Janine Kelso was on board Saga’s “five-star hotel that just happens to float” as it made its maiden voyage
Saga’s new boutique cruise ship Spirit of Adventure made its maiden voyage on July 26 from Tilbury following a glitzy naming ceremony on July 19 at Portsmouth International Port.
Described as a “five-star hotel that just happens to float” by Saga’s CEO for cruise Nigel Blanks, Spirit of Adventure has 10 passenger decks with 554 all-balcony cabins and a 999-person capacity.
Here’s our pick of five showstopping spaces on board the luxury liner.
Dramatically backed by the ship’s canary-yellow funnel, the Art Deco-style Lido enjoys a prime position in the centre of the ship and is the main outdoor space.
Surrounded by sun loungers, the inviting 12m pool has a cool retro feel reminiscent of the British seaside. Passengers can tuck into fish and chips, burgers and hot dogs from the neighbouring grill, or grab a 99 from the self-serve ice cream station.
After topping up your tan, there are plenty of shady spots to cool off in, as well as twin hot tubs to retreat to. Continuing the old-world vibes, the traditional games of shuffleboard and deck quoits are also available to enjoy outdoors.
Spirit of Adventure is home to five restaurants, including three speciality dining spots, where passengers can dine at no additional cost.
The pick, though, is Khukuri House – the only Nepalese restaurant at sea, which pays homage to the large Gurkha community around Saga’s hometown of Folkestone. Serving up authentic Nepalese cuisine, the 74-cover restaurant features striking artwork and colourful furnishings.
Other top dining spots include Amalfi, an Italian restaurant serving up high-end Mediterranean dishes prepared using locally sourced fish and meat bought in port that day.
New for Saga is cabaret-style venue The Supper Club where guests can enjoy live jazz and blues as they dine, staying for entertainment and cocktails late into the night.
Blanks likens the intimate club to world-renowned jazz institution Ronnie Scott’s. He hopes that the addition of sophisticated spots like this one will “challenge the perception” that a Saga cruise ship is a “floating nursing home”.
Located on the main deck to make it easily accessible, the ship’s swish spa is the perfect spot to relax and indulge with its sumptuous interiors and superlative treatments that use luxurious Elemis products.
Wallow in the 18.5 square metre hydrotherapy pool surrounded by thermal spa beds, or sweat out the stress in the steam room or two saunas (one infrared and one traditional hot stone).
There are six treatment rooms where guests can bliss out with Elemis facials, acupuncture sessions, deep tissue massages or bespoke treatments.
Hairdressing and manicures are also available. Before and after treatments, guests can recline on quartz beds in the relaxation room.
There are no bad seats in the liner’s plush 444-seat theatre thanks to its clever column-free design, which means that every member of the audience can enjoy an unrestricted view of the stage.
Theatregoers can enjoy West End musicals, film screenings, live music performances and matinee shows on sea days.
“We’re trying to raise the bar with a variety of entertainment,” says Blanks.
Passengers should look out for performances by the ship’s entertainer and former Britain’s Got Talent winner Paul Potts.
“Every cabin is slightly different,” says Saga Travel CEO Nick Stace, commenting on the boutique style and unique artwork found in every sleeping quarter.
But what every one of the ship’s 554 outside-facing cabins do have in common is that they all have their own private balconies, including its 109 single cabins.
And at an average size of 20 square metres, Saga is billing them as “some of the most generously-sized cabins on the ocean wave”. The lavish 80 square metre Forward Suites are the most prestigious accommodation option, homing a walk-in wardrobe and whirlpool tub. They also come complete with a dedicated butler and in-cabin dining from all restaurants.