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PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2017 5:04 pm  |  Posted from: United Kingdom
  

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Egyptian Pharaoh
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A 12 night cruise off the West Coast of Africa on MV Saga Sapphire

Monday 23 October. Another day, another Canary Isle, this time we were at Arecife, Lanzarote. Beautiful day with temperatures around 28c. Nothing booked here so we took the shuttle bus to the seafront and then a, hop on-hop off, city tour train. We got off at the furthest point of its circuit and walked some way back towards town. We found a nice little tapas bar and as we did not want to sit inside at the bar we persuaded the owner to make up a large platter of a selection of tapas' that we could share outside with some very acceptable Spanish cider. We took the city tour train back to its start and the shuttle back to the ship. Actually an enjoyable few hours in Arecife. For the next two days we are at sea bound for La Coruna so we had to put our clocks and watches forward one hour.

Along the sea front at Arecife. Saga Sapphires blue funnel can be seen in picture two
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Some local men play cards under a sunshade
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Our assorted tapas platter with cider
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The only ship we saw during six whole days at sea
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Thursday 26 October. We rise to a very warm and sunny day in the large port of La Coruna. The city is noted for its buildings with almost one hundred percent enclosed balconies. With so much glass, La Coruna is known as The Crystal City. It is also just an hours drive from Santiago de Compostela, one of the centres of pilgrimage for the Christian Religion. Here we had booked an afternoon tour titled 'Scenic Estuaries'. Again after the city tour part of the trip we headed off around the Galician coast which is stunning with lovely sandy bays and quite a bit of history. Most of these short three to four hour tours include a refreshment stop. These can range from just a bottle of juice, or a cup of tea or coffee, or in this case an excellent taster table of a range of tapas and local wine. Definitely the best refreshment stop that we have experienced anywhere.

A Marina at La Coruna
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Some of the enclosed balconies
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The Tower of Hercules. A second century Roman lighthouse restored in 1791 and still in use today.
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Our tapas and wine stop
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Jazzy coach
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Scenes around the lovely Galician coast
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So that was our last stop and after a full day at sea we arrived back at Southampton early on Saturday morning the 28 October and then our chauffeur car back home by 12.30.

Just the final analysis:
Saga have a minimum age limit of fifty for all their customers. Their organisation and service is second to none and five star all the way. The various entertainment on the ship was first class and the invited specialists like artist John Hall who brought a class of twenty five raw beginners to a very good standard of water colour painting in just five sessions. They had an exhibition of their work on the last day. Chris Beardshaw was on board giving talks on gardening during the first week. There was a theme of visiting gardens at the ports of call so he was popular with the green fingered lot. Our cabin and cabin steward were very good and there was always fresh fruit and fresh water in a vacuum jug.
The comfortable forward drawing room
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So that was all about the plus side.

The down side was the clientele. We are both into our eighties now but still young at heart and enjoy the company of young people. There was certainly nobody in their fifties and many were in their nineties. A more stuffy grumpy snobbish group you couldn't wish to meet. Add to that, nearly everybody had a walking stick, many had three or four wheel walking aids, and many had wheelchairs and even electric scooters. But I suppose this is the clientele that Saga cater for. The Cruise Director said that she had never seen so many disabled and aged clients on one cruise. So that wasn't much fun.

See what I mean, any young faces are those from the entertainment team
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Add to that the fact that everything HAS to run by the clock with no freestyle meals and even Butlins sounds attractive. We have decided that it was a mistake to take this cruise after our opinion of the earlier taster. Cruises are for some but not for us. And at the price we paid for an inside cabin, it didn't come cheap either....
So with pre booked assistance available at airports, that is the way we will go in future.

But it wasn't all bad. There was much that we enjoyed. ;) :up :lol: :lol:

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2017 7:30 pm  |  Posted from: United Kingdom
  

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Egypt4u God
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Shame about that Grandad, but you probably chose the wrong group of people to cruise with. :(

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2017 9:18 pm  |  Posted from: United Kingdom
  

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Egyptian Pharaoh
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Horus wrote:
Shame about that Grandad, but you probably chose the wrong group of people to cruise with. :(

Probably so H. The guests on the Amsterdam trip were much younger but that was much cheaper by comparison. Most on this trip were probably well fixed and many stayed on for the next cruise of 14 nights around Spain to the Med. When we boarded some passengers leaving said they had been on board since August. That would be at least £13,000 pp in an inside cabin. :o

