From arriving at Dover to the train back home, Saga service was excellent.
Once on board we had a pleasant surprise of a newcomers cabin credit of Â£100 which paid for most of our purchases on board includind wine at dinner.
We had an L grade outside double cabin with shower and a picture window on Deck B. Space was adequate and there was more than enough storage space. Additionally there was a fridge, safe and Freeview TV. The cabin was clean and well serviced.
We used the main Restaurant for breakfast on sea days and all dinners We could not fault our usual waiter who addressed us by name. We used the Verandah indoor/outdoor buffet restaurant for breakfast on port days as well as for all of our lunches. The food here was the same as in the main dining room. Service was excellent too and waiters would bring your food to the table if you wanted.
There were 4 excursions included in the cruise which ranged from poor (Finland) to good (Denmark and Sweden). One optional excursion was cancelled when the ship could not call at Visby or Ronne due to windy weather. This was refunded and a free excursion in Warnemunde substituted.
There was always plenty to do on board with lectures, concerts, deck games and the best book/DVD library I have seen on board a cruise ship for its size. The Discovery lounge where entertainment (and afternoon tea) took place was unfortunately rather large, low ceilinged and had no raised stage. This, in addition to placement of pillar meant that many passengers had to watch shows on TV monitors towards the back of the room. Entertainment was heavily weighted to classics as promoted in the cruise literature.
We also enjoyed daily quizzes in Shackleton's bar where a very talented pianist (Clive Carrington) played daily. Drink prices on board reflected English pub prices and the cocktail of the day was Â£2. As with the rest of the ship the bar was tip free.
There is no embargo on bringing your own drinks on board and no corkage charge in the restaurant. You can have your fridge stocked up by the ship if you want though.
At most ports of call we did our own thing using the free shuttle uses into town. These were really necessary in the smaller industrial ports situated outside town centres.
Bearing in mind the age range of Saga passengers, we saw only 2 (collapsible) wheelchairs and no electric buggies on board. There were virtually no smokers either.
Although Saga costs a bit more it is worth the extra and you don't need to spend another penny once on board if you don't want to. We will certainly use Saga again if going to the right destination.