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3rd December, 2015

Santander, Spain

With its long sandy beaches and delightful setting between the sea and Cantabrian Mountains, Santander is considered one of the prettiest cities in Spain. Although the area has been inhabited since Roman times, the present town dates mainly from the 19th and 20th centuries, and combines the functions of a busy freight and passenger port and a popular seaside resort.

Today was to be another maiden call for Saga Sapphire and indeed for myself, I must say my first impressions were nothing but positive as we made our way into the beautiful harbour area and onto our berth right in the heart of the bustling city.

For the independent passenger the city was a mere stone’s throw away however we also offered the usual plethora of shore excursions. A popular choice was the ‘Scenic Santander’ tour. This commenced with a drive through the centre, passing the Gothic cathedral that was reconstructed after the severe fire in 1941. Our guests then continued along the seafront, past the small port known as Puerto Chico, to reach the Magdalena Peninsula offering a stop to catch that Kodak moment. This peninsula is the location of a stone-built English-style palace, built in 1908 as a summer residence for King Alfonso XIII. From here our guests were driven along Avenida Castaneda to the beach area of El Sardinero, passing the Piquio gardens with their palm trees and flowerbeds. The Sardinero district is famous for its two long sandy beaches, its casino, hotels and luxury apartment blocks. The final stop was at the Cabo Mayor lighthouse where our guests could enjoy wonderful panoramic views of the coastline and city.

Throughout the day onboard I had been closely studying the weather forecasts for the next few days, sadly things were due to take a turn for the worse - far worse in fact, with some rather nasty low pressure systems making their way towards the Bay of Biscay from the North Atlantic. For the comfort of our passengers I therefore made the decision to cancel the call to our next port, Bordeaux, and instead to proceed at full speed across the Bay and into the English Channel in order to stay ahead of that weather system. We had been able to secure a berth in the charming port of Cherbourg and, as always, our passengers were most appreciative of the decision.

Captain Wesley Dunlop

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.