Saga Cruises Denies New-Build Plans

June 29, 2012
Saga Cruises is considering ordering a new ship, according to reports.

Speaking at the European Cruise Council's annual meeting in Brussels, James Duguid, Commercial Director of Saga Shipping, the company that owns Saga Cruises, said: “We are looking at ordering a new build.”

However, a UK spokesman denied there were any “firm” plans to expand the fleet from the current three ships.

“As a company we are acquisitive. We are always looking to invest. Customers are always wanting new experiences which is what we're giving them on Saga Sapphire and Quest for Adventure.

“We are always on a search to develop and invest in the fleet. There are no firm plans to expand the fleet, but that is not to say we won't.”

Saga has a history of buying old vessels and carrying out extensive refurbishments. It has recently spent £65 million refitting the 31,000-ton, 706-passenger Sapphire, which began life as Europa in 1982.

The ship has been beset with problems since it launched in May, with the maiden voyage having to be cut short due to engine problems. The latest problem to affect it was in Tromso, Norway, earlier this week, when a generator broke down forcing the ship to spend two days in port rather than half a day, as well as skip two ports, Geiranger and Eidfjord, from the scheduled itinerary. A visit to Bergen was also delayed by a day.

In 2010, the line carried out a £14 million refit of what was called Saga Pearl II (now the 18,591-ton, 446-passenger, Quest for Adventure), which began life as Astor in 1981.

Saga spent £17 million on its third ship, the 25,000-ton, 655-passenger Saga Ruby, which began life as the 1973-built Vistafjord.

--by Adam Coulter, U.K. Editor