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31st July, 2018


I love doing the Blogs when the weather is so nice, indeed, perhaps too hot! Again, another lovely morning yesterday for our approach into Barcelona and what seemed a very sensible pilot schedule time of 1130, no early morning cockerel call!

Barcelona has a dedicated cruise pier with five bespoke cruise terminals, so that five large cruise ships can be ‘in’ at the same time, both for transit calls as well as turn-around calls. It’s a huge, huge investment with lovely air-bridges, like jet-ways at airports, that go directly from the ship to the Terminal, undercover and air conditioned, lovely. We had been assigned to Terminal B, almost at the far end and closer to the town, if you will, but shuttle buses still required though.

The cruise ships enter the inner waterway by approaching from the West and then ‘drive’ in towards your allocated terminal, bear with me, there is a story here… Because Saga Sapphire can only berth ‘portside alongside’ to use the air-bridge, we had to swing in the basin and drive astern to our allocated terminal, Franko the ‘strumming’ Staff Captain was manoeuvring yesterday for arrival.

Nice tight swing by Franko, lined the ship up, text-book, then manoeuvred astern past all the cruise ships on the port side and the container ship on the starboard side in a reasonably narrow waterway. Nice parking and all fast, gangway in and ship cleared for 1245, in good time for the first of the afternoon tours. The multi-million Euro terminal, and air bridge was connected to deck 7. We were all settled down for the overnight stay.

It was a hot hot day and as the afternoon working day drew to a close, then came the message “we have to take out the gangway” and we could not use it for the rest of our stay... Hmmm. So, we rigged our own gangway on deck four, the Guests then walking across the quayside and through the ‘back-door’ of the terminal. Of all my visits in Barcelona, not once have I been able to use the air bridge. Good investment!

The Guests gave me some great feedback for our overnight call, there is something nice about being on a ship, with good views, either out to sea or inland, whilst enjoying a pre-dinner cocktail and soaking up the ambiance, you can’t beat it! I have attached a few ‘sea’ view sunset pictures from the ship in Barcelona and of the team. Left to right is: Christy, Deck cadet, Becky, 2nd Officer and Rico, the Quartermaster. That’s my 8-12 watch team.

Departure was on time at 1800 and Matt, the re-joined Safety Officer, took the ship out. Once clear of the breakwaters at 1830, we set passage for Castellon, an inaugural call for the Saga Sapphire.

Captain Stuart Horne

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.