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2nd September, 2014

Dover, England

I had flown down to join the ship yesterday and stayed overnight in Folkestone. As we approached Dover by taxi, the Saga Sapphire was lying resplendent alongside Cruise Terminal 1 on a glorious hot sunny day. As we pulled up in the taxi and walked onboard, I was welcomed back by all the crew which is a lovely feeling. It's always hard to leave home and family but being welcomed back by my second family was very pleasing and helps me ease back into the job.

After Captain Philip and I carried out the usual administrative tasks and he had legally handed over the ship to me, I was ready for the tour of duty.  Whilst I unpacked and familiarised myself with the impending voyage, everyone else worked hard to get the ship ready for the next cruise.  Embarkation began at 1pm today and passengers received a warm welcome from the ship’s staff as they made their way up the gangway. Passengers were shown to their cabins and began to unpack and settle into their new home for the next week or so.  Once we had finished loading our supplies for the upcoming cruise and all passengers and their luggage were on board, we made our final preparations to set sail and embark on this nine day voyage to Norway, aptly named ‘Nordic Notes’. This cruise has an opera theme to it, and the entertainment programme has been specially designed with the opera theme in mind with a selection of performers and lecturers to enhance the programme.

Just before sailing, we carried out the Emergency Lifeboat drill for passengers and once this was concluded we set sail.

We had a special surprise for our passengers as we sailed away but I am not going to disclose until next cruise, as I do not wish to spoil any future surprises, but let's say it was a great surprise and a great way to start the cruise. It was a beautiful afternoon and evening as we sailed from Dover and headed up the East coast of England on our way to Norway.

Passengers settled into their cabins and were made to feel welcome in the Dining Room for their first dinner on board. This evening the Cruise Director Matthew Shaw began our Welcome Aboard Showtime by giving a brief introduction to the ship and allowing a few members of the ship’s staff to introduce themselves. This was followed by the Explosive Production Singers & Dancers who performed their ‘Hollywood Nights’ show. Tomorrow we will spend the day at sea allowing passengers to relax into their holiday. I’m sure there will be a packed programme of entertainment to keep passengers occupied, not to mention the Welcome Cocktail Party tomorrow 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.