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

17th March, 2016


We passed through the Straits in gorgeous sunshine, a following wind and two knot current pushing us on our way. The mountains of Morocco to the south clearly visible as was the Spanish enclave of Ceuta just three miles away and Gibraltar, slightly hazy, six miles to port. A US warship came racing past making 27 knots; I can only surmise that they have sufficient oil now not to worry too much about consumption.

We made excellent time, and were allocated a berth across the harbour, on the other side from where a rather large and not so attractive modern ‘vessel’ was to arrive around 9 o’clock. I advised the passengers to take a good look at the old town during breakfast as the view would probably be blocked before coffee time. And so it was, the ‘Norwegian Epic’ arrived with 4,400 passengers and 1,600 crew. Not the most elegant cruiser from the naval architects quill I would suggest.

Our Safety Management System audit, after three days, was concluded with absolutely no written remarks whatsoever, a credit to the company and all the staff on board who work tirelessly to work with all the regulations that we have to comply with these days. Mrs R went off to make a recce and ascertain whether a certain Tapas establishment was still in existence. Unfortunately not, but at the same time as carrying out the usual window shopping (I think), she found the new one. The original owner had retired and his son has re-opened not so far away in a delightful old building down a small alleyway just off the tourist trail.

Passengers on tour enjoyed themselves and those who took the shuttle bus had an easy stroll into the town centre. Funny though, how the great majority of the “other” ship-born tourists had disappeared by one o’clock, back on board for lunch I presume. Ours was most pleasant and the owner not only brought his recently born son to show off, but also insisted we return soon, with many more of our friends. Handshakes and big smiles all round as we left.

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.