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28th July, 2018


Yesterday we arrived in Livorno, what a fabulous morning – but the evening was equally superb and with a blood-red moon setting on the stern, quite fabulous. The attached picture doesn’t do the event justice, but this was the prequel to the Lunar Eclipse!

With sunrise at 0612 yesterday, we shaped up for the Pilot at 0630. Livorno arrival is always busy with traffic, apart from the cruise ships, up to six a day, it is chock-a-block with Ferries and cargo vessels. As a guestimate, perhaps a ferry movement every 30-45 minutes during the day; as an average, but the mornings are always bit of a race between Ferries to maintain their schedule. At our entrance time which was 0700, there were five cruise ships and six ferries all jostling for a ‘slot’ between 0630 and 0730 – busy busy! For this reason I had the Engine room and Bridge teams on duty early, an 0630 Pilot time means an ‘on-duty’ time of 0530 with 0430 calls, but it is an overnight, so worth the early calls!

The sunrise picture is the approach into Livorno, you can see the Pilot boat on the way out to Saga Sapphire and a Ferry entering the harbour - the pilot embarked at 0620, just after sunrise.

It is a tight left-hand down manoeuvre into the harbour, you need to be slow so you can get around the corner, but not so slow that the rudder becomes inactive. We were allocated a berth at the north end of the Port, a pretty good location really, a little out of town but we were out of the way of the ‘droves’ of passengers flowing from the ‘tower-blocks’ in port that day. That’s a positive!

I was ‘driving’ in with Emmeline, Chief Officer under coaching as Operations Director. It was a long manoeuvre as I required to swing bow to starboard, the long way around, but it is the only way you can get the stern in the right position before going backwards to the berth. The Pilot was relaxed, as the photograph demonstrates. We were all tied-up by 0745, in plenty of time to get the ship cleared by the authorities and ready to disembark our Guest on their tours, and what a fabulous array of tours we had on offer for these two days in Livorno.

This morning, after being up at 0200 to greet back our guests home, whom were on the fabulous La Boheme and VIP Bocelli tours, the sun rose in yet another day of clear blue skies. It was getting hot. I had hoped for some cloud today after the searing shade temperatures of 35 C/ 95F yesterday - but I hear Blighty is equally hot! It was a rather warm day and I, particularly, was looking to getting back out at sea and getting a refreshing sea breeze blowing through because my office was like an oven.

There was a Lunar Eclipse of the moon last night, it was a tad cloudy at the ship to really experience it, but the reports back from the Guests on the La Boheme tour said they had a fabulous experience, the Moon went through the Eclipse phase right across the back drop of the stage, over the lake. The lengths Saga go to create an experience!

All on-board for just after 1800, we were ready to sail. With a scheduled departure of 1900 and whilst we were ready early, we had to wait for a Pilot at 1900 as the Pilots were all busy. We were ready to sail, mooing’s at 2+1, that means to say we had reduced the amount of ropes we had out each end from six to three, in order to shorten our preparation time. The Pilot embarked at 1900. Lifting off the berth, we proceeded out slowly, following a block of flats ship, before debarking the Pilot at 1940 as we cleared the outer breakwaters to a beautiful sunset. Another sunset photo attached, I do like sunrises & sunsets.

Engines were set for a moderate speed, 13knots, westerly passage across the Gulf of Genoa, towards our next port in Monte Carlo; what an iconic destination.

Captain Stuart Horne

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