Cruise Line Focus

Cruise line focus: Saga Cruises

Saga Cruises is the world’s most avowedly adults-only cruise line, with an over-50s policy and a focus on timeless British cruise traditions that has seen it achieve huge success.


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British cruise line Saga Cruises was the first cruise line to pioneer the adults-only cruise niche, which it did in extreme fashion in the 1970s by allowing only passengers of 60-years of age or older to book tickets aboard its chartered ships.

This was reduced in 1995 to 50, and in 1996 Saga Cruises took delivery of its first wholly-owned cruise ship, Cunard’s Sagafjord, which was renamed Saga Rose.

Seven years later in 2003, Saga doubled its fleet with the purchase of Saga Rose’s sister ship, Cunard’s Caronia (formerly Vistafjord), which was renamed Saga Ruby.


Saga Cruises’ former flagship Saga Ruby.

Sadly, both classic ocean liners have since been decommissioned and scrapped.

The two-ship fleet was then made up of Saga Pearl II (formerly Astoria), which joined the line in 2009, and Saga Sapphire (formerly Hapag-Lloyd’s Europa), which was introduced in 2012, until the cruise line’s first ever new-builds were delivered.

The first of these, Spirit of Discovery, was delivered in 2019, replacing Saga Pearl II. A second ship, Spirit of Adventure, was delivered in 2020, replacing Saga Sapphire.

Saga’s new ships carry fewer than 1,000 passengers with a combination of 540 suites and cabins, each with a balcony. Around 80 cabins will be for solo passengers.

Spirit of Adventure

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The on-board experience with Saga Cruises

Saga Cruises is a line adamantly devoid of bells and whistles, it offers perhaps the most traditional and elegant of cruise experiences, unsurpassed in the industry, even by Cunard.

This is because of the types of passengers it attracts. Only those 50 and above can book a ticket, and cruise companions must be at least 40, but in reality, the majority are 70 and over. They remember, and recreate on-board, the Golden Age of ocean travel.

There are internet cafes, modern spas with hair salons and fitness centres, but there are no casinos, shopping malls or lavish shows.

The daily entertainment is low-key, with libraries, parlour games and old-fashioned socialising through face-to-face conversation at the bar. High Tea is served every afternoon to the sound of a pianist, and on most nights there is a cabaret-style show.

Aboard Spirit of Discovery and Spirit of Adventure, the line introduced a glamorous bar and restaurant called The Club, by Jules Holland, where the artist’s celebrated taste in eclectic music is performed by a live band.

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Types of passengers aboard Saga Cruises

Although the passengers aboard Saga Cruises are older, they’re still very active, interested in exploring the world, and more comfortable doing it with people their own age.

The vast majority of passengers are British, but the cruise line has recently found a small, but growing and loyal following in North America.

Saga Cruises destinations and cruise itineraries

Saga’s ships sail an impressive variety of itineraries considering the size of the fleet, from a four-night Western Europe sampler to a 114-night world voyage.

Most cruises sail from Dover or Southampton, targeting different regions depending on the time of year.

The British summer is spent in the Baltic, British Isles, Mediterranean and the Norwegian Fjords, while the fleet migrates to warmer climates in the winter.

World cruises depart at the beginning of winter, with shorter two-week itineraries plying the waters of the Canary Islands or Caribbean.

Cruise ships in the Saga fleet:

Spirit of Discovery

Spirit of Adventure

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