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12th November, 2018


Long days, but a good night’s sleep last night allowed me to recoup. After ejecting ourselves like a salvo from Zeebrugge, I dashed down to the Britannia Lounge for the “Hi, Welcome and Goodbye” cocktail party. It’s an interesting exercise when you are addressing such a wide demographic; still I seemed to draw laughter and enjoyment from across the floor; and not one note about the breezy ride up the English channel

Arrival into Amsterdam was an early start yesterday morning with a 0245 call to ready for the Pilot. The run into Ijmuiden is straightforward, there was a brisk wind from the south and the pre-ordering of a tug proved to be a wise idea. To get to Amsterdam, you first pass through the Ijmuiden locks to enter the inland waterway. It’s a reasonably spacious lock, allowing 5 meters either side as you navigate in. However, with a brisk wind blowing on your beam, pushing you onto the lock wall, one cannot drift in slowly - the sideways movement of the ship comes-on very quickly; so it’s a case of going in guns blazing and use the tug as your ‘foot ‘brake’ once you are in the lock. Worked a dream.

Navigating up the inland waterway during yesterday morning, we approached our berth at 0630 and using the tug to push the ship alongside, it was a still bowing 25knots, we were all ‘safe & sound’ alongside by 0730. Nice bit of driving by Matt, our Safety Officer.

It was overcast all day yesterday, but save for a few showers, pleasant enough. The Guests loved being parked in town, we are literally in town - what a great berth. We had some super tours here and of course, if going on Tour is not your thing, it’s a great place to stroll around and enjoy the ambiance and culture, I quite like Amsterdam. I was on the gangway last night when the evening tours came back, pleased to receive some rather super feedback; a great job by Nat and his team.

This morning, after a good night’s sleep I was up at 0600, along with the rest of the Deck & Engine teams to get ready for departure. We had brought departure forward an hour, so whilst this meant one more hour in dusk conditions while transiting the inland waterway, I needed to be clear of the Ijmuiden locks by 10.00 so we could attend the Remembrance day Service scheduled for 1030. Jo Bo made the right decision to hold the service on Monday because of all our Guests being ashore yesterday and we were all keen to deliver the opportunity to as many Guests as possible. If I had sailed at 0800, as scheduled, we couldn’t have run the service.

So, a nice daylight passage down the waterway, many Guests out and about enjoying the spectacle, then the locks at 0930. By 10.00 we were through the locks and heading clear of the Ijmuiden breakwaters - and I was on the fast-dash down to the Britannia lounge; why is the Navigation bridge at the front and the Britannia Lounge at the back of the ship, still, its good exercise for my knee! What a super Remembrance Service and my thanks to all the Officers who turned out for the event in full Blues rig.

The afternoon was spent navigating back toward the Diver Straits ready for our Southampton in the morning, another 0300 call! Early to bed tonight then.

Captain Stuart Horne

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

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