Saga Sapphire Cruise Review by David Petrie: Spirit of France
Overall Member Rating
Spirit of France
This was our second Saga cruise and easily met our expectations. I should say that my wife and I were looking for relaxation and not necessarily with the need to go ashore at each port visited. The trip itself was not without problems but this made no difference to our personal enjoyment of the holiday.
Saga offer an inclusive taxi collect from home and this helps make the embarkation experience so, so much easier. The Dover operation was pretty slick and we were quickly in our cabin ready for the off.
Day 2 of the voyage was a sailing day (Dover - Mantoir (for St. Nazaire)) and this is where the only problem of the voyage arose. One of the engines was found to have water in the sump and required to be shut down hence an extended voyage time which affected the whole itinerary.
Day 3 in Mantoir. We, as planned, stayed on board which was just as well. The temperature was around the 32 centigrade mark and most unpleasant and other passengers told is that it was More extremely unpleasant on the excursion buses. I had looked at Mantoir on Wikipedia and a one line description informed it to be a port handling liquid methane - nothing else in the description. Confirmed as a pretty depressing place.
Day 4 should have been a visit to La Pallice for La Rochelle but the engine problem caused a delay so this visit dropped off the itinerary and the ship sailed direct to Bordeaux. In fairness to Saga, as compensation to their passengers, free wine (plus beer and soft drinks) was given at lunch and dinner. I do not think that you can be fairer than that!
Day 5 in Bordeaux. There was the small issue here of insufficient draft for the Sapphire due to unusually low water levels in the river. Shuttle bus service to Bordeaux town was efficient but unfortunately only went to the commercial area and not to the historic area of the city. This was the nearest Saturday to the Bastille Day celebrations so the parades could only be seen from the bus. Bordeaux itself on a Saturday afternoon is, sadly, not a lot different to any large town in the UK. The shops are pretty much the same (chain shops prevalent) and the area full of teenagers.
Day 6 sailing Bordeaux to Guernsey.
Day 7 spent in St Peter Port, Guernsey. This was our first experience of transfer to shore by tender which I have to say was run extremely well with passenger safety paramount. It was only the passengers that made it difficult.
Day 8 arrival at Dover. Again, a slick operation for disembarkation with breakfast to taxi in about 2.5 hours. Less
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