Sunday, June 2, 2019

Saga Sapphire - back again

With the early year cruise season ramping up, there are more ships arriving despite the unpredictable maritime "spring" weather. Passengers aboard Saga Sapphire almost got a glimpse of the sun this morning as the ship made its way in toward pier 22. By the time it was tied up however and passengers could start their shoreside excursions, thick cloud had moved in. Environment Canada has issued a rainfall warning for Nova Scotia today, so it seems likely that the visitors have a chance to get thoroughly soaked by our brand of spring showers.

Entering service in 1982 as HAPAG-Lloyd's Europa the ship has had many lives since delivered by Bremer Vulkan of Bremerhaven. It has sailed as SuperStar Europe 1999-2000, SuperStar Aries 2000-2004, Holiday Dream 2004 to 2008 and Bleu de France 2008 to 2011.

Current owners, the British company Saga Cruises, gave the ship a major refit from 2011 to 2012 before it began sailing as Saga Sapphire. Saga opted for the 'less is more' attitude for exterior appearance, with a black hull and white superstructure topped by bright yellow on the funnel. This was no doubt aimed to appeal to its target market of people over the age of 50.

Saga has ordered two new ships, one to be delivered this year and one in 2020, which could mean that Saga Sapphire will be moving on. The new 1,000 passenger ships will be considerably larger than the Sapphire  which carries about 720 using lower berths only. (It can exceed 1,000 if all berths are used).

I have harped on this topic of classic lines before:

Today's will be the only visit this year from the ship as it heads to Europe. I hope it is not the last time we see it, but that seems likely.


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