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12 Southampton Saga Cruises Saga Sapphire Cruise Reviews

This was our first cruise and it was excellent we were treated like royalty the staff were fantastic.We were well fed and watered , we were picked up at the door and dropped back to our door.we went to le harve, belgium, holland and ... Read More
This was our first cruise and it was excellent we were treated like royalty the staff were fantastic.We were well fed and watered , we were picked up at the door and dropped back to our door.we went to le harve, belgium, holland and tilbury. we went on the excursion to amsterdam river trip which was fantastic, and the highlight was Keukenhof gardens we spent 6 hours there and it was brilliant .The food was excellent, the cabin was great and the staff looked after us well,the ship was well keeped and spotlessly clean, the cabaret was brilliant.Embarkation was ok and disembarkation was covered very well no rushing to get off the ship, we were given a number and when they called that number it was our turn to disembark.. we now have the cruising bug and after this cruise hopefully we will cruise with saga again. We recommend saga cruises. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
This was booked only 5 weeks beforehand and was our only option for a short cruise over Easter, departing from Southampton. As we had never cruised with Saga beforehand, we had no real idea what to expect but we were very pleasantly ... Read More
This was booked only 5 weeks beforehand and was our only option for a short cruise over Easter, departing from Southampton. As we had never cruised with Saga beforehand, we had no real idea what to expect but we were very pleasantly surprised with the experience. Boarding at Southampton was very quick - possibly an advantage with a smaller ship - and we were able to access our cabin immediately. We then went to the Britannia Lounge for a very early afternoon tea - at 2pm. The food was excellent but we found this very strange, having been used to having a "proper" lunch with other cruise lines. However, we enjoyed it. We ate in Pole to Pole the first evening but from then on ate in the Veranda where the food was excellent - and the service second to none. The staff couldn't do enough to please and the Manager, Mark, was exceptional. The entertainment in Britannia lounge was excellent, especially The 4Tunes, four very talented young men with Operatic/West End Musicals experience. It was also wonderful to have 'live" music throughout the ship. We had already decided not to do any excursions as we both needed this to be a restful cruise but, in view of the wet and cold weather, we felt it was just as well. Of course, the weather is out of everyone's hands but we were disappointed not to be able to go to Guernsey and, although the captain managed to arrange for us to visit Cherbourg, it's a port which I can happily miss - best driven through quickly from the ferry to more pleasant places in France. Unfortunately, the Ratings section on here doesn't appear to have a facility to show "not used" so I've had to give "average" ratings for Enrichment, Fitness and Excursions. So, overall, an excellent experience and we would definitely cruise again on this ship. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Having spent previous Christmas & New Years in warmer climes, we thought it would be good to go to the snow. Not Saga's fault but we only got a mere sprinkling in Oslo. The cabin, service and food were up to the usual high ... Read More
Having spent previous Christmas & New Years in warmer climes, we thought it would be good to go to the snow. Not Saga's fault but we only got a mere sprinkling in Oslo. The cabin, service and food were up to the usual high standard. For a festive cruise the entertainment was only average with less than average cruise directors (they swapped part way through). Some partying on deck was not well publicised and the first we knew of it was in a video shown at the final cocktail party. A previous reviewer criticised the benefits given to Britannia Club members. These include a bottle of sparkling wine, a cocktail party and some discount on on board purchases but not preferental access to the East to West restaurant where, by the way, the staff are Filipino, not Thai. We have certainly never found any hint of it being a clique. There was a cough spreading through the ship and, yes, some passengers, including my wife and her friend, were still suffering after our return. Friends who have just returned from the Caribbean on P&O Britannia were suffering even more. We are not put off but will take greater precautions against picking up ship's bugs. I'm told that saline spray and Vaseline smeared inside the nose cavities is a help. As usual the staff were beyond first class but the captain lacked the persona of those we have met before. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
