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16th August, 2014

Invergordon, Scotland

After leaving Dover, we spent a day at sea as we sailed north towards Invergordon. There was plenty of entertainment for passengers to enjoy including Captain Philip Rentell’s Welcome Cocktail Party. This was a chance for passengers to meet the Officers and Staff of Saga Sapphire, with the Senior Officers being introduced on stage. This Cruise our Chief Engineer is Steven Hare, the Hotel Director is Marco Criaulo, Cruise Director Matthew Shaw and Second in Command is Staff Captain Konstantyn Doroshenko.

At 8:00am this morning, Saga Sapphire docked in our first port of call this cruise, Invergordon in Scotland. Invergordon has been known to seafarers for generations, but for centuries it was little more than a hamlet built around a castle known as Inverbreakie. It was developed into a port and naval base in Georgian times and was renamed in honour of Sir William Gordon, a local landowner. In 1915, the port was the site of a tragic accident when an explosion wrecked the World War I battle cruiser HMS Natal, causing many lives to be lost. Sixteen years later, the town gave its name to the famous Invergordon Mutiny when crews threatened with a cut of salary refused to take out their ships. Invergordon acted as a base for flying boats during WWII. The port took on a new lease of life in the 1970s with the development of the North Sea Oil Industry. Today Invergordon is a thriving cruise port and the perfect base for visitors to explore the Scottish Highlands.

There were several shore excursions on offer today including ‘Grand Dunrobin Castle and Royal Dornoch’, ‘Urquhart Castle on the banks of Loch Ness’, ‘Rogie Falls and Silverbridge Forest Walk’ and the most popular tour today was the ‘Panoramic Tour of Loch Ness’. I was due to escort on the Panoramic Tour and the lucky passengers on coach number 7 got to spend the afternoon with me. Unfortunately there had been a very bad accident and the road to Loch Ness was closed. So our panoramic tour to Loch Ness was rapidly re-scheduled into a Panoramic tour of the Highlands. The scenery was stunning and our friendly guide and driver (Ken and Davey) were very impressive with their knowledge of the local area. I also learnt a great deal about malt whisky! Instead of visiting Loch Ness, we visited the picturesque old town of Durnoch. Here we had some free time to explore this pleasant and quaint place, where passengers could visit the cathedral, local shops and even the old jail. The building is still the same layout of the jail however it has now been turned into a lovely shop, selling a variety of local crafts, artworks and souvenirs. We had a very pleasant afternoon and the weather stayed dry throughout.

We arrived safely back at the ship and all were back on board by 6:30pm, as Saga Sapphire was due to set sail for our next port of call on this ‘Highland Fling’ cruise.

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.