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Saga Pearl 2 - A month in France and Spain

Saga Pearl 2 - A month in France and Spain

Postby khkate » 21 Apr 2018 09:55

We have just come off Saga Pearl 2, having done three cruises back to back. There was a lot of new ports for us, which was part of the attraction. However, as we have a month's cruise booked for next year, I wanted to see how H coped with being on board for so long - he has dementia now, and also my mobility is challenged a little bit.

so our itinerary was
Sat 17th March Portsmouth
Sun 18th March AT SEA
Mon 19th March Ferrol, Spain 0900-1800
Tue 20th March AT SEA
Wed 21st March AT SEA
Thu 22nd March Motril, Spain 0800-1800
Fri 23rd March Cartagena, Spain 0800-1800
Sat 24th March Ibiza Town, Ibiza arrive 0800
Sun 25th March Ibiza Town, Ibiza depart 0700 / AT SEA
Mon 26th March Sete, France 0800-1800
Tue 27th March Barcelona, Spain 0800-2200
Wed 28th March Tarragona, Spain 0800-1600
Thu 29th March AT SEA
Fri 30th March Cadiz, Spain 0800-1800
Sat 31st March AT SEA
Sun 1st April AT SEA
Mon 2nd April AT SEA
Tue 3rd April Portsmouth 0800 - 1700
Wed 4th April Honfleur, France arrive 0800
Thu 5th April Honfleur, France depart 1800
Fri 6th April Cherbourg, France 0800-1700
Sat 7th April Portsmouth 0800 - 1700
Sun 8th April AT SEA
Mon 9th Aoril AT SEA
Tue 10th April Bordeaux, France arrive 0400
Wed 11th April Bordeaux, France depart 1545
Thu 12th April Pasajes, Spain 0900-1700
Fri 13th April Aviles, Spain 0800-1700
Sat 14th April AT SEA
Sun 15th April Honfleur, France 0930-2000
Mon 16th April Portsmouth

Our embarkation port, Portsmouth, was the first new port as Saga are us9ng it for this winter season and the next one for their smaller ship. When we arrived to check in, it was bitterly cold and snowing, but it was all very quick - even though one has to use a shuttle bus to board to get to the ship. We took part in the deck games, but not as much as have done in the past - H tires easily/ We met up with a lot of friends encountered on previous cruises, so it was lovely to be able to catch up with them all again.

Ferrol we had been to before, and the day was quite cold, so we opted to stay on board and relax a bit more. Motril, we had booked a tour to the lovely village of Frigliana and we both thoroughly enjoyed this - and it was made even better by having some truly warm, sunny weather. Cartagena was also a new port for us and being so close to the town, we were able to wander in and explore under our own steam. Again, the weather was quite warm in the morning and the town was quiet, but we explored it quite well, including going up to the fort at the top of the hill - going up by life and walking down. We were both knackered by the time we got back to the ship. I think H must have overdone it, as he was sick overnight and I thought it best to get the doctor in. Thus he got confined to cabin for 24 hours, and as his carer, this meant I couldn't get off. We had been booked for a mystery tour, but got a full refund because of the confinement. Sete was also a new port - but it was too windy and H struggled with being ashore, so we only did a really short walk up as far as the Royal Canal and then headed back to the ship. We had been to Barcelona before, and decided to spend the day on board. Tarragona was another new port and we took the shuttle bus in and spent an hour or so walking around the old town. However, again, H was showing signs of struggling (had dressed too warmly for the weather conditions), so we returned to the ship to relax. Cadiz was another new port for us, but H was below par that day, so again we just relaxed on board.

Back to Portsmouth, but we were staying on for the next cruise, so no rush for us. We were meeting up in the Costa Coffee in the terminal with some friends off a Facebook group - very enjoyable. The 4-night cruise should have been Guernsey - Honfleur - Dartmouth, but both Guernsey and Dartmouth being tender ports were cancelled due to sea conditions. Thus we had an overnight stay in Honfleur - a new port for us, and which we both thoroughly enjoyed exploring. As we left our berth, Magellan (CMV) was waiting to take our place - she had been cruising up and down the river all day as she had been due to call in at Rouen and got there to find the port close d due to strike action). Then we went onto Cherbourg - we had had a tour booked for Dartmouth, which again we received a full refund for - and thus booked a tour for Val de Saire. This visited two fishing villages, both delightful.

