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Cagliari, Sardinia

Saga Sapphire blog - Captains' blogs

23rd September, 2014

This morning at 8am Saga Sapphire docked in the port of Cagliari, Sardinia’s capital. I remember this port and coastline from my early days at sea. I used to run to a port a few miles north called Porto Vesme where we loaded 80 000T of Alumina, the raw material for Aluminium and we used to take it to the River Shannon. We always used to anchor off Cagliari and take bunkers so it's always nice to come back to a port which brings back happy memories of my earlier years at sea.

Cagliari was founded by the Phoenicians and subsequently enlarged by the Romans who knew it as Carales. The town was later occupied in turn by the Byzanttines, Pisans, Catalans and the Piemontese House of Savoy. These thousands of years of history and civilisation have left their mark all over the city.

The temperature today was noticeably cooler but still pretty hot, reaching 26 degrees. The town was a pleasant stroll from the port gate to the old quarter, which is still partly surrounded by medieval fortifications. Cagliari offers museums and monuments, architectural and archaeological wonders and a beautiful beach.

There were two organised shore excursions for passengers to go on today. The most popular was ‘Scenic Sardinian Drive’ and the first stop on this tour was to the Basilica of Our Lady of Bonaria, one of Sardinia’s most important Catholic shrines. After this, passengers travelled up Monte Urpino where they were able to admire the wonderful panoramic views over the Gulf of Cagliari. They also visited the pleasant seaside resort of Villasimius where they stopped for light refreshments. The second tour was the ‘Ancient Ruins of Nora’. Passengers on this tour travelled along the road traditionally taken each May by thousands of pilgrims following the trail of St Efisio, a Roman soldier and Christian who was martyred in 303AD by the Emperor Diocletian. Nora was founded in the ninth century BC by Phoenician traders and had two harbours. The city enjoyed its greatest prosperity under the Romans but was abandoned around 800AD and has since become partially submerged by sea. The ruins consist of Roman baths with mosaic floors, remains of temples and a well preserved theatre.

We set sail from Cagliari in the afternoon. The wind had freshened from the South so we had to carry out a manoeuvre where I slid the ship aft, then when in the middle of the turning basin I used the Bowthruster to bring the bow round to port against the wind, and used the engines help continue the turn but also to try and reduce the drift of the ship back towards the berth. All worked well and we were soon clearing the harbour. Our passengers were able to spend a relaxing afternoon at sea. The Cruise Team hosted ‘An Afternoon at Ascot’ which was a little bit of horse racing fun for passengers to join in with. The Food and Beverage Department presented a delicious Chocolate Afternoon Tea with musical accompaniment by the Perfect Mood Duo.

This evening’s Showtime featured the Explosive Singers and Dancers with their performance of ‘Music Legends’ in the Britannia Lounge. Upstairs in the Drawing Room the Perfect Mood Duo played music for dancing until late.

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.

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