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Valletta

Saga Sapphire blog - Captains' blogs

22nd November, 2013

Valetta

We embarked our Pilot at 0900 outside the breakwaters and started to head into one of the world’s most spectacular harbours. The Pilot was familiar to me as he brought me into Valetta on Saga Ruby on New Year’s Eve 2012. As we approached the berth, we were given the gun salute from the fortress which all the passengers were on deck for. As we approached our berth, it was evident that it was going to be a tight squeeze. We had a large piece of concrete astern of us and the cruise ship Silver Wind. Also the wind had started to blow quite hard onto the berth so I had to start off by bringing the ship a distance off the berth to ensure I could stop the rate of drift. Once I had established this, I continued slowly bringing the ship into this tight space. Again with some great communication from fore and aft giving me a picture of what I was looking at in trying to “Park” the ship so we were soon alongside and fast at 1000. Those 20 guests going on tour to Gozo today soon gathered in the Britannia Lounge for their stickers. All of the other tours were this afternoon which was good as this gave our guests the opportunity to also go into Valletta independently. Valletta being the capital of Malta was built by the Knights of St John in 1565 and named after the French Grand Master of the Order. Being another glorious day it was perfect weather to sit out on deck for those choosing to remain onboard. Again this city is an architect’s dream as the city itself is a masterpiece of baroque architecture with its narrow streets leading to pretty courtyards and with fountains and statues dotted throughout.

At 12.45pm our remaining guests gathered in preparation to go ashore on tour either on the Medieval Mdina and Mosta, Scenic Malta or Jeep Safari excursion. The tour that really appealed to me today was something slightly different being the Safari. Only a few dared to choose this action packed tour where they would see some off the beaten track scenic island sights. For film fanatics this was quite a good excursion as they got to take a look at Popeye Village where the original movie was shot, and Golden Bay, recently made famous by Brad Pitt in the shooting of the film Troy. The Scenic Malta was an ideal tour for those wishing to see the sights with little walking. This tour also included a tea break where they were able to sample delicious local delicacies including traditional cheese/pea cakes which are absolutely superb. Those on The Mdina tour also had a refreshment stop offering them the same types of delicacies.

Valetta

On sailing, it was dark which gives a lovely feel to Grand Harbour. The wind was very fresh so I made use of a tug to help lift us off the berth and swing around and head out. We turned North West to our next port of call, Palermo in Sicily.

Back by popular demand, offering another musical quiz, this evening was guest entertainer Steve Terry. After a very successful quiz the other evening everyone was left wanting more. Tonight’s entertainment program was once again full to the brim, as The Divertimento Trio performed their classical recital titled 'A flavour of the Mediterranean', shortly followed by our Explosive Productions cast with ‘Come on Over to My Place’. A tribute to the iconic music of the legendary ‘Drifters’ everyone left the Britannia Lounge singing away whilst heading up stairs to the Drawing Room where our very own Resty Sacedor, performed his own cabaret which is always one not to be missed. As always there was a good turnout for Resty this evening from not only passengers but staff.

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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