Saga Holidays' plan to find a replacement for Saga Rose, the classic ship set to retire in December 2009, has hit a snag. The British line, which caters to the over-50 set, was scheduled to take ownership of the cruise ship Astoria, but its owners have since gone into administration (i.e., serious financial trouble). As a result, the 2009-10 season of cruises on what was to become Saga Pearl II has been cancelled.
Passengers booked on Saga Pearl II's maiden season will be offered full refunds or the chance to rebook on the line's second ship, Saga Ruby.
According to Saga Holidays, "Due to the legal process that the ship has been caught up in, we cannot guarantee that we can complete the purchase of the ship and perform our planned refit at any time in the near future." The company continued that it hoped to complete the deal and have the ship cruising by spring 2010, but "as this cannot be guaranteed, we are also looking at the prospect of securing other suitable tonnage with the objective of ensuring a replacement for the Saga Rose."
Saga Holidays decided to retire the 1965-built Saga Rose in consideration of the stringent SOLAS safety regulations that come into effect in 2010. The cost of overhauling the ship to meet the new requirements would have been prohibitive. Saga Holidays emphasizes traditional cruise travel, with features such as afternoon tea, ballroom dancing and cabaret-style entertainment.
--by Dan Askin, Assistant Editor
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Saga Rose Replacement Deal Floundering
February 6, 2009