01954 232 802

Saga Sapphire – Client review

Decided to do a blog for you from saga sapphire. Just for your info. Read it or scrap it…
So we were picked up by a driver in a large people carrier with another couple on board from Colne! (The transfer is part of the cast when booking).
Arrived in Dover in good time. Calm embarkation with a number call in depending when you arrive. We were kind of ordered to go straight to stateroom before lunch with our cabin boy. We booked an inside cabin which is unusual for us but we thought we would try one out. Lovely big cabin. We seem to have single beds instead of a double but we are not worried about it…So much storage. More than any cabin we have had before. (Even grills Cunard and suite on princess) 2 wardrobes, plenty of drawers and 4 shelves in each wardrobe. Loads of hangers. We also have this great table with fixed sofa one side and leather chair the other. All other cabins we have had, have had coffee tables only. This is a dining table height. Quite wide. Loads and loads of storage in the bathroom too. Huge pots of shampoo etc. Towels are not the best though. Apparently the balconies are very small.
The ship is obviously an old ship on the outside but inside there are a lot of modern areas. The staff are great…
We tried out 2 bars. This trip is all inclusive but very limited…The gin and tonic is a double!!, We were advised whist travelling down, to go straight to see the maître-due to book our table for two in the main dining room and also to book the speciality restaurant ( no extra cost). Sadly this is a queue job. Took ages…
The muster was dreadful.no lifts could be used, so we followed the masses down the stairs, so slow…..There are a lot of frames and of course we are quite nippy. But at least we will be at the buffet first! There was a service this afternoon on the back deck in the beautiful sunshine, for 100 years of the battle of Somme. The ship had sailed up to Folkestone and anchored off shore. It was very moving and then there were 2 spitfires overhead for half an hour, so close…a surprise….Provided by the captain, a lovely touch..
The cabin boy has just knocked with a huge bowl of fresh fruit as we get ready for dinner. Will let you know what the food is like…
How was dinner? Well we went into the restaurant at 20.10. Bearing in mind it is 1900-2100. We had a lovely table. Just the two of us in a private corner. The food was very good but our main was Luke warm. Someone took it away and after that, I have to say our waiter was Luke warm too. The all-inclusive wine was good. Unfortunately when we arrived, most of the diners were on their dessert. So we ended up being the last diners by 21.15… A shame because they were starting to lay tables for the next day. We had our pudding on our own and Dave had mentioned cheese…the waiter nearly wet himself as everything had been put away, so we kind of felt embarrassed and told them not to worry…
Coffee and mint tea in the bar and bed at 10pm!
Good night’s sleep. No neighbour noise.
Entered Portsmouth harbour on a bleak morning…We can order room service 24 hrs a day, so we could have ordered morning tea, but Dave decided to fetch himself. Seems a bit mean to get someone running around after you just for tea.
Breakfast was taken in The Veranda and very much enjoyed with good service.in buffet areas and tea and Coffee areas, there is always a clear sign for gluten free and diabetic people. Good choices too…
People left for excursions with complimentary drinks and umbrellas! Free shuttle buses to town…
Eventually the sun came out, we had lunch at the back of the ship (BBQ mackerel).2 restaurants open for lunch with the open deck. And plenty of room. After lunch we spent time with a lovely couple (he is wheelchair bound and obviously has a motor neurone problem), attempting to finish the afternoon trivia.
We tried the gym, very well equipped and the pool. The pool is very deep, easy to swim in, although the Jacuzzi would be difficult for the elderly to get in and out of….There is a Hamman room relax in the heat room and a sauna. Again all well-equipped and managed…plenty of seats around the pool.
We are impressed with the staff, the facilities and the public areas, all with plenty of room for frames, wheelchairs etc…People have done this ship many times and I can understand why…
Looking forward to tomorrow as it is the 48th maritime sailing around the Isle of Wight. Our ship has permission for the first time ever, to be ahead of the race and watch it in full. Dave is at a lecture at the moment about the race and what to look out for. Binoculars provided.
Hope to report back soon.
Yesterday was the big race day around the Isle of Wight…How fortunate we were with the weather, just one outburst of showers and the glorious sunshine.
1600 sailing boats of different size categories racing round. The wind was very strong so some smaller boat categories had to be cancelled. Captain dropped anchor in the waters near Cowes for us to watch the start with a complimentary champagne breakfast. How beautiful the scene was with all the boats racing right past us, either side of the ship. The commentary all day was by a guest speaker, Dennis, who seemed to know everything there is to know about sailing and the race. Very enjoyable. Ellen Macarthur was in there somewhere with a crew of young cancer patients, sailing her youth trust yacht…..As the last ‘starters’ sailed by, we upped anchor and moved to the finish line to watch them come i.e. new world record was set for racing round the island in just under 2 1/2 hours…It was a beautiful day and a real treat to have seen it all. Originally this race was not on the itinerary. It was a cruise to totally commemorate The Somme battle but the itinerary changed because of ports of call problems, so Saga managed to get prime position in the race.

