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31st December, 2018


When it’s New Year Eve on Saga Sapphire, there is certainly a full evening programme. To kick things we had a special New Year’s Eve cocktail party at 1815 and a special countdown to midnight in the UK, starting with a Scottish Piper and a small army behind him bringing in a Haggis to the Britannia Lounge. The traditional “address” to the Haggis was made and its cask sliced open several times with a knife. Then on the stroke of 1900hrs (2400 GMT) the oldest guest on board at 96 rang out the Old year and the youngest crew member at 20 years old rung in the New. There was a fantastic 2019 ice carving on display (shown in the photographs) which later appeared on the open deck. A spectacular dinner then followed, with such delights as Lobster and Caviar; Haggis, Neaps and Tatties (+ a wee dram), Cock-a-leekie, then Rack of lamb and Kevin Woodford’s signature beef fillet dish to name but a few highlights of the menu.

Unfortunately, I had to disappear at 2030 (after my haggis, sorbet and Rack of Lamb) to embark our pilot and take the ship into Nassau for an evening’s entertainment on deck. I swung the ship round on arrival so that our stern and the Verandah deck were facing the beautifully lit Atlantis Hotel which was later to be the launch pad for the midnight fireworks. We were all secure alongside by 2200 and then it was time to join the party on deck. With singing and dancing at the prime spot in Nassau we had another countdown and on the stroke of midnight some fantastic fireworks from the Atlantis Hotel were clearly visible from the ship. The Scottish Piper re-appeared and we had the traditional Auld Lang Syne as Guests, Officers and Crew hugged each other and wished the best for the coming year. It was a real Saga family atmosphere and dancing continued into the wee small hours.

It was a later start for most, and the Shore-Ex Manager was well prepared by starting the first tour at 1030. With 2 tours to Pearl Island there was great reviews from the Guests. I headed off with my family to Cabbage Beach and had a quiet afternoon apart from a “banana boat” ride, which was very thrilling and particularly for my 2 girls.

With everyone on board by 1730 we slipped our moorings and with no tug steamed slowly out of the port just as the sun was setting. We retraced our tracks for the next few hours until clear of the Bahamas, when we set a SE’ly course towards Grand Turk.

Captain Julian Burgess

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

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