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9th March, 2016

Alesund, Norway

Alesund is the commercial capital of the More and Romsdal district and has a distinctive and unique character. It does not look like other Norwegian towns as there are no wooden clapboard buildings around its harbour side instead the city is crammed with art nouveau architecture and design. This distinctive look is down to a massive rebuild that took place after a fire devastated the city in 1904, leaving 10,000 people homeless. The scale of the disaster was so huge that it gave rise to a popular people saying “I have never heard anything like it since Alesund burned down”.

Thankfully there were no disasters awaiting us this morning as we made our way into the harbour area at Alesund and slipped gracefully alongside our berth, by 8am our gangway was duly landed and our passengers were making their way ashore to explore this beautiful city and its surroundings.

The first shore excursion to depart the Saga Sapphire this morning was a trip to Geirangerfjord. Leaving Alesund and embarking on a modern cruiser for the first part of the full day tour our guests cruised through the harbour towards Storfjorden and onto Geirangerfjord. The cruise took the best part of three hours past dramatic landscapes, including the 7 sister’s waterfalls, arriving at Geirnager for lunch. Whilst in Geiranger our guests visited the Norwegian fjords centre to learn about the region’s nature, culture and history and view an avalanche simulation on a 180 degrees screen. Continuing towards Eidsdal guests boarded a ferry for a crossing to linge and then enjoyed the scenery on a relaxing drive back to Storfjorden.

Another excursion to leave in the morning was a trip to the islands of Giske and Godoy. The tour commenced with an enjoyable sightseeing tour of Alesund, driving through the art noveau quarter to see the architecture which replaced Norwegian buildings that were lost to the famous fire in 1904. After leaving the city behind our guests arrived at Giske, the famous birth place of Viking King Rollo who was a direct ancestor of William the Conqueror. Following a visit to the Giske Chapel which was restored in 1756, our guests continued on to the beautiful island of Godoy and had a chance to relax and unwind in the charming fishing village of Alnes.

We departed at 6pm and two days at sea await us before our arrival back to the UK and Southampton where yours truly will be handing over command of this fine vessel to my dear friend and colleague Captain Philip Rentell. I’ll be heading home to my wife Kelly and two young sons Corey and Joey and I’m filled with excitement to see them all. It’s a common question asked of me onboard as to where I spend my vacations - well I’ve just been advised by Mrs Dunlop that she has booked a trip for us all to ‘Thomas the Tank Engine Land’ purely for the boys’ enjoyment of course…………..all three of us!

Captain Wesley Dunlop

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.