The Trend To Mid-Size Ships: Saga Orders A Vessel From Meyer Werft

The Cruise Examiner for 5th October 2015

Saga image courtesy Meyer Werft

Artist’s concept of the new Saga ship seems to indicate a wraparound promenade deck

Last week came news from Saga that it had ordered a 55,900-ton cruise ship from Meyer Werft in Papenburg, builders almost three decades ago, in 1986-92, of such well-respected ships as the Homeric, Crown Odyssey, Horizon and Zenith. The new Saga ship, for delivery in 2019, plus a possible sister for 2021, will join the eight “R” ships that set the precedent for this size of cruise ship in 1998-2001, along with Oceania Cruises’ Marina and Riviera from 2011-12 and the Viking Ocean Cruises trio of 2015-17. Compared to the ultra-luxury ships that have tended to occupy this size bracket in the past, these ships will prove that there is a market to be met between the mass market ships carrying thousands of passengers and the ultra-luxury ships carrying just hundreds. This new class of ship will bring back passengers whose needs have not been met by the very large mass-market ships, no matter how many attractions.

Quantum of the Seas Sails For New York – Oasis of the Seas Makeover – Cruise & Maritime Voyages Introduces CMV Magellan

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 3rd November 2014... ..


Quantum of the Seas at SotonThe 4,180-berth Quantum of the Seas (left) visited Southampton last week, following by just sixteen days a similar visit by her larger fleet mate, the 5,488-berth  Oasis of the Seas. As Quantum departed yesterday for New York, we have a look at how she compares with the 2,620-berth Queen Mary 2 and we update readers on the changes effected to Oasis during her drydocking in Rotterdam. With today’s news that the 1,450-berth Magellan is about to join Cruise & Maritime Voyages on charter from Costa Cruises Group, we also have a look at some of the operators and the health of the European market for smaller more traditional ships.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                                                                 (See previous columns)

Australian River Cruisers In Europe – MSC Armonia Returns To Sea – Saga To Sell Through Travel Agents

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 29th September 2014... …

Scenic Diamond

The Scenic Diamond is only one of about 30 Australian-owned river cruisers soon to be sailing the rivers of Europe

APT, Scenic and Evergreen may be new names to many, but together they are deep in the Australian psyche and are investing €360 million in European river cruise vessels. We have a quick look today at their latest moves. Meanwhile MSC Cruises’ MSC Armonia will finish her lengthening at Palermo in a few weeks, after which she will be able carry 400 more passengers. MSC has announced some special events for her November positioning voyage from Genoa to Las Palmas. And Saga in the UK is preparing to welcome bookings from travel agents instead of relying solely on direct sell as in the past.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                                                                    (See previous columns)

Viking Star Floated Out At Marghera – Saga Takes Space With MSC Cruises – And What Happened In 1914

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 30th June 2014..



Hamburg America Line’s giant Imperator became Cunard Line’s Berengeria after the First World War

Last week saw the float out at Marghera of the latest thing in ocean cruising. Viking Cruises’ Viking Star is a ship that is very traditional and yet is right up to date, with every stateroom having a balcony and all modern luxuries. We also look at Saga’s move back into outsourcing cruises from Azamara Club Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines and MSC Cruises, something it has not done in a major way since the 1990s. And we look back at passenger shipping a century ago, how the war delayed the building of fifteen liners, and how it would denude the Hamburg America Line of its six finest ships, from the Imperator to the Tirpitz.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                                          (See previous columns)

Latest Cruise Ship Changes and New Orders – Whither the Oases? – Explorer Abandons Shorter Cruises

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 2nd June 2014..

