Saga Sapphire

Saga Sapphire cruise ship

Cruise line
Saga Cruises

Current cruise:
01 Jan, 1970 - 01 Jan, 1970

  Current position

Saga Sapphire Review and Specifications

Specifications of Saga Sapphire

Flag Malta flag Malta
Year of built 1981
Speed 21 kn
Length 199 m
Beam 28 m
Gross Tonnage 37049 gt
Passengers 706 - 748
Crew 415
Passengers-to-space ratio 45
Decks 12
Decks with cabins 10
Last Refurbishment 2012

Review of Saga Sapphire

Launched in 1981 as ms Europa, Saga Sapphire is one of the Saga Cruises ships, together with Saga Pearl II. Her first owner was Hapag-Lloyd. The ship was transferred to Saga in 2011 and debuted in March 2012. Saga Sapphire cost US $120 million to build and was last refurbished in 2015.

History - construction & ownership

Saga Cruises (Saga Shipping) is a British based cruise line, division of Saga Group. By purchasing Saga Rose, the Group decided to start operations of holiday branch. The ship operated as Saga Cruises flagship until in 2005 her similar ex-fleetmate Saga Ruby was bought from Cunard Line. For the 2003 summer Saga Cruises chartered mv Minerva (built in 1989), which sailed as Pearl. Saga Rose was retired after her final 37-night Mediterranean voyage. Subsequently, the ship was laid up at Gibraltar and later scrapped in China. Saga Ruby departed for Gibraltar out of Southampton for the last time on Jan. 10, and was handed over to her new owners on Jan. 13, 2014. Currently Saga Cruises operates Saga Sapphire and Saga Pearl II.

The 37,049-ton, 752-passenger cruise ship Saga Sapphire was launched as the line’s new flagship in March 2012. Saga Sapphire is the largest ship operated by Saga Group company - a corporate giant, providing financial services and running travel company for people older than fifty.

In November 2011 Saga Holidays took ownership of Croisieres de France’s Bleu de France, immediately beginning a multimillion-pound overhaul of the 706-passenger ship. The vessel changed hands a few times since its debut in 1981 as Hapag-Lloyd’s Europa. Saga Cruises successfully created a stylish but contemporary ship with lovely British touches. A part of the refurb was the stunning 7-metre installation of 1,395 stainless steel fishes - this is the centrepiece of the atrium-lobby. Saga Sapphire gained 46 balconies, added to the cabins on Deck 8. This way the number of balcony cabins became 65. Amenities include personal safe, DVD player, flat-screen TV, direct-dial telephone, hair dryer, mini-fridge, air-conditioning. Public spaces were redesigned and include the use of iPads and Wi-Fi connectivity - the first for Saga.

Cruise itinerary program

Saga Sapphire itinerary program is based on round-trip cruises from the UK ports Dover and Southampton to the British Isles, Norway Fjords, Mediterranean, Canary Islands, Canada/New England and Caribbean with round-trip Transatlantic crossings.


Saga Sapphire is not a cruise ship with identical, production-line cabins. There is a range of 25 categories - standard inside singles, 6 royal suites, 1 Owner’s Suite, 3 rooms categorized as suites, standard outside cabins (a singular Grand Suite, 2 singles, 21 doubles) with views that are obstructed by the lifeboats. 6 of the cabins are for passengers with special needs. 179 of the staterooms are accommodated with baths, 20 of them also have showers. There are a total of 58 single cabins; 2 balcony cabins are for single occupancy. The 65 balconies are quite narrow for stretching out in the sun but big enough for sitting, reading, enjoying a cocktail. 24-hours room service is available at no extra charge. The televisions are flat-screen, equipped with DVD players - films are available from the Academy, free of charge.

Dining options - Food & Drinks

Dining venues on Saga Sapphire are fare-included. Saga Sapphire’s main Pole to Pole restaurant is situated on Deck 7, accommodating a maximum of 620 people. Pole to Pole is split into separate themed areas on seven continents, with intimate impression. The windows are down each of the room’s sides and geographical variation is provided by enlarged photographs. Dinner is open-seating. It is served between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. The passengers choose to dine as couples or join a table of four or six. Traditionalists prefer eating at the same table, at the same time and with the same companions each day. They can be accommodated by speaking to the maitre d’ on request on cruise’s first day and are expected to use the same table throughout the cruise.

