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23 Saga Cruises Saga Sapphire Cruise Reviews

I chose to cruise as I haven't had a holiday for over 25 years and thought that I needed one after a rather stressful divorce. After researching the various options available I chose to book an eleven day trip with Saga sailing ... Read More
I chose to cruise as I haven't had a holiday for over 25 years and thought that I needed one after a rather stressful divorce. After researching the various options available I chose to book an eleven day trip with Saga sailing down the Danube from Budapest for eight days with three days in transylvania. I know what you are all thinking, "SAGA"!!!!! Now I just qualify as I am 51 and thought that it would ease me into the holiday "thing" I was collect from home and driven to the airport, this I found to be an excellent service. The ship was waiting in Budapest and my luggage was taken and delivered to my cabin whilst I booked in and offered refreshments. The reception staff were nothing but wonderful and were very helpful and knowledgeable making the embarkation painless. After settling in my cabin, which was a reasonable size considering the size of the ship and let's face it, we were on a river I was pleasantly surprised to be seated in the restaurant with a very good four course meal. The waiting staff were excellent and very friendly. The following days were more of the same food and I found the staff so friendly and willing to help in any way possible. I have to say that the cruise director, a young lady by the name of Adina to be the most helpful, patient and knowledgeable person I have had the pleasure of meeting. Even joining the crew and passengers in the end of cruise open mic event. Upon reaching our destination our luggage was collected and transferred to the awaiting coaches for the next part of the holiday. My overall experience onboard was one of overwhelming enjoyment and certainly placed my anxieties about solo travel to the back of my head, in fact they left. Overall I would highly recommend this ship and if I could sail with the highly professional Adina again, I would. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Having been all over the world with Saga on land based holidays , when we looked for a Cruise to celebrate my wife’s birthday we automatically looked to Saga having been entirely satisfied with our previous holidays with them. Well that ... Read More
Having been all over the world with Saga on land based holidays , when we looked for a Cruise to celebrate my wife’s birthday we automatically looked to Saga having been entirely satisfied with our previous holidays with them. Well that was the right decision, we fancied a winter Norwegian Cruise, and one which specifically aimed at experiencing the Northern Lights seemed an exciting prospect As ever every detail was taken care of, from being picked up at your front door with your luggage through a seemless boarding process at Dover all promised a wonderful holiday experience,which is exactly what we got An upgrade to deck 10 was an unexpected bonus,but all passengers got the same attentive service wherever their cabin was. The whole cruise was ammended to all inclusive which was another nice touch,and we opted for fixed dining which was a delight. The food on this ship is awesome, and the after dinner cheeseboard is the best we have ever experienced anywhere Evening shows were professional and Ancora joining the cruise for week two ensured some never to be forgotten performances, the whole entertainment package was outstanding for a relatively small ship Lectures from accomplished speakers about destinations and other related subjects were interesting and thought provoking, and the library would meet anyone’s taste, complete with librarian. This is proper cruising, no razzmatazz or gimmicks, just traditional formal nights, sumptuous food and well chosen wines and a feeling everyone simply wanted you to enjoy yourselves Saga Sapphire is an old ship, but she is immaculately kept and polished to within a inch of her life morning, noon and night. At every port a free shuttle bus service to the town is available unless the berth is literally in the town centre We were incredibly lucky to see the Northern Lights on three separate nights due to high levels of sunspot activity and on our official included trip to “hunt” the Lights in a dark sky area we were treated to an hour long display of the Northern Lights which were absolutely breathtaking Overall we had a wonderful cruise, seeing the Lights was the proverbial icing on the cake Let’s be clear, Saga isn’t the cheapest cruise provider, but the quality of their cruise experience is truly 5star and on an all inclusive cruise like this you genuinely don’t need to spend any money for the whole cruise unless of course you choose to go on optional excursions The real test is would we Cruise with Saga again; in our case the answer is definitely yes. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Just completed the cruises in search of the Northern Lights. Embarkation was very slick and easy, having been picked up from home and transported to Dover by a very efficient and professional driver. A great added bonus with Saga. Cabin ... Read More