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2017 11:00 pm  |  Posted from: Canada
  

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Super interesting pictures. Looks like you had many scenic delights and I always love seeing all the different scenes and architectural styles. Food looks darn tasty too! :eat :eat

Your travel mates do seem real old. Geezzz. It has been a couple years since I cruised (and will be quite a few more before I cruise again) but there was a fair range of ages on board. A few in the ancient range but admire that they're still out and about and doing something, lots in early retirement range and a few young 'uns but I specifically picked times when schools were in so as to avoid all the kiddy crowd (not that I don't like little kids but I usually try and avoid the peak season when all the kids are out of school).

One of the cruises I was on was delayed starting as one of the passengers passed prior to us even leaving dock. I remember watching the ambulance pull up and them take 'something' (the body) off that was all wrapped up. Then when we were in Belize I got back to the ship early and YUP they were removing another one.

I do intend to cruise again though once I'm decrepit. Cheaper than an old folks home and the perk is you do get to see scenery, be entertained & waited on and eat really good food too however I do understand what you're saying. Cruising is 'ok' but it is also really limiting and to a certain extent you do have to go with the flow and go with the crowd and don't get to do too much on your own.

I was like you too in that in some stops I just rented a taxi and had them drive me around although I did book onto a few tours via the ship. IF you book through the ship and there is a problem getting back to the ship it is on them however if you toot off on your own and GET A FLAT TIRE IN DOWNTOWN COSTA RICA you Might Not (whew I did make it) back to the ship in time and while they'll announce your name over the PA system they will ultimately leave with out you.

Interesting photos though. Going to review again as, am sure, I'll have a few question :)


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 12:07 pm  |  Posted from: United Kingdom
  

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Egyptian Pharaoh
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Super photos again Grandad :) I think it all looks lovely but like you I'd rather be in amongst slightly younger folks.

At least you have tried a couple of times & now know its not for you.

You should maybe try the Saga Pearl that always berths in my home town, different climate altogether & green green everywhere, I know they do a lot of coach tours around the Aberdeenshire area.......just a thought.

Thank you for sharing with us all :) :)

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 5:49 pm  |  Posted from: United Kingdom
  

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Kiya wrote:
Super photos again Grandad :)Thank you for sharing with us all :) :)


It's a pleasure Kiya. We are just a small group but I think we all enjoy each others pictures of our travels etc. We just need to get a few more posting. ;)

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 6:43 pm  |  Posted from: United Kingdom
  

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Royal V.I.P
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Don't look at me, Grandad! I haven't had a holiday for 11 (yes, eleven!) years! :cry:


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 6:46 pm  |  Posted from: United Kingdom
  

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And of late I have taken mine here in the UK, I seem to have lost interest in foreign travel.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 8:19 pm  |  Posted from: United Kingdom
  

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Egyptian Pharaoh
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Ruby Slippers wrote:
Don't look at me, Grandad! I haven't had a holiday for 11 (yes, eleven!) years! :cry:

About time you did something about that then RS. Even a few days here at the coast or Lake District can be a very enjoyable break. :up

Horus wrote:
And of late I have taken mine here in the UK, I seem to have lost interest in foreign travel.

But you still post interesting accounts of your travels H. :up If I was still driving we would be going about the UK as previously but we have had to rethink what is available to us. :(

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 11:09 pm  |  Posted from: Canada
  

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@Grandad - so now that you're back home and settled back into your daily routine are you thinking of future travel? Where and do you think you'll cruise again? And if you do would you take a river cruise? (I keep thinking I'd like to try those as I really didn't much care for the 2,3 & 4 day 'out to sea' cruising.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2017 12:27 am  |  Posted from: United Kingdom
  

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@LLL I quite fancy a river cruise but we found a video that a traveller put on Youtube showing all over his vessel. It was all so small with very limited lounges etc that we said 'Not for us'. We have been thinking of going somewhere over Christmas like Austria but will probably scotch that idea and go to one of the family just for the day.

So far lots of dreams but nothing decided. We had a program on India this evening on TV and I would go back there tomorrow. We love the country. Wouldn't mind a week or ten days in the Emirates, at least the standards and service are first class. Probably won't do anything till the new year. :(

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