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21st February, 2014

Lisbon, Portugal

MV Saga Sapphire docked in her final port of call for this ‘Islands of the Caribbean’ voyage at 8:00am this morning. Today we had the pleasure of being docked alongside our sister ship Saga Pearl II. Passengers were free visit Saga Pearl II to have a look around and it was a nice opportunity for the crew to catch up with colleagues and friends.

The tours on offer today were ‘Lisbon Panoramic’ – a relaxing drive through the city with informative commentary by the guide and stops for photographs at famous landmarks and places of interest. Passengers on this tour saw the Monument to the Discoveries and the Belém Tower, Jeronimos Monastery, the Parliament Buildings and stopped for refreshments at Pasteis de Belém. The ‘Palace of Ajuda and Lisbon Overview’ consisted of a tour of the city, similar to the panoramic tour but with an additional visit to the Ajuda National Palace. This is a neo-classical building dating from the first half of the 19th Century and was the residence of the Portuguese royal family from the reign of King Luis I until the abolitions of the Monarchy in 1910. The Palace was opened to the public as a museum in 1968 and today is the only Palace in Lisbon which preserves the original arrangement and decoration of the rooms in the style of the 19th Century. The third tour on offer was ‘Estufa Fria and Lisbon Overview’ Estufa Fria literally means ‘cold greenhouse’ and gets its name from the fact that no imported heat source is used. The area is divided into three zones; hot, cold and sweet. The cold zone is the largest of the three and is covered with slats of wood which is a natural way to control the temperature and light inside. The Hot Zone hosts tropical species such as mango and coffee and the Sweet Zone is home to species belonging to the cactus family and plants such as aloe. This is an unusual and peaceful place with areas enhanced by pools, waterfalls and statues. The final tour today was ‘Obidos’ which took passengers to this picturesque walled town with cobbled streets and whitewashed houses. King Dinis of Portugal presented the town as a wedding gift to his wife Isabella, a custom which was repeated for successive Portuguese queens until 1833. The old fortress has been converted into a pousada which affords wonderful views of the town and its surroundings. Passengers on this tour also visited Alcobaca which was Portugal’s spiritual centre until 18th Century. They saw the 12th Century Monastery where the baroque façade conceals and early Gothic Interior.

For those who had not booked a shore excursion, there was a complimentary shuttle bus service that ran from the ship to the city centre so that passengers could explore the city independently.

All were back on board by 4:30pm and Saga Pearl II waved us off as we departed Lisbon. Perfect Mood entertained those who were out on deck for our sail-away party as we set sail for Southampton.

This evening’s entertainment was provided by the Officers, Staff and Crew of Saga Sapphire in the Crew Show. This is a wonderful opportunity for passengers to see how talented the crew are. With acts ranging from a traditional candle dance from the Housekeeping Department, a Solo Piano Performance from our Assistant Electronics Officer to the stunning voice of our Nurse Mitzi and Assistant Cruise Director Resty singing Phantom of the Opera. Passengers thoroughly enjoyed the show and gave a standing ovation to show their appreciation.

We will now spend two days at sea as we head home to Southampton.

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.