I have only just found this site or I would have posted this earlier. The details of this voyage are given in a previous post and I would like to add my comments as to the way I was treated by Saga after booking my fourth cruise in 12 months.
This was my first trip on the Sapphire after enjoying lovely times on what was then "Quest for Adventure" (Now Saga Pearl II). I booked very early in 2012 for the Christmas 2013 cruise. This being my first trip on this ship I asked the booking clerk for advice on the best single standard outside cabin available, assuming at that early stage I would be given the best price and a good cabin. Imagine my dismay to be shown into a gloomy cramped cabin on Deck 10 with a lifeboat completely covering the window, and the smallest en suite bathroom I have ever seen. However, I made my way down for afternoon tea and there met up with a friend I had met on previous holidays. She came to look at my cabin and could not believe I had been palmed off with such awful accommodation. She had booked only three months previously and had been allocated a beautiful standard outside cabin on Deck 6, very spacious and light and with a beautiful large en suite bathroom. To add insult to injury she had only paid £3,600 to my £6,200!!!
Despite a notice at the (very unhelpful) reception desk I persisted in my request to speak to the officer in charge of guest accommodation who said that the ship was fully booked but he would look into my complaint. He then rang me to say that he could move me when we arrived at Lisbon and an entertainer vacated the cabin. I had no option but to accept this offer and spent three very uncomfortable nights in the high seas and gales described earlier hanging on to the sides of my very small "double" bed.. The en-suite was so tiny that when trying to use the toilet in a lull I was suddenly knocked off my feet and landed in the shower trays there was only a plastic curtain and no proper shower enclosure. I was unable to use the shower at all as there were no safety grab rails at all in that cabin. I asked in reception if I could make an entry in the accident book, and was told that they did not keep a record of accidents - and (!) did I have a witness!!!! Single cabin, toilet - would anyone have had a witness I wonder?
I was pleased to be re-homed into a lovely cabin but many issues of pricing policies, fairly patronising bordering on insolent comments by some of the waiters in the main restaurant, and general inequalities of treatment kept cropping up during the 3 awful Bay of Biscay days out and the even worse weather on the return I remember thinking that the waves were taller than my two-storey house and were hitting my window on Deck 5.
There were lots of accidents - some quite severe. I couldn't help thinking that Saga with its "Niche Market" boast i.e lots of very elderly, some quite severely disabled, clientele should rethink its policy of selling holidays with winter crossings of the infamous Bay of Biscay. There insistence on not using flights to join the ship is slanted towards the less able, but surely a choice could be offered? And what about the pricing policy???? There were those who had booked cheaper inside cabins and claimed always to have been allocated outside cabins and a lady, also on Deck 10 who had paid over £7000 a year earlier for a similar miserable cabin to the one I had complained of. (Lower decks were marginally more comfortable in adverse conditions.)
My friend, who had spent most of 2013 cruising with Saga, when asking for an earlier disembarkation as she had a 5-6 hour journey home and was on the last departure time, was told "We have 420 Platinum and Gold passengers on board - YOU are ONLY Silver. Charming when we had received letters advising us that our humble status as regular cruisers had entitled us to priorities also!
I did complain to Saga when I returned home only to receive a totally smug and unhelpful reply.
I certainly will not be travelling with this company again. Even my journey from ~Suffolk to Southampton was uncomfortable because the vehicle sent for four people only had three comfortable seats. The occupants already installed were elderly and disabled to the extent it took two of us to reseat one lady after a comfort stop, so I ended up on an uncomfortable bench of a seat in the back.
We had plenty of time to chat due to our enforced sea days and came to the conclusion that it was better to book late on special offers to get a good price, you never get a refund because they can skew the conditions, and even if you book early and request a specific cabin you probably won't be allowed to book it as not all cabins are available at one specific time, and are released gradually deck.
by deck, over time.
Bye Bye Saga. You won't be seeing me again even though Saga Sapphire is a lovely vessel.