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Flåm, Norway

Saga Sapphire blog - Captains' blogs

24th March, 2014

Flåm, Norway
Saga Sapphire docked in Flåm at 8:00am this morning. The final approach to the berth was in stunning surroundings. I have sailed into Flam on many occasions during the summer but in the winter it really is a different picture. There had been a snow fall the previous night so the peppering of snow on the trees on the sheer rock face were stunning. The conditions were flat calm so we just motored up to about 1 mile off and then stopped the engines and we glided silently into the berth, with the occasional kick astern on the engines to slow the ship down. We were all fast by 7:45am. The village lies in the heart of Western Norway at the innermost part of Aurlandsfjord. Flam is surrounded by picturesque scenery. Tourists come from all over the world to ride on the famous Flam Railway, which runs up to Myrdal to connect with the main Oslo to Bergen line. The railway is a masterpiece of engineering and offers one of the most scenic train journeys in Europe.

There were three shore excursions for passengers to choose from today and one of them was a trip on the railway. Passengers boarded the train and enjoyed views of dramatic cascading waterfalls, steep hillsides and snow-capped mountains. The train journeyed 2,850 feet up a mountain gorge to Myrdal.

The ‘Laerdal and Borgund Stave Church’ tour revealed the quaint village of Laerdal, set in the innermost of Sognefjord with its 160 protected 18th Century buildings including traditionally painted wooden homes. Passengers on this tour also visited the beautiful Borgund Stave Church, the best preserved of Norway’s 29 stave churches, which has remained unchanged since it was built in 1150. The term ‘stave’ refers to the wooden pillars that form the main supporting structure and the church was built without nails, bolts or metal of any kind.

The third tour was a full day, comprehensive tour called ‘Iconic Norway’. Passengers on this excursion enjoyed a train journey to Voss which is pleasantly situated beside Lake Vangsvatnet. Although heavily bombed during WWII, its old church dating from 1277 remained standing. Passengers enjoyed a delicious buffet lunch before continuing on their journey this time by coach through various towns and villages, enjoying the picturesque Norwegian vistas.

ll passengers were back on board Saga Sapphire by 4:30pm and we set sail from our final port of call in Norway. Sailing out was incredible with the reflection on the glass like fjord, stunning. It really was magical to end the cruise ports in this way. This evening’s entertainment began with Team Trivia in the Drawing Room with David. This evening’s Cabaret Showtime featured West End Performer Lyn Paul who performed some Big Band favourites. After this the lead male vocalist from our Explosive Production Team performed a late night cabaret, for all those night owls.

We will now continue on our voyage back to Southampton and will spend two days at sea and cover 817 nautical miles.

Captain Alistair Mclundie

For me this is the end of my tour of duty, where I hand over command to Captain Rentell. I have thoroughly enjoyed my cruises to the north in the winter and the Saga Sapphire has proved herself to be a very worthy member of the fleet, with some of the conditions we have had to endure. Although at times we have experienced some very severe weather, Hurrican force winds and waves leaving Bergen, thick snow falls obliterating visibility in Lodigen and in the fjords, it has been a great challenge but a pleasant one. And also this is mother natures way of reminding us she is in charge. Many mariners think they can plough through weather but again I was taught by my father to respect the sea and it will respect you, and this I live by.

We have seen some wonderful sights in extreme minus temperatures but I do hope all have enjoyed their time.

So I go home soon to enjoy the company of my Wife Jenny and Scott, my son, so wish all my colleagues and Captain Rentell safe sailing and smooth seas on their continued voyages.

I go to Saga Pearl ll next for a short stint for the National trust for Scotland before returning here in September.

Thank you for reading

Yours Aye

Captain Alistair Mclundie

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

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