Cruise ships going for Olympic gold

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Normal service is slightly interrupted this week while I take a look at what Saga Sapphire has to offer during a cruise in the Baltic. I boarded in Kalundborg, Denmark on Saturday.
The original schedule would have given us a day at sea on Sunday prior to arrival in Stockholm today. But Captain Philip Rentell – almost as prolific a blogger as me – took account of the weather forecast and delivered us to Warnemunde in Germany instead, where our guide not only showed us the sights but also gave us a glimpse of some of the dark secrets of life under the East German regime 25 years ago.
A visit to the Stasi interrogation centre in Rostock was particularly chilling, and I’ll have more to tell you about it later. For now, please bear with me as we head to Tallinn tomorrow and St Petersburg later in the week. It’s a hectic schedule and I’ll bring the blog up to date when the opportunity presents itself.
Today we have been making the most of a tailwind – generated by a storm which has disrupted some cruise itineraries in the north Atlantic – to push us towards Estonia.
Meanwhile, back home in the UK, London is filling up with cruise ships in preparation for the Olympic Games. Some have been chartered to provide accommodation for workers, others are there as floating luxury hotels for officials and visiting guests.
Deutschland, which will be home-from-home for the German Olympic Committee, is moored at West India Quay, where I will be visiting her next Monday. Caledonian Sky, the former Hebridean Spirit, has been chartered as a floating hotel, and some of the most luxurious private yachts in the world including Octopus, owned by Microsoft’s Paul Allen, are also in town.
Over at Albert Dock, Fred Olsen’s Braemar has been chartered by LOCOG to provide accommodation for Olympic workers. Just along the quay is Gemini, there for the same purpose.
It will be interesting to compare the two ships, almost identical when they were built in 1992 and 1993. Olsen stretched Braemar with the addition of a new mid-section, but Gemini remains almost as she was when she first entered the water.
The ship is currently for sale. It operated under the flag of Spanish company Happy Cruises until it went bust last year. Perhaps the top brass at Fred Olsen will take advantage of the opportunity to give her the once-over to see if she could be added to the fleet – if the price is right.
Or maybe Saga might consider Gemini as a replacement for Quest for Adventure. With a passenger capacity of 800, the ship is probably too big, but strip out few cabins, add another restaurant and some additional public rooms and she might be just right – big enough to be economically viable, but still small enough to visit ports that are off-limits to bigger mainstream cruise ships.
We’ll see who is going for gold after the Olympics are over.

By | 2017-06-15T15:59:45+00:00 23 July 2012|Cruise News, Cruise Ships|0 Comments

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

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