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BLEU To SAPPHIRE As Saga Names Latest Ship

Posted on Tuesday, March 22, 2011 by

BLEU DE FRANCE seen at Tunis in 2008. Photo © B. Bignon

Saga Holidays announced their newest acquisition will be named SAGA SAPPHIRE.  The inaugural voyage for the 37,301 gross ton vessel will take place on March 26, 2012.  At present, the ship is sailing under the Royal Caribbean-owned Croisieres de France banner as the BLEU DE FRANCE.

Under Saga, the ship will join fleetmates SAGA RUBY and SAGA PEARL II in catering to the over 50 age group with comfortable small-to-mid-sized ships.  The 655 foot long SAGA SAPPHIRE will carry 750 passengers or less.  When built as Hapag-Lloyd’s EUROPA in 1981, this ship was among the most spacious luxury cruisers in the world with a capacity of only 600 guests in extremely large staterooms.  It was one of the first vessels constructed at the start of a building boom that continues to this day.

In 1999, the German line sold the ship to Star Cruises where it first became the SUPERSTAR EUROPE and was followed a few months later by another renaming to SUPERSTAR ARIES.  Star Cruises really had no idea what to do with this ship, which did not fit well with its rapidly changing fleet.  By 2001, they had announced SUPERSTAR ARIES would transfer to their Orient Line division, joining the MARCO POLO and CROWN ODYSSEY on expedition cruises but that never took place.  Instead, it was sold to Spanish-based Pullmantur in 2004, becoming the HOLIDAY DREAM.  In 2008, it became BLEU DE FRANCE when CDF decided to tap the burgeoning French market.

Under Saga Holidays, the ship should once again be operated by a company that can run the former EUROPA in a style befitting the more luxurious role for which it was intended — cruising to ports throughout the world.

12 Responses to BLEU To SAPPHIRE As Saga Names Latest Ship

  1. Kalle Id

    March 22, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    I like the name, I was afraid she’d become SAGA ROSE II. SAGA SAPPHIRE is much, much better. Now if only Saga would accept people under 30 on their ships…

  2. Gregg

    March 22, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    A…..nice……a cruise ship that looks like a cruise ship…..not a floating lego ship..

  3. Sean Sparks

    March 22, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    Now all we ask for from Saga is for them to rename the Saga Pearl 11 to just the Saga Pearl.
    I personally do not feel the 11 needs to be added regardless of there being a former Saga Pearl ex Minerva which is currently sailing for Swan Hellinic.

  4. Dirk

    March 23, 2011 at 12:21 am

    I am really glad that our dear old EUROPA joins Saga. She sure will be very well cared for and go on for a long time. Funny, isn’t it…every ship Saga owns has a German background. RUBY was the first German TV “Dream Boat”, the other were built in Germany and served the German market for many years. Seems that even before Meyer Werft “our” ships were among the best constructions :-)
    It would be a nice move if Saga allowed younger audiences on board. I am 35 now and would love to sail their ships…much more than the party boats of AIDA or Carnival. Well, just 15 more years to wait….

  5. Kenneth Eden

    March 23, 2011 at 4:37 am

    MS SAGAFJORD built in France, 1965
    MS VISTAFJORD built at the famed Swan Hunter Yard, UK 1973

    SAGA SAPPHIRE – try saying that four times fast

    Seriously, the ship is a beauty, regardless of her lineage, and a proven sailor in rough seas.

    With Saga the ship will be well cared for and should enjoy a full tenure at sea.

  6. David

    March 23, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    This is a classic ship that shows the fine craftsmanship of the GERMANS. They make the BEST CARS whether it MERCEDES BENZ, BMW, VOLKSWAGEN…..and they build ships that are sturdy and made to last !!!

  7. Clive Harvey

    March 29, 2011 at 11:19 am

    The whole point of the Saga operation (and that extends beyond just cruising but the insurance market as well) is that all its products are for the over 50s. That said, Spirit of Adventure is aimed at the over 30s. I believe that Saga Pearl will replace her when Saga Sapphire enters service.

  8. jeffrey p hughes

    October 3, 2011 at 4:13 am

    where is the Saga Saphire being refiited befour joining the Rest of the Saga Ships???

  9. Shawn Dake

    October 10, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    Work on converting the BLEU DE FRANCE into the SAGA SAPPHIRE is scheduled to begin in November at the Fincantieri Palermo yard. Completion is slated for February, 2012 with a inaugural voyage from Southampton to the Mediterranean beginning March 26, 2012.

  10. Gordon Peake

    November 25, 2011 at 11:14 am

    We are going to sail in Sapphire in July and would like to see deck details etc describing the ship as she will be in July.
    When will the pretty diagrams be available.

  11. jeffrey p hughes

    February 4, 2012 at 3:40 am

    What make of air conditiong machunery has the saga saphire?? Is it Stal? Sabroe? Gram Frick?

  12. limbert

    April 15, 2012 at 8:27 am

    Ill been line up m/s saga sapphire on april 21…

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