Just completed the cruises in search of the Northern Lights. Embarkation was very slick and easy, having been picked up from home and transported to Dover by a very efficient and professional driver. A great added bonus with Saga. Cabin was large, (inside deck 7) bigger than the normal cruise liners we have sailed on like HAL, RCL etc. Decor not quiet up to a brand new cruise ship but plenty of space for hanging clothes and draws . Shower and toilet efficient and clean if a little smaller than the top cruise liners. Dining and entertainment were superb. Top quality, attentive and pleasant staff and all inclusive in restaurants and drinks. The Sapphire was above the mainstream cruise liners and just below the six star Silverseas, Seabourn, Viking cruises which we have done. Value for money, quality, ambiance and enjoyment made for a memorable cruise. Not the last time we will sail with Saga, who have two new ships coming into service. Do not let Saga’s reputation for catering for the very old put you off, this is not true. Whilst it is for the over 50’s the age profile was no different to those other lines like Silverseas, Seabourn, Viking. It did cater very well for those with mobility issues, but I have seen many more mobility scoooters on Caribbean cruises. Lots of people got up dancing to great dance music in both the main Britannia lounge and the Drawing Room. Sunday lunchtime was just fabulous. Lunchtime jazz in the drawing room followed by transitional sunday lunch in the main dining room. Just idyllic. Entertainment was outstanding. Great lectures by Gary Fildes on the Northern Lights and astronomy in general. Had 700 pax enthralled. The cruise was well worth the money just to listen to him speak. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We are seasoned cruisers and chose this 4 night cruise to introduce friends to the joys of cruising. We couldn’t have made a better choice. Like most of our previous cruises, the food was excellent as was the entertainment, but where ... Read More
We are seasoned cruisers and chose this 4 night cruise to introduce friends to the joys of cruising. We couldn’t have made a better choice. Like most of our previous cruises, the food was excellent as was the entertainment, but where they differed was for the price - the level of service was first class, you could almost believe there were more waiters than guests in the buffet restaurant! There was an inclusive drinks package, which covered generic spirits and a few cocktails. But they were willing to extend this to a particular named sherry when we pointed out that there was no choice offered of a generic one. This is just an illustration of their “can do” attitude. The cheapest cabin which we had, was the largest one we had seen for the price. The Asian themed restaurant was a gourmet dining experience at no extra charge. We are sorry that the Saga Sapphire is to be replaced soon, but we will be cruising with Saga in the future. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
First cruise. What I do find misleading you see the adverts from.....we paid double and more. I wish they would set a price. Some back to back (people who were on previous or later tour) were 'phoned up and given a good discount ... Read More
First cruise. What I do find misleading you see the adverts from.....we paid double and more. I wish they would set a price. Some back to back (people who were on previous or later tour) were 'phoned up and given a good discount for including the mini break. We were told they did not discount..........mmmmm Still good holiday, first time cruisers, lovely, lovely staff, happy. Wish I was back. The Reception staff, not tour booking. I found when I asked a question I was told in your Ship's newsletter, we had not been cruising before. They could have told us there and then. They did their job, but listening to how they dealt with older people, got the impression not a happy group. Perhaps need fresh people....sign on desk, this ship is full, no change of cabins. Fortnately we were pleased with our cabin. On a tour, a guide told us that a ship is never fall. Little negatives....which let down the otherwise lovely, happy and excellent team. Saga get your pricing realistic to the cost.....the from........hearing don't do discounts but two couples told us they stayed on because they were given a deal.......make all staff happy. Lovely to deal with. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Did a lot of research before hand, as we new nothing about cruising, and chose Saga because, to win all the awards they have, they must be doing it right. We were not disappointed. From pick up from our door to return to home, our whole ... Read More
