Saga Cruises’ lovely Saga Sapphire is to become an all inclusive ship for her final full season of cruises, sailing over the course of 2019.
All drinks, including selected wines at lunch and dinner, together with beers, spirits and cocktails throughout the day and evening, as well as soft drinks and speciality coffees, will now be included in the fare on every one of those 2019 sailings.
It’s an appropriate gesture; a last chance to raise a glass to (and indeed on) a ship that has become a very popular stalwart on the UK cruising scene. The line recently announced that Saga Sapphire will be leaving the fleet in 2020, following the arrival of it’s first ever dedicated new build, the ravishingly retro looking Spirit of Discovery. And, although no actual buyer has yet been announced for her, I hope that this gorgeous, beautifully proportioned mid sized ship can continue to sail on, somewhere.
Originally built as the Europa for Hapag Lloyd Cruises in December of 1981, she was for many years the most prestigious deluxe cruise ship in the world. Today, with a capacity for just 720 guests, this grand, 38,000 ton cruise ship is still a very class act indeed.
As well as the new, enhanced drinks package, Saga also offers free tips and travel insurance for all passengers, as well as round trip, chauffeured transportation from anywhere two hundred and fifty miles in the country direct to the ship’s berth, which is usually the port of Dover in the case of Saga Sapphire.
Her passengers (and Saga caters to the strictly over fifties age group) also benefit from the large number of single cabins on board; a policy that is to be expanded on board the new ship. There is also a quite astonishing range of culinary delights to be sampled on board, from the smartly casual to the sublimely high end. And all of the dining options on board come without an extra cover charge.
There’s no doubt that Saga Sapphire will be missed, but she still has more than a full year of classically styled cruising left to serve up in her own, inimitable style.
My advice? Get out there, while you still can. That clock is now well and truly ticking.