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19th December, 2015

En route to the Caribbean

Following our delightful call at Funchal, we began the long passage to Barbados. Many of you will know from the press and other sources that 2 days out we discovered that one of our passengers was missing. Having conducted searches onboard and an extensive search at sea in full co-operation with the local Maritime Authorities, I regret to say that our search was to no avail.

This is a very rare event indeed and one that always has a profound effect on both passengers and crew and the thoughts of all onboard are with the family and friends affected.

Since resuming passage we have had calm seas with virtually no wind.

Passengers have been taking the sun by the outside pool, the waters of which have been gently swaying from one side to the other. Gemma, our lovely Social Hostess, has been exceptionally busy, but she found a little time to write the following for me.

‘Our lunchtimes have been filled with the fantastic jazz tones of the Hot Rhythm Orchestra. Our afternoons, the beautiful classical melodies supplied by our on-board classical group, the Pier String Quartet. And our evenings, by the stunning Soprano voice of Fiona Jessica Wilson and the superb musical talent of violinist, Peter Fisher.

With all this we almost forgot…’s Christmas!! Our guests have been busy decorating their doors, all hoping to be crowned the ‘Best Decorated Door’. The budding thespians amongst them are busily rehearsing with our Explosive Show team for their passenger pantomime. The singers have been hitting the high notes with Choir Master, Nick Montague. In the craft class, ‘Christingles’ were made for our special Christingle Service. We also got involved in the Posada celebration; our guests have signed up to allow Mary and Joseph to stay in their ‘inn’ for the night. They will travel around the ship and then be presented to Canon Ian Ainsworth Smith in our Christmas Day Worship. All that was left was to put the Christmas Fairies and Elves to work, so our guests awoke from their slumber on Thursday morning to discover a fully decorated and festive SAGA SAPPHIRE!’

Personally, I had the odd opportunity to get out onto the upper deck and complete a few miles at a relatively fast pace. Of course it had to be done close to sunset so that those white legs under my baggy blue shorts were unlikely to cause offense. I did manage to get a couple of super sunset shots which I hope will be attached. There is another photo of the deck team all singing a ‘Slade’ Christmas song on the bridge wing (in baking sun). Apparently the photographers will be putting a video together ‘cutting and pasting’ different departments singing the same song. I’m sure it will go down rather well. A final word from Gemma.

‘Last night, I happened to walk through our Britannia Lounge to discover our Housekeeper, Pursers, Spa girls, photographers, Shop girls and even the Nurses… singing and dancing!! My mind was put to rest as I was told that they are in fact ‘Happy Villagers’, rehearsing for our New Year pantomime to be performed on January 2nd, the cast list also including our aged but youthful Security Office, Rob Payne.’

And even I have a cameo role apparently, it will, I anticipate, be somewhat tongue in cheek and with raised eyebrow.

So Barbados beckons tomorrow, there is great anticipation.

(By the way, I understand our youthful new Captain, presently on Saga Pearl II, is referring to me as ‘Uncle’. I rather like it as, let’s face it, it could have been Grandpa!)

Captain Philip Rentell

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.