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Folkestone

Saga Sapphire blog - Captains' blogs

30th June, 2016

Despite what is says on the stern of Saga Sapphire, Dover is our true homeport. Being only few steps away from Head Office, gives a great opportunity for a “watchful eye”to be cast over our flagship as we dock between two cruises.

Understandably, our turnarounds are rather brief and busy. Firstly, we disembark our passengers from the cruise that just finished. Secondly, we embark our guests for the next cruise. Then we set sail. All in just under 8 hours. Sounds simple and easy!

The logistics of the operation start well in advance. After all, we don’t leave our passengers just on the quayside, but with the complimentary chauffeur service we deliver them to their homes (together with their luggage of course). Remember we carry 720 passengers at a time. So the area in front of the cruise terminal in Dover would look busier than central London at peak time, if not well planned beforehand. At the same time passengers joining the ship are on their way (also with their suitcases). In the meantime, the whole ‘back of the house’operation is well underway –loading of the provisions, stores, and spare parts takes the best part of the day. It’s amazing how much we can store in the bowels of the ship. Some of our crewmembers go home for well-deserved leave (very happy!) while others join the vessel (maybe slightly less happy!).

We left Dover harbour late afternoon and it may have seemed that the rest of the day would be just pure leisure and relax. Not quite. For this evening we prepared something special. We sailed along the Kent coast towards Folkestone harbour. As we got near, the powerful sound of Merlin engines from over our heads grabbed our attention. Two Spitfires flew all the way from Biggin Hill Airfield to give us a fantastic display of acrobatic skill. They could really fly! Later on, we found out there were many spectators watching the show from shore side (mostly from the Saga office).

After this excitement, it was time for reflection. We couldn’t forget that 100 years ago tomorrow was the first day of the Battle of Somme. 19,240 British soldiers were killed and nearly twice that number wounded. We felt the way to commemorate this tragic day would be to conduct a special service near the place where many of them left British soil. Canon Richard Hanmer gave a moving and memorable service in the beautiful scenery. It was appreciated by all our guests.

This was a long day for some, and only the first day of the cruise. Let us see what the next day brings.

Krzysztof Majdzinski

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.

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