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12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We are seasoned cruisers and chose this 4 night cruise to introduce friends to the joys of cruising. We couldn’t have made a better choice. Like most of our previous cruises, the food was excellent as was the entertainment, but where ... Read More
We are seasoned cruisers and chose this 4 night cruise to introduce friends to the joys of cruising. We couldn’t have made a better choice. Like most of our previous cruises, the food was excellent as was the entertainment, but where they differed was for the price - the level of service was first class, you could almost believe there were more waiters than guests in the buffet restaurant! There was an inclusive drinks package, which covered generic spirits and a few cocktails. But they were willing to extend this to a particular named sherry when we pointed out that there was no choice offered of a generic one. This is just an illustration of their “can do” attitude. The cheapest cabin which we had, was the largest one we had seen for the price. The Asian themed restaurant was a gourmet dining experience at no extra charge. We are sorry that the Saga Sapphire is to be replaced soon, but we will be cruising with Saga in the future. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
A first experience of a Saga cruise - for a child-free quiet holiday. Much enjoyed. The standard and quality of the ship and what it offers compares well with our experience of Cunard. The incentive of chauffeur-driven transport to and ... Read More
A first experience of a Saga cruise - for a child-free quiet holiday. Much enjoyed. The standard and quality of the ship and what it offers compares well with our experience of Cunard. The incentive of chauffeur-driven transport to and from Dover was very appealing and worked perfectly. The cabin was very spacious and comfortable (without balcony - but that was our choice and they are a lot less of them on the Saga ships). The steward was attentive and looked after our cabin well throughout the cruise. The dining experience was excellent throughout. Lunch and dinner were accompanied by good wines so that it was not necessary to purchase off the wine list. I was most impressed that the evening when "reserved" table service was suspended due to planning for a late night buffet after the return of those passengers who had attended the Edinburgh tattoo, but the maitre d' approached us and kept our table for us (we had chosen to dine on a smaller table for each meal). Very relieved and amazed that he remembered to do this for us. A great plus. WE didn't attend much of the "formal" entertainment: though some of it happens more casually around the ship during the "Edinburgh Fringe" theme of the cruise. What we saw and heard was very good - just not our "social scene". My gripe about all the cruises we have been on - the dress code is clearly explained both before and during the event. At least one evening is "formal" - so why can't people abide by this rule? Evening dress means evening dress - not just a jacket with a bow-tie! The ladies (generally) make the effort - why can't the men? Even on the less formal nights, I feel it would be polite to wear a jacket even if no tie is worn. Saga doesn't have a policy of certain parts of the shop being free from these rules (unlike Cunard) so people ought to come prepared for the whole "experience". The trips we went on were well organised, and well executed with some excellent guides (esp. the trip to see Hadrian's Wall and Chesters). Saga didn't make much of visiting the Royal Yacht Britannia as we were docked right by it. But we made a private visit and it is well worth seeing. Perhaps the ship ought to make more of this - by planning "blocked booking" for the ship's passengers as clearly it gets very busy and the queues looked long at times (luckily we went first thing in the morning). Overall. a very good experience - though (personally) I did find the age-profile rather higher than I was expecting and it did slow-up (particularly) the trips on coaches on days in port. Some people had clearly not read the notification that there was walking involved. Getting (older) people on and off coaches takes time (and effort): so planning for a "ten minute stop" to see one site actually took thirty minutes!! This timing needs to be built into the programme as at times things seemed rushed. Some of the passengers were disappointed about the Edinburgh Tattoo - expecting to be able to obtain tickets - either privately or via Saga - only to find they were sold out. A shame if this was the sole reason who had come on this particular cruise. But we enjoyed what we saw and experienced. Thank you. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
After sailing with Cunard for well over 20 years {Platinum Members} and with Celebrity for around 6 years, the Saga Pearl II Christmas market cruise 2017 was a first for us but it won't be the last vacation we take with Saga. ... Read More
After sailing with Cunard for well over 20 years {Platinum Members} and with Celebrity for around 6 years, the Saga Pearl II Christmas market cruise 2017 was a first for us but it won't be the last vacation we take with Saga. Although Cunard ships and Celebrity ships have the glitz and glamour the ambience on Cunard isn't what it used to be, folks in track suit bottoms, Man U shirts and {can you believe} mothers in pyjama's chasing screaming kids takes the shine from the elegance of the ships, what you see depicted in the brochures isn't what you'll get on-board the ship. Cruising on the Pearl II is more like staying at an elegant / refined Country Club, a relaxed atmosphere for the over 50's, it hardly matters where the ship is going, just that you are on it. A good number of the folks we met on the Pearl had sailed on her 10 or 15 times or more, many were doing back to back cruises, they don't want to get off, we can see why, it's pity we didn't discover Saga cruises years ago. As mentioned the Pearl might not have the glitz and glamour of the QM2, but it doesn't have 2,695 passengers either. The 3:30 line up at the