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7th April, 2016


For the past few days we have been graced with the presence of ‘Strictly’Royalty, Kevin and Karen Clifton have been the second couple from the show to be with us during our long cruise to the eastern Med. Mrs R, of course, has been in her element and even I was easily persuaded (not to dance) by these very gifted professionals. They have been quite charming, and very willing to chat away with all our guests.

Our last port before Southampton has come round all too quickly, and fortunately the weather remained spring like for our arrival into Malaga. A cool start developed into a warm sunny day and five tours went off in various directions. Rhonda, Marbella and Puerto Banus, ‘Paella and Countryside’for those feeling a little peckish (!?) plus a ‘Leisurely Malaga and ‘Flamenco’. Those of us in ‘employ’had fun with a crew emergency drill, ‘Sports Day’as it used to be called in my youth.

After, I felt it my duty to step ashore for a couple hours in order to see how Mrs R was coping with the stresses of window shopping. We met up where the shuttle bus was delivering our independent passengers and took a stroll to the nearby cathedral, a stunning building with a baroque façade inaugurated in 1588. Sitting at a caféjust opposite it was easy to see where work on the second tower eventually stopped. Money apparently ran out in 1793 and the locals called it ‘La Manquita’, the ‘handless lady’. Inside the decoration is, as one may imagine, extravagant and the five Euro entrance fee was well spent.

It would have been easy to get lost, but views of the cathedral often became visible at the junction of streets, which were busy with tourists and locals all mooching around or taking lunch at the numerous outside cafes. There were few cars as the old part of the city is mainly pedestrianised, even so there were the odd few with their tyres squealing as they turned on the marble pavements. Then there were the motorcycle police, always in pairs, slowly weaving between the unexpecting foot traffic.

We departed just before six pm, passing through the Gibraltar Straits around midnight. Three days to run before Southampton on Monday when, after just over four weeks, our guests will depart and the ship will head off for Hamburg. We have a long period of scheduled maintenance to complete before Saga Sapphire will return to ‘active service’, on June 14th.

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.