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Ajaccio

Saga Sapphire blog - Captains' blogs

30th May, 2017

Last night, after the superb welcome back event and a later sail it was an early night for me, although I did host a small table for some of my Officers. During a recent “brain storming” session the Reefer Engineer suggested I occasionally host a Captain’s table but invite various Officers. So this is what I did - and it was very well received.

It was yet another gorgeous morning as we made our approach towards Ajaccio, Corsica. We embarked our pilot around 0650 and headed towards the harbour before swinging through 90’ and backing down to the berth. We were all fast alongside by 0745.

Ajaccio is located on the west coast of Corsica and has an evocative old town, stylish new district, vibrant markets with fragrant food, and some spectacular French and Italian cuisine. The island is often called the “scented” isle and was home to Napoleon Bonaparte who was born on 15th August 1769.

It was pure chance that the future ruler of France was born a French Citizen. His family had migrated to Corsica from the Italian mainland in the 16th century. The island had been transferred from the Republic of Genoa to France one year before Napoleon’s birth, so his original name was Italian – Napoleone Buonaparte.

All the tours went off in the morning as we had to depart our berth at 1230 and anchor. We had 4 shore excursions, the majority of which headed up into the mountains and our Guests experienced some of the most amazing views.

This brought back memories of when my father was alive and his cruise here. He was totally “gobsmacked” by the beauty of the island and its outstanding views.

We had all tours scheduled to return by 1215 latest as the dock had been previously booked. I wandered on to the Bridge at 1210 and met the pilot who told me I must sail now!! After a rather heated discussion with the Frenchman I said I am not leaving until 1230 as originally agreed with our port agent. I then got a phone call from the Harbour Master who had stopped our Guests in the terminal and he told me I must sail.

After a second heated discussion I said “I am not leaving” until you open the gates and let my Guests board via the gangway. Eventually he gave in and we had people on board by 1240. Around 1245 we left the berth and within 30 minutes were anchored and ready to run guests ashore with our tenders.

Some Guests elected to say on board during the afternoon, basking in the sunshine and enjoying the views of Ajaccio from the bay. However, by 1730 all our Guests were on board and our Chief Officer took the ship to sea from the anchorage. We then set sail for an overnight run towards the Balearics.

As this is our Anniversary we continue to try and “amaze” our Guests. We decided therefore to surprise them with a day close-coasting off the Northern coast of Menorca and Majorca – wow what a beautiful rugged coastline with some spectacular bays. Our Guests just loved it.

During the cruise-by there was an Officers vs Guests shuffleboard game. Guess who won??? The Guests of course, in fact they “whipped” the Officers.

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.

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