As well travelled cruisers with several other companies we wanted to try out the SAGA experience so booked a superior cabin on their 17 day Scandinavian Christmas. My wife and I are in our early 70's so thought it would be a nice ... Read More
As well travelled cruisers with several other companies we wanted to try out the SAGA experience so booked a superior cabin on their 17 day Scandinavian Christmas. My wife and I are in our early 70's so thought it would be a nice change. To some extent there were parts of the cruise we enjoyed but to ever repeat the experience again regrettably it would not be for us. We paid for a superior cabin on Deck it with a Balcony and this was our first disappointment. We were surprised and disappointed how small this cabin was, it only had a low oval coffee table with one lounge chair and a dining chair at the other side of the bed as a result it was impracticable to have a meal in the cabin, which was one of the reasons for choosing the Superior cabin. The balcony of our cabin was so narrow it was impossible to sit down on the chairs provided. It could be better described as no bigger than a window box. We paid a total of almost 11K for this cruise we consider was grossly overpriced, despite the tips being included as well as a courier service to and from the ship. The one aspect we didn't like was the fact that the seasoned SAGA regulars become members of the Britannia Club after so many cruises and there are several perks these guys have over the remaining guests. The best dining options on board was the Thai East to West Restaurant which provided stunning cuisine in a very conducive environment but regrettably we were only able to dine there twice during our 17 day cruise. We spoke to a couple who were gold Britannia members who were able to dine there on six occasions. Whilst the food was reasonably good with good choices the Thai restaurants was certainly the finest dining experience. The very best feature of this service was undoubtedly the Thai service staff who were all impeccable throughout. They were personable, extremely efficient and helpful, hard working and were responsive to our every need. We dearly hope that SAGA pass on ALL the included service tips to theses dedicated and loyal individuals. The second part of this cruise involved us spending four days on the ship cruising from Stockholm to Bremerhaven and during this time all the public areas became unbearable to spend time in due to the fact of being confined inside with limited seating space being available. In this last few days most passengers had developed coughs and sneezes and we and several others left the ship with a serious chest infection mainly due to this confinement. Whilst a small ship has its advantages it also has its limitations as well. The entertainment on board was variable with the usual song and dance troop the best features were the classical guitarist and the banjo playing comedian both of which proved very popular. Likewise most of the guest speakers were informative and presented well one in particular a marine so called expert was utterly boring in reading for almost an hour from a rigid script. One night a magician was the guest artist and this show was very amateurish or perhaps we were sitting to close to the action to see all his many failings. He only made one appearance of a planned repeat performance. This whole experience was memorable for the wrong reasons which of course we shall not be repeating. The so called SAGA Britannia family has a masonic feel to it which offered these regular cruises the many advantages mentioned. We didn't feel that several advantages were offered to these individuals after we paid highly for supposedly the same experience. We shall in future stick to what we know and like and therefore will not be pursuing any more SAGA nights towards Britannia Membership. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
This was our second cruise aboard Saga Sapphire, and our 16th cruise in all. I have to say that this one was the best ever! My family has no direct connection with the Gallipoli campaign of 1915, but I do have an interest in WW1 ... Read More
This was our second cruise aboard Saga Sapphire, and our 16th cruise in all. I have to say that this one was the best ever! My family has no direct connection with the Gallipoli campaign of 1915, but I do have an interest in WW1 history, hence embarking on this trip. Embarkation was slick, and we had an outside cabin on deck 6, close to the bow, which was a bit noisy during the few roughshod days that we experienced, slamming into waves, but nothing about that was in any way concerning. My impressions from the May 2014 cruise to the Baltic were repeated - excellent dining, friendly and courteous staff, very comfortable and of course plenty of entertainment options so that difficult choices had to be made. As this was the ANZAC Centenary, you'll not be surprised that many Australians and