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19th October, 2014

Funchal, Madeira

After a bit of a lumpy crossing from Southampton, caused by a very large and extensive area of low pressure stretching as far south as Madeira, we reached our destination, albeit a few hours late. But considering the weather we have had to endure, I feel Sapphire continues to handle herself very well as a sea ship, and as her Captain I was very pleased.

Sadly however, having passed through one weather system another small low pressure developed right over Madeira, so we were greeted by inclement weather. But despite this, nearly 500 of our passengers went ashore which I was pleased about and the weather did ease as the afternoon went on. If I could only have a control over mother nature, then cruising would be a lot more predictable!!!

Soon after we docked our travellers could start to venture ashore. Today those on scheduled excursions had chosen from the following tours: a jeep safari where passengers had the chance to see the island from the comfort of a jeep, which took them both on and off road through some of Madeira’s most inspiring sights. Along the way the tour guide pointed out Madeira’s wonderful rare flowers and varied wildlife. Also available today was leisurely Madeira. This was a coach tour of the island where passengers had the chance to look out over Funchal and the south coast along scenic roads and the popular suburbs. For those on this tour today, they also had the chance to see much of the local town from the comfort of their coach.

Those who chose to stay on board today, could participate in numerous games and quizzes which were taking place around the ship. Then of course come 4:15 pm most passengers headed towards the Britannia Lounge to enjoy the wonderful afternoon tea laid on by our food and beverage team.

All aboard today was 5.30 pm so we could prepare to set sail towards our next port of call, the island of La Palma. I drove Saga Sapphire astern out of the port, steering her astern using the Bowthruster, and we set off due south for La Palma.

This evening’s entertainment started off with a quiz hosted by our Social Hostess Rebecca, following on in the Britannia Lounge were our resident entertainers the Explosive Production Cast who presented their newest show to Saga Sapphire, ‘The Concert They Never Gave’. This was an energetic exciting performance with bright costumes and a wide variety of different songs from the 60’s, including tributes to artists such as Dusty Springfield, Buddy Holly, Connie Francis and the Everley Brothers. There was, of course, something for everybody, continuing into the evening was music for dancing with the Sapphire Orchestra. In the Academy this evening was the new Disney movie Maleficent starring Angelina Jolie, one which I’ve watched several times with my son Scott. I have to admit however that I do enjoy most of the Disney films. Following on into the evening upstairs in the Drawing Room guests were invited to enjoy music and singing from our very own Cruise Staff Member Fernando Perez. Singing a few of his personal favourites, Fernando thoroughly entertained those who went up to support him. Come the end of the cabaret there were more toe-tapping tunes from the Perfect Mood Duo, who performed late into the evening.

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.