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Arrecife, Lanzarote

Saga Sapphire blog - Captains' blogs

18th January, 2015

MV Saga Sapphire docked in the port of Arrecife in Lanzarote at 8am this morning. A volcanic island designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Lanzarote’s dramatic landscapes were shaped by an explosive past. Today its’ pretty beaches and virtual absence of rain together with duty-free shopping make the island an extremely desirable destination. The main port and capital, Arrecife, is a pleasant town with a modern seafront and colourful gardens. For those passengers who had not booked on one of our organised tours, there was a complimentary shuttle bus service which ran continuously to and from the town, allowing them to explore Arrecife independently.

The Shore Excursions Team had organised several tours today including ‘Fire Mountain’ where our passengers learnt about Lanzarote’s fascinating history. One of its most notable events being the eruptions of the 1730s, when the volcanoes in the Timanfaya area erupted for six years and covered nearly a third of the island with lava. This volcanic landscape was revealed in Timanfaya National Park, also known as ‘Fire Mountain’. Our guests explored the National Park, with a tour of the craters and lava beds in this lunar-like terrain. The ‘Cesar Manrique Foundation’ tour gave passengers the chance to discover the genius of César Manrique, Lanzarote’s most celebrated artist, who was born in Arrecife in 1919. It is thanks largely to his vision and influence that Lanzarote has remained a unique island, untarnished by billboards, high-rise buildings or pylons. Designed and constructed around five volcanic caves, his equally unique home was converted, shortly before his death in 1992, to a Foundation dedicated to the study and conservation of Lanzarote’s artistic heritage. The Foundation contains important collections, not only of Manrique’s own paintings, sculptures and ceramics, but also those by other artists including Picasso and Miró.

After a busy morning in port we set sail this afternoon, allowing passengers to spend this afternoon relaxing. We’ve had our Annual Safety Inspection by external surveyors for the last few days, our “MOT” if you will. This inspection takes place to make sure all our drills, exercises and abilities to deal with all scenarios is scrutinised and our safety equipment is all tested. One interesting operation we had to carry out was launching our new rescue boats. These are two totally enclosed lifeboats that were fitted during our recent refit. As they are also our rescue boats we had to prove to the Surveyor that we could launch and recover these boats while the ship was moving ahead at 5 knots. So we moved astern out of the port and as I started moving ahead we launched the boat successfully and recovered it. A text book manoeuvre, and another tick on the Surveyor’s checklist. I have to say I will have to have a little play in these boats at some point as they are fitted with bowthrusters, and those who know me know that I like nothing better than messing around in small boats…

At 2.30pm Canon Hall led our Sunday Worship service in the Britannia Lounge, followed by Holy Communion.

Tonight was a formal night and at 6.30pm I hosted our Britannia Club Cocktail Party in the Lounge. This cruise we have 294 Britannia Club Members sailing with us. After the party the Food & Beverage Department served a delicious dinner which was thoroughly enjoyed by all, especially with the free flowing wine being served as this cruise is all inclusive!

This evening’s Cabaret Showtime featured the very talented Vocalist Anthony Stuart Lloyd who gave a splendid performance. Upstairs in the Drawing Room our Resident Cocktail Pianist Martin Orbidans kept the night owls entertained until the early hours, playing their special requests.

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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