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1st October, 2013


First day of the month, and I think it has to be said it couldn’t have been a finer day and with highs of around 30 degrees it really was perfect holiday weather.

With a busy morning at sea, just over half of the guests decided to go on tour to discover what Cartagena had to offer, whilst many stayed on board to soak up the rays from the sun. We approached the harbour at 1100 and duly embarked our pilot outside the breakwaters. There is a very large gas refinery to starboard of the entrance with many large gas carriers berthed, but this eye sore is nicely hidden from the main port by the mountains, a good piece of planning me thinks!! The pilot was a nice jovial man with a good sense of humour and once all the formalities were discussed, we proceeded in. There is a chicane to negotiate and we passed by the naval dockyard to port and then we did a wide sweep around to our berth. One of the large cruise ships was alongside and we had to berth ahead of her. With a fresh breeze blowing onto the quay, I took a wide approach first to check the drift of the ship before getting too close in order to make sure I could move the ship away from any dangers. The last thing I would want to do is go alongside another cruise ship!!! This would not do anything for my credibility...

Anyway,Vlad, my Ukranian 2nd Officer was on the aft mooring station and was giving me good detailed information on distances to the other ship and when we were clear of its bow. When we cleared, I manoeuvred the ship alongside. All was done slowly in a controlled manner, as my father taught me, slowly slowly, then you don’t need excessive power to get yourself out of trouble -  good advice. After docking at our scheduled time of 12pm our first tour quickly departed on a bid to see the villages and valleys further out in the countryside. Shortly following behind was our walking tour who were extremely excited to visit the open air roman theatre.

Cartagena is a city and seaport in southern Spain. The city was once a flourishing port exporting old and silver mined in the surrounding region. Cartagena is encircled by mountains and its ancient defences are still very evident. Docking so close to the town centre today was ideal for our guests who wanted to have just a little wander ashore.

We were asked if we would allow the local football team 'FC Cartagena' onboard to take a publicity shot on our open decks with all these men in their football strips. Sadly at the last minute this was cancelled and the Chief Purser Annie told me all the girls were extremely upset by this as they had postponed their shopping trip to see all the Footballers!!!

All aboard today was 5pm meaning there would be plenty of time to make our way to our next port of call, Tunis in Tunisia. With the main show time commencing at 9:30 guests where eager to see what the wonderful operatic singer, Helen Wilding would be performing in her 2nd show. The show this evening was opened with a performance from the Explosive Productions singers and dancers who were all later upstairs in the drawing room supporting lead vocalists Maxine Barton and Kirsty Cameron as they performed their cabaret, A Girls Night In.

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.