Did a lot of research before hand, as we new nothing about cruising, and chose Saga because, to win all the awards they have, they must be doing it right. We were not disappointed. From pick up from our door to return to home, our whole experience was way above our expectations.Embarkation was quick and easy, cabin very clean and bigger than expected with more than enough storage space. The food was of a very good standard, with plenty of choice. Entertainment overall was good.The service throughout was excellent,with all the crew being very polite and helpful. although the sapphire is classed as a small ship, it certainly didn't feel like it to us . Disembarkation was very slick and smooth, yes, there is a waiting time, but you know in advance your app. time to go. all in all a very enjoyable holiday, and yes we will go with saga again in the future. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
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
Best of the Baltic cruise, Saga Sapphire, 8th - 23rd September, 2016 Checked in at 3.15 in Dover. A very nice outside cabin, 7038, and just a short walk to Reception, the Aviators bar, and the Pole to Pole restaurant. We sailed at 4.00 ... Read More
Best of the Baltic cruise, Saga Sapphire, 8th - 23rd September, 2016 Checked in at 3.15 in Dover. A very nice outside cabin, 7038, and just a short walk to Reception, the Aviators bar, and the Pole to Pole restaurant. We sailed at 4.00 and, not long after clearing Dover harbour, we were treated by Saga to a 15 minute flying display by two Spitfire fighter aircraft from Biggin Hill. Amazing! This was our third voyage on Saga Sapphire in 2 years, and it was rather nice to see familiar faces amongst the staff and to be greeted by name. Our prior (excellent) experiences were repeated on this 15 day voyage.....excellent service, good food and quality complimentary wines. If you wished, you could order wines from the standard wine list, with a £10 per bottle discount,but the complimentary wines were so good that this would only be necessary for celebrating a very special occasion. We visited seven ports, Stockholm, Helsinki, St Petersburg, Tallin, Ventspils, Gdansk and Wismar.....all interesting destinations although Ventspils is probably still climbing the learning curve for tourism. It was our second visit there and my wife and quite like its quirkiness (especially the bovine street art!) We were also impressed with the flower displays all around town. With calm seas and slight winds for the whole voyage, we could not have wished for better on this cruise holiday. Just a few spots of rain for 20 minutes in St Petersburg, and that was the totally of 'bad' weather. I have to mention the efforts of the catering staff and the hard work they put in for lunchtime events outdoors on the Verandah terrace, and for the fabulous Russian Buffet that was put in place in the Pole to Pole restaurant on our overnight stop in St Petersburg. The entertainment was of high quality. We enjoyed the Greek classical guitarist, Dimitris Davakallis, and the Polish violinist. Michael Bacala who each gave two excellent performances. Also aboard were the Think Pink Duo (Marta and Gabi Onali) from Rumania and, along with many other guests, enjoyed dancing to their music late at night in the Drawing Room. They very kindly burnt us a CD of some of their recordings so that we can continue enjoying their music post-cruise. This was a truly enjoyable holiday. Thankyou Saga.y kindly burnt us a CD of some of their recordings so that we can continue enjoying their music post-cruise. This was a truly enjoyable holiday. Thankyou Saga. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Our first ever cruise and couldn't fault it. So good we've booked another cruise on Saga Sapphire for May next year whilst on board. Spotlessly clean cabin on arrival and our cabin steward kept is so for all the cruise. ... Read More
Our first ever cruise and couldn't fault it. So good we've booked another cruise on Saga Sapphire for May next year whilst on board. Spotlessly clean cabin on arrival and our cabin steward kept is so for all the cruise. Exemplary service. Food excellent and very varied menu. Opted for the 'open dining' option and found this the best way to meet people. Entertainment generally very good, with the 4 piece string quartet and pianist in the bars excellent. Organisation from collection from home to return first rate. Shore excursions were very well organised and advance informative talks given 1-2 days before arrival. Lots of lectures on various subjects to keep you occupied during at sea days. Very good on-board library. WiFi on board free through-out the ship, but can be a bit slow due to being on a satellite link. Best port of call was Arendal, only small but very interesting and easy to get to without need of shuttle bus. Except for St Petersburg (due to visa requirements) shuttle bus for port best option. Tallinn was crowded, but 3 other cruise ships docked at same time. Enjoyed the galley tour with George Streeter the chef - very informative. The weather was generally good, and the captain gave advance notice of some slightly choppy waters after Stockholm so everyone was prepared. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
Recently returned from Baltic Capitals cruise on board Saga Sapphire which was our first experience with Saga. Everything from being collected at the door to returning home was extremely well organised and went smoothly. The cabin on deck ... Read More
