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Spirit of Adventure blog


19th May, 2023

We were trailing along the Portuguese coast on our way down to Lisbon. During our regular morning coffee brief up on the Bridge, the lads told me that we will be passing our older sister and asked if I would mind if we altered course to intercept. I thought it was a marvellous idea, so arranged with our counterparts on Discovery and agreed on the best interception point - with a minimum passing distance of 0.5nm - which would get us close, but still at the safe distance. I included our plan in my evening announcement, a good half hour before we were due to meet. Enough time for our port side to be taken over by with enthusiastic waves to our friends, colleagues and fellow guests.

Our arrival next morning in Lisbon was in the safe hands of Staff Captain Kirill, under my watchful eye. Once alongside, we connected the air bridge instead of gangway, but had to switch at 10 o’clock to a shoreside long gangway, as the air bridge broke down. I went out for lunch with Guest Services Director Liezel, Cruise Director Jo and her reliever Steve. We found a nice, small tavern just a short walk from the terminal. We opted for sizzling shrimps - similar to the Spanish version, with a bit of curried twist - very tasty and rich.

Our designated driver for departure was Kirill again, as I told guests during my pre-departure announcement, he got us here, he may as well take us out. The pilotage on river Tejo is just under 2 hours, and I was planning to stay on the Bridge with my team as Kirill did the pilotage on the way in. Unfortunately, spring is in the air and I started developing a very “pleasant” itchy feeling as my pollen fever kicked in - Kirill remained on the Bridge while I went to take my pill and hit the shower to wash away the pollen.

The next morning brought us to Leixões. With festivities in town, our Explore Ashore Manager Rodrigo asked for earlier arrival in order to have all tours dispatched before they started re-routing the traffic. We had to wait for the pilot as they prioritised two cargo vessels ahead of us. Still, we made it ahead of schedule as the pilot boarded just outside the breakwater and the berth was close by. As we passed between two breakwaters, all I had to do was stop the ship and swing to port while backing us down the pier. All done in 20 min and ahead of schedule.

We had yet another beautiful day, so I decided to go for a morning run instead of breakfast. Our pilot recommended the route south from the pier, along the Matosinhos beach, pass the Fort de Sao Francisco Xavier, Homem do Leme beach, Gondarém beach, Ingleses beach and all the way to the Barra do Douro Lighthouse, which is located at the mouth of Douro river. 5.7k in just over half an hour. Instead of running back, I opted for a walk.

On my return (and after a shower!), I had the pleasure of joining two lovely ladies for lunch in the Grill and had pizza. I just love how close to perfection the dough is prepared. Beautiful. I was careful not to eat too much as a Mediterranean Buffet dinner was advertised and, by the time we departed Leixões, my stomach reminded me it was feeling neglected - Executive Chef Raj and his team outdid themselves once again!

Kind Regards
Captain Franko Papić

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.