New Zealanders had flown 12,000 miles to join this special cruise for this special day on 25 April. We had 71 aboard, amongst the 604 passengers who embarked. A bigger bunch of extroverts one couldn't have asked for, and they were great fun to socialise with. SAGA had organised 3 Aussie military historians, as well as a UK diplomat and an army brigadier/historian who gave a series of lectures setting out the context for the political history of the Great Powers and the wide range of events leading up to the declaration of war in 2015, and then about the concept and execution of the Gallipoli campaign itself from a number of perspectives. Very thought provoking. Prior to ANZAC Day we spent two days in Chanakkule, with battlefield tours organised to take us to the different landing beaches and battlegrounds. The lectures put everything into context. On the centenary morning we were supposed to have anchored in ANZAC Cove, where the Australian and NZ forces landed along with some British regiments. The dawn centenary commemoration service was to start at 5, attended by many heads of state, plus Prince Charles. Unfortunately, someone (possibly in the Turkish security service) decided that 604 pensioners posed a threat so we were ordered to anchor off Helles Point, the site of the British contingents landing grounds, until 1300 hours, after which we could go to ANZAC Cove. We watched the very special Dawn Sevice on a broadcast by the Autralian Broadcasting Service, about 300 of decamping to the main Britannia Lounge. It was very moving. This was followed by rum & milk, with ANZAC biscuits, and an early breakfast. After breakfast an onboard memorial service was held, led by the SAGA chaplain. The names of all the relatives of the passengers who taken part in the campaign were read out, and wreaths laid. Dame Kiri Te Kanawa led the singing of National Anthems before the service ended. After lunch, we weighed anchor and cruised up the Gallipoli peninsula from S Beach at Helles as far as Sulva Bay, the most northerly landing ground, with the military historians and the UK brigadier providing informed commentary all the way. In keeping with Aussie ANZAC day tradition, post-lunch they played Two-Up, a gambling game that is illegal in Australia except on ANZAC Day. Even though it was just paper Monopoly notes being used, it all got rather raucous for an hour or so.....much drinking and lots of laughter. After Suvla we turned south, heading for Crete, and then finished the day with a fantastic Gallipoli Centenary Dinner. Head Chef Thierry pulled out all the stops for this. I would also mention that SAGA does listen to passenger feedback: 1. A request for a passenger laundry resulted in a new laundry being installed on Deck 6. Swish machines, and detergent provided. 2. The funny odour problem has been completed resolved. 3. A Tasmanian guest asked for Limoncello one evening. This wasn't on the drinks menu. Two days later, after calling into Cagliari, Limoncello was on the menu (gratis). I was impressed, as was John, the Tasmanian! This was a very special cruise and has provided lots of wonderful memories for my wife and I. Thank you again SAGA! Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
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 ... Read More
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.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
My second Canary Christmas cruise started with an early shared transport pick up at home and after 5 hours arrival at Southampton after two short stops.I had immediate boarding and delivery of luggage was quick to a cabin on M grade deck ... Read More
My second Canary Christmas cruise started with an early shared transport pick up at home and after 5 hours arrival at Southampton after two short stops.I had immediate boarding and delivery of luggage was quick to a cabin on M grade deck 5.Ferdinand introduced himself as my cabin steward for this cruise:he was friendly and efficient:I ordered tea each morning and it came despite the rough seas.The ship was full with over 700 passengers with an average age of 76.The captain Phlip Rentell said that the sea down to Lisbon would be "lumpy" although I thought that pretty rough was more appropriate.It turned out to be uncomfortable across the dreaded Bay of Biscay.We were offered sea sickness tablets which I gratefully accepted.The first full day at sea was memorable for the high seas-nothing like the height en route home.The third night was devoid of sleep until dawn and I was grateful for the cruise staff providing a variety of deck games to keep me awake in the morning.Liusbon at last and a walk from the shuttle bus to explore this delightful city and flowers.We had several concerts by the excellent Trinity Trio and the piano playing of Martin soothed the pains of travel,which had already included an ill passenger being helicoptered off the ship to hospital. Sunny in Casablanca and a good walk from