1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. Saga Cruises
  4. Saga Sapphire Review
  5. Saga Sapphire Cruise Reviews

19 Saga Cruises Saga Sapphire Senior Cruise Reviews

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
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
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
We wanted a short cruise just to try it out - and without kids squawking so we chose Saga. Saga supplies door to door transport - very poor on the way there with a bad driver who nearly got us involved in a major accident but good on the ... Read More
We wanted a short cruise just to try it out - and without kids squawking so we chose Saga. Saga supplies door to door transport - very poor on the way there with a bad driver who nearly got us involved in a major accident but good on the way back. Luggage transfer is smooth - once it is in the car you won't have to haul it around anywhere. We had a balcony cabin - not worth it on the ship as the balconies are about as wide as a window box. The cabin was a good standard, very clean with comfortable bed and a walk in shower. Ship has main Pole to Pole restaurant, Verandah casual (but menu same as Pole to Pole at night), East to West which is extra so we did not try, fish and chips by the pool and afternoon tea in two of the lounges. Food was really excellent - a talented chef on board - amd with plenty of choice. Dinner seven courses if you wanted it - with included house wine which was OK, lunch at Veranda either a choice of three cooked things, barbecue grill or an extensive cold buffet. Very pleasant eating outside here. Saga makes much of tables for two being available - but in reality there are very few. We were lucky, being put with two other people we really got on with. We sat together thoughout There is no tipping on Saga ships.Staff mainly Filipino and apart from odd language problems excellent. If wi fi is important to you avoid this ship as mainly it does not work and the so called computer exper is clueless. Two pools -outdoor very chilly, indoor quite warm. Tea and coffee is help yourself from a machine - which we did not like much. Drawing Room a very nice place to sit. Plenty of loungers around the ship. Clientele definitely on the elderly side - bit like a seagoing care home. Entertainment a bit on the seaside concert party side - and is in one of the large lounges as this ship does not have a theatre. A good choice if you want an easy trip and need to be looked after. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
This review has sections for each of CruiseCritic’s “ tips for writing a great review” except “hotel information” and “children's clubs” which do not apply. CruiseCritic’s scoring, like most review questionnaires, ... Read More
This review has sections for each of CruiseCritic’s “ tips for writing a great review” except “hotel information” and “children's clubs” which do not apply. CruiseCritic’s scoring, like most review questionnaires, rates a series of general aspects, like dining. Helpful though these scores are, they do not allow for specific aspects of the service, some of which may be poor and some excellent. Our ratings are repeated below and followed by an attempt to explain why the overall rating is not the whole story. Background information We are experienced travellers but have previously only cruised three times, twice with P&O and once with Thomson. We are English (as were nearly all our fellow passengers) and now comfortably meet Saga’s over 50 requirement. Our reasons for selecting Saga and the “Celtic Charms” cruise were for the lack of children, the included door to door travel, the included tips and the itinerary. We wanted to see Guernsey and Ireland and this cruise included St Peter Port and five ports in Ireland. It really did offer to go where other cruise lines don’t. Ship information Saga Sapphire is a proper cruise ship as distinct from a giant floating tower-block. It seemed similar in size to P&O’s Artemis and Thomson’s Spirit but smaller than P&O’s Canberra. It lacks a wrap-round promenade. The prom on deck 9 is in two bits but you can walk right round on deck 12 at the top. It has ten passenger decks but two of these, decks 2 and 4 are only partly public, housing an indoor pool, beauty treatment and a lecture room. The Beach Club on deck 11 is worth a mention. It offers self-service ice-cream and sweets, fish & chips, a pool, and deck-chairs, all free but you need to go into the adjoining Drawing Room to find a bar. The ship has a friendly, club atmosphere and as with all Saga, is child free and for the over 50’s (see Onboard Experience). The whole ship was always clean and tidy. Even the public loos looked and smelt like they had not been used. Table cloths were always spotless. We did not normally see any cleaning but when we did, they were taking extra trouble for example, on their knees, vacuuming the cracks in the grating where the lifts join the floor. There were hand cleaning machines and sprays everywhere and they were greatly used. There was quite a lot of banging on the second night. Reception, next morning, offered no explanation and said that we should have reported it at the time. Other passengers more helpfully suggested that it was waves hitting the ship. There was some swaying from side to side the following day but things settled down after that. It’s difficult to compare different ships in different conditions but we’ve had worse in the north sea and in the bay of Biscay. It was our impression that this ship rode rough waters better than some. Cabin Our Rating - Average A review of the cabin is in CruiseCritic’s separate section. Dining Our Rating - Excellent - but Saga Sapphire has two main restaurants but there is little difference between them. The bigger “Pole to Pole” on deck 7 is slightly more formal with a slightly more comprehensive waiter service. The alternative “Grill” on deck 9 has an out-side option, the “Verandah”, weather