Saga Sapphire Review and Specifications
Specifications of Saga Sapphire
|Year built||1981 / Age : 36|
|Builder||Bremer Vulkan Werft (Bremen, Germany)|
|Building cost||USD 120 million|
|Speed||21 kn / 39 kph / 24 mph|
|Length (LOA)||199 m / 653 ft|
|Beam (width)||28 m / 92 ft|
|Gross Tonnage||37049 gt|
|Passengers||706 - 748|
|Decks with cabins||10|
|Former names||MS Europa, SuperStar Europe, SuperStar Aries, Holiday Dream, Bleu de France|
Review of Saga Sapphire
Launched in 1981, Saga Sapphire cruise ship is one of Saga Cruises vessels - together with the fleetmate Saga Pearl 2. The vessel's first owner was Hapag-Lloyd. The ship was transferred to Saga Holidays in 2011 and debuted in March 2012.
NEWS: Saga Sapphire and Saga Pearl 2 will both be withdrawn from service (leave the fleet) after the two new Saga cruise ships (Spirit of Discovery and a still unnamed vessel) are delivered in, respectively, 2019 and 2021.
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 Pullmantur CDF’s Bleu de France, immediately beginning a multimillion drydock refurbishment of the 706-passenger vessel. 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.
Saga Sapphire wiki
- Accident reports and news CruiseMinus.com
- Cabin grades number: 28
- Total number of cabins: 374 (of which 65 Balcony, 56 Inside, 44 Single)
- Dining Rooms: Pole to Pole (MDR, 620-seat; with 4 'zones' styled to reflect different continents: Africa, Asia, Europe, the Americas; open seating, a number of fixed-seating tables).
- Restaurants and food bars: Verandah and Grill (100-seat inside, 100-seat al fresco; buffet-style breakfast and lunch, waiter served dinner).
- Lounges & Bars: Aviator Lounge, Britannia Lounge (dance classes, music recitals, quizzes), Cooper's Bar, Drawing Room, The Beach Club, View from the Top.
- Aqua Spa, Beauty Salon (partnership with Decleor), Sun Deck with outdoor games (shuffleboard, deck quoits), gym, St Andrew's (golf), The Club House (table tennis, table football), 2 pools, 2 jaccuzis, complimentary 24-hour room service, library, The Academy (interactive learning sessions, informative lectures), Photo Gallery.
- Saga Sapphire cruise ship was originally built for Hapag-Lloyd Cruises as ms Europa (link to the HP ship). Through the years, the vessel was renamed several times - SuperStar Europe (1999-2000, owner Star Cruises Asia), Superstar Aries (2000-2004, owner Star Cruises Asia), ms Holiday Dream (2004-2008, owner Club Vacaciones), Bleu de France (2008-2011, owner Pulllmantur-CDF). In November 2010, the ship was bought by Saga but remained on charter by CDF-France (Pullmantur subsidiary) for the next year. After an extensive refit in 2012, the ship received its current name. Her fleetmate is Saga Pearl 2.
- (April 2012 accident) During the 16-day maiden voyage, the ship suffered from engine failure. The incident forced the line to cancel the voyage.
- (May 2014 accident) While cruising near Scotland's Isle of Mull, an electrical fire knocked out the onboard power supply. Because of the repairs, the ship stayed anchored in calm seas for couple of days.
- Saga cruise passengers are 50-60+ , mainly British and repeaters (known as "saganauts"). This typical UK cruise ship is adults-only (child-free environment).
- In 2018, Saga Sapphire passengers had the unique opportunity to visit the Meyer Werft shipbuilding yard (in Papenburg Germany) and see the construction of Saga's new ship Spirit of Discovery. The location was part of organized from Bremen cruise tour itinerary during the 6-night "Easter Getaway" cruise (March 28, 2018). The shipyard's guided tour enabled guests to see the vessel's construction progress and learn about its design and the shipbuilding process itself. The unique 6-night cruise itinerary was priced from GBP 968 pp departing from Southampton England. The UK travel package (to and from Portsmouth) included all meals, table wines (at lunch and dinner), afternoon tea, 24-hour room service, unlimited tea/coffee (selected venues), free Wi-Fi internet, onboard gratuities, porterage, free shuttle bus transfer (to nearest town).
Saga Sapphire related cruise news
This year Saga Cruises is offering a 9-night Scandinavian Christmas Markets cruise that gets travellers home just in time for Christmas plus 2 ...May 3, 2017
The World of Cruising reported that a cruise passenger from Saga Sapphire had gone overboard from the ship while the vessel had been...December 14, 2015
- show more news
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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.