Then it was back to Portsmouth again, and this time, my brother and his wife were coming aboard to join us for lunch. It was lovely to see them, especially as they would be flying out to South Africa for a holiday before we got home. Then the final stage of our marathon cruise was Bordeaux (overnight), Pasajes, Aviles and Honfleur. We were booked on a mystery tour from Bordeaux, which took us to the lovely village of St. Emilion and by land train to a vineyard. Pasajes and Aviles were both new ports for us - Pasajes is close to San Sebastian and Aviles is close to Ferrol. Weather was a little adverse in Pasajes and H was not having a good day, so regrettably we didn't go ashore, but the entrance to the harbour is stunning - a VERY narrow gap between cliffs - a tight squeeze for the ship, not helped by shiring the passage with some intrepid canoeists! We were able to walk into the town from Aviles and spent a couple of hours wandering around exploring the old town.The weather when we called at Honfleur was not kind at all, so we opted to stay on board as we had to disembark the next day, and thus needed to pack, etc, always stressful.

We both felt really relaxed with the month on board and generally H coped quite well. We Did have to cut down on the amount of activities we did and also have lunch in the MDR (him coping with a buffet and finding his way back to our table afterwards is not relaxing for me). However, we just have a short time back at Wadswick before we board Pearl again in a month's time, this time off to the Baltics. We loved having the chance to relax on the turnaround days and also the month on board, gave us the chance to get to know the crew and staff well. The only disadvantage was the constant change of passengers - not always such a good crowd. Entertainment was good on all 3 cruises, but there were signs of cutbacks with Saga in other areas. Also, we did notice that there were people on board inspecting the ship - and on making enquiries, it was potential buyers. We shall be so sorry to see this little ship being pensioned off, but such is progress.

So just a month at home - and then we are off again!!
Last edited by khkate on 23 Apr 2018 10:17, edited 1 time in total.
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Saga Pearl 2 - A month in France and Spain

Postby judgegeoff » 21 Apr 2018 10:45

Many thanks for sharing your experiences of your recent cruise(s), it was very interesting to read. :clap: :clap: :clap:

I was sorry to hear that H's health had not been too good and hope that he is better now.

We have done several back to back cruises (including 3 cruises back to back in Australia) and we like them very much. When everybody else are dressed up in their coats and stressed out waiting for disembarkation, we can just stroll off the ship in shorts and T shirts. When we return to the ship it is lovely to just stroll back onto the ship without all that queueing and checking in etc., using new Sea Pass cards issued the day before.

The only bad experience that we have had on a back to back was when we were on the "Celebrity Infinity". We had cruised from San Diego to Vancouver but were staying on for a cruise to Alaska. We were told on the ship that we would have to be inspected by US Immigration in Vancouver as the ship was going from Canada to US Alaska and back, but they had arranged a separate booth (No. 7) for returning back to back passengers. When we returned to the Cruise Terminal at the end of the day we were told, despite our protestations, that we would have to queue with all the new passengers to go through US Immigration. I am not very good at standing still (no feeling in my legs, so I am balancing, using my back muscles) and we had to queue for well over an hour. What made it especially irritating is that we could see the officer in Booth No. 7 with absolutely nothing to do! This was the last straw in my long and unhappy experiences with US Immigration (dating back to 1983) and we will not return to the US or its territories until things change dramatically for the better. There are plenty of other Countries in this world that we haven't visited yet (or would be happy to return to) that welcome visitors to their shores.
Geoff

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Re: Saga Pearl 2 - A month in France and Spain

Postby hazel20 » 21 Apr 2018 10:56

A great read Lesley - thank you. I enjoyed your Facebook posts en route too
http://www.hazeljgriffiths.net

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Balmoral - Jan to March - California and Mexico
Saga Sapphire - May- Canada
Spirit of Discovery - July - Maiden Voyage & second cruise
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Saga Pearl 2 - A month in France and Spain

Postby Gillzajoker » 21 Apr 2018 11:10

Lovely detailed report, Lesley. Glad you enjoyed the ports you did manage to see and that overall H coped fairly well. You'll have a better idea of how to pace yourselves for the next one.
Last edited by Gillzajoker on 22 Apr 2018 09:59, edited 1 time in total.
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Saga Pearl 2 - A month in France and Spain