the shuttle to the partly restored church with its impressive stained glass.I had been here before so I was soon back on the ship and next day bound for Agadir where I stayed in the ship.Enjoyed the sun of Arrecife Lanzarote and a stroll along the long clean beach. Next day was Christmas Day and the ship looked really good with all the decorations and an excellent formal Christmas lunch:I had this in the Veranda as I have never really enjoyed the main restaurant.The Queen's Speech and a Trivia Quiz completed my day.Boixing Day was at Tenerife and my only booked Saga coach trip:exoensive but a chance to see three lovely gardens in fine warm weather.Next was Gran Canaria and a very short walk to a so-called market and back to the ship for a tour of the Bridge:the ship had been built for a German company as Europa and is 32 years old already.So to La Gomera although it was at a berth in the main town and not as advertised.I enjoyed my 3rd visit here to visit the old keep,two churches and the Columbus house:it was lovely warm weather.We could not leave port that evening due to excessively high winds and we stayed at berth until the morning of the next day.We were on our way to see the fireworks at Funchal across increasingly rough seas and high winds which rolled the ship and also at one stage brought much water from the pool over passengers enjoying the sun and fish & chips.New Year's Eve and calmer waters to berth at Funchal-the programme suggested a tender transfer.I had a visit by service bus to the beautiful Botanic Gardens with superb views over the bay.That evening it was formal again for New Year and the haggis was piped around as a wonderful firework display appeared over the town and surrounding hills of Funchal.Memorable as always.We then sailed for Leixos Portugal in choppy seas again:you woulkd imagine we should be used to these conditions but Mother Nature had a surprise in store.A 4 mile shuttle took us into Porto on the Douro river:I had a river cruise here a few years ago.I enjoyed a red top bus tour before returning to the ship. The next intended stop was La Corunna BUT we were told that we were to miss this for a direct sailing to our home port due to the very low pressure system coming from the Atlantic.We entered the Bay of Biscay during the night and I was thrown out of bed by the very high swell and ship movement:we heard that the two other Saga ships were staying in Lisbon-but we rolled on in seas that became very uncomfortable and resulted in much illness and the hope of Southampton as soon as possible.I had meals in the evening in the cabin.Next morning I managed to get to the restaurant when the ship lurched again and deposited broken crockery and food all over passengers and floor.What a holiday! Saturday and a day away from home port:we had a quieter day and enjoyed the talks,games and quizzes.A sunny Sunday in Southampton:thank goodness that journey was all over-I have even cancelled my Saga cruise next Christmas,although naturally it could be fine. The highlights for me were the excellent friendly crew,the cruise staff who looked after the activities (thank you Jay and Resty),the recitals in both Drawing Room and main Lounge,excellent display at Afternoon Tea with music (Perfect Mood and Martin).   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
A friend and I are considering a cruise next year to the Fjords, we'd like to sail from the UK, so when this offer of one night in Southampton on Saga Sapphire came up I decided to try it. I had been a few years ago on a RCCL ship in ... Read More
A friend and I are considering a cruise next year to the Fjords, we'd like to sail from the UK, so when this offer of one night in Southampton on Saga Sapphire came up I decided to try it. I had been a few years ago on a RCCL ship in the Caribbean. I travelled with my partner who had never been on a cruise ship before. I cannot help but compare Sapphire to Serenade of the Seas, which is the only other ship I have been on. Some negative but many positive. Embarkation: As we were only staying one night we drove to Southampton and found the car park easily with instructions sent by Saga. There were a lot of staff to direct us to the ship and give us instructions. All were friendly and courteous. We had been advised just to take hand luggage. We had to wait just a short while in the terminal before embarking. It was a very long walk along the covered bridges to get to the ship. First impressions: A funny little old fashioned ship. But staff were delightful and ship very clean. Cabin: Very clean, comfortable beds and pillows, good quality bed linen. Fairly small and not that well planned, especially the wardrobe area which was right alongside one of the beds, thereby making it difficult for two people to access it. Bedside lights were not well-planned and would disturb your partners sleep. Balcony was very narrow. Only room for two chairs and no table. Bathroom was huge, bath