in. There was a very fresh breeze from the port side so was trying to drift the ship to starboard so in order to counteract this. I turned the ship to port and we crabbed our way up the narrow channel. The Pilot boarded just outside the breakwaters, as we entered I took the ship for manoeuvring and swung in the turning basin. This is a circular piece of water of about 250 metres diameter marked by yellow buoys and tells you that you can swing a ship within this area. So we duly did and with the officers fore and aft telling me clearing distances as I swung the ship, the turn was executed perfectly. Then we move astern and you steer the ship with the bowthruster. This is what I did and as we approached the berth, I stayed a little distance off first to see what the drift onto the berth was like and if I could arrest the drift with the ships engines. I could so we continued and were all fast about 1145.

Tunis

The first group of tours met our Assistant Cruise Director Kayleigh Lucas in the Britannia Lounge at 12.45pm. This enabled everyone to have a leisurely lunch here onboard Saga Sapphire. With temperatures hitting a high of roughly 16 degrees it must be said it’s far better than the weather they’ve been experiencing back in the UK. The Scenic Tunis tour proved to be very popular this afternoon followed by the Bardo Museum and Carthage excursion. Most discovered both the old and new parts of this city today whilst in the comfort of a coach. Both of these tours saw the ancient city of Carthage where they had the opportunity to visit the Antonin Baths with its magnificent columns. The city of Tunis is the capital of Tunisia, it exudes a rather european atmosphere in parts, evident in the French colonial architecture. As the guests stepped off the ship they were greeted by locals selling their typical colourful goods, as well as their rather large hairy friends being the camels. Tunis is still a fine example of an African capital on its way to better things.

Even our Croatian housekeeper Djana decided to have a ride on a camel!

All aboard time was 1730, this was when most of the guests returned back to the ship from their tours. For sailing, as we were pointing in the right direction, it was a very straight forward manoeuvre. The stern was pivoted out from the quay, then using the bowthruster, moved the bow to a direction pointing at the entrance. Two engines ahead and we slowly built up speed to sail out. The Pilot let me just carry on taking the ship out and he had disembarked by the time we passed through the port entrance and we were left to our own devices to sail down the channel and set course to Valetta. Piling into the lecture with Dr. David Wigley, most were eager to hear all about Palermo, Sicily. After another wonderful meal created by our executive chef George Streeter everyone gathered into the Britannia Lounge for another evening with David Schofield, he performed his second show of the voyage which was rather a big hit with the guests. He received a standing ovation from a few in the audience. David is an extremely talented young gentleman it has to be said who I’m sure will be gracing our stage once again in the near future. Finishing main show time with Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue the guests sat in absolute silence whilst listening to the wonderful sounds from this amazing gentleman.

Finishing the evening with vocalist Steve Terry up in the Drawing Room followed by The Perfect Mood Duo was a perfect way to end the night. With the dance floor jammed packed I think it’s fair to say it was thoroughly entertaining evening, with fun had by all.

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.

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