14th September, 2019
After the success of the Maiden Voyage and 7 weeks leave it is wonderful to be back on board Spirit of Discovery and to see her still looking magnificent.
Leaving Dover on the 12th September we were off on a 14 night Myths and Legends of the Baltic and headed for Gothenburg, Sweden. It was a fairly “breezy” day at sea with a good 3-4m swell and the first time for me to assess our new ship in such conditions – well I was very impressed and she clearly is another great sea ship.
The wind had dropped slightly over night and we now had 25 knots as we approached the Gothenburg pilot station. With the pilot having boarded at 0600 we weaved our way through the off-lying Islands for the 1hr 30 mins transit to our berth. The final approach to the berth is very 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 pilots expertise for the main and then took over to softly “land” the ship alongside. Within an hour of our arrival the wind had eased further 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 1621after 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”. Unfortunately it was too busy today to contemplate any time ashore so the delights of Gothenburg will have to wait another time.
With everyone back on board we slipped our lines at 1730 and despite 30 knots of wind Spirit of Discovery handled it beautifully – she certainly is a great ship to manoeuvre, not that I want to test her in 30 knots every day!!
The pilot was disembarked at 1830 and we headed south towards the Baltic Sea and our next port of call Stockholm.
Captain Julian Burgess
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