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5th December, 2017


It was good to get out of dry-dock and get this lady of the seas earning her living once again.

After an on-time departure from Bremerhaven dry-dock we stretched her legs and whistled down to Southampton in no time. I thought I was driving my Jag XKR-S.

Arriving in Southampton late evening on the 2nd, the ship's fabulous staff had time to switch off for a few hours before 'fine-fettling' Saga Sapphire ready for Embarkation the next day.

Slipping our moorings a little later than planned we were off on our Continental Christmas Market jaunt around the southern North Sea. Dropping the Pilot off at 2115 at the Nab we set course for, yes, for Bremerhaven.

It was a comfortable day at sea yesterday and a good opportunity for me to meet our Guests, many of whom are first time with Saga Cruises.

We reached the Pilot on time at 0430 this morning and then proceeded upstream on the Weser to our berth at Bremerhaven. Full moon was a day away and we had 150% spring tides meaning we were fighting an ebb stream of over 4 knots, not helpful.

Approaching our berth at 0730 it seemed we had never been away! The air-bridge secured at 0800, the first tour was ashore by 0815. This first tour was going to the Meyer Werft shipbuilding yard, as this is where our new ship, Spirit of Discovery is being built.

Seemingly a good day was had by all. We were away late, firstly because of late returning tours [road congestion] and then by traffic on the river. There's traffic and there's traffic! Staff Captain Tom was driving out this evening. Requiring the services of two tugs to drag us off the berth in very brisk conditions, he swung the ship into the stream and then we proceeded back outwards to the North Sea.

The weather was getting up so the Pilot decided to debark by helicopter. A slick operation and safer than trying to use the Pilot boat service.

With the Pilot away at 2300, we were on passage to Ijmuiden in rather windy conditions. It was prudent to close the open decks, as I was expecting a total wind speed of over 60 knots overnight. But this lady of the seas just drives through.

Captain Stuart Horne

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.