20 May 2017 16 nights / 17 days, round-trip Anniversary Cruise
03 July 2017 4 nights / 5 days, round-trip Cafes and Canals of Amsterdam
07 July 2017 8 nights / 9 days, round-trip Magic of the Fjords
15 July 2017 16 nights / 17 days, round-trip Tall Ships in the Baltic
|15 Jul||Departing from Dover, England|
|18 Jul||Goteborg, Gothenburg, Sweden|
|19 Jul||Kalundborg, Zealand Island, Denmark|
|21 Jul||Stockholm, Sweden|
|22 Jul||Turku, Finland|
|24 Jul||Ventspils, Latvia|
|25 Jul||Riga, Latvia|
|27 Jul||Gdynia, Gdansk, Poland|
|29 Jul||Kiel Canal, Germany|
|30 Jul||IJmuiden, Holland|
|31 Jul||Arriving in Dover, England|
24 August 2017 5 nights / 6 days, round-trip Bank Holiday Escape
15 September 2017 31 nights / 32 days, round-trip Canada in the Fall
|15 Sep||Departing from Southampton, England|
|19 Sep||Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel Island, Azores|
|24 Sep||St Johns, Newfoundland Island, Canada|
|25 Sep||Saint Pierre Island, France|
|27 Sep||Corner Brook, Newfoundland Island, Canada|
|28 Sep||Havre-Saint-Pierre, Quebec, Canada|
|29 Sep||Sept-Iles, Quebec, Canada|
|30 Sep||Saguenay, Quebec, Canada|
|01 Oct||Quebec City, Canada|
|02 Oct||Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, Canada|
|02 Oct||Montreal, Quebec, Canada|
|05 Oct||Baie-Comeau, Quebec, Canada|
|06 Oct||Gaspe, Quebec, Canada|
|08 Oct||Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada|
|16 Oct||Arriving in Southampton, England|
28 October 2017 16 nights / 17 days, round-trip A Spanish Adventure
|28 Oct||Departing from Southampton, England|
|31 Oct||Lisbon, Portugal|
|01 Nov||Huelva, Spain|
|03 Nov||Palma de Mallorca, Majorca Island, Spain|
|04 Nov||Barcelona, Spain|
|05 Nov||Valencia, Spain|
|06 Nov||Cartagena, Spain|
|07 Nov||Motril, Spain|
|08 Nov||Gibraltar, UK|
|11 Nov||La Coruna, Spain|
|13 Nov||Arriving in Southampton, England|
03 December 2017 5 nights / 6 days, round-trip Continental Christmas Markets
08 December 2017 13 nights / 14 days, round-trip Canary Island Medley
|08 Dec||Departing from Southampton, England|
|12 Dec||Funchal, Madeira Island, Portugal|
|13 Dec||Santa Cruz de la Palma, Canary Islands|
|14 Dec||Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands|
|15 Dec||Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, Canary Islands|
|16 Dec||Arrecife, Lanzarote, Canary Islands|
|19 Dec||La Coruna, Spain|
|21 Dec||Arriving in Southampton, England|
21 December 2017 17 nights / 18 days, round-trip A Scandinavian Christmas
Saga Sapphire Itineraries 2018
The below listed Saga Sapphire cruise prices on 2018 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.
07 January 2018 14 nights / 15 days, round-trip Canary Island Constellations
|07 Jan||Departing from Southampton, England|
|11 Jan||Funchal, Madeira Island, Portugal|
|13 Jan||Santa Cruz de la Palma, Canary Islands|
|14 Jan||El Hierro, Canary Islands|
|15 Jan||Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands|
|16 Jan||Arrecife, Lanzarote, Canary Islands|
|19 Jan||La Coruna, Spain|
|21 Jan||Arriving in Southampton, England|
22 January 2018 32 nights / 33 days, round-trip Murder Mystery in the Caribbean
|22 Jan||Departing from Southampton, England|
|26 Jan||Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel Island, Azores|
|02 Feb||St Johns, Antigua|
|03 Feb||Pointe-a-Pitre, Grande-Terre Island, Guadeloupe|
|04 Feb||Roseau, Dominica|
|05 Feb||Fort-de-France, Martinique|
|06 Feb||Castries, St Lucia Island|
|07 Feb||Bequia Island, Grenadines|
|08 Feb||Port-of-Spain, Trinidad|
|09 Feb||Bridgetown, Barbados|
|15 Feb||Praia, Santiago Island, Cape Verde|
|18 Feb||Arrecife, Lanzarote, Canary Islands|
|23 Feb||Arriving in Southampton, England|
23 February 2018 20 nights / 21 days, round-trip Impressions of the Mediterranean
|23 Feb||Departing from Southampton, England|
|25 Feb||Bilbao, Spain|
|01 Mar||Malaga, Spain|
|03 Mar||Barcelona, Spain|
|04 Mar||Palamos, Spain|
|05 Mar||Sete, France|
|06 Mar||Toulon, France Riviera|
|07 Mar||Livorno, Florence-Pisa, Italy|
|09 Mar||Palma de Mallorca, Majorca Island, Spain|
|11 Mar||Cadiz, Spain|
|15 Mar||Arriving in Southampton, England|
15 March 2018 13 nights / 14 days, round-trip Canary Island Adventure
|15 Mar||Departing from Southampton, England|
|17 Mar||Ferrol, Spain|
|20 Mar||Arrecife, Lanzarote, Canary Islands|
