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22nd January, 2015

Lisbon, Portugal

We started our approaches to the River Tagus at 0600 this morning. There had been a NW swell generated by the low pressure systems way to the North, and the entrance to the Tagus is affected by these. The swell rolls across the entrance so we have to take the channel slowly to keep on track and make sure we do not roll and pitch to ensure our guests’ comfort. Once we were inside the river and making our way to the pilot station, I handed the ship’s conning to my Chief Officer Daniel Wright who, under my supervision, took the ship to the pilot station. Again good training for him, and he did it very competently. Once the pilot had boarded we made our way to the berth.

Those who have read my blogs before will know that the berth in Lisbon is always affected by very strong currents, this morning was no different with about 4 knots of current. So again the procedure was that I manoeuvred the ship in line with our position on the berth, about 100 feet off, then kept the position stationary by using some engine power to stem the current. Making use of the bow thruster forward and the rudder aft, I slowly moved the ship parallel in the quay. As I was concentrating on the manoeuvring, Staff Captain Kosta and the Officers worked their magic by running the mooring lines quickly and we were soon all fast alongside. A good team effort once again.

We were all fast by 0800 in this, the capital city of Portugal, and once the ship had been cleared by the local immigration officials, our passengers were able to go ashore either independently or as part of an organised tour.

There were four tours for passengers to take part in today including ‘Lisbon Panoramic’, ‘Obidos Nazare & Alcobaca’ where passengers discovered a trio of traditional Portuguese towns, ‘Sintra & Cascais by 4WD’ which was a half day adventure taking passengers away from the hustle and bustle of Lisbon. Passengers on this tour visited a popular seaside resort and then continued along the coast to a beach, a favourite spot for windsurfers, where there were lovely views of the fairy-tale Pena Palace on the hillside. The ‘Palace of Ajuda’ tour took passengers to Jeronimos monastery, the Monument to the Discoveries and the 16th century Belem Tower, the starting point for many voyages of discovery. They then visited the neo-classical building of the Ajuda National Palace which dates backs from the first half of the 19th century.

For those passengers who were not on tour there was a complimentary shuttle bus service taking passengers from the ship to the city centre, where they could explore the city at their leisure.

Once everyone was aboard we set sail and will now spend two days at sea before our arrival in Southampton on Sunday.

This evening’s entertainment began with a pre-dinner presentation by Classical Music Lecturer, Professor George Pratt. After dinner the Cabaret Showtime featured West End Musical Theatre Sensation, Anthony Stuart Lloyd. Upstairs in the Drawing Room the Perfect Mood Duo performed music for dancing until the early hours.

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.