with shower over. Lots of room for personal toiletries. Large bottles of complimentary toiletries supplied. Lots of grab rails and a rubber bath mat, ideal of older people. Shower was a bit complicated to operate but OK when you got the hang of it. Tea and coffee making facilities supplied and also a hairdryer. We had afternoon tea on arrival, very pleasant but they seem to use UHT milk as opposed to fresh. Then a tour of the ship, one of the directors was our tour guide, very pleasant man but tour not well planned as we didn't start on one deck and work our way up but dotted from deck 2 to 5 then back to 3 and so on. Parts of the ship were closed for refurbishment including the buffet restaurant. Time to change before the Captains cocktail party, with free champagne, g and ts or fruit punch. Once again staff were very welcoming, with the European officers being much in evidence. Dinner was excellent with free wine. We had a speciality coffee after which was served with flair by the delightful Filipino staff. Onto the show lounge for the entertainment which was Motown with singers and dancers. OK but not first class. They then had a Beatles tribute band which was well received with many people getting up to dance. We finished the evening in Coopers Bar, which was welcoming with a couple of Saga staff socialising with passengers. Thanks James and Mel. Breakfast was menu or self service, but after such a late night I didn't want much. Disembarkation very easy, with lots of staff on hand to wish us a good journey and hope we enjoyed ourselves. To sum up: I loved the British atmosphere of the ship, the reasonable pub prices for drinks, the food and wonderful smiling staff. On a proper cruise there is also the advantage of included insurance, the free car to the port and no extra gratuities. But I felt it lacked the sumptuous decor of the US ships and it also seemed quite crowded in the public areas. My partner was not so enthusiastic as he felt claustrophobic, but to be fair I don't think cruising is his thing. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
This will be the second time we have used this ship as the food and the staff very good. It is for a maturer crowd but this time round it was like being on a hospital ship. Wheelchairs and walking sticks everywhere. We felt sorry for ... Read More
This will be the second time we have used this ship as the food and the staff very good. It is for a maturer crowd but this time round it was like being on a hospital ship. Wheelchairs and walking sticks everywhere. We felt sorry for the staff as they seemed to have to work as carers for a lot of the passengers. We are both retired ourselves but felt uncomfortable due to the disabled on the ship. We presume the infirm go on the ship because of being looked after. Not having a go at the disabled but the ship was not like this last time. The show lounge "Britannia" is where the shows are held is unsuitable for the amount of people. It is not laid out as a theatre due to the size of the ship so if you ate late as we did, you did not get a good view. Acts were so so but nothing to write home about and have seen a lot better. Most of the passengers seem to want to eat early so they could get to the show lounge early and grab the front seats which is so irrating. These would be the same people who hogged the sun loungers and left their personal belongings on the chairs whilst eating or going ashore. All in all not a quality ship. The cabin was fine. Do not bother paying extra for a balcony unless you are on Deck 10 as the balconies on Deck 8 are not worthing paying for. This time we had the extra space inside the cabin and a big window instead which was a lot better. Plenty of wardrobe space and hangers, toiletries. Steward attentive. Fresh fruit left in your room every couple of days. This time we noticed when having coffee after a meal in the Pole to Pole Restaurant, you got a cup and saucer, yet upstairs in the Veranda Restaurant you got mugs, even in the evening which was a bit tacky. Cannot comment on afternoon tea as there is only so much you can eat but looked plentiful and packed out with passengers who did not manage to eat enough at lunch! The same with midnight buffet. We |have tried to find out numerous times what percentage of the holiday cost is paid to the staff in tips but Saga will not answer that question. Every cruise company mentions the amount given except Saga, so they must be hiding something. We should know as the staff work very hard and go home once a year to their families. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
My husband and I have sailed several times on Saga Ruby and this was our first cruise on Sapphire. The layout of Sapphire is easy to learn as all the cabins are in the front half of the ship and the public rooms are in the rear, apart from ... Read More
