By Jeannine Williamson
Cruise Critic Contributor
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating: Cabins

As an older vessel, Saga Pearl II has plenty of character, which in turn means it does not feature the type of "identikit" cabins you find on modern ships. The good news is that single passengers get a fantastic deal and are not relegated to tiny, interior cabins resembling broom cupboards. There are 57 singles that are the same size as doubles and some have balconies (a luxury virtually unheard of with the majority of single cabins on other vessels) and with all the same amenities as other cabins. Other cabin categories are also larger than you might normally expect, with Superior cabins that would probably be described as suites by some lines. The downside is that Saga Pearl II has a bewildering range of cabin categories -- 22 in total -- which probably explains why many repeat passengers book exactly the same cabin time after time.

All 258 cabins feature light and dark wood with a nautical blue, white and cream colour scheme that is easy on the eye and creates a traditional look.

They all have air conditioning, a telephone, hair dryer, wardrobe with plenty of wooden hangers that are not fixed to the rail, small fridge, safe, full-length mirror, shower (some also have bath tubs or a shower and bath) and a useful pair of binoculars. The flat-screen TV includes a DVD player an in addition to a small selection of channels, including the BBC, it shows films and classic TV programme's such as "Dad's Army" and "The Two Ronnies", plus a live broadcast of lectures and shows in the Discovery Lounge. The TV can also be used to display the ship's position and the view from the webcam on the bow. All cabin categories have robes and fresh fruit on arrival. There is plenty of drawer and cupboard space, and suitcases can be stowed beneath beds. However, it would have been useful if the wardrobe had included a full-length section for long dresses. The onboard voltage is 220v, with U.K. three-pin sockets, and there are ample sockets set at good levels next to the dressing table/desk unit and above bedside cabinets. Lighting in cabins is good, and includes bedside reading lights.

All bathrooms contain a mirror-fronted bathroom cabinet containing shelves and decent-sized glass, rather than plastic, tooth mugs. There are four shelves on the bathroom wall to stow toiletries on the bathroom wall, plus hooks on the back of the door and other hanging rails in the bathroom for robes and towels. Cabins with baths have a glass shower screen (if they are combined with an overhead shower), grab rail and good-size soap rack. Citras-branded toiletries in all cabins come in generous 200ml bottles, and each product is a different colour, making them easy to identify. There is shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, lotion and antibacterial hand wash. They are produced exclusively for Saga by Clarity, a charity that provides employment for sight-impaired people.

Passengers in Superior Cabins and Suites get perks including butler service, mini-bar stocked with drinks and pre-dinner canapes.

Oddly, for a British ship, there aren't kettles in the rooms. However, when we ordered early morning tea from room service it arrived in the time it would have taken to make a brew.

Cabin stewards are on duty from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., and provide morning cleaning and nightly turndown service (complete with chocolate on the pillow), in addition to any other requests, such as extra pillows. Each day they leave a copy of the ship's Today programme and Britain Today (a potted daily newspaper) in the cabin.

Interior:Interior cabins are available in five categories. They are Single Inside PS and MS cabins, which are located on the lowest B Deck and A Deck respectively and measure 139 square feet. The PS cabins are either located closest to the fore and aft lifts or next to the self-service launderettes. Double and Twin Inside cabins for two passengers are divided into PP, P and M, with the first two categories situated on B Deck and the M cabins on A Deck. They measure 139 square feet. A total of 11 cabins across these three categories are fixed doubles and all the rest can be configured as doubles or twins. The PP cabins are located aft and the P cabins situated forward. The M cabins, which comprise the largest number of the double and twin interior cabins, are situated both forward and aft.

Oceanview: Comprising seven categories, outside cabins make up the majority of the accommodation on Saga Pearl II and are spread across three decks. Single Outside cabins, in category LS and KS and measuring 139 square feet are situated on B Deck and A Deck respectively. There are three categories of Double/Twin Outside cabins, L, K and KK, which measure 139 square feet and are located on B Deck and A Deck, some of which have fixed double beds. Double/Twin Superior category I cabins, measuring 279 square feet, are situated on A Deck. Ten have a bath with an overhead shower and two, numbers 232 and 233, are situated close to reception and designated wheelchair-adapted cabins. They offer easy access and plenty of storage for wheelchairs, a large bathroom with a shower stool and grab handles on the toilet and shower, plus amenities that include a wardrobe rail that can be lowered to wheelchair height by pulling a rod at the side. There are six H category Double/Twin Superior cabins on either side of the Boat Deck. These cabins located midship are slightly unusual as instead of facing over the side of the boat they look out onto the deck, so occupants need to be aware that crew members or other passengers might be walking by and so they need to draw the curtains during the daytime if they want privacy.

Balcony: The balcony and promenade cabins are all situated on the Bridge Deck and come in three different categories, including singles. The three GS Single Superior cabins, measuring 182 square feet, are located midship, two port and one starboard, all have a bath with overhead shower and a glass door leading to a private promenade deck area shared with the double/twin G category cabins. It should be noted that lifeboats obstruct the view. The six neighbouring cabins, that share the promenade and have partially obstructed views, are the G Double/Twin Superior cabins. They measure 182 square feet, also with glass doors leading outside and a bath with overhead shower. Also on the Bridge Deck are the pair of F Double Superior cabins situated aft close to the Sundowner Bar and sun deck, which measure 279 square feet and have fixed double beds and a bath with separate shower.

Suite:There are 18 spacious suites in seven different categories, which are all situated on the upper Boat and Bridge Decks. Solo passengers who want to push the boat out can opt for one of the four Single Suites, categorised as CS (on the Boat Deck) or BS (on the Bridge Deck), which measure 236 square feet. The pair of CS cabins are located forward, port and starboard, and have a bath with overhead shower and private balcony. The BS single suites, situated aft close to the Sundowner Bar and sun deck, have a bath with separate shower and private balcony.

The six category E Junior Suites, measuring 258 square feet, are situated forward on the port and starboard on the Boat Deck. They all have private balconies, bath with overhead shower and can be configured as king-sized double or twin cabins. The three category D Junior Suites, also measuring 258 square feet, are located forward on the port side of the uppermost Bridge Deck and share an outdoor terrace, so would suit passengers who are happy to sit outside and be sociable with their neighbours. They all have a bath with overhead shower. The central cabin has a fixed double bed and the two outer cabins can be configured as twins or doubles. It should be noted that these three suites have a partially obstructed view.

The pair of Balcony Suites, which measure 419 square feet, are located forward on either side of the Boat Deck and have a bath with separate shower and can both be configured as king-sized double or twin cabins.

Also on the Boat Deck are the pair of Grand Suites, which measure 430 square feet and are the largest on the ship. Situated forward, with private balconies and a fantastic "captain's eye" view over the prow, these were our favourite cabins on the ship.

The Owner's Suite, which measures 376 square feet, is located forward on the starboard side of the Bridge Deck and benefits from a huge private terrace (the same size as the communal one shared by the three Junior Suites situated on the opposite side). However, it does have a partially obstructed view. This suite has a bath with separate shower and can be configured as a king-sized double or twin cabin.

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Deck:
C Deck
B Deck
A Deck
Promenade Deck
Boat Deck
Bridge Deck
Sun Deck

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