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Saga Expands Fleet?

Posted on Thursday, November 18, 2010 by

MV BLEU DE FRANCE. Photo (c) Peter Knego May 2009

Maritime sources and several cruise publications have indicated that UK’s Saga Cruises will shortly announce the acquisition of CDF Croisières de France’s MV BLEU DE FRANCE (ex EUROPA, SUPERSTAR ARIES, HOLIDAY DREAM).

The 1981-built vessel measures 37,301 gt and accommodates 700 passengers. In 2008, she was given a US$40 million refit by her French cruise operator CDF Croisières de France.

It is expected Saga will also refit the ship for its clientele, passengers over 50 years old.  BLEU DE FRANCE currently is fitted with three swimming pools, a casino, library and children’s play area.

BLEU DE FRANCE has recently begun a season of South American cruises for the Brazilian tour operator, CVC. Saga will most likely allow the ship to complete an additional season with CVC in 2011 before joining Saga in 2012.

Saga Cruises currently operate SAGA RUBY (ex VISTAFJORD, CARONIA) and SAGA PEARL II (ex ASTORIA) as well as the SPIRIT OF ADVENTURE (ex BERLIN, PRINCESS MAHSURI, ORANGE MELODY), the latter under its Spirit of Adventure Cruises brand, with no 50-year age passenger minimum.

16 Responses to Saga Expands Fleet?

  1. Kalle Id

    November 18, 2010 at 10:14 am

    BLEU DE FRANCE will make an excellent addition to Saga’s fleet in my opinion (though personally I hate to see such a five ship go to a company I can’t sail on). I presume this will also mean the end of CDF Croisières de France, since she’s their only ship and no replacement has been reported. And the BLEU DE FRANCE has also been marketed by Pullmantur for the Spanish market, so clearly she hasn’t been doing too well. Seems it’s very challenging to crack the French cruise market…

    Rumour I read from… somewhere… indicate the SAGA PEARL II might move under the Spirit of Adventure brand once the BLEU DE FRANCE joins the Saga fleet. Though this might be jsut based on the fact that the SAGA PEARL II was originally going to join the Spirit of Adventure fleet as the QUEST FOR ADVENTURE, but ended up replacing the SAGA ROSE instead.

  2. Martin Cox

    November 18, 2010 at 10:23 am

    Hi Kalle: Actually it looks like they are upsizing. The former HORIZON looks set to become L’HORIZON in 2012, I will report on that later today -m

  3. Kalle Id

    November 18, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    Thank you Martin. I actually noticed the piece of news about L’HORIZON on a different website just a few minutes after submitting my comment here. I admit I’m surprised the CDF are apparently doing well then, despite the impression that I’ve gotten of the opposite… but very good for them of course.

  4. Dirk

    November 18, 2010 at 11:19 pm

    Some months ago I came down with the flu and therefore had plenty of time which I spent thinking of rebuilding some vessels. Among them was the BLEU DE FRANCE which I worked over in Saga colors. Klick here to see the result:


    I even sent Saga that image but never received an answer. Too bad…but obviously I was not that much mistaken with my idea!

  5. Ally

    November 19, 2010 at 2:58 am

    It has now been confirmed that Bleu de France will be going to Saga in 2012. Her new name has yet to be announced.

  6. Kenneth Eden

    November 19, 2010 at 4:48 am

    When the 1981 Europa was built her passenger capacity was much lower than 700, and the ship had an unusual space ratio for her passengers. The ship was also extremely rich with interior fittings and expensive art work. I was invited to a private luncheon by Hapag-Lloyd when the ship visited Boston. I recall a very handsome pub that ws installed on the Europa, as well as a beautiful inside pool.

    The main crux of my comment is that the ship is being spared, and under Saga should provide a long and happy career for Saga and for passengers.

    Rumors haver persisted over the past year that Paquet would return and that Bleu de France would be their ship, guess not. Other “rumors” persist over Paquets return, any truth to those rumors?