Each morning, a continental buffet is being set out in the restaurant, with waiter service for tea and coffee, fresh toast or cooked items. Waiter-service lunch is provided also in Pole to Pole. The Grill is Saga Sapphire’s alternative dining area on Deck 9. Full waiter service is also available throughout the day, with self-service salad section during lunch. At lunchtime, if weather permitting, a barbecue grill is being set up on the Verandah. The Grill stays open 30 minutes after Pole to Pole at breakfast. Continental buffet and daily cooked specialties are served at breakfast. Saga Cruises has decided to increase the number of self-serve buffet offerings. Make a reservation for specialty restaurant East to West at no extra charge. The restaurant offers Asian fusion menu of Thai, Chinese, Sri Lankan and Indian. Lunchtime burgers, hot dogs, fish and chips, are served poolside at the Beach Club, which also offers unlimited soft ice cream.

Follows the complete list of Saga Sapphire restaurants and food bars.

  • Pole to Pole Restaurant (Main Dining Room)
  • East to West Restaurant (Asian cuisine)
  • The Grill (alternative dining area)
  • The Verandah.

Entertainment options - Fun & Sport

The Drawing Room up on Deck 11 provides computers for travelers’ access to the Internet. Wi-Fi is also available. The Academy on Deck 4 is used as an addition to Brittania Lounge for onboard lectures. There and in the library are many books to borrow, as well as DVD’s and iPads. The two shops on Deck 8 supply formal wear, resort clothes, confectionery, souvenirs, travel necessities, pharmaceuticals. 

Daytime lectures and evening shows are held in Britannia Lounge which is on Deck 8. It serves also as meeting point for the departures to shore excursions, afternoon teas and cocktail parties. Britannia Lounge is furnished with soft chairs and sofas - it is Saga Sapphire’s main entertainment venue with array of musicians and cabarets in the evening, hosting lectures and dancing lessons throughout the day. Opposite is situated the Card Room, decorated in gold leaf, open to Saga Sapphire’s card-game enthusiasts. The Drawing Room up on Deck 11, with expansive observation windows and panoramic views, is furnished with furniture eclectic collection and knick-knacks - an entertainment venue that is alternative with vessel’s second dance floor. The Drawing Room is also a perfect place for daytime retreat. Cooper’s Bar on Deck 8 is a popular pre-dinner bar, themed around the comedian Tommy Cooper. The flat-screen TV is used for half-hour comedy shows.

The Aviators Bar is one deck down, adjacent to Reception Desk. Drinks are available also from the Beach Club on Deck 11, by the pool. The Clubhouse is adjoining pool area - an indoor room with games like table football and tennis. A small troupe of singers and dancers are carried onboard Saga Sapphire. They perform productions of show tunes that are popular. The afternoon tea is accompanied by classical trio or string quartet, playing for pre-dinner dancing. Comedians, guest singers, virtuoso instrumentalists take part in cabaret performances, although Saga Sapphire is not a late-night clubbing vessel.

Sapphire’s outdoor cinema “View from the Top” is situated above the Beach Club. It is first of the kind for Saga Holidays. The mini-golf course St Andrews is on Deck 12, at front of the ship. Saga Cruises pays much attention to vacation shore excursions. Trips are usually led by local guides and they prove to be popular because of the reasonable price.

The Saga Sapphire beauty and spa salon is situated deep down on Deck 2. Alongside the hair salon and the treatment rooms are the steam room and the sauna. A rudimentary gym also awaits for you. There is a whirlpool bath and a heated indoor pool. The main pool is situated on Deck 11 and it is surrounded by sun loungers and deckchairs. Saga Sapphire View from the Top is an outdoor cinema above the Beach Club - the first of the kind for Saga Cruises. Also on Deck 11 is a small golf course, called St Andrews.

