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23rd December, 2018

Ponta Delgada

After a very busy leave with a major kitchen extension (still ongoing!) and a couple of courses, it was time to return to Saga Sapphire for the 33 night “Festivities in the Caribbean” Christmas cruise. We set sail from Southampton on Wednesday 19th December and headed out down the west side of the Isle of Wight to exit via the Needles. This saves several hours steaming; however it is a very challenging stretch of narrow water. With us safely “through” by 1900 hours we then set course towards the Azores with a pretty full ship and 431 crew on board to look after everyone.

I am fortunate enough to have my wife and 2 girls on for half of this cruise – the start tied in perfectly with their school holidays. Considering it is mid-December the run across the Bay of Biscay was pretty comfortable with Saga Sapphire once again proving she is a great sea ship.

It was a 3.5 day crossing and we arrived at the pilot station at 1000. The winds were less than had been forecast which was a good thing of course, however I had ordered 2 tugs. When I tried to cancel one of them the agent informed us it would cost more than to simply use it! We entered the harbour and completed a 180’ pirouette before “backing” down to the berth. This gave me chance to get my hand in after 2 months on leave. It was great to get “behind the wheel” again and I soon started to appreciate what I had missed.

We were alongside by 1100 however the weather was more suited to those with webbed feet!! Despite this our intrepid travelers headed off to get their feet on terra firma – then knew we had another 5.5 days at sea to Bermuda. I decided to enjoy the views of the town from the ship and let my wife and daughters loose with my credit card!!

There were 4 tours in Ponta Delgada and it is a great Island to explore. From the Fire Lake and Ribeira Grange to a Jeep Tour there was something on offer for everyone.

With everyone on board by 1800 we headed out of the harbour and set a WSW’ly course for the 1932 mile voyage to Bermuda.

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.