My husband and I have sailed several times on Saga Ruby and this was our first cruise on Sapphire. The layout of Sapphire is easy to learn as all the cabins are in the front half of the ship and the public rooms are in the rear, apart from the Drawing Room which is at the front. The cabins was enormous with plenty of hanging space, a good-sized table and sofa, plus armchair. The bathroom was a reasonable size and the layout including the shower was good - with pleasant toiletries. The cabin was well insulated so you couldn't hear your neighbours. However, we did not like the main dining room - too noisy and too rushed. We preferred to eat in the Grill Restaurant which was more relaxed, but as it had doors to the outer decks, could be chilly. Access to the outer decks was limited - Deck 8 was only down the sides of the ships and at the rear (not linked, then deck 11 (Beach Club) and the only place you could walk right round was Deck 12. The location of the Crazy Golf was wasted - right at the front of the ship on Deck 12, so as it was the windiest place, could only be used when in port. If the weather is poor, the amount of seating space is severely restricted as the Ballroom was often in sue for lectures. The pools could not be used unless the sea was dead calm, as the water was prone to throwing itself across the decks. The ship does NOT travel well in rough seas - we had a force 11/12 gale after leaving Lisbon and the ship suffered extensive damage, having to seek shelter in Vigo overnight. However, all the staff on board provided excellent care and service all the time and as a smallish ship, you do get to be known by the crew, cruise staff and officers. When we encountered the rough weather, all meals were provided as room service only for safety and the crew all checked passengers to ensure that they were OK and happy to sit down and talk to any who were worried or distressed. The Beach Club is enjoyable, especially the fish and chip bar and the ice cream, but hardly anyone used the sweet shop. There was a good selection of onboard activities and certainly all the deck games sessions were always well attended. All in all a good cruise, and the Sapphire is a nice ship, but some of the quirky features take away from the ambience of the ship. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
I had shared transfer to Southampton travelling from Yorkshire in 6 hours with two stops.Check in was excellent and a short wait to board and taken to cabin on 6 deck in LS grade (single standard).The cabin was small and basically equipped ... Read More
I had shared transfer to Southampton travelling from Yorkshire in 6 hours with two stops.Check in was excellent and a short wait to board and taken to cabin on 6 deck in LS grade (single standard).The cabin was small and basically equipped with shower over bath,large wardrobe space,bedside table,table by a two light window with lamp,small TV,fridge and shelving-with a single bed with duvet.This is Saga:no children!The immediate impression was of a crew who cared and wanted you to enjoy the Saga experience:they were all polite,smiling especially the waiters in the Verandah where I was to dine most evenings preferring it to the low ceiling and noise level of the main Pole to Pole.I had breakfast in the main restaurant or the Verandah Grill.The menus were always interesting although there was less choice in the Verandah.I did not try East to West restaurant although it did provide steaks. This was the Christmas & New Year cruise of 18 nights and visiting 10 ports - Lisbon,Casablanca,Agadir,Arrecife Lanzarote,Las Palmas Gran Canaria,Santa Cruz Tenerife,San Sebastian La Gomera,Santa Cruz La Palma,Funchal Madeira,El Ferrol Spain.The ship was well decorated for Christmas and we were able to decorate the main tree outside the Britannia Lounge during the provision of mince pies and mulled wine.The Captain was David Warden-Owen and Cruise Director Tanya Whitehurst:they both seemed to enjoy their jobs. Christmas Day Formal Lunch was excellent:although Saga had taken away the one time included wine.The standard of the production shows was frankly amateurish,too loud and worth leaving to the Cooper Bar or Drawing Room for more laid back musical entertainment.The main lounge had poor sight lines especially from the back and suffered from poor design with ramps and steps throughout including the entrances. The highlight for me personally were the two trivia quizzes run by cruise staff although Saga had made cut backs with no prize points awarded anymore:they added more fun and competition.There were musical highlights,perhaps not to everyones taste but I thought that the musicians set a high standard and variation of their mainly classical repertoire.The cocktail pianist was excellent and appeared at tea time in the Britannia,Coopers Bar and Drawing Room throughout a busy day.There were a few deck games arranged and some internal games but with an absence of points there were not as many takers as there had been on Ruby a few years ago. The cruise benefitted from