Saga Cruises passengers are not comfortable with the concept “resort casual”. Saga Sapphire is not dedicated to the 21st-century fashion. Most of the men wear ties and jackets even on casual evenings; suits are for informal nights. Also frequently used are the cravats and blazers, particularly among Britannia Club members. Women usually wear blouse-and-skirt combinations, dresses, light and airy or elegant cocktail outfits. The seven-night cruises have two formal nights; the two-weeks voyages have three.

Tips for cabin stewards and waiters are included in fares. There are no gratuities added automatically to bar bills or spa treatments. The pound sterling is the currency on board.

Follows the complete list of Saga Sapphire lounges, clubs and other entertainment venues for kids, teens and adults.

  • The Academy (hosts lectures)
  • Aviator's Bar; Cooper's Bar
  • Photo Gallery & Shop
  • Britannia Lounge; The Drawing Room; Library; Card Room
  • The Beach Club; The Club House
  • Treatment Rooms; Hair&Beauty Salon; Sauna, Steam Room; Indoor Pool; Outdoor Pool; Hot Tubs
  • St Andrews (mini-golf course); Shuffleboard.


Other Saga Cruises cruise ships

Saga Sapphire Itineraries 2016

The below listed Saga Sapphire cruise prices on 2016 itineraries are only indicative and Per Person (in US dollars, based on double occupancy). These are the cheapest Saga Cruises fares on the ship’s lowest category cabins available for booking. Cruise fares typically change with departure dates approaching, last minute deals, discounts, promotions, independent travel agency offers.

Itinerary ports
18 August 15 days, round-trip Around Britain and Ireland
Prices starting
from $2699
18 Aug      Departing from Dover
19 Aug      Poole
21 Aug      Guernsey
22 Aug      Cork
24 Aug      Killybegs
26 Aug      Holy Loch
29 Aug      Kirkwall
30 Aug      Invergordon
01 Sep      Arriving in Dover
23 September 32 days, round-trip The Grand Mediterranean Voyage
Prices starting
from $3999
23 Sep      Departing from Southampton
25 Sep      Ferrol
28 Sep      Malaga
29 Sep      Valencia
30 Sep      Palamos
01 Oct      Sanary sur Mer
02 Oct      Livorno (Florence/Pisa)
03 Oct      Civitavecchia (Rome)
04 Oct      Naples
06 Oct      Brindisi
08 Oct      Venice
09 Oct      Trieste
10 Oct      Rijeka
12 Oct      Dubrovnik
14 Oct      Santorini
16 Oct      La Valletta
18 Oct      Port Mahon
20 Oct      Cadiz
24 Oct      Arriving in Southampton
24 October 15 days, round-trip Colours of the Canary Isles
Prices starting
from $1999
24 Oct      Departing from Southampton
26 Oct      Ferrol
29 Oct      Arrecife
30 Oct      Tenerife
31 Oct      El Hierro
01 Nov      La Gomera
02 Nov      Funchal
05 Nov      La Coruna
07 Nov      Arriving in Southampton
15 December 6 days, round-trip Christmas Markets
Prices starting
from $679
15 Dec      Departing from Southampton
17 Dec      Bremerhaven
18 Dec      IJmuiden
19 Dec      Zeebrugge
20 Dec      Arriving in Southampton
20 December 22 days, round-trip A Mediterranean Christmas
Prices starting
from $3230
20 Dec      Departing from Southampton
22 Dec      Ferrol
24 Dec      Cadiz
26 Dec      Valencia
27 Dec      Barcelona
29 Dec      Livorno (Florence/Pisa)
30 Dec      Civitavecchia (Rome)
31 Dec      La Valletta
02 Jan      Tunis
05 Jan      Gibraltar
07 Jan      Porto
10 Jan      Arriving in Southampton

Saga Sapphire Itineraries 2017

The below listed Saga Sapphire cruise prices on 2017 itineraries are only indicative and Per Person (in US dollars, based on double occupancy). These are the cheapest Saga Cruises fares on the ship’s lowest category cabins available for booking. Cruise fares typically change with departure dates approaching, last minute deals, discounts, promotions, independent travel agency offers.

