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7th January, 2017


It's the final port of our Cruise with a dawn arrival into Leixeos, the Cruise Port for Oporto. A rather tight manoeuvre with only 35 meters either side as we "back up" to our town berth in the inner harbour. As we make our final lines fast the sun makes another spectacular appearance and we are set for day 15 of continuous sunshine - what a cruise this has been!!!

With four Shore Excursions on offer, including Oporto Panoramic, Place of the Dukes at Guimares, Oporto Sights & Douro River Cruise, and Wine Lodge & Tasting there was something for everyone. With Saga Cruises we also provide complimentary shuttle buses - something you don't see with most other Cruise lines - and today's buses transported our Guests into the heart of Oporto. I had a busy morning "clearing" my desk and preparing my handover notes ready for Captain Rentell who returns on the 11th January. I did not get to Oporto today, however I have very fond memories from my last visit.

Oporto is Portugal's 2nd largest city and is located on the Douro river. It is of course famous for its port wine and one of our tours visited the Sandeman vineyard - which was very evident with the return of the Wine Lodge and tasting Tour!!! Hmmm that sounds just like my kind of tour!

As a very early riser (0500-0530), on most days I find I get a lot of my administrative work completed early which frees up an hour or two in port so I can "get on my bike". Yesterday was no exception as I headed along the beautiful coastline north of Leixoes, with a dedicated cycle path close to the beach that went on for miles and miles. Attached is a photo of Rico and me. Rico is a Quartermaster (QM for short). I have mentioned before that he is very fit, maintains all 8 crew bikes and completely overhauled my own.

With everyone back promptly we sailed at 6.30 pm and "squeezed" our way out through the inner harbour before heading back out into the Atlantic Ocean and our final return to Southampton. As this marvellous 21 night cruise draws to an end, I look back with very fond memories of everyone I have met, the exceptional ports we visited and the outstanding weather with all those days of continuous sunshine.

Our final 2 days at sea will give me the opportunity  to pack my bags, top and tail the paperwork, and to participate in a cooking challenge against Trevor Walford our Maitre D'. Unfortunately Trevor did not follow the normal protocol of letting the Captain win, so tonight we will have a special keel hauling ceremony!!

This is my final blog for this tour of duty, as we sail into Southampton tomorrow morning.  After my leave, including a couple of skiing trips, I shall be "tapping" away on my return to Saga Sapphire on 18th March.

Bon Voyage.

Captain Julian Burgess

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.