permitting. There is also a speciality Asian restaurant, “East to West”, also on deck 9 which is free but we had to queue at specific times to get a booking. We only ate there once at a table for two in a spacious, peaceful room with an interesting menu and excellent service, let down a little by the request at the end to say how good it was on our end-of-cruise survey. Dining times could be better. Breakfast often ended at 9:30. With two restaurant options, it should be possible to offer breakfast till at least 10am and preferably 11am. Dining times for lunch and dinner were similarly limited and changed from day to day but we did not find this a problem. There was no late night buffet and the unappetising late bites (hors d'oeuvres) offered in some of the bars were no substitute. Dining arrangements were better than expected and better than other ships we have tried. Although we did not apply for an optional fixed table, we were often able to get a table for two on arrival at “Pole to Pole”. Otherwise, there were usually options to join tables for four, six or eight. At some of the tables, the seating was quite close but we have experienced worse. Only once, did we find ourselves dining in poor company and on that occasion we were soon joined by another couple who lightened the atmosphere. The overall atmosphere in both main restaurants was generally hectic rather than relaxed. There were some quiet areas but mostly waiters and fellow passengers were coming and going around the tables all the time. It was never quiet and the temperature got quite high in some places. On our cruise, heat was not a problem. It did not get warm enough to use the “veranda”. The speciality “East to West” was more spacious and much more peaceful. Restaurant service was consistently polite and attentive. We usually did not have to wait long, either to be seated or at any stage during meals. Aspects of the service were, however, confusing. We could order from a menu, but it was never clear what else was available from the buffet (both restaurants) or even where the buffets were. Waiters would explain, but some of them, presumably because of limited English, gave misleading or unhelpful responses. Sometimes the wrong meal was delivered and when offered coffee and requesting tea, we were likely to get another waiter offering coffee again before tea turned up. Menu choices were good. For breakfast, we have not seen more options anywhere else. Lunch and dinner menus changed daily but it was not clear how many courses there were supposed to be. Soups and salads were all listed under starters and it was not clear which of the main meals needed additional potatoes or vegetables. The waiters would, however, without question, bring anything ordered including items not on the menu. For breakfast, toast, like tea, coffee and fruit juice, was waiter served with a choice of white or brown. It turned up somewhat randomly, before of after what you wanted it with and it was never hot. None of the above points prevented us from getting what we wanted at meal times and all the food was really good. Free wine (reasonable quality red or white with lunch and dinner) and water were topped up regularly and there was tea or coffee with sweeties to finish. The food was, if anything, better than we have had from P&O and much better than Thomson. Finally, further comments about other food and drink options are under “Service” below. Embarkation - including travel to embarkation port Travel Service - our rating would be Good - but it could be better. Travel or parking are included in the cost of a Saga cruise. The people carrier arrived at our home a little early. There were already a couple in it, so we got the rear seats - spacious but not as comfortable as the middle seats or a car. The driver loaded and unloaded our four cases. The journey should only have taken two and a half hours but our fellow travellers wanted to stop once and then the driver wanted to stop again, only half an hour from the port. On arrival, there was a ten minute queue of vehicles waiting to be unloaded. At the head of this queue, on leaving the people carrier, neither the driver nor anyone else were able to advise us, so we followed our luggage. This turned our to be wrong and we were re-directed to another queue. After another few minutes, as we got closer to the head of the queue, it became apparent that it was only for optional photo’s. We then walked straight to a reception desk. Embarkation - Our Rating - Excellent Having got past the unnecessary delays, check-in and boarding were instant. We exchanged our passports for plastic cards, signed a health disclaimer and walked on to the ship. A girl immediately escorted us to our cabin. Here the welcome news-sheet explained what was on, how to register our ship’s cards to our bank card (or credit card for a 1.5% charge) and most importantly where to find the welcome buffet. This was extensive with more than we needed for lunch. There was ample seating, waiters regularly re-filled tea and coffee cups and a string quartet entertained us. On returning to our cabin, two of our cases had arrived and the other two followed within half an hour. Because of bad weather, muster, shortly after returning to our cabin, occurred in the public rooms where we took rather than wore our life-jackets. This was a good deal more civilised than mustering on deck. Activities (enrichment or otherwise) Our Rating - Poor There were some but that is not what were were looking for or expecting from this cruise. We did attend one of the lectures for a bit but it was so uninteresting, we can not even remember the subject. Entertainment Our Rating - Average - just None of the entertainment was annoying and some of it did entertain. The “cruise director”, Jo Boase, did a good job of compering and informing us of what was on. The shows were not as good as on other cruise lines, not helped by the lack of a proper theatre. Irish dancing where