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4th October, 2014

Almeria, Spain

We started our approach to the pilot station for 0900. The sun was up, it was a beautiful day and the background to the port and surrounding coastline was magical, with the sun shining down on the red mountains, blue sky and calm seas. Just what you would envisage the Mediterranean to be like. Once onboard we proceeded in towards the berth. I was aware that this morning was going to be a struggle as the depth of water under the keel was only 70 cm!! So I used tugs this morning to help push us alongside, as even with full power by the tugs the ship only moved slowly due to a suction effect caused by the seabed against the keel. Anyway we were soon all fast just before 10 am.

The city of Almeria was founded by Calipha Abdar-Rahman lll of Cordoba in 955 AD. Its Moorish Castle, the Alcazaba of Almeria, is the second largest among the Muslim fortresses of Andalusia, after the Alhambra.

At 10:00 the first tour departed which was the full day Granada’s Magnificent Alhambra; this excursion offered our passengers the chance to visit the Alhambra. Leaving the port of Almeria passengers embarked on scenic drive north-west to Granada, passing through the desert landscape. Reaching the Alhambra they visited the Generalife, the summer palace of the Moorish kings. They then concluded the tour with free time to explore.

The second tour departed shortly after, to the Cabo de Gata and Nijar Natural Park. Passengers embarked on a 4x4 drive though the park, taking in the beautiful view of Retamar Beach and then along a dirt track to the unspoiled beach of Torre Garcia. They finished the tour by viewing the Cabo de Gata salts and lighthouse and driving to the picturesque fishing village of San Jose for a refreshment stop. They then hopped back onto their 4x4 to return to the port.

The final tour to depart in the morning was the Flamenco – The Sound of Andalusia. The passengers arrived at a cave in one of Almeria’s most historical locations, where they were entertained by a local gypsy family who dance, sing and play traditional flamenco music while enjoying a glass of sherry.

At 12:45 the final tour of the day departed which was the Scenic Andalusia. Passengers embarked on a scenic panoramic drive through Almeria and then crossed the Tabernas desert, reaching the La Calahorra with its beautiful views of the mountainous landscape and whitewashed houses. During the tour there were a couple of stops where passenger had the chance to snap a couple of pictures of the beautiful scenery, and also a light refreshment stop before heading back to the ship.

Meanwhile back on board our Cruise Staff Jay and our Explosive Production dancer Leahna were keeping those who didn’t want to go ashore entertained. In the morning Jay played deck quoits and ring toss while Leahna met the independent travellers, those who are travelling on their own but would prefer to go off with other fellow passengers. In the afternoon Jay tested everyone's general knowledge with a light-hearted quiz followed by a game of Jenga.

At 17:15 passengers joined the Cruise Staff for a cocktail - getting ready to enjoy the sailaway. For those who wanted to brush up their knowledge on Palma they could join our destinations lecturer Hazel Griffiths in the Britannia lounge. Assistant Cruise Director Kayleigh kick-started the evening’s entertainment with her general knowledge quiz. Shortly after in the Britannia lounge Divertimento took to the stage to perform their classical concert “The Rhythm of Dance”. The entertainment did not stop there, as at 22:00 Darren Tremble and Gareth Evans from our Explosive Production cast performed their cabaret “The Boys Are Back In Town”.

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.