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Saga Sapphire blog - Captains' blogs

7th October, 2013


The previous evening before Venice, I had hosted a Captain’s Table with a difference. We were raising money for Saga Charitable Trust and 19 Passengers had paid £75 each to sit with me for this special event. We were to be served by my Senior Colleagues, Chief Engineer Phil Jeavons, Hotel Director Horst Pint, and Cruise Director Tanya Whitehursts, with other colleagues as well. Well you could say the service had nothing compared to our wonderful Phillipino Staffs service. Bread Rolls were thrown at us, wine was spilt over the table, Gravy spilt on the table and one of the passengers, shouting, chaos, in general, carnage!!! But what a laugh it was. This was the nature of the table. Everyone was in stiches of laughter at the Schenanigans of the staff. The regular Phillipino waiters and waitresses looked on in amazement as the officers were not exactly polite and attentative to the Captain and guests. But it was all for fun. We even had impromptu entertainment where I suddenly had to charming feathered ladies on my lap. What a Job!!! Anyway after a few hours of great humour, I had to make my excuses to leave as I had an early start in the morning for Venice, but the evening was enjoyed by all. It was 6:45 in the morning and the atmosphere on the ship was already buzzing with the melodic tunes from the Dovetail Quartet out on the open veranda deck. Champagne flowing with eggs benedict, croissants and good hearty old English breakfast it really was feast for the eyes. With slightly greyer weather then we would have hoped for everyone despite the weather were beaming from ear to ear at this rather special sail in, where you really can appreciate the wonderful Italian architecture. The weather was rather choppy so the pilot asked us to continue into the breakwaters before he boarded. Once on-board we proceeded in, through the channel in the darkness. Venice is the most spectacular place to arrive in, in Darkness but can also be very challenging as there are an abundance of beacons, channels, and so many small taxi’s zooming around you, but they all keep out the way. As we swung round the channel, the sight of the City of Venice came into view. Spectacular, the romance of it all, I have to say I made a mental note of taking my wife on a Romantic weekend. However this may be some to come now Scott is with us…

We approached the berth, and it was a straight forward manoeuvre. We were all fast at 0745.The ship was once again almost deserted come 10 o’clock with many guests going on tour. The most popular tour this morning was The Venice Lagoon Tour however there was an option of four different excursions. The Venice lagoon tour set off for a guided tour by motor boat early this morning, as they cruised they sailed through the entrance to the Grand Canal and St Mark’s Basin. There you can really take in the stunning views across St Marks’s Square. The famous landmarks of this great city are innumerable, but perhaps the best known is St Mark’s Square. So of course this is a main focal attraction for many tourists. I really believe seeing the sights from the water are the only way to really experience Venice.Located on the north-western side of the Adriatic, this enchanting city is famed for its romantic gondolas, renaissance palaces and exquisite churches. There is also a wonderful choice of galleries and museums throughout the city. Today not being an overly common port of call for us meant the crew were just as excited about exploring as the guests were which is always lovely to see. Credit cards in tow I know the show team were especially excited about visiting the main shopping area, which is between the Santa Lucia railway station and the Rialto Bridge. Those on the day trip today were able to wonder at their own leisure after a spot of lunch in a local restaurant, giving them the perfect opportunity to explore the various attractions. An interesting fact I learnt today was Venice once had 10,000 gondoliers, however this number now has been severely restricted and the city now runs approximately 400.  


We were due to sail at 1700 but sadly at the last minute, the Harbour Master put a stop to this. With so many Cruise Ships in port, we had to be given a slot, similar to Air Traffic Control, and ours was 1830, 1 ½ hours late!! Despite my protests, it fell on deaf ears. Anyway when we came to sail it was a tricky manoeuvre. I had to back the ship out of the berth, into the river and back the ship into the next berth as there was not enough room to swing the ship in the river. All went according to plan with good team work from the Bridge officers on the Bridge and also stationed fore and aft and we were soon sailing outward bound.

This evening the cruise staff had some frivolous fun with the guests up in the drawing room as they hosted a sing-along lead by Carol our social hostess. Through in the Britannia lounge it was a chance for our guests to relive the 50’s and 60’s as the Explosive Productions show team proudly presented Happy Days followed by music from the very talented Saga Sapphire Orchestra, for those guests who are keen dancers.

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.