the audience can not see the dancers feet is pointless although the music and energy were good enough and there were TV screens dotted around. The “Saga Orchestra” seemed to comprise five musicians - not really enough for a band let alone an orchestra. The sound was quite good but the single saxophone stood out with no other wind instruments. Similarly, the second main act, the “Ocean Duo” relied on one good female voice backed by recorded tracks and an unimpressive male singer-guitarist. This duo might be more entertaining if their repertoire was not so limited. We heard many numbers more than three times. The “cocktail pianist”, Stuart Anderson was entertaining. If anything, too entertaining for a cocktail pianist, especially as he played mostly in “Coopers” bar which is really too small for entertainment. Saga would have done better to deploy Stuart in place of the Ocean Duo and add a pianist to play the untouched grand pianos which were all over the ship. In addition to these acts, there was a classical string quartet, “the Pier” who were good and “Mr Yalba” a speciality music act. His first show was good but not good enough for us to want to see the second. Fitness & Recreation Our Rating - Average This may not be a fair rating as we did not look for or use any fitness facilities. There was some equipment and an indoor pool in the bowels of the ship on deck 3. There were also some recreational classes, notably exercising, crafts, dancing and bridge but we did not join in. The promenade on deck 9 is in two bits so you can not promenade around the ship but you can walk right round on deck 12 at the top, where there is crazy-golf and other games. Onboard Experience Our Rating - Good - but In at least two places there were lingering bad smells of drains and or fuel. Fortunately this did not affect our cabin or the public rooms. Each morning, “Today” a four page what's-on plus a four page newspaper summarising UK and world events were delivered to our cabin. “Today” was a great help in planning each day. We were treated to three “cocktail parties” where bubbly or soft drinks flowed and staff officers circulated. They were pleasant enough get-to-gethers but there were no actual cocktails. We are in our seventies but our fellow travellers seemed old. Walking sticks and walking frames were everywhere. This did make progress slow on the gangways and shuttle buses but having said that, there was normally no problem getting around the ship. When the weather was bad, staff helpfully escorted the numerous, partially disabled around and this did slow things down. There were, however, none of the crushes to get to the best seats that we have experienced on other ships. Our cruise seemed more like a floating care home than a floating holiday camp. The passengers were universally polite, good humoured and not down market. We developed quite close relationships with several passengers and had interesting conversations with many more. Public Rooms Our Rating - Average Saga Sapphire has two large public rooms, the Britannia Lounge on deck 8 and the Drawing Room on deck 11 plus two smaller rooms, the Aviator Lounge on deck 7 and Coopers Bar on deck 8. There is also an under cover outside bar at the Verandah on deck 9. The Britannia Lounge has assorted comfortable seating mostly with tables. There is no tiered seating, the stage is not very high and much of the entertainment uses the dance floor. So, it’s good for listening to shows but not so good for seeing them. Afternoon tea and the “cocktail parties” are held here when waiters serve the drinks. There is no bar. The Drawing Room is very multi-purpose. Basically it is an observation lounge but it has a library; board games and jig-saws set at small tables; self-service cakes and hot drinks; a bar and a dance floor plus doors out to the forward deck and to the Beach Club. It hosts daytime and evening entertainment. The seating is all upholstered but mixed. There are some comfy armchairs, some less comfortable fitted sofas with too few cushions and other fixed sofas facing the wrong way, away from the windows, dance-floor and performance area - there is no stage. There are some tables but also some space wasting large upholstered boxes which are neither tables nor stools. This room is very different at different times. Mostly, it’s a peaceful observation lounge. Sometimes, when the self-service is available, it’s a busy tea-room. Sometimes it’s an entertainment venue, including classical concerts, quizzes and evening dancing or shows. It was popular and at times difficult to find a seat. The Aviator Lounge is split into two parts with the reception and tour desks in-between. One part has a bar and waiters try to service both sides. The seating is mostly near to windows and comfortable with tables. Coopers Bar is next to the Britannia Lounge. It is small but despite this, on our cruise, was a popular entertainment venue. Waiters imported extra seating and the room became very crowded when Stuart was performing. At other times, it was peaceful and the seating (apart from the bar stools) was comfortable. It was good to find draft real ale, Shepherd Neam’s Spitfire, in all the bars. Service Our Rating - Excellent - but The staff were mostly Filipino and they were universally polite, helpful and friendly. Once or twice, it was not clear whether our request had been understood. For example, meal orders were not always repeated back to us but this is really a minor quibble. We would be pleased to get such good service in England. We did not try the launderette, partly because the laundry service charges were reasonable. £1.50 for a shirt from memory. The results were more than acceptable but the ultra-fussy may want to do a bit of re-ironing. Other aspects of service were not quite as good. Meal times were restricted, particularly breakfast, as mentioned above but on top of that, the availability of other options was unclear. The hot drink machines had restricted hours