Cruise Ships 2012, The Year In Review: Saga Holidays / Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines

Continuing Shawn J. Dake’s
Cruise Ships 2012, The Year In Review

SAGA SAPPHIRE, May 1h, 2012. Photo by Pjotr Mahhonin published with   Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
SAGA SAPPHIRE, May 1h, 2012. Photo by Pjotr Mahhonin published with Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Saga Holidays latest acquisition the 37,301 gross ton, 750-passenger SAGA SAPPHIRE (ex EUROPA, SUPERSTAR EUROPE, SUPERSTAR AIRES, HOLIDAY DREAM, BLEU DE FRANCE) joined the company’s fleet in late March, 2012 after a nearly four-month-long refurbishment. Forty-six balconies were added to cabins on Deck 8 along with new restaurants and an outdoor cinema.

QUEST FOR ADVENTURE May 2012, photo by Philiphos published unders Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
QUEST FOR ADVENTURE May 2012, photo by Philiphos published unders Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

The inaugural voyage turned out to be a debacle. First, it was shortened from 23 days to 16 after strikes at the Italian shipyard delayed delivery. Then while on the first trip, SAGA SAPPHIRE broke down after an engine failure stranded the ship at Valencia, Spain. Repairs took longer than expected and the second cruise was also cancelled. The troubled ship remained out of service until May 6th. With the arrival of the new ship, the 18,627 gross ton SAGA PEARL II (ex ASTOR, ARKONA, ASTORIA) was rebranded to their Spirit Of Adventure Cruises division and renamed QUEST FOR ADVENTURE beginning in May. At the same time the 9,570 gross ton SPIRIT OF ADVENTURE (ex BERLIN, PRINCESS MAHSURI, BERLIN, ORANGE MELODY) left the fleet to become the FTI BERLIN for German cruising.

Among the saddest news coming this year is the announcement from Saga that their SAGA RUBY (ex VISTAFJORD, CARONIA) built in 1973 will be retired after completing her 40th year of cruising in 2013. The 24,492 gross ton vessel was the last cruise ship to be built in the United Kingdom and has long been a favorite among discerning passengers for her classic good looks and outstanding service. As if to show her advancing age, SAGA RUBY broke down November 9th in Porto, Portugal. Passengers were returned to Britain by air or motor coach. Temporary repairs were made before the ship limped to a previously scheduled drydock at Lloyd Werft in Bremerhaven designed to keep her operational until the end of her final Saga voyage in January, 2014.

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines chartered their 989-passenger BRAEMAR (ex CROWN DYNASTY, CROWN MAJESTY, NORWEGIAN DYNASTY) for 24 days from July 12 to August 15, to accommodate workers associated with the London Olympics. Three cruises were cancelled and four others were rescheduled. The 43,537 gross ton BALMORAL (ex CROWN ODYSSEY, NORWEGIAN CROWN which reverted to both names twice) retraced the voyage of TITANIC and anchored over the site of the disaster the night of April 14 – April 15 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the tragic sinking.

 


Shawn Dake is a freelance photo-journalist and regular contributor to MaritimeMatters.com.  For more than a decade he has written his annual “Cruise Ships, The Year In Review” which has now grown to a nearly 15,000 word essay recalling all of the events that have taken place within the cruise industry the previous year.

 

Shawn Dake

Shawn Dake

Shawn J. Dake, freelance travel writer and regular contributor to MaritimeMatters, worked in tourism and cruise industry for over 35 years.  A native of Southern California, his first job was as a tour guide aboard the Queen Mary.  A frequent lecturer on ship-related topics he has appeared on TV programs.  Owner of Oceans Away Cruises & Travel agency, he served as President of the local Chapter of Steamship Historical Society of America.  With a love of the sea, he is a veteran of 115 cruises.
Shawn Dake
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