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1st September, 2018


After a day at sea when we had a USPH Self Inspection, Crew Cabin Inspection and a Masters ATD (Attention to Detail) rounds we finished with a Newcomers party. We have these inspections every week to ensure we maintain the very highest standards aboard our ships. With many First Timers to Saga Cruises it was great to have lots of Officers and myself there to welcome, and chat to them and make them feel part of the Saga “Family”. I showed them a video clip of the new ship and I’m sure many will now be thinking about booking this magnificent ship that enters service in July 2019. After the party I hosted a table with the Social Hostess – it was great fun with lots of banter and a “small” drop of wine. The after dinner liquors polished it off, although not for me.

Arriving on the Bridge at 0445 with the beginning of twilight upon us and glassy seas it reminded me again of why I love this job - I’m definitely a morning person. With the pilot on board at 0500 we then weaved our way through the archipelago and a myriad of Islands for the 45 miles to our berth in downtown Stockholm. It was a fantastic arrival and it was great to have 2 pilots who were ready to be part of our Bridge team. I’ve been to Stockholm before but not as Captain and now I understand why people talk not only about the beauty but the narrow channels – less than 100m wide in a few places!!

There is a ruling that we must make our transit in daylight and so timings were adjusted accordingly which meant we were alongside shortly after 0900, and ready to let guests ashore by 0930. We had originally been scheduled to sail at 1800, however after reviewing our run to the next port we were able to remain alongside until 0600 the following morning so an overnight for all – happy days.

I took the opportunity to head out on my bike at 1700 hrs with my cycling buddy Rico – he has been running during the 2 months I was on leave so this was his first “pedal” in 3 weeks. After circling the Island we were moored at (10km) we then headed into the city centre and beyond. Stockholm, which is made up of 14 Islands and connected by 40 bridges, is the Baltic’s largest seaport. Surrounded by clear waters and unspoilt countryside it is considered one of the most beautiful capitals in the world, and we could soon see why. We managed to clock 26.3 km for our late afternoon ride – the time always passes quicker when you are cycling with someone else.

With an 0500 wake-up call on the 2nd September I arrived on the bridge at 0530 ready for our departure at 0600. Well what a stunning sunrise as can be seen from the photos. The city was lightly shrouded with an early morning mist which added to the splendour. Richard our Chief Officer carried out the departure and swung off the berth. We then re-traced our tracks for 45 miles and what a spectacular departure it was in glorious sunshine and the lightest of a N’ly breeze making the air feel so healthy. Many guests were on deck and commented how beautiful it was.

We have a day at sea now before our next port, Helsinki.

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.