and the free room service was limited. We did not try ordering food from room service, just late night hot drinks. We could have tea, coffee and biscuits but not a cappuccino. It took two ‘phone calls to establish that cappuccino was only available “when the bar was open” and even then we would have had to pay although a cappuccino would only cost £0.95. Shore Excursions Our Rating - Average - and expensive Because of bad weather, we first went to Cherbourg instead of Guernsey. We then went round Ireland the opposite way, calling at all five ports but in reverse order. Finally, we called at Portland (Weymouth) instead of Ilfracombe before returning to Dover. Captain Julian Burgess was very informative, especially about the changes, saying that we were on a magical mystery cruise. We considered three options for the ports we were to visit, Saga’s optional excursions, booking advance tickets or making our own way (d.i.y.). We settled for two of Saga’s excursions and d.i.y. on the day for the rest. Just as well we did not book advance tickets as we did not visit two ports and the other five were all on different dates. We had been tempted by an on-line 15% discount for advance booking of the Dublin hop-on-hop-off bus but glad we did not. On excursions generally, there were always queues to get on or off the ship, not helped by the slowness and disability of some of the passengers. Saga should and could do things to improve this. 1 - Cherbourg This was in place of St Peter Port, Guernsey, where we planned d.i.y. visits to Castle Cornet, the Union Street pillar box, German Naval Signals HQ and possibly Guernsey Museum. We did not get off at Cherbourg. 2 - Cobh (Cove in English) As a result of the re-scheduling, we arrived here a day early at 7:30pm. We took advantage of this and went ashore after dinner. A couple of hundred yards from the ship we found an Irish pub in the town square with three musicians, bagpipes, flute and squeeze-box, sitting round a table, playing jigs. With a pint of Beamish it was an enjoyable Irish experience. There was no singing but we left fairly early. Next day Saga suggested getting the train to Cork but we stayed in Cobh visiting St Colman’s Cathedral, well worth the climb as others have remarked, and the Titanic Experience. Although tiny compared with the Belfast version this guided tour of the original White Star ticket office cost just €8 each (about £6.80) and was almost as interesting. 3 - Dublin Here, because of the re-scheduling, we did not stay as long as planned, arriving at 11:15pm, a bit late to go ashore that night. Next day, we had nothing booked so took the free shuttle-bus into central Dublin. A lot of Dublin seems to be being dug up for a new tram system. We walked past the Molly Malone statue and the parliament building to the GPO where we bought tickets for the Witness History experience at €8 each. There was a film re-enactment of the revolution in a small cinema; small screens showing learned people explaining the revolution plus displays of a few artefacts. It was not anti-British and interesting to learn how loss of empire started almost accidentally. Compared with other capital cities, we were not impressed by what we saw of Dublin. 4 - Belfast We had pre-booked Saga’s “Birthplace of the Titanic” tour for £59 each. It’s an impressive building and exhibition complete with a ride through a simulation of the construction, a film show and a multi-screen reproduction of the Titanic’s luxurious interior. Arguably as interesting were the original slip-way and sole remaining White Star Line ship outside. We did not see any artefacts although there was not enough time to see everything properly. The tour bus then took us past some of Belfast’s sights including the Falls and Shanklin roads - interesting. Overall the tour lasted four hours. As there seemed to be no queue for tickets on the day for the Titanic Experience and it was only about two and a half miles from the ship, it probably would have been better and cheaper to take a taxi and spend more time there. The tickets do, however, cost £14.50 each, more than twice the price of the Cobh exhibition. Perhaps because of the limited bus tour, Belfast was more impressive than Dublin. 5 - Killybegs Saga’s tour to the Belleek Pottery was already fully booked when we booked the cruise. We registered our interest on boarding at Sapphire’s tour desk and subsequently got tickets at £49 each. This tour was better value. It included an extensive trip through County Donegal and a stop at Donegal town as well as the pottery. We also passed some small cells “Killybegs” in Galic, claimed to have been occupied by monks who gave the place it’s name. It would have been difficult for us to independently get to and from the pottery, some thirty-six miles away. Donegal is quite a pretty little town with some touristy shops and what they call a castle but not a lot else to see or do. The Belleek Pottery guided tour was interesting and comprehensive with plenty of time after to browse the displays and shop or use the cafe. After returning to the ship and a late lunch, we went ashore again, taking the shuttle bus less than a mile into Killybegs village. Here we looked at the completely and impressively refurbished church, St Mary’s and walked back via St Catherine’s Well, on a small hill overlooking the harbour. It was all interesting enough so we did not mind not finding the Maritime & Heritage Visitor Centre. Irish sign-posting seems to be comprehensive but not necessarily accurate. 