There is a tiny, frail, dear little old lady on board who looks 100. But she cruises extensively alone. Every day she takes such pride in her appearance, wearing matching clothes and shoes everyday, Including a Burberry watch, with Burberry trousers and Burberry shoes. Today she is in a beautiful raspberry coloured outfit, make up perfect, hair tumbling down her shoulders……😀

The breakfast buffet is handled very well. There is always a chefs special plus all the hot things you would want including my favourite kippers. Plenty of cereals, fruit, and pastries etc. Toast isn’t plonked on the table, nor do you have to do it yourself. You walk over to the counter and it is freshly toasted. Nothing is too much trouble and there are always a large amount of staff helping out, carrying plates etc…They also keep all the tables clean and free of clutter.
Being in an inside cabin has one big disadvantage, we cannot tell the weather for the day. This is a nuisance as the weather is so varied…The on board web cam helps!! Our cabin is slap bang in the middle of the ship, which means we do not get vibration and anchor noise. Some people have complained about i.e. think it is always good to know that problems can be had with having front and back cabins…especially in turbulent seas….
We went to the lounge to get our ticket for the tender to St Peters Port, Guernsey…Unfortunately the seas were rough and we were held up…Eventually called on and just as we were embarking, we were told to get out and wait again as it was too rough. It was already agony watching people with sticks trying to get in then we had to help them get off. Eventually after 2 hours we got going. Very surprised that we did not get told any safety things, e.g where the life jackets were. We have never been on tenders on any ship and not been given safety advice. Considering the conditions and frailty of the passengers, it wasn’t good enough.
St. Peters port is beautiful and having never visited Guernsey before, we enjoyed the walk….sadly it is a drizzly day with intermittent bright spells.
As we missed lunch we will have afternoon tea…something we haven’t tried yet…
There are areas of the ship to play board games, use the computers (internet free), do puzzles, watch live tennis, etc…Shops and occasional offers from the shops, duty free etc..
Tonight we are booked into the specialty restaurant that we pre booked on embarkation. Oriental fusion restaurant.. Glad we were told to do this as many people are disappointed that they have no booking..
The lifts are a disadvantage of being on here. We try to walk the stairs as much as can. A lot of people on here cannot remember what deck they want, where they are going, what they have pressed or which button is to close or open doors. It’s a nightmare….Toes are constantly bruised from rolators, frames and mobility scooters..
Having a laugh with a couple who in their 80s but they are sharp as buttons and great sense of humour. They have never cruised before and because they booked the original Somme cruise, got an upgrade to a balcony with a butler…They are a hoot….so proud of their butler and canapés…😀
Tomorrow is Le Havre…
Just waiting to disembark now. We had to be out of our cabins by 8am but our pick up is 11am…
Had a great meal in the specialty restaurant. If you get any bookings for saga sapphire, do tell them to book on embarkation as soon as the reservations open. A wonderful dining experience.
Yesterday we docked at Le Havre with free transfers to the town….Very quiet and not that interesting, but nice to have a walk. By lunchtime the sun came out and at the back BBQ we were treated to sardines, trout, sea bream and a whole lamb. It was gorgeous…
We spent the afternoon, lounging in some big comfy sofa chairs at the back.
I am a bit surprised at visitors being allowed on board most days, especially with recent cruise problems with Noro virus. Yesterday there were some men from French authorities, but they were taking photos too.
Last night we did try a show, Frank Sinatra, whose music we like, but it was not our cup of tea. Most of the passengers were asleep. All the entertainment at any time during the day or evening is 40s-50s.Never any 60s or more recent….We don’t expect Calvin Harris or Jess Glynne, but some Beatles would have been nice. There are plenty of under 65s on here, some younger who are accompanying parents etc.
We are starting to get a bit fed up with other people’s medical problems and the coughing and spluttering of bad chests, especially when dining. This can’t be helped but it is off putting nevertheless. Also as I mentioned, the lifts….oh the lifts. I could write a book on that experience…we did use the stairs as much as possible…The lounges are constantly used but inevitably everyone is asleep. It has been hard as a nurse, not to check their pulses and jump on their chests doing resuscitation!!They all look dead, slumped over arms of chairs…
So …our first experience has been overall very good…It is definitely a very good holiday for elderly and infirm and also lone travellers. There have been many solo travellers. We felt like we have been looked after from the minute we closed our front door…We would never have an inside cabin again. We could not bear the constant darkness and not knowing the weather conditions, along with no fresh air…It has been quiet too, not groups gathering loudly anywhere…We would consider this cruise company again if the itinerary was short and sweet and interesting. Dave says when we are a bit older!
The staff are the best we have experienced on a cruise, everywhere.
Bed linen and towels were poor and the cabins a bit tired. But our cabin was very large…Bath goodies, shampoo etc., were very good too within large pots that are easy to handle. Plenty of hangers in wardrobes.
So here we are still waiting to disembark, a laborious time, but having enjoyed ourselves and having met some interesting people.
Hope you are all well and be in touch soon.


  • Contact Us

    • For an exclusive treat on your birthday!
  • Ponders and your holiday…

    When it comes to booking a holiday we all know that we all have different ideas, budgets and requirements. That’s why here at Ponders it’s all about you and your choice.

    We are proud to offer you:
    • 30 years’ experience
    • First-hand knowledge of many worldwide destinations
    • Price Match Guarantee
    • Excellent customer service
    • Tailor making as standard
    • Fully ABTA and Atol protected meaning full financial protection.
    Call us today on 01954 232802 remember its your holiday so its your choice!
  • Travel Disruption Insurance

    Ponders Travel offer you cover from:
    • Cancellations and delays caused by force majeure.
    • Events including: War (and similar hostility), natural disaster (including volcanic ash cloud), severe weather (including snow) or industrial action.

    Our other Ponders family websites