MSC Seaside class

MSC’s Italian-built 154,000-ton “Seaside” class will carry 4,140 passengers while a 167,600-ton French pair will carry 4,500

There was no Cruise Examiner last week because of overseas travel, but in the meantime there has been much news. First off, the new Holland America Group announced that its Ryndam and Statendam would be transferred to P&O Cruises Australia. Then MSC Cruises announced an order for two cruise ships of a new design from Fincantieri – this is in addition to the two ships it recently ordered from STX France. Costa Cruises Group announced what appears to be the end to its Spanish-based brand Iberocruceros, with its ships apparently now to be absorbed into Costa Cruises. And Saga Cruises will start taking allocations on certain Fred Olsen cruises. We also look at the potential for one or two of Royal Caribbean’s new Oasis class ships to go to either Europe or Asia and the Institute for Shipboard Education announces that it is this month withdrawing from shorter duration cruising.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                                            (See previous columns)

Saga Set To Announce Share Float – Twiggy Christens The New Emerald Sky – Norwegian Schedules Two Cruises For Southampton

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 28th April 2014..

Twiggy christens Emerald SkyThis week will determine whether UK travel and insurance group Saga, which owns the cruise ships Saga Pearl II and Saga Sapphire, goes for a flotation on the London stock market. Estimates put the company’s value at about £3 billion (or $5 billion). A good portion of Saga’s holiday business has always been cruising and before buying the Saga Rose in 1997, they were P&O Cruises’ largest customer. Meanwhile, earlier this month in Amsterdam, British model Twiggy (left) christened the 182-berth Emerald Sky, first of four new river cruisers for Emerald Waterways. She will also christen her sister ship Emerald Star in June. These ships, the first of four ordered by Australian-owned newcomer Emerald Waterways, promise  more light, more space and lower fares compared to river operators. They are also now bookable through travel agents. And finally, after an absence of five years, Norwegian Cruise Line will be back in the UK in 2015, with Norwegian Epic making two calls at Southampton. These will be positioning voyages to get her from Barcelona to her five-year drydocking at her builder’s yard in St Nazaire and then back again.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                                        (See previous columns)

Saga Sapphire To Cruise To The St Lawrence In The Autumn Of 2015

Saga Sapphire by Stephed CardLeaving Southampton on September 21, 2015, Saga’s 720-berth Saga Sapphire will be heading off on a 32-night cruise to Canada and the Gulf and River St Lawrence. Ports of call will include Ponta Delgada, five nights to St John’s NF, les Iles de la Madeleine, Corner Brook, Havre-St-Pierre, Sept-Iles, Saguenay, Quebec, Montreal (October 9), Baie Comeau, Gaspé, an overnight stay in Halifax, Sydney and seven nights back to Southampton.

Follow in the footsteps of the great explorers and see isolated rural communities, homes to the first nations. See how the cultural identities of cities such as Quebec, Montreal and Halifax, Nova Scotia’s historic capital, were forged by their founding fathers and early settlers. Fares start at £7,199 per person for two sharing an inside cabin, £7,580 for an outside or £9,070 for a Superior with balcony. Ibncludes bathrobes, 24-hour room service

Saga Sapphire Canada cruiseSt John’s lays claim to being the capital of Britain’s oldest colony and the kick-off point for the British Empire. Explore its scrum of historic streets and admire the brightly-painted Victorian houses.

Discover the secrets of the St Lawrence River’s remote North Shore. From Havre-St-Pierre you can seek out the weather-beaten monoliths of the Mingan Archipelago and from Sept-Iles you can learn all about the indigenous Innu people.

Early risers are in for a treat when Saga Sapphire cruises up the 60-mile long Saguenay Fjord – watch the sunrise over forested cliffs that tower above depths of up to 800 feet.

Step into the pages of history when you venture behind the fortified walls of Quebec City. This French colonial city is ruled over by the Château Frontenac, an imposing hotel built at the end of the 19th century.

Visit Montreal, the dynamic cosmopolitan port city on the St Lawrence River. As you explore this UNESCO City of Design, you’re sure to be moved by its distinct brand of French and North American culture best evident in the pavement cafés, gourmet restaurants, art galleries and cobbled historic streets of Old Montreal.

For further details please casll The Cruise Poeple Ltd in London on 020 7723 2450 or e-mail

Illustration: Saga Sapphire as depicted by Stephen Card.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,345 other followers