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17th September, 2018


After clearing a windy Kristiansand, I was awoken by a windy Gothenburg. The great thing about Saga Sapphire is that she is a great sea ship with a deep draft so she doesn’t move like the big “block of flats” you see cruising these days. With the pilot on board at 0600 it soon became apparent that in addition to the tug I had already ordered we would need another one with the winds gusting over 35 kts. This was another first time port for me and the run in is about 1hr 30 mins. It is a well buoyed channel and the pilots very competent. The approach to the berth is tight especially with a ferry occupying a large part of the harbour – precision manoeuvring was required and a swift swing through 90. I used the pilot’s expertise for the main and then took over to softly land the ship alongside. Within an hour of our arrival the wind had eased and the sun was shining, which was perfect for our Guests to go and explore Sweden’s 2nd largest city.

There were 7 shore excursions on offer today including a free shuttle service to the city centre which took about 30 minutes. Of course, with Saga Cruises such a service is free to our Guests.

Gothenburg was founded in 1621 after King Gustav II, tired of Danish raids ordered a strong fortress be built to secure Sweden’s only Western port. It grew rapidly into the trading and maritime city envisioned by the King, and the East India Company became Sweden’s first International trading company during the 18th century. Now a busy modern city, Gothenburg is noted for its canals and numerous open green spaces that contrast with skyscrapers such as the Skanskaskrapan or “Lipstick Building”.

Having not been to Gothenburg before I decided it was a perfect opportunity to visit the city and get some exercise, so out came the bike and I then cycled the 10 miles to the city centre. As with many places in Europe the cycle paths were excellent and with the help of Google maps I found my way. Yes, even a Captain uses Google maps, although not for marine navigation of course!! My short glimpse of Gothenburg certainly impressed me with canals, trams, historic buildings and lovely gardens. You certainly need to pay attention with all the buses, trams, cars and cyclists, not forgetting the pedestrians of course. After an hour touring round the centre it was time to head back to the ship, however this took a little longer with the strong head winds – I knew then that once I got back to the ship we would need to order tugs for departure!!

As it was only 33 miles from Gothenburg pilot station to Skagen harbour we sailed at 0400 in the morning with an expected arrival time of 0830.

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.