    I saw the “Bleu” while I was on a cruise last summer aboard the Regatta, in Venice, as the “Bleu” was docked opposite the Regatta. The ship, and the particular shade of blue on the hull was awesome, ship in superb condition

    I wish saga well, and hope the ship enjoys a long sailing life.

  7. Shawn Dake

    November 19, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    Croisieres de France and Pullmantur are divisions of Royal Caribbean. The PACIFIC DREAM (ex. HORIZON and ISLAND STAR) will indeed take over for CDF early in 2012. Since 1996 the Paquet brand has been owned by Costa Croiceire S.p.A. which itself is a divsion of Carnival Corporation. They market the COSTA ALLEGRA as the ALLEGRA on some voyages for French passengers, although today’s Paquet does not have a ship permanently designated for the purpose. The BLEU DE FRANCE has never been considered for Paquet as it belongs to a rival company and this year was marketed together with the Pullmantur brand. When built as the EUROPA in 1981 this was simply one of the finest and most luxurious ships in the world. Along with Carnival’s TROPICALE, it was also one of the first ships that began the cruise building boom in the 1980’s. The ship measures 37,301 gross tons, so even with the added capacity it is still a very low density ship by today’s standards. It will make a great addition for Saga.

  8. Dirk

    November 19, 2010 at 11:24 pm

    I hear rumours have her take the name SAGA ROSE 2…don’t know if I really like that. Love “our” dear old EUROPA, but loved old ROSIE (gone but not forgotten) even more…

  9. David

    November 20, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    Does anyone know what happened to Sagarose. She is listed as retired……on Wikipedia. Is she still floating somewhere or has she been scrapped. It is sad to see the Renaissance almost gone and the former Spirit of London then Sun Princess …..about to be scrapped. What ever happened to her sister the Southward….Seawing ?

  10. 1Matt20

    November 20, 2010 at 8:30 pm

    David, the Saga Rose went to scrappers in China. Work on her has most likely close to being done with.

  11. Kenneth Eden

    November 21, 2010 at 5:45 am

    My first known encounter with a cruise ship was in 1968 in San Juan PR. I had just graduated high school and was on a two week vacation. I was on a ferry sailing over to the Bacardi distileries, and slowly sailing in came the Sagafjord, slowly, elegantly, past the ferry. It is a site I remember vividly. I spent many weeks over the years sailing the beautiful Sagafjord, with Norwegian America Line, Norwegian America Cruises, and CUNARD/NAC. Believe it or not, the Sagafjord had never been better than when she and the Vistafjord were bought by Cunard . Cunard breathed new life in to these ships, and made them less stuffy. I miss the Sagafjord dearly.

  12. David Greenwood

    November 21, 2010 at 6:48 am

    Matt, I believe she is now Rio with Capsi Rio Cruises see:
    Formerly Agean Pearl with Louis Cruises…so sad to see Sun Princess heading to Aland… I spent 4 fabulous years working on her ….marvelous memories !!
    rgds David

  13. 1Matt20

    November 21, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    David this link is erroneous, Saga Rose was seen in a major ship dismantling in China… plus the Saga Rose isn’t even mentioned in that link!

  14. Avery

    November 21, 2010 at 8:15 pm

    I think the link was in reference to David’s inquiry as to the whereabouts of the former SOUTHWARD (Now operating as RIO, last known as AEGEAN PEARL, ex-PERLA, SEAWING)

  15. Pamela Phethean

    December 11, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    As a Saga customer, I am delighted that they have acquired the MS Bleu de France to join the Saga Ruby and Saga Pearl II in 2012 – and look forward to sailing in her. They have not yet decided upon a name, according to their latest Britannia Club newsletter, but would it not be appropriate – based on her present name and their “gem” theme – not to mention illiteration – to name her Saga Sapphire?

  16. Kenneth Eden

    October 19, 2011 at 6:18 am

    According to a source report I received today, the BLEU DE FRANCE has arrived at Palermos Fincantieris shipyard for her overhaul to become the much anticipated SAGA SAPHIRE. Completion date withheld, and details lacking.

    Good news for a worthy ship.

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