6 - Glengarriff We had nothing booked here. We went ashore mid-morning by tender and walked about half a mile into the village. There was not much to see. A few shops and a few pubs half of which were closed on a Tuesday lunch-time. We went in one to try the local Guinness. The pub had, if anything, less atmosphere than your average English local and to non-Guinness drinkers, it tasted the same as it does at home. 7 - Portland This was in place of Ilfracombe and again we did not go on an excursion. We took the shuttle-bus into Weymouth, walked through this picturesque sea-side town and took the bus back to the ship. Disembarkation (and Return Travel) Our rating would be Good. Disembarkation was if anything smoother than embarkation but took much longer. Our cases had to be packed and put outside the cabin before we went to bed. Breakfast was early as we had to be out of the cabin by 8am. We then had a long wait in the Drawing Room for our number to be called. At least the hot drink machines were working and there were Danish pastries. Our call came on time just after 11am. Travel Service - our rating would be Good - but it could be better. The travel service home was better than coming. On leaving the ship, we pointed to our cases and a porter trolleyed them first to our driver and second to his people carrier. As before, there was a (different) couple already in the middle seats. This time the journey was direct, first to their home in Colchester and then on to ours. A private limousine would make this service much better. Value for Money Our Rating - Poor - but Saga cruises are expensive. Set against that are the free travel service; included tips; free wine with meals and bubbly at parties; free shuttle buses; free room service; free fruit in the cabin (though not daily) and free to book the speciality restaurant. Bar prices are also a little below the on-shore average. £3.20 for a pint of real ale, £1.50 for Pepsi. A 175cl glass of wine cost from £3.70 to at least £4.70. In addition the food was excellent. From memory, better than we had on P&O’s Artemis some years ago and significantly better than we got on Thomson’s Spirit, four years ago. If you take off all the extras, it is likely that a Saga cruise would still be a little more expensive than others but there is probably not much in it. A more subtle benefit is that with so much thrown in, there less to worry or think about. On that basis Saga cruises probably are value for money. Summary Our Rating - Very Good Saga’s package is impressive. In many ways the cruise was excellent. Our little niggles were not enough to spoil a great experience. The service and food stand out for commendation. We had particularly wanted to see Guernsey but did not. We also wanted to see Ireland and did, though from what we saw, we are in no rush to return. It was good to see but now we’ve seen it. The itinerary changes were a disappointment but Saga went to some trouble to re-arrange things to cope with the weather conditions. This too deserves commendation. Of the niggles mentioned above, the early breakfast times and lack of a late buffet were the most annoying. Also, the travel service could be better and the entertainment should be better but what got nearest to spoiling our holiday was the number of passengers with significant disabilities. Their age was not a problem. For complex personal reasons we booked this Celtic Charms cruise after booking Saga Sapphire’s “Continental Christmas Markets” which sails on 4 December 2017. Our experience of the Celtic Charms cruise has convinced us not to cancel the second cruise, even though we will be cruising twice in the same year. We hope that this shorter shopping cruise will attract a higher proportion of mobile passengers. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
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
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
We have cruised with Saga several times before, enjoying their small ship atmosphere, and were keen to visit the Norwegian Fjords. Saga Sapphire is a spacious ship and the cabins (we were in an outside cabin on level 5) are a generous ... Read More
We have cruised with Saga several times before, enjoying their small ship atmosphere, and were keen to visit the Norwegian Fjords. Saga Sapphire is a spacious ship and the cabins (we were in an outside cabin on level 5) are a generous size. Our first shock was, when booking, to find that two days after receiving the brochure we found that prices has been increased by 10% - all cabins as offered were already sold. We almost cancelled, but decided we liked the itinerary so confirmed the booking. Not a good start,however, and not handled very diplomatically by Saga staff. The staff on board were from many countries - the captain and the "cruise director" were British; deck and engineering officers of various European nationalities; catering and "hotel" staff mostly Filipino; entertainment by performers from several European countries. Some aspects of the cruise were as we had expected from previous experiences with Saga. Filipino staff all friendly and diligent - no reason to fault them. Food generally good, but let down by some very poor meals - consistency not as good a we had been used to. Bars and (free) wine with meals - no problems. Entertainment was mixed, however. Some good performers were overwhelmed by the resident backing "orchestra" - pianist and guitar drowning out the voices, violin soloists etc. No attempt to mix sound properly. And there didn't appear to be anyone taking an interest in resolving the problem - the "Cruise Director" was busy telling us all how wonderful it was, with no time it seemed, to check it was as good as he believed.. (We have over fifty years of experience in musical shows so know good from bad..) Then we were very disappointed to be given some basic info about towns we were to visit, but barely anything about the fjords - which was the basic reason for coming on the cruise. In the event we saw no fjords in normal daytime hours except on excursions. When we were due to see fjords at night (in daylight still, of course) there was inadequate (or no) guidance on when to be on deck so we missed them. We also found that, particularly in Bergen, the ship was allocate a berth four miles form the town centre. Saga does not rate highly with the port, it seems. Finally, it took us four hours from berthing at Dover before we left the port. We saw no evidence of any supervision of the multitude of staff rushing around; embarking crew were mixed up with disembarking passengers; our taxi driver had himself been waiting over four hours. Chaos reigned. We gained the impression that Saga is now a very small outfit trying to punch above its weight in a very competitive market. In the past they appeared to keep going. On this performance they failed to provide the vision, the management or the supervision that are needed to survive in the same league. We will not be cruising with them again. Read Less
