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18th December, 2016


After two 0430 starts I felt as though I deserved a lie in, but hey presto the body clock had got totally confused and I was wide awake at 0530.  After clearing my e-mails and checking the weather forecast for the next 7 days, I headed down to our gymnasium at 0645 for a great workout. To my surprise there is already one of our most travelled Sagonauts on the treadmill and she fast walks for 45 mins –age is just a number.

After my workout and a good stretch it's time to try the delights of the Indoor swimming pool which is a very pleasant 28’C. For those contemplating a Saga Cruise these are just a few of the many facilities you will find on board. After the swim I hear the steam room calling. I love it on here as it is very spacious and just the right temperature to make you feel as though you have been thoroughly cleansed. With a cold shower to finish off (my choice by the way) I am ready for the day.

Breakfast is taken in the Verandah high up in the ship and with wonderful views across the stern and out to sea. Breakfast is definitely another event with Saga –I’ll skip the Eggs Benedict today and go for my favourite homemade muesli and a freshly prepared healthy smoothie. I like to sit with the guests and find out what’s really going on –today I join two ladies, one a very regular cruiser and a Japanese lady who has flown all the way from Tokyo to sample the Saga product. 

With an 1115 pilot, its gives the opportunity for everyone to watch the ship sail in, which I always feel is a very special feeling. Today most of our guests are heading for Amsterdam ( Ijmuiden is the sea port) to sample the city’s cosmopolitan feel and  head for the Christmas markets. 

With us all fast alongside the harbour pilot points out a National Park ahead of us with some excellent cycling trails. With a few phone calls to Rico our Quartermaster and Ray, a Chef De Rang (I’ll leave you to Google that) we throw on our cycling gear and head for the park. Fantastic sand dunes, great cycle paths and a gorgeous beach  awaits us. We head along the coast and then to the centre of Ijmuiden where we stumble upon a quant Christmas market  serving free gluhwein and homemade biscuits –a welcome stop before heading back to the ship.

With everyone back on board by 2030 we slip our moorings and head off to Zeebrugge.

Captain Julian Burgess

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.