|21 Mar||Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, Canary Islands|
|22 Mar||Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands|
|23 Mar||Santa Cruz de la Palma, Canary Islands|
|24 Mar||Funchal, Madeira Island, Portugal|
|28 Mar||Arriving in Southampton, England|
28 March 2018 6 nights / 7 days, round-trip Easter Getaway
03 April 2018 17 nights / 18 days, round-trip Iberian Adventure
20 April 2018 14 nights / 15 days, round-trip Canaries in Spring
|20 Apr||Departing from Southampton, England|
|24 Apr||Funchal, Madeira Island, Portugal|
|25 Apr||Santa Cruz de la Palma, Canary Islands|
|26 Apr||Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands|
|27 Apr||Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, Canary Islands|
|28 Apr||Puerto del Rosario, Fuerteventura, Canary Islands|
|29 Apr||Arrecife, Lanzarote, Canary Islands|
|01 May||Lisbon, Portugal|
|04 May||Arriving in Southampton, England|
04 May 2018 0 nights / 1 day, one-way from Southampton to Dover
10 May 2018 10 nights / 11 days, round-trip Scandinavian Cities
21 May 2018 8 nights / 9 days, round-trip Scenic Springtime Fjords
29 May 2018 7 nights / 8 days, round-trip Isle of Man and the TT
05 June 2018 15 nights / 16 days, round-trip Treasures of the Baltic
20 June 2018 4 nights / 5 days, round-trip Round the Island Regatta
24 June 2018 15 nights / 16 days, round-trip Adventure to the North Cape
09 July 2018 9 nights / 10 days, round-trip Harbours of Western France
19 July 2018 19 nights / 20 days, round-trip A Musical Mediterranean
07 August 2018 15 nights / 16 days, round-trip Baltic Adventures
23 August 2018 5 nights / 6 days, round-trip Edinburgh Fringe at Sea
27 August 2018 17 nights / 18 days, round-trip Rhythms of the Baltic
|27 Aug||Departing from Dover, England|
|29 Aug||Skagen, Denmark|
|30 Aug||Kalundborg, Zealand Island, Denmark|
|01 Sep||Stockholm, Sweden|
|03 Sep||Helsinki, Finland|
|04 Sep||Saint Petersburg, Russia|
|06 Sep||Kotka, Finland|
|07 Sep||Tallinn, Estonia|
|09 Sep||Gdynia, Gdansk, Poland|
|10 Sep||Kiel, Germany|
|13 Sep||Arriving in Dover, England|
13 September 2018 7 nights / 8 days, round-trip Scandinavian Seascapes
21 September 2018 28 nights / 29 days, one-way from Dover to Southampton
|21 Sep||Departing from Dover, England|
|25 Sep||Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel Island, Azores|
|30 Sep||Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada|
|02 Oct||Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada|
|04 Oct||Havre-Saint-Pierre, Quebec, Canada|
|05 Oct||Quebec City, Canada|
|07 Oct||Montreal, Quebec, Canada|
|10 Oct||Gaspe, Quebec, Canada|
|12 Oct||St Johns, Newfoundland Island, Canada|
|19 Oct||Arriving in Southampton, England|
19 October 2018 21 nights / 22 days, round-trip Italy and a Mediterranean Discovery
|19 Oct||Departing from Southampton, England|
|23 Oct||Gibraltar, UK|
|25 Oct||Alghero, Sardinia, Italy|
|27 Oct||Naples, Italy|
|28 Oct||Messina, Taormina, Sicily, Italy|
|29 Oct||Corfu Island, Greece|
|30 Oct||Sarande, Albania|
|31 Oct||Taranto, Italy|
|02 Nov||Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy|
|04 Nov||Cartagena, Spain|
|06 Nov||Lisbon, Portugal|
|09 Nov||Arriving in Southampton, England|
09 November 2018 4 nights / 5 days, round-trip Flavours of Amsterdam
13 November 2018 14 nights / 15 days, round-trip Sunshine in the Canaries
|13 Nov||Departing from Southampton, England|
|17 Nov||Funchal, Madeira Island, Portugal|
|18 Nov||Santa Cruz de la Palma, Canary Islands|
|19 Nov||Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands|
|20 Nov||El Hierro, Canary Islands|
|21 Nov||Arrecife, Lanzarote, Canary Islands|
|24 Nov||Porto, Portugal|
|27 Nov||Arriving in Southampton, England|
19 December 2018 33 nights / 34 days, round-trip Festivities in the Caribbean
|19 Dec||Departing from Southampton, England|
|23 Dec||Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel Island, Azores|
|28 Dec||Hamilton, Bermuda|
|31 Dec||Nassau, New Providence Island, Bahamas|
|03 Jan||Grand Turk Island|
|05 Jan||Tortola Island, Road Town, BVI|
|06 Jan||St Johns, Antigua|
|07 Jan||Castries, St Lucia Island|
|08 Jan||Port-of-Spain, Trinidad|
|09 Jan||Bridgetown, Barbados|
|17 Jan||Funchal, Madeira Island, Portugal|
|21 Jan||Arriving in Southampton, England|