I left you last time with the mention of another dining experience in East to West and I did end up in a food coma. I couldn’t eat another thing until lunchtime the following day! I had Calamari to start – the best calamari I have ever tasted – followed by the sizzling beef. I can’t adequately describe what the food was like, it was quite literally heaven on a plate. We also had an amuse bouche of crayfish, which was amazing and my first time trying crayfish!!
On Sunday we found ourselves in Riga, Latvia. I had been looking forward to our call there as it was a place I had never been, but the weather was thoroughly miserable and there was a marathon taking place. It made getting in and out of the city quite a challenge. I had a walk around the city centre for a few hours, but there were so many streets shut down and the weather just didn’t let up, so in the end I decided to just head back to the ship. The shuttle bus service didn’t seem to be the most reliable. I checked and double checked the times and there was a bus due at 12:15, so I waited at the drop off/ pick up point from 12:05 and by 12:35 there was still no sign of the bus. I was cold and wet, but someone was watching over me that day as a few of the organised tour buses appeared and we jumped on one of those for a lift back to the ship. I would like to visit Riga again, but hopefully when Mother Nature is in a slightly better mood!
We spent Monday at sea, which was a well-needed “day off”. Cruising is a fantastic way to see the world, but several ports in a row – that are jam packed with tours and explorations – really do take it out of you! I felt like we hadn’t stopped in over a week, and to be honest, we hadn’t! I had quite a lazy day, I logged onto the internet for a little while and caught up with a few things, had another look (and half an hour of quiet time) in the Spa, a light lunch, and then sat in Cooper’s Bar watching the Two Ronnies on TV. I love Cooper’s, I really do!! Definitely my favourite place onboard.
On Tuesday we arrived in Warnemunde, Germany. I had been arguing with myself for over 2 weeks on whether or not to do the tour to Berlin, but by the time I made my mind up it was full, so I left Saga Sapphire and had a wander into the seaside town. It was absolutely beautiful! The weather was better, only a few spots of rain, and the town was full of tourists and locals. I had thought that it may have been a little bit like Travemunde and it was, but better. Although I didn’t get to Berlin, I was far from disappointed with the port. I spent 5 hours walking around and popping in different shops before grabbing a Bratwurst and heading back to the ship. I dropped my bags and decided it was too nice an afternoon to waste (and we were in port until 7:30pm), so I changed my shoes and made my way back into the city for a German beer and a sample of Currywurst.
I still have so many things to tell you about Saga Sapphire! I have loved every second of my time onboard and I have met some wonderful people! Not once have I witnessed the side of the ship that a lot of people like to poke fun at. Every time I visit Cooper’s of an evening I find myself there until the early hours of the following morning, mixing and mingling with my fellow passengers. The Drawing Room also seems to be quite a popular evening haunt, but Cooper’s drags me back every time. I love the ambience, the décor and the resident pianist, Martin. It’s only a small bar – I’d say there is space for about 25 people – and I think that’s why I enjoy it so much. It’s quite intimate and it’s full of character.
There are many, MANY things I have been pleasantly surprised by with Saga too, for example I like the fresh hand towels in the public toilets (much nicer than a paper towel!), the free bottled water to take on shore excursions and the packed lunch that is offered, the jug in the cabin that is filled with fresh water every day, the clean blankets on the open deck that let you sit and enjoy the ocean without freezing, the free boiled sweets and ice cream at the Beach Club, and the eucalyptus towels that are available after a day ashore – and trust me, that is not all of the little perks!
I know I am still a few years away from the “official” age to cruise with Saga, but if I was given the opportunity to cruise with them again I wouldn’t hesitate, I would be there in a second! The ship is beautiful, the food is superb, and the ports and excursions offered have been a refreshing change. Saga offer a lot of excursions that I can only describe as unique and a little something different. The majority, I have never seen before with other cruise lines – Oreshek Fortress and the Patarei Prison being prime examples of this! Even our guide at Oreshek said that cruise tours rarely go there, so we were a refreshing change and she was excited to show us around. One other thing with Saga is that they don’t seem to cancel tours if only a handful of people book. Our Oreshek Fortress tour consisted of 8 people and on the Patarei Prison excursion there were maybe 12 of us at the most – a superb example of the beauty of small ship cruising and travelling with a company that really does go the extra mile to fulfil the wishes of every single passenger. Both tours felt like private excursions because we were such a small group and had our own little mini-bus instead of a huge coach.
Today we are going through the Kiel Canal and will stop in Ijmuiden tomorrow before arriving in Dover on Friday morning. I am going to go and sit and enjoy the scenery – and ANOTHER BBQ!!!! 🙂
I will catch up with you all again very soon!