Postby bobbyoscar » 21 Apr 2018 11:18

Lovely read, Lesley. I had been following your progress using CruiseMapper and your F/k posts. It'll soon be time to pack those cases again. xx
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February 2019 – P & O Aurora - Andalsnes – Tromso – Alta – Stavanger
September 2019 - P & O Azura - Malaga -Messina - Mykonos - Piraeus - Santorini - Katakolon - Gibraltar
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Re: Saga Pearl 2 - A month in France and Spain

Postby Seamouse » 21 Apr 2018 11:27

Thanks for your review of your back to back cruises. As Geoff said, we have done several back to back ones, and enjoyed them. Sorry to hear your O H is not feeling so great. I know it can be more difficult, when you have health problems, but as long as you are able to adapt, and 'go with the flow', you can still really enjoy your cruising. We have had to alter the way we do things, as we get older. I look forward to hearing about your next trip.
Chris


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Saga Pearl 2 - A month in France and Spain

Postby Mungo » 22 Apr 2018 09:09

Wow what a super thing to do especially when so many new ports. :thumbup: Thanks for sharing. :clap:
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Saga Pearl 2 - A month in France and Spain

Postby grannyM » 22 Apr 2018 15:03

Thank you so much Lesley for posting about your itinerary and ports on your month long cruise aboard Saga Pearl 2. :clap:

I must say how much I admire you both for continuing to cruise when neither of you are 100% fit. It says a great deal about your determination to make the most of your capabilities and also to know when not to over stretch yourselves in different ports by relaxing onboard rather than going ashore. :thumbup:

Not long until the next one. I look forward to reading about it. :)
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Saga Pearl 2 - A month in France and Spain

Postby Jimmy the One » 23 Apr 2018 11:37

Thanks from me too Lesley interesting to hear how you managed with such a long cruise as we are booked on a 32 day one next year to celebrate our 70's :thumbup: :D
Im just a soul whose intentions are good Oh lord please dont let me be misunderstood

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Re: Saga Pearl 2 - A month in France and Spain

Postby Carwalsick » 23 Apr 2018 15:00

khkate wrote:We have just come off Saga Pearl 2, having done three cruises back to back. There was a lot of new ports for us, which was part of the attraction. However, as we have a month's cruise booked for next year, I wanted to see how H coped with being on board for so long - he has dementia now, and also my mobility is challenged a little bit.

so our itinerary was
Sat 17th March Portsmouth
Sun 18th March AT SEA
Mon 19th March Ferrol, Spain 0900-1800
Tue 20th March AT SEA
Wed 21st March AT SEA
Thu 22nd March Motril, Spain 0800-1800
Fri 23rd March Cartagena, Spain 0800-1800
Sat 24th March Ibiza Town, Ibiza arrive 0800
Sun 25th March Ibiza Town, Ibiza depart 0700 / AT SEA
Mon 26th March Sete, France 0800-1800
Tue 27th March Barcelona, Spain 0800-2200
Wed 28th March Tarragona, Spain 0800-1600
Thu 29th March AT SEA
Fri 30th March Cadiz, Spain 0800-1800
Sat 31st March AT SEA
Sun 1st April AT SEA
Mon 2nd April AT SEA
Tue 3rd April Portsmouth 0800 - 1700
Wed 4th April Honfleur, France arrive 0800
Thu 5th April Honfleur, France depart 1800
Fri 6th April Cherbourg, France 0800-1700
Sat 7th April Portsmouth 0800 - 1700
Sun 8th April AT SEA
Mon 9th Aoril AT SEA
Tue 10th April Bordeaux, France arrive 0400
Wed 11th April Bordeaux, France depart 1545
Thu 12th April Pasajes, Spain 0900-1700
Fri 13th April Aviles, Spain 0800-1700
Sat 14th April AT SEA
Sun 15th April Honfleur, France 0930-2000
Mon 16th April Portsmouth

Our embarkation port, Portsmouth, was the first new port as Saga are us9ng it for this winter season and the next one for their smaller ship. When we arrived to check in, it was bitterly cold and snowing, but it was all very quick - even though one has to use a shuttle bus to board to get to the ship. We took part in the deck games, but not as much as have done in the past - H tires easily/ We met up with a lot of friends encountered on previous cruises, so it was lovely to be able to catch up with them all again.

