Diary of a cruise virgin – Saga Pearl: Part 2

First Impressions

Saga Pearl IIRelaxing in our spacious well-appointed cabin with hardly a movement from the exceptionally calm North Sea, I could be forgiven for thinking I was in a top class resort hotel, but then again I am, just a floating version. But to get here had been a whole different experience from the usual mayhem of an airport departure.

Saga offer a free pick up service for their clients and many of my fellow passengers had taken advantage of this, but we opted to drive the relatively short distance to Dover and leave our car securely parked for the week.

Boarding was an equally simple affair, no queues at security, our bags were whisked away and before we knew it we were making ourselves at home in our cabin.

My first impression is that for a relatively small ship, Saga Pearl II is perfectly formed and feels very spacious. This cruise is fully booked and yet there is no problem finding quiet space to sit and relax.

Saga Pearl IIA quick glance at the daily activities newsletter, and it becomes clear that our holiday could be actioned packed. But then again, why not just grab a comfy sun bed on a sheltered deck and while away the hours? Saga think of everything, and in case of any chilly winds, cosy fleece wraps are available. Thankfully so far the weather is calm and warm, so let’s hope it lasts.

As we departed Dover yesterday afternoon we enjoyed a glass of champagne and the chance to meet some of the staff and crew, all who are incredibly friendly and welcoming, there is something very exciting about slowly moving away from dry land into the wide blue sea.

After a sumptuous dinner, with wine included, we staggered along to the main lounge to hear the welcoming briefing and to enjoy a taste of the entertainment that will be on offer each evening. A talented group of young people danced and sung their way through a medley of songs with a promise of more to come on subsequent nights.

Dress code so far has been almost anything goes, apart from shorts or jeans in the dining rooms. So I may have over-estimated the amount and variety of clothes I packed, (what’s new) but with no luggage restrictions who can blame me?

Saga Pearl IIWaking up this morning with tea delivered by a smiling steward is a bonus in my book as for 50 weeks of the year I get up and make my own tea. Room  service is included and you could have all your meals in your cabin if you wished.

Today we have a ‘sea day’ and decisions have to be made regarding activities – anything from Line Dancing, Bridge lessons, talks about our ports of call, or for me, a luxury spa treatment. All interspersed with food, and yet more food. The meals are thoughtfully prepared with vegetarian, diabetic and gluten free options, a good choice of dishes with plainer fare for those who like it. I am beginning to realise we have a lot of delicious meals to get through and dress code should include a selection of stretchy outfits. Food is very important to cruise clients and a bonus for me is that all meals operate on a free seating basis so you can opt for a table for 2 or join a group should you wish.

Tonight is a ‘formal evening’ and tomorrow Bergen beckons – more to follow.

Silver Travel Advisor recommends Saga Holidays

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Sally Dowling

Travel writer

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