Recently returned from Baltic Capitals cruise on board Saga Sapphire which was our first experience with Saga. Everything from being collected at the door to returning home was extremely well organised and went smoothly. The cabin on deck 10 which was adapted as I am a wheelchair user was a good size with a large wet room and balcony, ideal! The food, and there is plenty of variation, was excellent and always served with a smile. Entertainment was in the main of a high standard and there were plenty of activities on board. Shore excursions are not cheap but are well organised, but there are shuttle buses in the ports that are for the passengers who wish to adventure on their own.Saga Sapphire is a lovely ship with a very happy helpful crew who make sure your cruise is a happy one. All in all a wonderful experience and looking forward to our next cruise on Sapphire. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
We wanted to visit the fjords and see the Midnight Sun and wanted to cruise on Sapphire again, so of course opted for this cruise. It was excellent from start to finish. Booking was easy over the phone. The door to door transport was ... Read More
We wanted to visit the fjords and see the Midnight Sun and wanted to cruise on Sapphire again, so of course opted for this cruise. It was excellent from start to finish. Booking was easy over the phone. The door to door transport was really good and embarkation simple and quick. In no time at all we were on board and shown to our cabin which was as expected. We felt at home straightaway and headed on up to our favourite bar where we were greeted by the same smiling bar staff from our previous cruise. It was the same for the rest of the cruise. We chose to eat mainly in the waited-on restaurant, Pole to Pole, and as we prefer to eat alone in the evening were given a fixed table for two. However the table was not to our liking, but, no problem, the Maitre d' Kirsten changed it for us to one we were completely happy with. We had lovely food, not a bad meal all the way through, ,and a good choice of courses. The waiting staff were excellent, nothing was too much trouble, and we were greeted by the same friendly faces as last year. Show entertainment is not our thing so we preferred to go up to the drawing room after dinner for quiet drinks, laid back music and quizzing! Service all through the ship was excellent, we wanted for nothing, from the early tea-tray brought by the steward to the turned down bed at night with the chocolate on our pillows. The ports we visited were interesting, although we feel some of the excursions were too expensive for what they were. It was good to have the free shuttle bus service at the ports where we had not booked a trip. Unlike a previous reviewer we felt we had enough information about the itinerary and we did get to see the fjords and the Midnight Sun. In fact it seemed as though the previous reviewers had been on a different cruise to us! We have already put our names down for another cruise on Sapphire in 2018 and eagerly await the new brochure. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Trying a cruise on my own for the first time. Embarkation and disembarkation always goes so smoothly and I found no difficulty being on my own. There are Saga staff to help if needed. It was a great success. From the first moments ... Read More
Trying a cruise on my own for the first time. Embarkation and disembarkation always goes so smoothly and I found no difficulty being on my own. There are Saga staff to help if needed. It was a great success. From the first moments before sailing the entertainment crew- Abby -a dancer and Richard a gentleman host came and chatted as I was sitting on my own. I was seated at meals with other single passengers and made many friends. The food was fantastic as usual. My cabin was very comfortable. I would advise any ladies to take their own hairdryer if needed as I found it quite difficult with arthritic hands to keep my finger constantly on the button to use it. The showtime group were very professional. This was my third cruise on Sapphire and I would not hesitate to travel on my own again. The included chauffeur service from home was perfect. It is so nice to not see your luggage until it is in your cabin! I am ready to book on Sapphire next year once again! Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
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
This was our second Saga cruise and easily met our expectations. I should say that my wife and I were looking for relaxation and not necessarily with the need to go ashore at each port visited. The trip itself was not without problems but ... Read More
