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29th April, 2016

Blohm + Voss yard, Hamburg

As April draws to a close life continues without a break on board Saga Sapphire. All initial preparations have taken place, now we are down to the ‘nitty gritty' and this means that the ship, on the outside decks at least, seems to be looking worse day by day. Soon, and when the rain eventually stops, these areas will be gradually coated first in primer and then several coats of finish paint.

The weather, despite being cold, overcast and wet, has not really held up the early stages of the work, but much like the farmers, we need some sunshine to do the ‘reaping’. The funnel, still clad in scaffolding has had some repairs, and the transfer Saga logo has been removed. It is now almost bare steel, with traces of previous ownership still evident, but they will soon disappear under the first primer which may just go on today. In keeping with the present company ‘branding’it will have a slightly different look, at least to the trained eye.

Inside the ship there are seemingly miles of thin blue cable threaded within the deck heads, with ends protruding from various apertures. Once connected up, everyone will be able to go ‘on line’from just about anywhere within the ship. With that in mind, bandwidth is going to significantly increase, which is excellent news as I have noticed more and more of our ‘tech savy’passengers are coming on board with their iPads and smart phones. I need to catch up.

The main galley is recovering from what seemed to be a minor altercation with a JCB. As old equipment was removed so various works had to be carried out. On the after deck there is thousands of pounds worth of new equipment ready to be brought in and installed. One small problem is that some of the larger stuff is too big for the door. This will not be a problem to our chaps who will, if necessary, just cut the ‘hole’bigger, and then put it back to the right size once the transfer is complete.

Down below in the engine spaces work is on schedule with MAN. I had a look at progress the other day with Chief Engineer Len and I can assure you that there are some very big, heavy, bits and pieces inside each main engine. Further forward one main generator has been overhauled and is now under test load. One large fuel tank is being cleaned out ready for survey (a rather sticky job) and Staff Captain Alex has another tank being scaled of its cement wash coating in order to replace it with a special paint coating. That one job on its own has taken over two weeks so far, with six men and scaling equipment competing with each other for a noisy race to the finish. This is definitely not a job that could have been done with passengers on board.

So, all in all, we are getting towards the end of the destruction side of the refit and I look forward to when I return in June, as by then everything will look more yacht like.

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.