The Saga Pearl II cruise ship was known as the Astoria until 2009. The ship was acquired by Saga Shipping in November 2009 to replace 1965-built, Saga Rose. The new owner of the ship has spent more than £20m on its renovation, the most comprehensive and costliest refit project in the company’s history.
The ship was refitted at the Swansea dry dock. It was the first time in last ten years that the dry dock has taken such a large refit project. The dry dock itself was refurbished to accomplish the refit project. The refit programme created 300 jobs for a period of three months.
The main engineering works were carried out by Harris Pye. The contract included complete overhauling of the main as well as auxiliary engines. Electrical and automation, steel and pipe works, and hull treatment were also done by the company. Other works carried out by the company involved renewal of crew cabins and equipping a restaurant and lounge.
Saga Pearl II construction
Originally owned by German company Hadag Cruise Line, the ship was built in 1981 at Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft shipyard in Kiel. The ship didn’t turn out to be profitable for the company and, as a result, was sold to South African company Safmarine. The ship cruised between South Africa and Europe.
The ship suffered serious mechanical problems in November 2008 and was laid up in Barcelona. In June 2009, it was moved to Gibraltar, where it was auctioned for sale in August 2009.
The name Saga Pearl II was given in honour of the company’s original Saga Pearl, which was retired in 2004 and replaced by Saga Ruby.
The ship was designed to accommodate 602 passengers and 220 crew. It is 164.30m long and has a beam of 22.60m. The gross tonnage of the ship is 18,591t. After renovation, the passenger capacity of the ship reduced from 602 to 446.
Saga Pearl II is furnished with six passenger decks. Of the 253 cabins, 60 are for single occupation, 42 double cabins and 25 king size cabins.
Single suites are constructed with a private balcony. Room facilities include a large double bed, a desk for writing purpose, large flat screen TV for entertainment, wardrobe with ample space and mini bar.
The ship has gym, swimming pool and spa treatment facilities, and a Decleor hair and beauty salon on Deck B. The gym employs qualified professionals to help the guests use the gym equipment and formulate personalised fitness programmes. A sports deck including a short tennis court was also built.
The ship has its own high-quality cruise entertainment team. Smoking has been prohibited inside or on cabin balconies, but smokers can find place to smoke in the Verandah restaurant and the Sundowner bar’s open deck aft.
Balcony cabins, the show lounge, restaurants, spa and swimming pool were upgraded as part of the renovation programme. New additions included the creation of a cinema and a library. To give onboard guests a gourmet dining feel in single-sitting dining rooms, a special kitchen was refurnished. The new Veranda Restaurant was also added.
The ship’s main bar, Shackleton’s, is located between the dining room and the Discovery Lounge.
The Saga Pearl II is fitted with four main Sulzer-Wärtsilä engines with total power output of 15,400kW. This power allows the ship to cruise at speeds of up to 21.4kt.
To reduce fuel consumption and the ship’s carbon footprint, the hull is coated with special, state-of-art silicone paint.