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23rd May, 2017


Sunrise this morning found us heading east towards Lisbon. Our Guests enjoyed the more leisurely arrival after a very busy start to the cruise with a Celebration Cocktail party on the welcome night, a welcome board party on the 1st sea day night and a very popular strawberry afternoon tea the following afternoon. I have never seen afternoon tea so busy – anyone would have thought we hadn’t fed them all day!!!

It was a beautiful lunchtime arrival as we sailed up the River Tagus for our 14 mile transit to our berth. We embarked our pilot at 1130 and shortly after passed Belem Tower and the Monument to the Navigators – both wonderful landmarks on the North side of the river.

Around 1200 we passed under the magnificent 25th April Bridge which is a smaller version of the San Francisco Harbour Bridge. As we passed under, with a clearance of 18meters, I sounded the ship’s whistle! Shortly after we passed the Statue of Christ on the South Shore, which is twinned with the Corcovado in Rio De Janeiro.

With a flood tide running we had to swing off the berth and then stem the tide as we eased our way alongside. A very successful docking as we used no tugs and we “kissed” the fenders. We were docked at Apolonia berth which is a short distance from the well-known “Black Horse Square”.

Lisbon, set on seven hills overlooking the River Tagus, has been the capital of Portugal since the 13th century. It is a city famed for its majestic architecture, old wooden trams, Moorish features and more than 20 centuries of history.

There were 4 shore excursions on offer; A “Taste of Lisbon”, “Arrabida Mountains 4WD”, “Lisbon Tram & Port Wine”, and the “Palace of Ajuda” where the Portuguese royal family resided in the 1900’s. There was also the Saga complimentary shuttle bus.

We were in port until 2100 hrs so I headed off on my bike around 7.00 pm as it had reached 28’C during the day. I had a great pedal along the banks of the River Tagus for an hour.

At 2045 we slipped our moorings and headed back down river. It was a very different experience to our arrival as the sun had just set and the river banks, including the monuments, were all lit up - fabulous!! With the River Tagus in our wake by 2200 hrs we set a Sly course to follow the Portuguese coast en route for Malaga.

Captain Julian Burgess

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