On 15th October 2014, Cruise Capital had the opportunity to visit Saga Cruises flagship, Saga Sapphire when she docked in the port of Southampton. Although Saga Sapphire is the largest vessel in the two-ship fleet, she was dwarfed by the other cruise ships in port that day, which were Azura, MSC Magnifica and the mammoth Oasis of the Seas making her inaugural visit to the UK port.
We embarked the ship shortly before 12 noon and entered the ship on deck 7 with a view of the impressive atrium. It features a striking metallic herring sculpture which spirals down to the deck below. Hidden within the art work, hides one fish with a red eye!
Located around the atrium on deck 7 is Guest Relations and the Shore Excursion desk as well as the Aviators Bar. Deck 6 features the shop and photo gallery.
Moments after stepping on board, it was clear to see that this ship was homely. Guests and crew knew each other and everyone already seemed to be mingling and getting to know each other ready for the 14-night itinerary to the Canaries. While the ship was quiet, we toured the Pole to Pole restaurant. The restaurant is split into different themed areas, such as Oriental, African and Aboriginal.
After working our way around the restaurant we then headed up to deck 8, which features the shops and the Britannia show lounge.
There are a variety of shops on board from duty free, perfume, jewelry and souvenirs. Located next to the shops are the photo gallery and card room.
The Britannia Lounge is located at the aft of deck 8 and is the main show lounge on board. In the day time, it hosts the daily afternoon tea, which features white linen covered tables, and an at seat tea and coffee service. On the dance floor is a buffet, featuring delicious nibbles and sandwiches as well as scrumptious cakes and cookies!
Located next to the lounge is Coopers bar. This is a great, cosy hideaway, perfect for listening to piano music or hilarious comedy acts. The bar is named after the legendary Tommy Cooper and the bar features cushions with some of his best known jokes. A bar named after Tommy Cooper wouldn’t be complete without an iconic Fez, which takes pride of place on top of the piano.
Deck 9 features the East to West buffet grill, which leads onto the open air Verandah, located at the aft of the ship.
We continued our tour up to deck 11. The library and drawing room is a great place to read a book, play some table games or browse the internet. The drawing room is also home to a fantastic drawing of ex-fleet mate Saga Ruby, drawn by the talented Harry Cotterill of Cruise Cotterill. He was also touring the ship with us.
The drawing room is also a great place to relax and watch the sea views as you read a book, and enjoy a cup of tea or coffee with a cake.
Midship, you’ll find the Beach Club. This is where the main pool is located and has a very distinct British seaside theme, complete with a sweet stall and ice cream stand! The Beach Club even serves traditional fish and chips wrapped in newspaper! The Club House contains table-tennis, which is located in an enclosed room with a couple of seats for spectators.
At the top of the ship, deck 12, is a large sun deck at the aft of the vessel, perfect for getting a tan as you cruise in the sun, well, hopefully! Also located on this deck are two hot tubs and the traditional shuffleboard as well as St Andrews, a mini-golf course.
To complete our tour of this delightful ship, we ventured down to deck 2, home of the beauty salon, gym and spa.There are over 5 treatment rooms on board and the spa also features a sauna, steam room, hot tub and a large indoor pool.
Deck 4 is home to the Academy. This is where lectures and port presentations are held.
That concluded our tour of Saga Sapphire. It was a pleasure to visit the ship and experience what Saga Cruises offers its guests.
The ship is a perfect size, and although it is not the largest ship in the world (that was docked across the port from us!) she is still a great size and does not feel too small once on board.
It was clear to see that this ship offered guests a home away from home, and crew seemed to treat guests as long-lost friends and not as strangers.
Saga certainly deliver in value. Free wifi is available for all guests throughout their voyage. If only more cruise lines would follow this, and abolish high priced internet usage.
We really enjoyed our visit on board, and we hope this review gives you a better understanding about all the things on offer on board Saga Sapphire.