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31st October, 2017


This cruise got off to a great start with a calm crossing of the Bay of Biscay, what must have been a full attendance for the welcome aboard party on the 1st sea day night, and a very popular strawberry afternoon tea the following afternoon. It always amazes me how popular afternoon tea is.

It was an early start to the day as we sailed up the Tagus river for our 12 mile transit to our berth. We embarked our pilot at 0645 just as dawn was breaking and shortly after passed Belem Tower and the Monument to the Navigators – both wonderful landmarks on the North side of the river. As the sun was rising over the river we passed under the magnificent 25th April Bridge which is a smaller version of the San Francisco Harbour Bridge. Shortly after that 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 the Rocha terminal which is only a short shuttle ride to the town centre.

Lisbon, set on seven hills overlooking the River Tagus, has been the capital of Portugal since the 13th century. It's 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”, “Sintra Town & Palace”, “Obidos”, “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.

I had some friends visit for lunch so it was great to catch up with them. They only live 30 minutes south of Lisbon!!

Having slipped our moorings we headed back down river. As we passed under the 25th April Bridge with a clearance of 18 metres we sounded the ship’s whistle, which might have “awoken” a few of the car drivers overhead!! With the pilot disembarked we re-traced our tracks and headed south out of the Tagus river towards Huelva.

Captain Julian Burgess

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