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El Ferrol, Spain

Saga Sapphire blog - Captains' blogs

28th September, 2014

As we steamed North from Gibraltar, and enjoyed a day at sea yesterday, we had a charitable event to raise money for Motor Neurone Disease. This consisted of myself and Cruise Director Matthew taking part in an “Ice Bucket Challenge”, a craze that has gone viral where everyone from politicians to pop stars have ice cold water poured over their heads for charity. So, in front of many passengers on deck 11 by the pool, we had our Ice Cold water administered, as dustbins of freezing water complete with ice cubes were poured over us, followed by a dunk in the pool. The things we do for charity!! It was a great fun day and we managed to get Trevor, the Maitre d' and Alfred, the Hotel Director, involved as well.

It was a fun packed day , and then I took church in the evening and the day ended with our crew showcasing their tremendous talents in their Crew Show.

This morning we approached the Pilot station at 0800 and once the pilot was onboard we sailed into this beautiful natural Harbour. It was a calm morning so it was a very straight forward berthing, no stress!! El Ferrol is the gateway to the northern Spanish province of Galicia, a region noted for its green mountains, deep gorges and fast flowing rivers. The port has developed from being a tiny fishing village in the 1st Century BC to a large commercial port today and has been a major shipbuilding centre for most of its history.

This port is well placed for visiting the medieval holy city of Santiago de Compostela. Many passengers had booked to go on an organised tour and they had the option to either explore Santiago on their own or stay part of the organised tour. The pilgrimage city of Santiago de Compostela and its Cathedral has become the most popular site of Christian pilgrimage after Jerusalem and Rome. The traditional tomb of St James and the 12th century Portico da Gloria is considered one of the world’s most important medieval works of sculpture. An alternative tour on offer today was ‘Galicia’s Scenic Coastline’. Passengers on this tour enjoyed seeing typical Galician villages and views of the nearby beaches, forests and estuaries. The tour began with a panoramic drive through El Ferrol passing the old military camp and the neo-classical quarter which housed naval officers in the 18th century. Passengers then continued on their drive to the mouth of the estuary for refreshments in a local restaurant with beautiful views. For those who were not on tour, they were able to go in the town independently. Interestingly Ferrol’s city centre is modelled on Lisbon in Portugal.

All were back on board by 5pm and there were bagpipers and drummers on the quayside to say farewell as we set sail from our last port of call on this Mediterranean cruise. As we sailed out, and passed by St Phillipe Castle, we had a gun salute and Canon Salute from the soldiers dressed in period Uniforms as we sailed down the canal.

Tonight was a formal night and we hosted our Farewell Cocktail Party in the Britannia Lounge. During the Cocktail Party two passengers were awarded their Sapphire Britannia Club Membership to celebrate having sailing 500 nights on board Saga ships and presented with their Sapphire pins along with a decanter to mark this special occasion.

The Food & Beverage Team served a particularly delicious menu in the restaurant this evening for our formal farewell dinner, and after this Multi-Instrumentalist Kenny Martyn performed his second show in the Britannia Lounge which was just as popular as his first. After Showtime our Explosive Singers presented a late night cabaret in the Drawing Room for those who fancied staying up 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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