Kings Court buffet on the QM2 sees folks jockeying for position waiting for the tape to go up, it's like the start of the Grand National. It's certainly more like Aintree than what you'd expect {or got years ago} on a Cunard ship, then it's musical chairs trying to find a table. Standards are high on the Pearl, the public areas, the décor, the food, the service from cabin staff to restaurant and bar staff were equal to if not better than any ship we have sailed on in the last 25 years. Unlike Cunard and most other lines on Saga ships the tips are included in the price but the service we had from the cabin staff and others was exceptional so we tipped them to show appreciation for the respect, regard and level of service they gave us and all the passengers on the Pearl. The food in the restaurants was second to none, the presentation on the plate showed that the kitchen staff take pride in their work, the waiters/waitresses were friendly and attentive. I guess it helps that even when the Pearl is fully booked there's less than 500 passengers aboard, the whole experience is more Boutique than Butlin's. Onboard purchases are in £'s rather than US$'s so you know exactly what you are paying without having to calculate the £ vs $ rate, add to that drink prices in the bars aren't extortionate either. The entertainment was excellent, especially The Four D's, they put on a couple of great shows, the enrichment programs were "par for the course" much the same as any ship. Included in the price is Travel Insurance, chauffeur pick up if you live within 250 miles of Southampton, if you live further than that there's a small fee for the extra miles, or if you chose to travel by train the return ticket is provided, what more could you ask for. I could go on to say how the Pearl was equal to {or more often} better in all aspects than the other ships we have sailed on, but I'll leave that for my review of the QM2. We had a great time, made many new friends and learned a lot from them about Saga vacations. All in all we couldn't fault any aspect of the cruise, the next cruise we take will be with Saga, we didn't know what we were missing !!! Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
We wanted to treat our family group of 12 to a mini cruise which would involve no expense whatsoever to them, and stumbled across Saga with whom we had never considered cruising before, despite having enjoyed over 25 cruises with 9 lines. ... Read More
We wanted to treat our family group of 12 to a mini cruise which would involve no expense whatsoever to them, and stumbled across Saga with whom we had never considered cruising before, despite having enjoyed over 25 cruises with 9 lines. A dedicated group travel consultant at Saga dealt with every aspect of our booking. Cabins were reserved without deposit until bookings were confirmed, and there was a group booking discount of one free place. He was also the point of contact for any queries we had before sailing. Much more than usual was included in the price of this cruise- free travel insurance for us all including several of our party with medical conditions which normally attract a considerable premium, chauffeur service to and from Dover or free parking for those who choose to drive themselves, all on board gratuities, free 24 hour room service, bottled water and packed lunches for those on excursions, free shuttle buses in all ports, free Wi-Fi, and generous helpings from a choice of over 10 wines or soft drinks at lunch and dinner. The published cost of the cruise may appear to be higher than on some lines, but is offset by the included extras, and several of our group disembarked with a "nil" on board account. We sailed from Dover in warm sunshine, sipping complimentary champagne and were treated to a surprise flying display by a WW2 Spitfire, and Vera Lynn singing The White Cliffs of Dover. Cabins were clean and comfortable with adequate storage, fridge, T.V and DVD player, and even pillow chocolates. Bathrobes, good showers and full sized bottles of toiletries were provided. Saga Pearl caters to the over 50's and carries a maximum of 450 passengers and 250 officers and crew who were unfailingly helpful and friendly. The atmosphere is relaxed and sociable but even on this 4 night cruise there was one formal night, giving the opportunity to dress up if one wished. Entertainment was low-key, as there is no theatre and the on board singers performed in the Discovery Lounge. On the final evening we were treated to a performance by Beyond the Barricade. The library carries a huge array of books and magazines to which you are trusted to help yourself, and there is a small cinema, gym, and beauty salon. One of the most impressive features of the cruise was the fabulous food which was outstanding in both variety and quality. Seating is mainly open, but as a group, we were allocated two tables for six, and a very good selection of gluten free was offered in addition to a diabetic menu. Having experienced Cunard Queen’s Grill and Silversea we felt that Saga ’s food was undoubtedly equal, if not superior. We are wondering why it has taken us so long to “discover” Saga, will have no hesitation in recommending them to our friends, and will definitely sail with them again. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
Our first Saga cruise but this mini was on the date we wanted and our beloved Christmas markets were covered. We have been on 35+ cruises and this was really enjoyable. The smallest ship we have been on and she did bounce about it in the ... Read More
Our first Saga cruise but this mini was on the date we wanted and our beloved Christmas markets were covered. We have been on 35+ cruises and this was really enjoyable. The smallest ship we have been on and she did bounce about it in the high seas last night but hey - horses for courses. The staff, food, service and ship were great and there was absolutely nothing to complain about. Most of the passengers were friendly and were young at heart wrinklies with just a few of the usual moaners. Would we go back on ? Yes we would, we were very impressed. Read Less
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