This was our second Saga cruise and easily met our expectations. I should say that my wife and I were looking for relaxation and not necessarily with the need to go ashore at each port visited. The trip itself was not without problems but this made no difference to our personal enjoyment of the holiday. Saga offer an inclusive taxi collect from home and this helps make the embarkation experience so, so much easier. The Dover operation was pretty slick and we were quickly in our cabin ready for the off. Day 2 of the voyage was a sailing day (Dover - Mantoir (for St. Nazaire)) and this is where the only problem of the voyage arose. One of the engines was found to have water in the sump and required to be shut down hence an extended voyage time which affected the whole itinerary. Day 3 in Mantoir. We, as planned, stayed on board which was just as well. The temperature was around the 32 centigrade mark and most unpleasant and other passengers told is that it was extremely unpleasant on the excursion buses. I had looked at Mantoir on Wikipedia and a one line description informed it to be a port handling liquid methane - nothing else in the description. Confirmed as a pretty depressing place. Day 4 should have been a visit to La Pallice for La Rochelle but the engine problem caused a delay so this visit dropped off the itinerary and the ship sailed direct to Bordeaux. In fairness to Saga, as compensation to their passengers, free wine (plus beer and soft drinks) was given at lunch and dinner. I do not think that you can be fairer than that! Day 5 in Bordeaux. There was the small issue here of insufficient draft for the Sapphire due to unusually low water levels in the river. Shuttle bus service to Bordeaux town was efficient but unfortunately only went to the commercial area and not to the historic area of the city. This was the nearest Saturday to the Bastille Day celebrations so the parades could only be seen from the bus. Bordeaux itself on a Saturday afternoon is, sadly, not a lot different to any large town in the UK. The shops are pretty much the same (chain shops prevalent) and the area full of teenagers. Day 6 sailing Bordeaux to Guernsey. Day 7 spent in St Peter Port, Guernsey. This was our first experience of transfer to shore by tender which I have to say was run extremely well with passenger safety paramount. It was only the passengers that made it difficult. Day 8 arrival at Dover. Again, a slick operation for disembarkation with breakfast to taxi in about 2.5 hours.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
I didn't want to go abroad, what's wrong with the mainland. I didn't want to cruise, I'd been seasick on the Coronia floating around Scarborough 50 years ago, and I certainly didn't want to have a dinner jacket on, ... Read More
I didn't want to go abroad, what's wrong with the mainland. I didn't want to cruise, I'd been seasick on the Coronia floating around Scarborough 50 years ago, and I certainly didn't want to have a dinner jacket on, ever. I was on holiday after all, and had to wear a suit and tie to the office for 38 years. All I can say is that I became entranced, mesmerised, converted and absolutely over whelmed by the experience from the moment of booking, just listening to my wife completing the booking was enough. (I'm not idle, just very deaf) Everything was absolutely superb, from being picked up at home, the food, the cabin, the staff, the price, the captain's comments as we watched him park the boat at the docks, and most of all the attitude of the staff to passengers who were not as agile as they used to be, who had wheelchairs, zimmer frames, dementia, very bad eyesight or a need just to be quiet and have a rest with no question of getting off the boat at all. Needless to say we've booked another cruise next Spring, a fly cruise on a Saga holiday using other boats as it is Canada and Alaska, and are looking at other Sapphire cruises, who cares where they are going to, just let's get cruising whilst we are still able to, there are no catering for you when you've departed this earth! Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
This was my first cruise with Saga, a 2 week voyage around the Baltic. I had read earlier postings about this ship, both positive and negative, but approached the journey with an open mind about what to expect. The review is from a ... Read More
This was my first cruise with Saga, a 2 week voyage around the Baltic. I had read earlier postings about this ship, both positive and negative, but approached the journey with an open mind about what to expect. The review is from a fit-and-able 69 year old travelling with his wife, and with a first career as a merchant navy deck officer. We did not use the door to door chauffeur service, but drove to Dover arriving a few minutes after the 1.00 pm earliest check-in time. After dropping off the luggage with a porter, and parking the car 50 metres from the check-in area, we took the escalator to the first floor of the terminal building, were photographed and issued with our cruise card, and waited about 10 minutes to be called forward for boarding. This process was leisurely, smooth and hassle free……..quite unlike our experience 3 weeks earlier with P&O at Southampton on a seventeen-night Med cruise, when the process was like a cattle market! On boarding we were met and welcomed by one of the housekeeping staff who showed us to our cabin and settled us in. We had an outside cabin on Deck 5 – well equipped and spacious. There were no tea-making facilities (which we wouldn’t normally use anyway) but with room-service available there was no need for this, and of course it removes a health and