Sail Date July 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
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
My second Canary Christmas cruise started with an early shared transport pick up at home and after 5 hours arrival at Southampton after two short stops.I had immediate boarding and delivery of luggage was quick to a cabin on M grade deck ... Read More
My second Canary Christmas cruise started with an early shared transport pick up at home and after 5 hours arrival at Southampton after two short stops.I had immediate boarding and delivery of luggage was quick to a cabin on M grade deck 5.Ferdinand introduced himself as my cabin steward for this cruise:he was friendly and efficient:I ordered tea each morning and it came despite the rough seas.The ship was full with over 700 passengers with an average age of 76.The captain Phlip Rentell said that the sea down to Lisbon would be "lumpy" although I thought that pretty rough was more appropriate.It turned out to be uncomfortable across the dreaded Bay of Biscay.We were offered sea sickness tablets which I gratefully accepted.The first full day at sea was memorable for the high seas-nothing like the height en route home.The third night was devoid of sleep until dawn and I was grateful for the cruise staff providing a variety of deck games to keep me awake in the morning.Liusbon at last and a walk from the shuttle bus to explore this delightful city and flowers.We had several concerts by the excellent Trinity Trio and the piano playing of Martin soothed the pains of travel,which had already included an ill passenger being helicoptered off the ship to hospital. Sunny in Casablanca and a good walk from the shuttle to the partly restored church with its impressive stained glass.I had been here before so I was soon back on the ship and next day bound for Agadir where I stayed in the ship.Enjoyed the sun of Arrecife Lanzarote and a stroll along the long clean beach. Next day was Christmas Day and the ship looked really good with all the decorations and an excellent formal Christmas lunch:I had this in the Veranda as I have never really enjoyed the main restaurant.The Queen's Speech and a Trivia Quiz completed my day.Boixing Day was at Tenerife and my only booked Saga coach trip:exoensive but a chance to see three lovely gardens in fine warm weather.Next was Gran Canaria and a very short walk to a so-called market and back to the ship for a tour of the Bridge:the ship had been built for a German company as Europa and is 32 years old already.So to La Gomera although it was at a berth in the main town and not as advertised.I enjoyed my 3rd visit here to visit the old keep,two churches and the Columbus house:it was lovely warm weather.We could not leave port that evening due to excessively high winds and we stayed at berth until the morning of the next day.We were on our way to see the fireworks at Funchal across increasingly rough seas and high winds which rolled the ship and also at one stage brought much water from the pool over passengers enjoying the sun and fish & chips.New Year's Eve and calmer waters to berth at Funchal-the programme suggested a tender transfer.I had a visit by service bus to the beautiful Botanic Gardens with superb views over the bay.That evening it was formal again for New Year and the haggis was piped around as a wonderful firework display appeared over the town and surrounding hills of Funchal.Memorable as always.We then sailed for Leixos Portugal in choppy seas again:you woulkd imagine we should be used to these conditions but Mother Nature had a surprise in store.A 4 mile shuttle took us into Porto on the Douro river:I had a river cruise here a few years ago.I enjoyed a red top bus tour before returning to the ship. The next intended stop was La Corunna BUT we were told that we were to miss this for a direct sailing to our home port due to the very low pressure system coming from the Atlantic.We entered the Bay of Biscay during the night and I was thrown out of bed by the very high swell and ship movement:we heard that the two other Saga ships were staying in Lisbon-but we rolled on in seas that became very uncomfortable and resulted in much illness and the hope of Southampton as soon as possible.I had meals in the evening in the cabin.Next morning I managed to get to the restaurant when the ship lurched again and deposited broken crockery and food all over passengers and floor.What a holiday! Saturday and a day away from home port:we had a quieter day and enjoyed the talks,games and quizzes.A sunny Sunday in Southampton:thank goodness that journey was all over-I have even cancelled my Saga cruise next Christmas,although naturally it could be fine. The highlights for me were the excellent friendly crew,the cruise staff who looked after the activities (thank you Jay and Resty),the recitals in both Drawing Room and main Lounge,excellent display at Afternoon Tea with music (Perfect Mood and Martin).   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
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
We had reservations about travelling with Saga but upon recommendation decided to give it a try. The shared car travel to Dover was excellent, booking in was OK and the cabin one of the best we have ever been in - lots of space and a ... Read More
