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17th October, 2014


As we left Southampton, the weather picture wasn’t looking too good but being on Saga Sapphire I knew the ship would handle things well. So as we headed South West across Biscay, the ship and the passengers had already been “secured” for sea, and all advised what to expect.

I thought once again that rather than hearing from me all the time, it would be good to give my cadets a chance to write a blog and explain what they do and a bit about themselves. Becky, our female cadet, kindly wrote a blog on the way north last cruise, so I asked one of my other cadets, Franklin, to do the same and he has also done well.

My name is Franklin Grima, I am Maltese from a small town next to Valletta called Pieta. Currently I am undergoing a course, Officer In charge Of Navigational Watch, with the Maltese College of arts, science and technology (Mcast). The course is set up in three different stages, first stage is an introduction to all the basics of navigation and seamanship, the second phase is the sea phase where we spend a total of a year on-board to obtain experience, and the third and final stage, we bring together what we learnt in the first year and what we experienced during our sea-time to finalize our studies.

Before I started the Course I was studying mathematics and computer studies at A-level, although halfway through the year, I realized that this career does not suit my life style of adventure, and this was when I started looking at other options. How I decided to go for a maritime career? I was at Valletta and saw the Eurocargo Napoli (which became the first ship I joined) manoeuvring inside the port and said “why not?” I applied for the course and so far I am enjoying every single moment of it.

At the moment I am working as a cadet with Saga, previously I have been working on a roll-on roll-off ferry, working between Salerno, Catania and Malta for 5 months, and then I joined the Saga Pearl II for 4 months, now I am on the Saga Sapphire for my last 3 months at sea. On the Ferry, I learned a lot about day work and cargo work such as loading, discharging, ballasting and dangerous cargoes. On Saga Pearl and Saga Sapphire, I started watch keeping. Rotating around the 3 three watches (12-4 , 4-8 , 8-12) I am learning all the aspects of watch keeping and navigation, such as collision avoidance, rules of the road, passage planning and my favourite, celestial navigation.

During my free time on-board I try to relax a little bit, either by attending any social event that is going on, like a cocktail party, or heading off ashore when we are in port. I always try to get to see the different places we visit, and have a swim whenever I can. My favourite destination so far, Svalbard on the “Arctic Explorer Cruise”, the scenery and the landscapes where simply unbelievable.

When I am at home, I try to make the best out of it by going spear fishing and snorkelling with my dad, and occasionally hunting when the season is open. Also I try to organise to go on camps, hikes and journeys, with the 1st Hamrun scout group which I have been part of for 15 years. Although whenever my friends and family are busy I would be riding around my motorcycle, KTM duke.

 My plans for the future are to obtain the Officer of the Watch license then after spending a couple of years at sea, travelling, and gaining experience, working my way up through the ranks, to find a shore based job and settle down at home.

I hope that this has given you a brief idea of who I am and what I do, and I am looking forward to meeting you throughout the cruise because there is nothing more pleasant then getting to know different people while travelling.

I sailed with Franklin on Saga Pearl II in the summer and now here, and again it is a delight to sail with someone of great enthusiasm and character. Another cadet who will go far.

Captain Alistair Mclundie

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.