Itinerary ports
11 January 67 days, round-trip Central American Discovery
Prices starting
from $11049
11 Jan      Departing from Southampton
15 Jan      Funchal
23 Jan      Castries
24 Jan      Trinidad
26 Jan      Oranjestad
28 Jan      Cartagena
29 Jan      Colon
30 Jan      Panama Canal (Cruising Canal)
01 Feb      Puerto Caldera
03 Feb      Acajutia
07 Feb      Puerto Vallarta
08 Feb      Mazatlan
10 Feb      Acapulco
12 Feb      Puerto Quetzal
13 Feb      Corinto
16 Feb      Panama City
17 Feb      Panama Canal (Cruising Canal)
18 Feb      Puerto Limon
21 Feb      Trujillo
22 Feb      Belize City
24 Feb      Havana
28 Feb      Santiago de Cuba
01 Mar      Montego Bay
03 Mar      Santo Domingo
05 Mar      Bridgetown
12 Mar      Horta
15 Mar      Ferrol
18 Mar      Arriving in Southampton
18 March 27 days, round-trip Springtime in the Adriatic
Prices starting
from $4707
18 Mar      Departing from Southampton
21 Mar      Lisbon
23 Mar      Malaga
25 Mar      Port Mahon
27 Mar      La Valletta
29 Mar      Dubrovnik
31 Mar      Venice
01 Apr      Rijeka
02 Apr      Zadar
03 Apr      Hvar
06 Apr      Cagliari
09 Apr      Gibraltar
13 Apr      Arriving in Southampton
14 April 5 days, one-way from Southampton to Dover
Prices starting
from $499
14 Apr      Departing from Southampton
15 Apr      Cherbourg
16 Apr      Guernsey
17 Apr      Le Havre (Paris)
18 Apr      Arriving in Dover
18 April 10 days, round-trip On the Trail of the Vikings
Prices starting
from $1722
18 Apr      Departing from Dover
20 Apr      Kiel Canal
21 Apr      Aalborg
22 Apr      Aarhus
23 Apr      Copenhagen
24 Apr      Oslo
26 Apr      Skagen
27 Apr      Arriving in Dover
28 April 15 days, round-trip A Taste of France and Spain
Prices starting
from $2368
28 Apr      Departing from Dover
29 Apr      Guernsey
02 May      Porto
03 May      La Coruna
04 May      Santander
06 May      Bordeaux
08 May      Saint-Nazaire
10 May      Tresco
12 May      Arriving in Dover
12 May 8 days, round-trip Springtime in the Fjords
Prices starting
from $1099
12 May      Departing from Dover
14 May      Bergen
15 May      Olden
16 May      Flam
17 May      Stavanger
19 May      Arriving in Dover
20 May 17 days, round-trip Anniversary Cruise
Prices starting
from $3384
20 May      Departing from Dover
23 May      Lisbon
25 May      Malaga
27 May      Marseille
28 May      Livorno (Florence/Pisa)
29 May      Civitavecchia (Rome)
30 May      Ajaccio
02 Jun      Gibraltar
05 Jun      Arriving in Dover
06 June 13 days, round-trip Celtic Charms
Prices starting
from $1776
06 Jun      Departing from Dover
07 Jun      Guernsey
09 Jun      Cork
10 Jun      Glengariff
12 Jun      Killybegs
13 Jun      Belfast
14 Jun      Dublin
16 Jun      Ilfracombe
18 Jun      Arriving in Dover
18 June 19 days, round-trip The Faroes and Land of Ice and Fire
Prices starting
from $2999
18 Jun      Departing from Dover
20 Jun      Newcastle
22 Jun      Thorshavn
24 Jun      Seydisfjordur
25 Jun      Akureyri
27 Jun      Isafjord
28 Jun      Reykjavik
02 Jul      Belfast
03 Jul      Liverpool
06 Jul      Arriving in Dover
07 July 9 days, round-trip Magic of the Fjords
Prices starting
from $1383
07 Jul      Departing from Dover
09 Jul      Bergen
10 Jul      Geiranger
11 Jul      Olden
12 Jul      Jondal
13 Jul      Stavanger
15 Jul      Arriving in Dover
15 July 17 days, round-trip Tall Ships in the Baltic
Prices starting
from $2829
