Fed up with long haul flights and checking in 3 hours before flying, not to mention long walks at the airports themselves, we thought we would cruise for the first time in thirty years. We were very pleasantly surprised to see how easy embarkation was with Saga. We were collected from home by car, supplied, arranged and paid for by Saga and taken directly to the embarkation lounge. Our luggage was collected by porters as we left the car and was taken directly to our cabins. When we disembarked at the end of the cruise, again it was very easy and our driver collected us at the allotted time and drove us back home. We found all this much easier than hanging around in airports for hours and much more civilised.
Our cabin wasn't huge, but didn't need to be as we didn't spend long in there, what with so much going on from dawn to dusk, covering all interests, including bingo, quizzes, dance lessons, lectures etc. The food was first class - what you would expect if you were dining in a top restaurant and the service was superb. All the crew were very helpful - especially if they saw less able bodied passengers, who they were rushing to assist. Nothing was too much trouble for them and this was refreshing, considering Saga has a no-tipping policy as it is all included in the price. People tend to think that Saga cruises are expensive, but when you consider tips, travel and insurance are all included in the price, we think they are very good value. We find that insurance gets very expensive the older you get with various pre-existing conditions, but Saga insurance covers all these in the price of the cruise. If you want to eat in the View restaurant (even better than the dining room with beautiful food at no extra cost), do book it on the first day as it gets booked up very quickly.
Being Saga, most passengers are in their sixties, seventies and eighties, but of course we weren't invaded by hoards of children, which was a plus for us. (Sorry grandchildren, love you dearly, but also loved the peace and quiet when we needed it.) There is no smoking indoors now, just an outside area in one part of the ship. We found the entertainment excellent. The dancers had lovely costumes, nothing cheap or tatty and the cabaret artists were very good indeed. My husband was a professional musician and agreed with me in this respect. We were so impressed with this cruise that we immediately booked to take my 94 year old mother on the Saga Pearl 2 in August 2010. Watch this space to see how we get on !!