safety hazard. I was conscious of earlier reviews about smells and, yes, the atmosphere has a taint to it…….but the Sapphire does not qualify for the title of “Auld Reekie”! The ship is over 30 years old, a little bit worn, but is well-looked after (a bit like me I guess) but the deck and housekeeping staff work hard to keep the premises in very good condition. Some days you won’t notice the smell. The public rooms are fine. Deck 11 has the Drawing Room which is very popular as you can easily make yourself a cuppa and have a piece of cake or a biscuit throughout the day. Because it is popular you may not always be able to find a seat if you are in a group. Quizzes and entertainment take place there too, both on sea and port days. Deck 8 has the Britannia Lounge, used for lectures, port talks, shows, and afternoon tea at 4.15. Unlike the monster cruise ships there is no space for a purpose-built theatre with all the bells and whistles that you’ll find on Cunard ships and the larger P&O vessels. The Britannia is multi-purpose so compromises have to be expected. The entertainment on this voyage was fine. I saw the Rossina Quartet, the resident Duo, and the Stars on Strings (marionettes) show. All were very good. There were other shows (dance and vocalist team, a violinist, magician) and I heard positive feedback about them. The theme for this cruise was Art and Antiques – my daughter suggested that I might be the antique – and on board were three of the experts from the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow, with their wives. Passengers had been invited to bring along a family treasure for evaluation, and a couple of clinics were set up in the Drawing Room. These clinics were well-subscribed, with the more interesting of the items being used for a presentation by the team on the homeward leg of the voyage. It was a successful formula and it worked well. My only criticism was that the 3 couples stuck together like limpets when on board, eating together at all mealtimes rather than circulating and talking with passengers informally. Others in the entertainment team did that, and it was much appreciated. The dining experience and environment was excellent. George Streeter, the Executive Chef, put on great menus with excellently prepared food. He was noticeable by his visibility around the restaurants, ensuring that all was well. Towards the end of the cruise there were mixed comments that I heard about the itinerary, which had one variation to the advertised programme, due to a problem with an electrical generator that resulted in a delay in being given permission to enter the Kiel Canal on the outward journey. From my perspective, this was serendipity at work. Instead of a night-time transit we actually went through the canal during daylight hours, far, far more interesting, especially as the weather was hot and sunny. OK, it meant that the time in Stockholm was curtailed and we had just an afternoon in Stockholm. But that was just fine, too, because we did the Archipelago pilotage into Stockholm on a clear hot morning. Absolutely beautiful. Because of the unforeseen changes to the itinerary, Saga made arrangements for passengers to have some free ‘benefits in kind’ as compensation for any disappointment caused. I thought the whole situation was handled very well indeed. Excursion options were plentiful. We generally do excursions under our steam, but for St Petersburg this was not practicable – a Russian visa is required to tour independently. We did two half day trips at £49 per head and thought that we had good value for money. The tour guides on both trips were knowledgeable, solicitous, and were clearly understandable…..although a cruise companion had the opposite experience on the Hermitage evening tour. The tour escorts (members of the entertainments team) also did a good job in rounding up stragglers and ensuring that nobody got lost or left behind! Finally, our experience with the staff in the restaurants, bars and housekeeping was very positive. The barkeeper at the Aviators Bar put it like this: “My job is to give you joy; if you have no enjoyment then you won’t come with us again and then I may have no job”. I don’t know how other crew members saw their roles, but I have to say that the Filipino staff were the embodiment of customer service……attentive, caring, friendly, cheerful….there was nothing that was too much trouble. Maybe it helped that I knew (and used) a few words and phrases of Tagalog, but I don’t feel that we were singled out for any extra attention. I am now an Ambassador for Saga Cruises.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
Where can I start! A truly magical holiday, made even more so by the (mostly) fabulous weather, magnificent scenery, beautiful ship and very attentive staff and the food, oh the food - wonderful! Our cabin (5072) was very well appointed ... Read More