15 Jul      Departing from Dover
18 Jul      Goteborg
19 Jul      Kalundborg
21 Jul      Stockholm
22 Jul      Turku
24 Jul      Ventspils
25 Jul      Riga
27 Jul      Gdynia
29 Jul      Kiel Canal
30 Jul      IJmuiden
31 Jul      Arriving in Dover
31 July 13 days, round-trip Highland Fling
Prices starting
from $2157
31 Jul      Departing from Dover
02 Aug      Holyhead
03 Aug      Liverpool
04 Aug      Douglas
06 Aug      Kirkwall
07 Aug      Peterhead
08 Aug      Dundee
09 Aug      Edinburgh
12 Aug      Arriving in Dover
12 August 6 days, round-trip A French Interlude
Prices starting
from $769
12 Aug      Departing from Dover
13 Aug      Guernsey
14 Aug      Cherbourg
15 Aug      Brest
17 Aug      Arriving in Dover
17 August 8 days, round-trip Fabulous Fjords
Prices starting
from $1183
17 Aug      Departing from Dover
19 Aug      Stavanger
20 Aug      Flam
21 Aug      Olden
22 Aug      Bergen
24 Aug      Arriving in Dover
24 August 6 days, round-trip Bank Holiday Escape
Prices starting
from $699
24 Aug      Departing from Dover
25 Aug      Zeebrugge
26 Aug      IJmuiden
27 Aug      Bremerhaven
29 Aug      Arriving in Dover
29 August 17 days, one-way from Dover to Southampton
Prices starting
from $2652
29 Aug      Departing from Dover
30 Aug      Kiel Canal
01 Sep      Gdynia
03 Sep      Stockholm
04 Sep      Helsinki
05 Sep      St Petersburg
07 Sep      Tallinn
08 Sep      Saaremaa
09 Sep      Riga
11 Sep      Wismar
12 Sep      Kiel Canal
14 Sep      Arriving in Southampton
15 September 32 days, round-trip Canada in the Fall
Prices starting
from $6645
15 Sep      Departing from Southampton
19 Sep      Ponta Delgada
24 Sep      St Johns
25 Sep      St Pierre et Miquelon
27 Sep      Corner Brook
28 Sep      Havre St Pierre
29 Sep      Sept-Iles
30 Sep      Saguenay
01 Oct      Quebec City
02 Oct      Trois Rivieres
03 Oct      Montreal
06 Oct      Baie-Comeau
07 Oct      Gaspe
09 Oct      Halifax
16 Oct      Arriving in Southampton
16 October 13 days, round-trip Madeira and the Canaries
Prices starting
from $1902
16 Oct      Departing from Southampton
20 Oct      Funchal
21 Oct      St Cruz De La Palma
22 Oct      Gran Canaria
23 Oct      Arrecife
26 Oct      La Coruna
28 Oct      Arriving in Southampton
28 October 17 days, round-trip A Spanish Adventure
Prices starting
from $2653
28 Oct      Departing from Southampton
31 Oct      Lisbon
01 Nov      Huelva
03 Nov      Palma de Mallorca
04 Nov      Barcelona
05 Nov      Valencia
06 Nov      Cartagena
07 Nov      Motril
08 Nov      Gibraltar
11 Nov      La Coruna
13 Nov      Arriving in Southampton
03 December 6 days, round-trip Continental Christmas Markets
Prices starting
from $649
03 Dec      Departing from Southampton
05 Dec      Bremerhaven
06 Dec      IJmuiden
07 Dec      Zeebrugge
08 Dec      Arriving in Southampton
08 December 14 days, round-trip Canary Island Medley
Prices starting
from $1749
08 Dec      Departing from Southampton
12 Dec      Funchal
13 Dec      St Cruz De La Palma
14 Dec      Tenerife
15 Dec      Gran Canaria
16 Dec      Arrecife
19 Dec      La Coruna
21 Dec      Arriving in Southampton
21 December 18 days, round-trip A Scandinavian Christmas
Prices starting
from $3172
21 Dec      Departing from Southampton
24 Dec      Oslo
26 Dec      Copenhagen
27 Dec      Goteborg
29 Dec      Gdynia
31 Dec      Stockholm
05 Jan      Bremerhaven
07 Jan      Arriving in Southampton