excellent sunny weather,calm seas although a lack of working whirlpools on open deck and in the inside Spa was disappointing.The jacuzzi in the Spa only worked on 5 days of the whole cruise.The Beach Club by the open pool served afternoon fish and chips in a Saga Times or Beefburgers and fries;there were also help yourself sweet and ice cream points by the pool:these were very popular. There were four formal nights and the others a mix of Informal and Casual.There were two main visiting speakers on natural history and transport together with port talks:these were mainly an advert for the tours. The 9 days at sea passed slowly at times although the fireworks for the New Year at Funchal were still exciting and beautiful to watch from the open deck. Overall I enjoyed Saga Ruby for the ship design and the friendliness of a smaller ship:Saga Sapphire had 631 paying passengers and a total of 706. It is worth mentioning that the ship was clean,tried hard to please although the race from Drawing Room the length of the ship and down two decks in the evenings proved too much for a holiday atmosphere.I liked the provision of teas and coffees most of the day in the Drawing Room together with freshly baked cakes:very enjoyable. A thought:why spoil a cruise with the provision of the smallest soap tablets I have ever seen on a cruise ship and not providing shoe cleaning equipment. Well Done Saga for insisting on an extended safety drill prior to sailing and the hand sanitizers which were everywhere.Disembarkation was early and smooth with a one stop transfer back home.Following a comment letter to Saga they phoned me at home to discuss the comments:good for them. I am going this year with Silversea and giving Saga a rest:what a shame that Ruby's final voyage is later this year.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Like the Spirit, Sapphire was built as a dedicated cruise ship. The big advantage over Spirit and Ruby are the size of the cabins, At last a decent table and small sofa in all cabins except the smallest on deck 4. Very pleasant watching ... Read More
Like the Spirit, Sapphire was built as a dedicated cruise ship. The big advantage over Spirit and Ruby are the size of the cabins, At last a decent table and small sofa in all cabins except the smallest on deck 4. Very pleasant watching the sea go by sitting in an armchair with a pot of tea and the sun just above the horizon. On the Spirit and Ruby, the public rooms tended to be on the same deck which made for quick transfers between rooms except when side doors closed when show in progress. The Sapphire has public rooms and restaurants on separate decks which can cause congestion with the lifts. These need integrating so that one is going up as the other descends. As it was, they both tended to arrive at once. As always, the crew could not be faulted. Perfect service at all times. However, the ship still prone to problems. We were stranded in Cadiz for an extra day awaiting a spare computer part to arrive from Norway. We did not mind as Cadiz worth an extra day. We had noticed the engine noise and we were delayed in departure from Cartagena while an engine bearing was replaced. This meant less time in Gibraltar and because of strict scheduling at Rome, we had to miss Crete. We had previously enjoyed rapid buffet service, but the Grill/Verandah restaurant was waiter service only. This caused long delays at breakfast and lunch when everyone tended to arrive at the same time. We were told that choice of buffet or waiter will be introduced. I had enjoyed the awning on the Spirit which extended as far as the pool. That on the Ruby was useless as only a metre deep. On the Sapphire, they have used strips of netting which are as much use as a chocolate teapot at shielding from strong sun or rain. A shame, as the horseshoe shaped area would have made a splendid sheltered area. The East to West restaurant was exquisite. On the first night, the queue for the dining room was long so we thought to try the Grill. We lost our way and found an empty restaurant with several waiters to attend to us. We found that often a table is vacant and enjoyed the East to West four times during the voyage. Another problem is lack of a launderette. That on the Ruby was perfect. Most ladies like to wash their 'smalls' themselves and a launderette really essential on a long voyage, Summing up, The Sapphire just needs minor niggles to be ironed out and then it will be ideal. We intend to enjoy cruising on her again. johnep Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
Saga Sapphire Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 4.3
Dining 4.0 4.4
Entertainment 3.0 3.8
Public Rooms 4.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.3
Family N/A 3.3
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.9
Enrichment 4.0 3.6
Service 4.0 4.7
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 3.4

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