Ferrol we had been to before, and the day was quite cold, so we opted to stay on board and relax a bit more. Motril, we had booked a tour to the lovely village of Frigliana and we both thoroughly enjoyed this - and it was made even better by having some truly warm, sunny weather. Cartagena was also a new port for us and being so close to the town, we were able to wander in and explore under our own steam. Again, the weather was quite warm in the morning and the town was quiet, but we explored it quite well, including going up to the fort at the top of the hill - going up by life and walking down. We were both knackered by the time we got back to the ship. I think H must have overdone it, as he was sick overnight and I thought it best to get the doctor in. Thus he got confined to cabin for 24 hours, and as his carer, this meant I couldn't get off. We had been booked for a mystery tour, but got a full refund because of the confinement. Sete was also a new port - but it was too windy and H struggled with being ashore, so we only did a really short walk up as far as the Royal Canal and then headed back to the ship. We had been to Barcelona before, and decided to spend the day on board. Tarragona was another new port and we took the shuttle bus in and spent an hour or so walking around the old town. However, again, H was showing signs of struggling (had dressed too warmly for the weather conditions), so we returned to the ship to relax. Cadiz was another new port for us, but H was below par that day, so again we just relaxed on board.

Back to Portsmouth, but we were staying on for the next cruise, so no rush for us. We were meeting up in the Costa Coffee in the terminal with some friends off a Facebook group - very enjoyable. The 4-night cruise should have been Guernsey - Honfleur - Dartmouth, but both Guernsey and Dartmouth being tender ports were cancelled due to sea conditions. Thus we had an overnight stay in Honfleur - a new port for us, and which we both thoroughly enjoyed exploring. As we left our berth, Magellan (CMV) was waiting to take our place - she had been cruising up and down the river all day as she had been due to call in at Rouen and got there to find the port close d due to strike action). Then we went onto Cherbourg - we had had a tour booked for Dartmouth, which again we received a full refund for - and thus booked a tour for Val de Saire. This visited two fishing villages, both delightful.

Then it was back to Portsmouth again, and this time, my brother and his wife were coming aboard to join us for lunch. It was lovely to see them, especially as they would be flying out to South Africa for a holiday before we got home. Then the final stage of our marathon cruise was Bordeaux (overnight), Pasajes, Aviles and Honfleur. We were booked on a mystery tour from Bordeaux, which took us to the lovely village of St. Emilion and by land train to a vineyard. Pasajes and Aviles were both new ports for us - Pasajes is close to San Sebastian and Aviles is close to Ferrol. Weather was a little adverse in Pasajes and H was not having a good day, so regrettably we didn't go ashore, but the entrance to the harbour is stunning - a VERY narrow gap between cliffs - a tight squeeze for the ship, not helped by shiring the passage with some intrepid canoeists! We were able to walk into the town from Aviles and spent a couple of hours wandering around exploring the old town.The weather when we called at Honfleur was not kind at all, so we opted to stay on board as we had to disembark the next day, and thus needed to pack, etc, always stressful.

We both felt really relaxed with the month on board and generally H coped quite well. We Did have to cut down on the amount of activities we did and also have lunch in the MDR (him coping with a buffet and finding his way back to our table afterwards is not relaxing for me). However, we just have a short time back at Wadswick before we board Pearl again in a month's time, this time off to the Baltics. We loved having the chance to relax on the turnaround days and also the month on board, gave us the chance to get to know the crew and staff well. The only disadvantage was the constant change of passengers - not always such a good crowd. Entertainment was good on all 3 cruises, but there were signs of cutbacks with Saga in other areas. Also, we did notice that there were people on board inspecting the ship - and on making enquiries, it was potential buyers. We shall be so sorry to see this little ship being pensioned off, but such is progress.

So just a month at home - and then we are off again!!
Interesting your comment that the entertainment was good but Saga had cut back in other areas. What had gone downhill? Cabin service, food, staff? I'm really interested because on our recent Sapphire cruise it was the entertainment which was generally poor and the other areas were generally good.


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