For the mature and discerning traveller, a smart choice to consider would be a holiday with Saga Cruises. The Saga company was founded by Sydney de Haan, when he purchased a small seaside hotel located in Folkestone.
He noticed that his cliental tend to be older when the high season was finished. He also noticed a specific niche needed to be filled for the senior traveller.
By presenting affordable holidays exclusively to people over 60, Saga was was born and their corporate headquarters still remain in Folkestone. The instant success of his idea had the Saga business model unmatched in the travel industry.
As time progressed, the age group changed to being ‘over 50’ to attract more customers. With an established name in the industry, Sydney de Haan was awarded the ‘Officer Of The Order of the British Empire’ for providing exceptional tourism services.
Saga Cruises (also known as Saga Shipping) did not get their start until 1997 and contain a distinctly British feel to them. This may be due to its staff, many of whom previously worked on Cunard ships. Saga does appeal to a similar audience as Cunard with their high quality service and elegant ship features.
Their luxurious liners, Saga Sapphire and Saga Pearl II are both child free. The ships also cater for the single passenger and cabins for people cruising alone are available. Generally, a Saga Cruise follows its original philosophy to attract those over the age of fifty. It should not be considered if you are seeking an endless party atmosphere and thrilling attractions such as water parks and rock climbing.
Although the ships offer an elegant demeanor, it is also very informal in its dress code and smart casual is the order on most days. The entertainment on the ship is low key, with casinos and extravagant shows being replaced with libraries and trivia games.
Saga Pearl II
Their smallest and one of their most recent ships, Saga Pearl II is perfect for those looking for an intimate cruise experience. The vessel only holds 450 passengers and this allows you to get to know your fellow shipmates during your holiday.
The main area for socialising is in the Discovery Lounge. This is the place where lectures, important information about the ports and games are held. There’s even a dance class, for those who want to get up and improve their moves. A traditional English tea is served every afternoon and ballroom dancing and cabaret style entertainment is available in the evenings.
The library contains over 3,500 books and a large collection of DVDs. In addition, there’s an E-Library for the passengers who are more up to speed with new technology.
Relax after a long day with treatments in the spa or one of the yoga or Pilate classes both of which are a great way to reduce stress and feel refreshed in both body and mind.
Meals are served three times a day with a formal dining area staffed by waiters and offering international fare. For a more informal experience, try out the Verandah which is a buffet during breakfast and lunch and becomes a casual dining restaurant in the evening.
A few lucky passengers might get to dine with the captain in the Chart and Ward Rooms. These special rooms only sit 16 so make sure you get there early.
Many of the features found onboard the Saga Pearl II are also present on the Saga Sapphire.
Originally known as the MS Europa, the Saga Sapphire was renamed after it underwent a major renovation in 2012. The Sapphire has a capacity of 706 passengers with a limited number of full size veranda cabins as well as having six suites also with balconies. There are also additional cabins fitted with small French balconies.
Saga has made this vessel a delightful place to be and is contemporary in décor and style. The ship contains Wi-Fi and iPads on loan to all guests, letting you know that you are in the 21st century.
However, the ship is representative of the popular British seaside communities of the’50s and ’60s, whereas indulging in fish and chips is the norm, and the atmosphere is more attuned to a social club.
Public spaces include a principal restaurant, a show lounge, two specialty dining venues at no extra cost, and several lounges. The Main dining room, ‘Pole to Pole’ reflects the eight different continents of the world, including Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas.
Although the venue holds 600 passengers, the continents are separated from each other, which enables you to feel as though you are in a more intimate restaurant.
There are two swimming pools, one inside and one outside. The ‘St. Andrews crazy golf’ contains just six holes and is great fun for non golfers too.
Tips are always included in the cruise fare. Next years schedule has these two favourites sailing the seas to the Americas, the Far East, India, Iceland, the Middle East plus places closer to home.
Take pleasure in tasteful and comfortable settings with exceptional facilities, itineraries visiting lesser known ports of call, delicious cuisine with service that is impeccable.
Images courtesy of Saga Cruises
Written by Veronica Shine
Over 50 and like British style cruising? Please add your comments below.