1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. Saga Cruises
  4. Saga Cruises Cruise Reviews

2 Saga Cruises Europe - Eastern Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

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
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
Already Booked?

Get to know who you’ll be sailing with

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click