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

31st July, 2017


Good evening followers of the Saga Sapphire Captain’s Blog.....

As you have seen I’ve fallen behind on my updates. Please put it down to my being the new boy on the block and that time just ran away with me - it has been a busy cruise, and my first at that!

After the highlights of Turku we enjoyed visiting the 'new' Europe of Latvia and Poland. After that we headed for the Kiel Canal where there were risks of delay. The locks appear to be under continual maintenance and for so many years 'delays' surround the Canal transit dialogue. You can imagine, when traffic is high and one of the two locks is closed for maintenance a backlog materialises very quickly . . . M25!

The Canal is a single carriage way with 'passing places' where ships travelling in opposite directions pass each other. There are two locks at each end, Kiel and Brunsbuttel. One lock is used for inbound traffic and the other for outbound traffic. It takes time to transit as the locks are flooded or pumped down to the appropriate level. With only one lock in operation, wow, it takes an age.

I was advised late on the Thursday that there should be no delays, only perhaps this weekend - yes, we were due to transit on Saturday! Therefore I chose to burn the night-oil entering the locks at Kiel around midnight, finally entering the canal itself around 2 am. If on time, we would reach Brunsbuttel at noon - making an on-time passage for Ijmuiden. The day rolled on, we made Brunsbuttel around noon so on to Ijmuiden as scheduled.

It was good to raise the white cliffs of Dover early on Monday morning, the sign-off for my inaugural cruise. Now I am an old-hand, but let's not talk about my waist line after 16 days!

Suffice to say we did have a magnificent cruise, the Tall Ships cruise to the Baltic. I have really enjoyed getting to grips with Saga Sapphire. She’s a wise and strong lass of the sea and my team, what a team they are - more of that later this next cruise, our jaunt around the United Kingdom.

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.