The popular image of a Saga cruise may be one of gin-soaked retired colonels slumbering between hands of bridge, and elderly widows sipping Earl Grey tea while waiting for the next embroidery class.
The reality is somewhat different. They might not be in the first flush of youth, but Saga passengers are among the most adventurous at sea.
If you find that difficult to believe, then Thursday’s entry from the Saga Ruby’s Captain’s blog should convince you.
Capt Philip Rentell describes a day in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Yes, the war-torn West African state a world away from the comforts of Lisbon, Madeira and Tenerife, which the ship visited in the first days of its 2009 world voyage.
The Ruby was apparently the first passenger ship to have called at Freetown in 20 years, and the city of more than a million inhabitants, which got its name because it was founded by freed slaves, is not exactly on the regular tourist trail.
The country ranks lowest in the world for life expectancy, literacy and GDP, and is seventh lowest on the Human Poverty Index..
Saga Ruby’s passengers went ashore for a bus tour, accompanied by police on motorbikes – more to force a way through the city’s gridlock than for protection.
They returned to the ship moved by the happiness of the country’s people despite the appalling poverty, and equally impressed that Saga had given them the opportunity for such a memorable visit.
My thanks to Capt Rentell for a fascinating blog.