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1st October, 2017


After a beautiful sail out from Saguenay we then had a 160M overnight passage in confined waters en-route for Quebec.

I was on an early call at 0400 and shortly after sunrise we saw some amazing “sea smoke”. I have attached a great photo of Saga Sapphire taken from the pilot on another ship that passed us – hope you enjoy.

With our harbour pilot on board at 0740 we then proceeded towards the Paquet berth at Levis, Quebec. Saga HQ and the Town of Levis had been planning this day for approximately 2 years as we were to be the first ship ever to dock at this new pier. There was a 4 knot current running and a strong wind on to the berth, and with hundreds of people watching this maiden arrival I was very cautious and eased very slowly towards the dock assisted by a tug. As we got closer there was lots of cheering and singing, sounding of car horns and a real air of excitement. With hundreds of Guests on deck we had a few rousing tunes on the ship whistle to liven events up further.

As we moored alongside at 0835 history was made and we had officially become the first ship to dock at this wonderful new pier. The hundreds of well-wishers then congregated at the gangway to greet our guests as they stepped ashore. It was an amazing welcome and one I will never forget. I decided to be one of the first ashore and immerse myself in the excitement. Suddenly there were photographers everywhere snapping away and I was casually chatting to a couple of the locals when it soon became apparent that one was the Mayor!!

Talking of the Mayor – at 1030 there was a VIP reception in one of our lounges named the “Drawing Room”. I made a speech along with the Mayor of Levis and the CEO of Quebec Port – we then had numerous photos with local dignitaries. I felt honoured to be the Captain of Saga Sapphire on such a special day. Levis is located on the opposite side of the St Lawrence river and without doubt has the best views of Quebec City. It is only a 5 minute ferry ride to Quebec city centre so we will hopefully be using this pier again when we return in 2018.

The crown jewel of French Canada, Quebec is one of North America’s oldest and most magnificent settlements. Its picturesque Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage site, a living museum of narrow cobblestone streets, 17th & 18th century houses and soaring church spires with the magnificent Chateau Fontenac towering above it all. It is set on Cap Diamant and is a very cosmopolitan destination rich in culture, heritage and atmosphere. There is more than a glimmer of Old Europe in its classic bistros, sidewalk cafes and manicured squares.

As the sun went down the fountains on the quayside came to life with music and lights – this was definitely something to see. Whilst on deck our guests had the best evening view of Quebec with Chateau Fontenac and the whole town lit up. Paquet berth in Levis has definitely been a winner.

At 2230 we slipped our moorings and headed upriver towards Trois Rivieres.

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.