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14th March, 2014

Bergen, Norway

Saga Sapphire docked in Bergen at 8:00am this morning. Bergen is the first of seven Norwegian ports we will visit on this ‘Magic of the Northern Lights cruise’. We will spend the day alongside in this quaint port and there is a selection of shore excursions for passengers to enjoy or alternatively, they can explore Bergen independently and either take a leisurely stroll into the town or hop onto one of the complimentary shuttle buses that stop off in the town centre.

For passengers who had booked a shore excursion, there was a selection to choose from today. ‘A Taste of Hardanger’ took passengers sightseeing to the beautiful Hardanger region, cutting through a variety of landscapes and passing through quaint market towns along the way to Nordheimsund. After passing the Kvamskogen mountain plateau, passengers also visited Fossen Bratte waterfall, before arriving in the small farming hamlet of Fykse. Hardanger is renowned as a prime fruit-growing region and is especially prized for its apples which have been growing in this region since the 14th Century. The ‘Bergen City Highlights Tour’ allowed passengers to discover more about Bergen’s long seafaring history. Passengers saw the Royal Hall and Haakonshallen and the old buildings of Bryggen, known as Hanseatic Wharf and listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. They then visited the Old Bergen Museum which contains a collection of charming houses representing Bergen’s typical 18th architecture. Passengers on this tour also had the chance to go on the cable car to the top of Mt Ullriken, which at just over 2,100ft is the highest of the seven mountains that surround Bergen. The ‘Bergen City Panoramic’ allowed passengers to see Bergen from the comfort of a coach. They drove through Sandviken or ‘Sandy bay’ where they could see examples of the charming white wooden buildings built traditional Bergen style. Passengers also passed the beautiful St Mary’s Church which is the oldest building in Bergen and one of the few Romanesque buildings in Norway. Passengers then took a funicular ride to a height of 1,000ft up Mt Fløyen for a bird’s eye view of the city below.

All passengers were back on board Saga Sapphire by 4:00pm and we set sail for our next port of call. This afternoon the Cruise Department hosted an Afternoon Tea Dance with musical accompaniment on the organ by Martin Orbidans. The evening’s entertainment began with a Classical Recital by the Crystal Palace Quartet entitled ‘Classical Favourites’ The main Showtime was performed by the Explosive Singers and Dancers with their show ‘Hollywood Nights’, a magical tribute to all those big screen blockbuster movie soundtracks, featuring song and dance renditions from Hollywood's finest.

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