Skip to navigation Skip to content
< Back to Saga Sapphire blog

31st December, 2016


Dawn this morning finds us off the west coast of Sicily. Our latest headline act “The Hot Rhythm Orchestra” had a 6 hour delay at the airport in London due to fog, so were unable to join yesterday in Civitavecchia. Knowing how much our guests love this Orchestra we made a plan to fly them on to Malta, have us arrive early in Valletta and make sure they were waiting on the dock with special clearance to board on arrival. It’s great when a plan comes together!!

Wow what a night New Year’s Eve was –where to start, you might ask. 

A New Year’s Eve Cocktail party at 6.15 with a resplendent entry from bagpiper David McRobert and his powerful “Address to the Haggis”. This was followed by a magnificent dinner and if you’ve never sailed with Saga Cruises before you need to understand just how good their food is. Having Commanded ships for 3 other  significant Cruise Lines I have found the food here so much better.

Sadly dessert had to be skipped as I was required on the Bridge  for embarking the Valletta pilot and then conning the ship into the spectacularly lit up  Grand Harbour.  A 180 degree swing off the berth to dock alongside in the prime position for the fireworks was perfect for embarking the Hot Rhythm Boys who were waiting on the dock and as soon as the gangway was landed they boarded like leaping gazelles. 

At 9.45 the New Year’s Eve Ball ensured our guests were in party mode, and our Explosive Singers and Dancers dazzled the audience with their “Totally Continental” show. I managed to see the last 15 minutes of this electrifying journey across Europe featuring traditional dances routines and superb vocal renditions. Around 1040 the Hot Rhythm Orchestra appeared, much to the delight of our guests, and wowed them with their unique style of Jazz. 

Up on deck the party was simmering from 11.00 pm onwards with the Saga Showband. As we approached midnight I headed to the Bridge to start the countdown over the PA system. On the stroke of midnight the fireworks exploded into the clear Malta sky above the fortifications of this amazing city. There was some very “vigorous” sounding of the ship's whistle, a 10 minute firework display, a rendition of Auld Lang Syne and a traditional bell ringing from the oldest Crew Member who rang out the “Old” before the youngest crew member rang in the “New”.

My wife and I then headed to the Verandah deck and joined the party, and what a night of fun it was –the team from our East-West restaurant, bar staff and Explosive cast joined our guests for a real “Saga Family” event of dancing, taking photos and generally having a good time!! There was even a magnificent ice carving of the number 2017.  I managed to collect a few photos of the nights event, however the only real way to appreciate what a great night New Year’s Eve is, is to join us!!!!

Happy New Year everyone and from all of us on Saga Sapphire we wish you a happy, healthy and fun filled 2017.

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.