Although we are regular SAGA Cruisers this was our first on Sapphire. Our review takes into account how sapphire compares with the other Saga Ships we have sailed on (Ruby Rose and Pearl 2)
The ship rides better than the other ships
Certain things are better We very much liked the Drawing Room although the passage ways leading to it through the excellent library are narrow. The East to West restaurant was superb unfortunately you are only officially allowed one visit per cruise (we managed 2 as one night they had a cancellation).
The waiting staff are very good and attentive many of them recognising us from previous cruises. The standard of some was not up to the required SAGA standard. There were occasions when then reached across in front of the diners, Coffee and tea were sometimes slow, and toast was very difficult to obtain in the morning. We didn't like the system in the Verandah /grill. We would have preferred Self Service for Breakfast and Lunch , as on Ruby and Pearl 2. I tried one day in the grill for a traditional English but was told i could only have one of the two items which were on the menu that Morning. After this we had all our breakfasts in Pole to Pole.
The Beach Club on Deck 11 was also excellent. They severed Fish and Chips with Mushy Peas or a Steak Burger, from 12 till 3 also the self service Ice Cream was there. In addition a large selection of Boiled Sweets were available to help your self.
The entertainment was mixed, We thought the Explosive Productions team very poor. The singers shouted and the Girls did the same routine each show, only the costumes changed. The Classical Flanagan Trio were very good as was the Pianist You Chiang Lin ,(when she stopped talking and played the Piano). The lectures were varied. Keith Pritchard , the destinations lecturer was good as was the Art Lecturer Rosemary. The Classical Music lectures were not up to standard, He was to technical at times and is voice sent the audience to sleep.
We were very impressed with the Cabins and although ours was an inside one on deck 6 it was the same size as all the others (Suites excepted). There was a hint of Sewage smell on most of the ship which we understand SAGA are trying to cure. Fortunately not in our Cabin. Most of the problems seemed to have been with the Cabins on deck 10
Captain McLundie was again very good as was the Cruise Director John Parton.
Some of his back up staff were notable by their absence, Resty , Fernando, Carol and Ed excepted
Embarkation was very smooth and simple as was the shared Car Service to and from Dover.
The disembarkation was very long winded at Dover on our return. The ship managed to Dock at 9:30 and it was 2:50 before we got of the ship. There were some problems with the wind and baggage unloading, which had to be done manually by the Filipino Crew.One contribution to the Delay appeared to be the lack of Porters at the Dock.
All together a very enjoyable cruise , but alas not one of the best