We had reservations about travelling with Saga but upon recommendation decided to give it a try. The shared car travel to Dover was excellent, booking in was OK and the cabin one of the best we have ever been in - lots of space and a superb bathroom. The first meal was OK but nothing outstanding. We prefer a fixed table as my husband is in a wheelchair and I had to queue to following day to have this privilege. The start of many rules and regulations. At the second port there was a problem with the engine which we told about at dinner after an excursion. This was Saturday evening and we were told a part was being flown in the following day. We should have realised that this would not happen as it was a weekend and a public holiday in Norway. In the event we spent 3 days in port - complimentary excursions were arranged but not everybody wanted to spend time on a coach. We eventually set sail for Spitsbergen but were advised that 2 ports would be missed out on our return journey - notably Tromso and Gerainger fjord (this to me was the highlight of the holiday). We then learned that several people had been on the equivalent cruise last year and spent 4 days in Tromso becaused of engine problems. In addition to this an afternoon cruise in Longyearben was altered to 7.15am and our time in Bergen was cut from all day to 4 hours. The return cruise from Spitsbergen involved 3.5 days at sea, a 4 hours stop and then a further 2.5 days at sea, back to Dover. Because of the weather many outdoor activities could not be carried out and the talks were specific to certain interests - not helped that they took place in the Britannia Lounge which is cramped and has poor acoustics and visibility. Another complaint is the extortionate price of wifi. We purchased 2 packages and had a total of wifi use for 6 days. When I queried this with a member of staff who supposedly assisted with computer problems I was accused of not logging off after using my email. As my husband used to run an IT company this was hardly likely to be the case. Back to the food - breakfasts were buffet style and could not be faulted, however the choice at lunch and dinner became monotonous and the fact that virtually every meal was served with broccoli and carrots says it all. The food was very bland and in our opinion catered for the elderly palate. Not everyone over the age of 65 wants boring safe food. The exception to this was our visit to East and West which was superb. For anyone thinking Saga would be geared up to help the disabled - forget it. We have never experienced any problem with getting my husband on and off a ship in his wheelchair but Saga says it is against health and safety to take someone down the gangway in a wheelchair! Additionally the only disabled toilets were on Deck 5 - the restaurants are on Decks 7 and 9. On our return we were offered a refund which we accepted. However I still await a response to my letter giving constructive criticism. Needless to say we will never travel with Saga again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
A friend and I are considering a cruise next year to the Fjords, we'd like to sail from the UK, so when this offer of one night in Southampton on Saga Sapphire came up I decided to try it. I had been a few years ago on a RCCL ship in ... Read More
A friend and I are considering a cruise next year to the Fjords, we'd like to sail from the UK, so when this offer of one night in Southampton on Saga Sapphire came up I decided to try it. I had been a few years ago on a RCCL ship in the Caribbean. I travelled with my partner who had never been on a cruise ship before. I cannot help but compare Sapphire to Serenade of the Seas, which is the only other ship I have been on. Some negative but many positive. Embarkation: As we were only staying one night we drove to Southampton and found the car park easily with instructions sent by Saga. There were a lot of staff to direct us to the ship and give us instructions. All were friendly and courteous. We had been advised just to take hand luggage. We had to wait just a short while in the terminal before embarking. It was a very long walk along the covered bridges to get to the ship. First impressions: A funny little old fashioned ship. But staff were delightful and ship very clean. Cabin: Very clean, comfortable beds and pillows, good quality bed linen. Fairly small and not that well planned, especially the wardrobe area which was right alongside one of the beds, thereby making it difficult for two people to access it. Bedside lights were not well-planned and would disturb your partners sleep. Balcony was very narrow. Only room for two chairs and no table. Bathroom was huge, bath with shower over. Lots of room for personal toiletries. Large bottles of complimentary toiletries supplied. Lots of grab rails and a rubber bath mat, ideal of older people. Shower was a bit complicated to operate but OK when you got the hang of it. Tea and coffee making facilities supplied and also a hairdryer. We had afternoon tea on arrival, very pleasant but they seem to use UHT milk as opposed to fresh. Then a tour of the ship, one of the directors was our tour guide, very pleasant man but tour not well planned as we didn't start on one deck and work our way up but dotted from deck 2 to 5 then back to 3 and so on. Parts of the ship were closed for refurbishment including the buffet restaurant. Time to change before the Captains cocktail party, with free champagne, g and ts or fruit punch. Once again staff were very welcoming, with the European officers being much in evidence. Dinner was excellent with free wine. We had a speciality coffee after which was served with flair by the delightful Filipino staff. Onto the show lounge for the entertainment which was Motown with singers and dancers. OK but not first class. They then had a Beatles tribute band which was well received with many people getting up to dance. We finished the evening in Coopers Bar, which was welcoming with a couple of Saga staff socialising with passengers. Thanks James and Mel. Breakfast was menu or self service, but after such a late night I didn't want much. Disembarkation very easy, with lots of staff on hand to wish us a good journey and hope we enjoyed ourselves. To sum up: I loved the British atmosphere of the ship, the reasonable pub prices for drinks, the food and wonderful smiling staff. On a proper cruise there is also the advantage of included insurance, the free car to the port and no extra gratuities. But I felt it lacked the sumptuous decor of the US ships and it also seemed quite crowded in the public areas. My partner was not so enthusiastic as he felt claustrophobic, but to be fair I don't think cruising is his thing. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
