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19th June, 2016


Having set sail from Dover yesterday, this morning we picked up our pilot at 5 A.M. - rather an unholy hour for most - and then travelled nearly 22 miles towards Zeebrugge harbour where, with assistance of the local tugboat, we docked shortly before 8 o’clock. Zeebrugge’s central location on the Belgian coast, a short distance from Great Britain, and its close vicinity to densely populated industrialized cities makes it a crossroads for traffic from all directions. While staying alongside we could enjoy the sight of numerous vessels coming in and out of the harbour carrying different kinds of cargo.

Our shore excursion team prepared a selection of tours for today. A bit of a history first –‘Ypres, In Flander Fields’- provided an insight into the dramatic history of wars and battles in and around the town of Ypres. Restored to its former glory following complete destruction during the Great War, a number of poignant museums and monuments are testament to the thousands who died on the battlefields. Followed by ‘Romantic Bruges’- With origins that can be traced back nearly 2,000 years, the ancient city of Bruges was placed on the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2000, and possesses a wealth of culture and beauty. The network of canals that cover Bruges offered a fascinating insight into the city. Those who preferred a bit more freedom could choose ‘Bruges on Your Own’. The place has so much to offer.

Back on the ship we were not relaxing. Most of the morning was filled by our weekly crew drill. It keeps us in shape and prepared for any kind of emergency. Every crewmember on board has their normal day job, but also one that he or she needs to fulfil during an emergency. Hopefully it will never be needed, but it is good to know that everyone knows what to do.

Shortly before 18.00, with all guests safely on board, my right hand man and second in command Staff Captain Alex Downes undocked the vessel. Whenever the opportunity allows it is nice to offer aspiring masters the chance to get their hand on the controls, and Alex did a great job taking us safely out of the harbour, and soon we were on our way towards Ijmuiden, Holland

Evening entertainment featured our resident Classical Ensemble “Tiffany String Quartet”who played great classical music from Bach, Schubert and Strauss. Later on our lovely Michelle Dunne, Explosive Vocalist, gave a fantastic performance singing songs from Country to Motown.

Krzysztof Majdzinski

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

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