Saga Sapphire – October 2013
Ian Warren – 18-10-2013 – Saga – Sapphire
This was my first time onboard a Saga ship and I was pleasantly surprised. The thing I found most noticeable, was how calm and relaxed the disembarkation and embarkation of passengers was. I went onboard at 10am, and no-one had even left the ship at that stage, and passengers were called to disembark a few at a time through until early afternoon. The reason for this is that when you book a Saga Cruise with Titan Travel, you get their VIP Home Departure Service included in the price. Therefore you won’t be called to disembark the ship until your driver is there ready to take you back to your home.
Another thing I noticed while looking around the ship was that cabin sizes are generally larger than equivalent grades on many other cruise ships, with the average size being 220 square feet. Ship Facts & Figures – originally operating as Hapag-Lloyd’s Europa when she was launched in 1982, she then sailed under several names before joining Saga Cruises in 2012 following a refit. She is 37,300 tons, carrying just over 700 passengers and 415 crew members, and has 4 passenger lifts.
Accommodation – there are 24 grades of cabins, ranging from an inside cabin up to a Royal Suite with balcony. These include 4 grades of single cabins, 1 inside and 3 outside. The cabins are spread over 6 of the 10 passenger decks, and are generally of a very good size. All cabins have a flat screen television, DVD player, radio, safe, mini-fridge, bathrobes and toiletries, and a daily bowl of fresh fruit. While they don’t have tea & coffee making facilities, there is complimentary room service 24 hours a day, and there is a self-service drinks station in the walk-in larder which is part of The Drawing Room. The power supply is 220 volts (115/230 volt outlets in bathroom), with standard UK three-pin sockets, and recessed European two-pin sockets.
Dining Options – meals are served at one sitting, with the Pole to Pole Restaurant offering mainly open dining, with a number of tables set aside for fixed seating. Alfresco dining is available in the Verandah, Lighter Bites can be found in The Grill, and for Speciality dining there is the East to West restaurant, which offers an Asian Fusion menu to 64 diners. Alternatively the Beach Club offers gourmet fish & chips, together with traditional sweets and ice cream, and there is also 24 hour room service available with no charge. I had lunch onboard and enjoyed it very much. There was a varied selection to choose from and I opted for Pork Green Peppercorn Pate with Onion Marmalade, Pumpkin Cream with Croutons, Baked Duckling with Pan-Roast Juice and Sautéed Potatoes, and Assorted Ice Cream.
Onboard Facilities – there will be plenty to keep you occupied while onboard, including the Aqua Spa, gymnasium, hair & beauty salon, the Academy computer and learning centre, with lectures on subjects as diverse as photography, I.T. and wildlife. Then there is the Club House games room, table tennis, two pools, Jacuzzis and a crazy golf course. The purser’s office offers limited foreign exchange facilities, with competitive rates and no commission charged. There are also some shops selling clothes, perfumes and everyday needs.
Entertainment – there will be a number of talks and presentations from guest speakers. There is also an open-air cinema, Cooper’s bar dedicated to Tommy Cooper, the Aviator Lounge, and cabaret in the Britannia Lounge.
Dress Code – the dress code for each evening will be announced in the daily programme, and as a rough guide there will be 2 formal evenings on a 7 night cruise, 3 on a 14 night cruise and 4 on a 21 night cruise. The dress codes are as follows: -
- Formal – ladies tend to wear a long dress, cocktail dress or evening trousers, with men opting for a dinner suit / tuxedo, or dark lounge suit and tie
- Informal – for ladies it is a less formal dress or trousers, with men choosing a lounge suit, sports jacket or blazer and tie
- Casual – ladies generally wear an informal dress or trousers, while men wear an open neck shirt with smart casual trousers
- The onboard currency is sterling
- Drinks are priced competitively, with a pint of lager or bitter from £2.90, spirits from £2.75, wine from £3.60 a glass or £13.95 a bottle, and cocktails from £4.25
- Smoking is only permitted on guest balconies and designated areas of the public decks
- The lead passenger in the cabin must be aged 50 or over, but travelling companions can be aged 40 or over
What is included in the Price of your Titan Travel Saga Cruise?
- Titan VIP Home Departure Service – you will be transported from your home to the port or airport, and back again at the end of the cruise. From some parts of the UK this could include flights from a regional airport. Please ask for further details.
- UK and Overseas port taxes, fees and charges
- Tourist visas for British citizens resident in the UK (group visa for Russia)
- Free shuttle buses wherever possible in ports when the ship is more than 500m from town
- You are entitled to any of the Saga early booking discounts, and the earlier you book the lower the price is.
- Should the price be reduced for any reason to below what you paid for it, then you would receive a refund from Titan Travel
- No fuel supplements or surcharges
- All onboard gratuities and service charges
2014 Itineraries – All 2014 cruises on Saga Sapphire and Saga Pearl II depart from the UK, generally Southampton or Dover, but with one departure from Harwich. The length of the cruises vary from 3 nights up to 48 nights, and include destinations such as the Canary Islands, Caribbean, Northern Lights, Mediterranean, Norwegian Fjords, Baltic and the Black Sea.