This will be the second time we have used this ship as the food and the staff very good. It is for a maturer crowd but this time round it was like being on a hospital ship. Wheelchairs and walking sticks everywhere. We felt sorry for ... Read More
This will be the second time we have used this ship as the food and the staff very good. It is for a maturer crowd but this time round it was like being on a hospital ship. Wheelchairs and walking sticks everywhere. We felt sorry for the staff as they seemed to have to work as carers for a lot of the passengers. We are both retired ourselves but felt uncomfortable due to the disabled on the ship. We presume the infirm go on the ship because of being looked after. Not having a go at the disabled but the ship was not like this last time. The show lounge "Britannia" is where the shows are held is unsuitable for the amount of people. It is not laid out as a theatre due to the size of the ship so if you ate late as we did, you did not get a good view. Acts were so so but nothing to write home about and have seen a lot better. Most of the passengers seem to want to eat early so they could get to the show lounge early and grab the front seats which is so irrating. These would be the same people who hogged the sun loungers and left their personal belongings on the chairs whilst eating or going ashore. All in all not a quality ship. The cabin was fine. Do not bother paying extra for a balcony unless you are on Deck 10 as the balconies on Deck 8 are not worthing paying for. This time we had the extra space inside the cabin and a big window instead which was a lot better. Plenty of wardrobe space and hangers, toiletries. Steward attentive. Fresh fruit left in your room every couple of days. This time we noticed when having coffee after a meal in the Pole to Pole Restaurant, you got a cup and saucer, yet upstairs in the Veranda Restaurant you got mugs, even in the evening which was a bit tacky. Cannot comment on afternoon tea as there is only so much you can eat but looked plentiful and packed out with passengers who did not manage to eat enough at lunch! The same with midnight buffet. We |have tried to find out numerous times what percentage of the holiday cost is paid to the staff in tips but Saga will not answer that question. Every cruise company mentions the amount given except Saga, so they must be hiding something. We should know as the staff work very hard and go home once a year to their families. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
My husband and I have sailed several times on Saga Ruby and this was our first cruise on Sapphire. The layout of Sapphire is easy to learn as all the cabins are in the front half of the ship and the public rooms are in the rear, apart from ... Read More
My husband and I have sailed several times on Saga Ruby and this was our first cruise on Sapphire. The layout of Sapphire is easy to learn as all the cabins are in the front half of the ship and the public rooms are in the rear, apart from the Drawing Room which is at the front. The cabins was enormous with plenty of hanging space, a good-sized table and sofa, plus armchair. The bathroom was a reasonable size and the layout including the shower was good - with pleasant toiletries. The cabin was well insulated so you couldn't hear your neighbours. However, we did not like the main dining room - too noisy and too rushed. We preferred to eat in the Grill Restaurant which was more relaxed, but as it had doors to the outer decks, could be chilly. Access to the outer decks was limited - Deck 8 was only down the sides of the ships and at the rear (not linked, then deck 11 (Beach Club) and the only place you could walk right round was Deck 12. The location of the Crazy Golf was wasted - right at the front of the ship on Deck 12, so as it was the windiest place, could only be used when in port. If the weather is poor, the amount of seating space is severely restricted as the Ballroom was often in sue for lectures. The pools could not be used unless the sea was dead calm, as the water was prone to throwing itself across the decks. The ship does NOT travel well in rough seas - we had a force 11/12 gale after leaving Lisbon and the ship suffered extensive damage, having to seek shelter in Vigo overnight. However, all the staff on board provided excellent care and service all the time and as a smallish ship, you do get to be known by the crew, cruise staff and officers. When we encountered the rough weather, all meals were provided as room service only for safety and the crew all checked passengers to ensure that they were OK and happy to sit down and talk to any who were worried or distressed. The Beach Club is enjoyable, especially the fish and chip bar and the ice cream, but hardly anyone used the sweet shop. There was a good selection of onboard activities and certainly all the deck games sessions were always well attended. All in all a good cruise, and the Sapphire is a nice ship, but some of the quirky features take away from the ambience of the ship. Read Less
Sail Date January 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
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

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click