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21st August, 2015


You may have expected a different port title for this entry, but yes, today, we ended up quite unexpectedly in Newcastle.

Following our departure from Sandefjord two days ago I reviewed the forecasts for our next port - Lerwick, and then I checked those again using different sources. They were quite consistent – gale force winds and rough seas. Knowing that we were meant to tender in Lerwick I decided that this may not be the best option as we would struggle to get there, only to realise that we could not run a safe tender operation. So I asked my team to work on an alternative plan and they came up with Newcastle. This was not only a much safer option but would also allow us to stay longer and to dock alongside. A win-win situation welcomed by our passengers and the Newcastle residents.

So we arrived this morning at Northumbrian Quay rather early – at 6 o’clock. Only last night we received a call from the harbour master asking as to arrive at that time as all the local tugboats were engaged in a dry-docking operation. It is good to hear that British ship-building is still doing fine and keeping their hands full. Less good for me, as yours truly had to start his shift rather early, well before 4AM.

Despite the late change of itinerary our Shore Excursions Team Andy Barr and Grazia Giarrizzo worked hard to ensure that guests had excursions to go on should they wish to. We were able to offer 2 tours, going on a trip to visit Hadrian’s Wall, the second going on a tour entitled ‘Newcastle, City of Culture’. Both of these tours left at around 9.00am. On top of that the shuttle bus operated the whole day to take any independent guests in to the centre of Newcastle.

This evening was a formal occasion, as I hosted my Farewell Cocktail Party in the Britannia Lounge. After another sumptuous dinner, for Main Showtime this evening our Explosive Singers and Dancers performed ‘All You Need Is Love’, a tribute to the ‘Fab Four’, with elaborate costumes, vintage vocal harmonies and high energy dance routines. The evening continued with music from the Saga Orchestra in the Britannia Lounge, whilst Martin Orbidans played in Cooper’s Bar and the Two Hearts Duo playd Late Night Melodies in the Drawing Room.

Captain Krzysztof Majdzinski

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

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