Saga Cruises, a British cruise line, placed an order with Meyer Werft, a global ship builder based in Germany, for a new Saga cruise ship, in September 2015. The ship will be constructed in Meyer Werft’s shipyard in Papenburg, Germany, and is scheduled for delivery in summer 2019. The order also includes an option for a second ship for delivery in 2021.
Seabourn Encore is the first of two ultra-luxury cruise ships ordered by Seabourn from Fincantieri.
Saga has conducted a research on how people above 50s spend on tourism and travel in the UK. It was found that consumer cruise spending is expected to increase by 43% to £2.2bn by 2020. One third of the people responded that they were planning to increase their spending on cruising after retirement. Saga Cruises decided to add new ships to its fleet based on the observations made during the research.
The new purpose-built ship will be designed in the coming months. However, the traditional features of a typical Saga cruise ship will be retained in the design. The ship will offer both ex-UK and fly cruises.
Meyer Werft will reactivate its building dock I, which is currently used only for block construction, for building the new ship. It brings the number of deliverables to Saga Cruises in 2019 to three ships instead of two.
The new cruise ship will be approximately 234m-long, 30.8m-wide and weigh approximately 55,900GT. It will be designed to accommodate fewer than 1,000 passengers and will remain as an intimate small-ship like the other Saga cruise ships. Some new features will, however, be included to offer better cruising experience for passengers.
The new cruise ship will have a high crew-to-customer ratio, more public spaces, and entertainment and dining facilities.
It will feature approximately 540 suites and cabins. The cabins will be spacious, look modern and will have a balcony each. The cabin types will include standard, deluxe, mid-ship suites, and larger suites. Approximately 15% of the cabins will be for single-occupancy.
Dining options aboard the ship will include a variety of restaurants, bars, speciality restaurants and al-fresco dining options, which will provide single-sitting dining options. Other facilities will include indoor and outdoor swimming pools, treatment rooms, spa, saunas, beauty salon, a feature library, and signature Britannia Lounge.
Saga Cruises currently operates two ships, the 446-passenger Saga Pearl II and the 706-passenger Saga Sapphire, both set for an eventual phase out.
Demand for sailing is quite high on the ships with both the ships having carried 25,000 passengers last year and with a repeat passenger rate of 75%. Both the ships will visit 14 new ports in 2016 including Holy Loch in Scotland, Boulogne-sur-Mer in France, Pyramiden in the Svalbard archipelago, San Remo in Italy and Southwold in Suffolk.
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