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28th March, 2016

Cesme, Turkey

Leaving Cape Helles and all the traffic of the Dardanelles behind us we turned south west and headed for Cesme, a small port on the Turkish mainland that is trying to attract more cruise ship business. Being the first call of Saga Sapphire I had to meet a delegation of local officials for the customary plaque exchange. They also came with a large bouquet of flowers, Mrs. R is delighted, and my day room has a new ‘fragrance’, at least for the time being.

The weather was very sunny and crystal clear, but a keen breeze from the north kept the temperatures reasonable. Some folks went off on an all day tour to Izmir 85 km away, others went off to see Alacati, a district of Cesme that still retains architecture from Byzantine times. We just took a few hours off to stroll into town through the very modern marina waterfront where numerous not so cheap yachts were lying alongside. From there Saga Sapphire in the distance looked as though it was the largest yacht in the marina.

Dominating the town is the old Ottoman castle and inside there are a number of rooms converted into small museums, one dedicated to the war with the Russians when the Baltic fleet made the long sea passage from St. Petersburg. From the higher towers there was a superb view towards the sea and looking down over the tiled roofs of the old town. We continued along the relatively quiet waterfront until coming across an open café. Here a few local men were chatting away while smoking through their strange watery Hooka ‘equipment’.

The sun was deceptively strong and there will be a few red faces for a few days. After sailing, later that evening, the sky remained so clear that a million stars must have been visible.

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.