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13th May, 2018


Hello Everyone, I’m back in the driver’s seat. After my leave I am well rested and raring to go. The last few weeks of leave have been great with the weather finally improving, a fantastic ski holiday in the 3 Valleys and a trip to the Meyer Werft shipyard for a virtual reality tour of the Bridge and open decks of our new ship Spirit of Discovery. I am so excited about the ship’ s arrival next year.

It has been a marvelous start to the cruise with a very calm and sunny transit of the North Sea as we proceeded towards Oslo. This is a “Sixties” themed cruise and last night we were treated to a fabulous session by the Merseybeats who had the dance floor packed – there was even a rumour that the Captain was dancing!!

We embarked our Norwegian pilot at 0915 and had a very scenic 54 mile run up through Olsofjorden, with some very narrow sections and the occasional reduction in speed as we passed various yacht harbours.

Around 1230 we passed the spot where the German warship Blucher sunk in April 1940 during the “Nazi Invasion of Norway”. You can still see the 28cm coastal guns which caused the initial fire damage before 2 shore based torpedoes finished things off. The fjord was so calm you could see the oil bubbles rising to the surface from the 14t of oil still in one of the ship’s tanks.

It was delightful weather with light winds all the way to the berth and we eased gently alongside ready for our overnight call. The ship was quickly cleared and everyone free to proceed ashore.

Oslo is the capital and most populous city in Norway and a hub of Norwegian trade, banking and shipping. A survey from 2011 placed Oslo as the 2nd most expensive city in the world for living expenses after Tokyo. By 2013 it tied with the Australian city of Melbourne as the 4th most expensive city in the world. Oslo is very compact with few high rise buildings and, like the rest of Norway, very clean and prosperous. Home to some 50 museums it is full of galleries, cafes, a sculpture park and the Royal Palace so a great place to browse if proceeding ashore independently.

With a 24 hour stay there was a lovely calm around the ship so I jumped on my road bike and headed out with my cycling buddy Rico for a quick hour’s ride. We managed 20km in an hour with a few stops so very pleased with the pace we maintained. Once returned it was a quick shower and I then had the pleasure of dining in our East to West restaurant where then Asian Fusion cuisine was superb as usual.

This morning when I woke I headed to the gym, had a quick swim in the indoor pool and then 10 minutes in the steam room – a great way to set you up for the day.

At 1300 everyone was back on board, and with a temperature of 22’C we slipped our mooring lines and retraced our tracks from the previous day. We weaved our way through the myriad of rocky outcrops, with numerous summer houses scattering the Islands. It seems as though most Norwegians have a home to escape to in the summer. We finally exited the fjord and disembarked our pilot at 1740, setting course for Copenhagen in Denmark.

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.