Where can I start! A truly magical holiday, made even more so by the (mostly) fabulous weather, magnificent scenery, beautiful ship and very attentive staff and the food, oh the food - wonderful! Our cabin (5072) was very well appointed and much bigger than we had imagined it would be. Plenty of room to move around easily, even in the bathroom. Lots of storage space in the triple wardrobe and chest of drawers. The in cabin fridge is an excellent feature if you want to keep your mini bar gin cold! A point to note about the cabin is there was only one three pin plug socket so if you need to plug in more than one electrical item you'll need to bring an adapter or borrow one from reception. Norway is not a destination we had really considered cruising to but are so glad we did. The stunning scenery and being able to berth in the heart of some lovely cities and Fjordland villages was a pleasure. Not an industrial dock in sight! I know Saga can't lay claim to providing great weather and calm waters (though I'd like to think they can!) but it was a wonderful added bonus to the cruise. Who'd have thought we'd be sitting out on the Verandah deck in the sunshine in early May with just a cardigan on - not us! A particular favourite destination was Flåm. We had a fantastic trip on the Flåm Railway and took some fabulous photographs of the Fjords that were perfectly mirrored in the flat calm water of Aurlandsfjord on our departure. The Saga Sapphire is a lovely ship with very good, well thought out public areas. The decor is very tasteful with some beautiful features and quirky art work. The fish sculpture at reception on deck 7 descending to deck 5 is unusual and delightful and a great focal point. We only just qualify by age to cruise with Saga and though we didn't need any assistance at all, the staff bend over backwards to help. We witnessed several passengers being helped whether it was with a mobility problem, a query or even carrying a plate of food or a drink. Saga should be very proud that their staff treat these elderly customers with dignity and respect. Our cabin stewardess was a delight, always smiling whenever we saw her. And now for the food! Absolutely superb. Every meal was delicious and it was a pleasure to ask for a medium and medium rare steak and get just that! It was very difficult to choose from the delicious starters, salads, soups, main courses and deserts. The petit fours at the end of dinner every night are a must and a lovely touch - just remember to leave a little room for them! The only improvement to the Sapphire would be a passenger laundry room. Not a problem on a short cruise but from experience it would be an asset on a longer one. All in all a brilliant cruise and now looking forward to saving for the next one. Well done Saga!   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
Having enjoyed more than 350 days at sea on various SAGA vessels and thus being a long standing and very satisfied customer it is sad to report the gradual and irritating continuing reduction in standards (not reflected in the continuing ... Read More
Having enjoyed more than 350 days at sea on various SAGA vessels and thus being a long standing and very satisfied customer it is sad to report the gradual and irritating continuing reduction in standards (not reflected in the continuing high prices). Without exception the crew are magnificent and the cleanliness and appointment of the public rooms and my cabin could not be faulted. However:- Although we enjoy priority embarkation it was over 5 hours before our baggage was delivered to our cabin - almost 2 hour after sailing. A formal complaint on board and later to the Chief Executive produced the same lame excuse - such a lot of passengers!!! Presumably the vessel has been loaded before! After 7 days our chosen wine ran out, 7 days later our second and third choices also ran out. (Same experience on Quest for Adventure in June). Also, unbelievably, ran our of cheese biscuits after 14 days. Table steward unable to bring the cheese trolley to our table "because of the step/ramp" but this did not prevent the Sommelier wheeling his drinks trolley around the tables. Apart from the classical quartet the professional entertainment was very second rate. Port visits were too short on most occasions and excursions expensive for what they were. Chauffeur car arrangements excellent but an untraceable and seemingly unnecessary Answerphone message 24 hours before departure advising an unacceptable timing change did cause concern and necessitate several telephone calls to confirm the original agreement. The inclusive Travel Insurance is ridiculously restrictive and inflexible with no exclusions allowed. Judging by the age and physical/medical state of many of the passengers there must be a lot of undisclosed pre-exisiting conditions. Why oh why must we endure the same mixture of vegetables and almost every meal. Despite these criticisms we have two cruises booked for 2014 and two advanced reservations for 2015 so SAGA must be doing something right!!!!! We love the convenience of UK departures and the friendliness of the crew, many of whom we have known for several years Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
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
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 ... Read More
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 Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
