Saga is expanding its river cruise line with the addition of the 126-passenger Spirit of the Douro which will sail on the namesake Portuguese river. Currently sailing as Nicko Cruises' Douro Serenity, the vessel was constructed in 2017 and will begin sailing for Saga in spring 2024 and be geared to the British over-50 market.
All 63 cabins on Spirit of the Douro face the river and are spread over three passenger decks. The cabins on the lower deck measure 129 square feet and have fixed windows which do not open. All the standard staterooms on the main and upper decks have floor-to-ceiling windows which open to create French balconies, where you can look out rather than step out. The majority of cabins on these two decks measure 150 square feet.
The eight largest cabins are situated on the upper deck at the back of the ship and have a small walk-out veranda in addition to a French balcony. There are six 204-square-foot Junior Suites and a pair of Master Suites, next to each other overlooking the aft, which measure 312 square feet. All cabins can be configured as doubles or twins and have a television, hairdryer, safe and tea and coffee-making facilities. The suites have a larger living area which is part of the main cabin, rather than a separate room, and the pair of Master Suites have bigger bathrooms with a double washbasin.
Public areas include a panoramic lounge bar, located forward on the upper deck, and a restaurant directly below on the middle deck that can seat all passengers in one sitting. There is a small gym, on the lower deck, and a gift shop next to reception on the middle deck. There are loungers and shaded areas to sit on the sun deck, where there is also a splash pool.
A lift serves all decks and the Spirit of the Douro is notable as there is a chair lift up to the sun deck -- on the majority of river vessels the sun deck can only be reached by stairs.
Like sister Saga ships, Spirit of the Rhine and Spirit of the Danube, the Spirit of the Douro offers an all-exclusive cruise aimed at passengers from the U.K. This "silver service" package includes all dining, drinks, daily excursions, Wi-Fi and gratuities, plus a complimentary chauffer service from home to the airport -- or St Pancras railway station for trips involving Eurostar -- and back.
The ship will debut on March 21, 2024, and sail on the seven-night Douro Explorer round-trip Porto cruise.
Between March and November the ship will sail on the classic week-long Douro cruise from Porto to the Spanish border and back with ports of call including Regua, Pinhao and Barca d'Alva. Additionally, there is a 10-night itinerary that includes three nights in the Portuguese capital Lisbon followed by the Douro cruise. All sailings include a day trip to the Spanish city of Salamanca.
The ship measures 262 feet and carries 126 passengers at full occupancy with 30 crew.