My wife and I(we)selected the Saga shared chauffeur I don't really want to drive for 4-5 hours when there is an option. We were originally due to be picked up at 10.10 on the Friday. A phone call from a Saga employee the day before ... Read More
My wife and I(we)selected the Saga shared chauffeur I don't really want to drive for 4-5 hours when there is an option. We were originally due to be picked up at 10.10 on the Friday. A phone call from a Saga employee the day before informed me the ship had been delayed in Ireland due to bad weather and to prevent me being in Dover too early the pick up would be 12.10. On the Friday at 12.25 with the non arrival of the transport we rang Saga, a short delay and we were informed he would arrive at our address within 5-10 minutes . 5 minutes later it arrived. Drivers will note leaving the East Midlands area, heading to Dover, on a Friday is not the ideal time (even without the accidents) as the delay at the Thames crossing and the M20 proved, but we arrived at the Dover Cruise Terminal at 18.30. As most passengers (705 maximum)had already boarded our embarkation was extremely swift. Our cases arrived in our cabin (shortly after we practiced our sinkinh ship procedure before we left port)the last time I had handled them was putting them outside the door as the shared transport arrived. Our cabin was spacious, compared to our previous ones and this time we had a balcony - small, but serviceable, as long as you only want to sit in a chair and read. Free water and fruit and as previously mentioned (Diane) no kettle but FREE room service. This is a Saga cruise 50+. There were some older than us (57 and 61)but we met two older couples and due to the size of the ship encountered them often. They made our holiday. Not everyone has a stick or wheelchair. One of the benefits of the Sapphire is evening dining is between, 18.45 and 21.00. No sittings, arrive at the restaurant (Pole to Pole or The Verandah)and, seating available, eat. Should you want the East to West restaurant it has to be booked, asap is my advice (See the daily newspaper for times when you can do so) The food is excellent.On the excursions you are well looked after. No danger at all of beingf left behind in Norway. No they aren't cheap but excursions never are and you learn a lot more by going on them. Disembarkation was a dream. Your number was called (provided in a newsletter the night before) you went to the exit, pointed to your luggage, a porter placed it on a trolley and took it to your transport home, brilliant. We have cruised before on other Cruise lines(not them all certainly) This was our best yet. Did I mention the free "Mr Whippy" type ice cream cones on the pool deck where they also served fish, chips and mushy peas? Probably not, it was a memory of a marvellous holiday along with many more Saga provide this year. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
This was our first cruise and it surpassed our expectations. Enjoyed it immensly, even though the majority of the passengers were in their 60's and 70's, with a few in their 80's. There were not as many wheelchairs and ... Read More
This was our first cruise and it surpassed our expectations. Enjoyed it immensly, even though the majority of the passengers were in their 60's and 70's, with a few in their 80's. There were not as many wheelchairs and walking sticks as I expected. The cabin was larger than expected and contained everything we needed, free water and fruit, plenty of wardrobe space, bathroom with large shower, plenty of space under the kingsize bed for suitcases. Lots of nooks and crannies and nice dressing table area with adjacent british socket for hairdryer. Bathrobes (but no slippers) and TV with integral DVD player. No tea and coffee facilities in room but this was not a problem as there was free room service. Good Sound insulation. Food was very good, excellent choice at breakfast. Look out for barbeque on Verandah if weather is good, as sometimes it is not advertised. The Grill is good for specialty breakfasts and light lunches, salads etc. East to West Restaurant is excellent (I am surprised they did not charge a supplement), this needs to be booked early on in the cruise as there are limited places. Times to book are advertised in the 'Today' newsletter. Excursions expensive but you are really looked after, with a driver, saga rep and also local guide. There are several grades of excursions from easy to strenuous and we heard of some people doing 6 mile hikes! Shows were excellent and the staff are fantastic, very friendly and cannot do enough for you. We met lots of friendly people and as it is a small ship you bump into the same people quite often and we struck up several friendships. Pick up chauffeur service was also excellent, we never touched the suitcases from leaving the house until they appeared outside our cabin. The driver was very courteous and friendly. Norwegian fjords are beautiful, we saw so many waterfalls. Be aware though that Norway is expensive and weather is not great. Read Less
Sail Date July 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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