>> Saga Ruby
SHIP VISIT TO SAGA RUBY
Port: Hong Kong
Berth: China Merchants Wharf, Kennedy Town
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sections of this page:
--- About Saga Ruby
--- About the Visit
otherwise specified, information in this article was
correct at the time of publishing in March 2012.
Click on the
picture for the virtual ship tour:
About the Visit
Shuttle Bus at Central Piers
Being the cruising
division of Saga Holidays, Saga Cruises was set up in 1997. It purchased
Caronia and Vistafjord from Cunard Line in 1997 and 2004
respectively and renamed these two sister ships as Saga Rose and Saga
Ruby. Similar to the well-known Queen Elizabeth 2, they have
streamlined superstructures which are rarely found on the boxy-shaped
megaships nowadays. After Saga Rose's retirement, Saga Ruby
becomes the last liner still in operation.
Saga Cruises had a new ship Saga
Pearl II in 2010 which will again be replaced by Saga Sapphire in
2012 summer. All these ships offer traditional and elegant cruise holidays
to British travellers over the age of 50. Most of their sailings depart from Dover
or Southampton and bring passengers to Western Europe, Scandinavia or the
Mediterranean. Longer voyages such as world cruises and South American
cruises are also operated.
Two years ago, I was so excited when knowing that Saga Ruby would
come to Hong Kong again in 2012. I understood there are not too many
chances. Although Saga Ruby and the former Saga Rose have
world cruises every year, they do not necessarily come to Hong Kong each
time. Even they do, some troubles usually occur.
For example, in Saga Ruby's 2006
World Cruise, she could not find a berth in Hong Kong since Aurora of
P&O Cruises was in our city on the same day. There was continuous rumour
that she would have to cancel this port of call. Eventually she still came,
moored at Ocean Terminal very shortly and then had to anchor at the sea centre.
Two years later, Saga Rose was originally scheduled to call at Hong
Kong in her 2008 World Cruise, yet cancelled at the last minute due to
electric problems. She directly sailed from Cebu to Ho Chi Minh City. Sadly
I had never seen this ship, and she was already scrapped in China in
March, Saga Ruby arrived in our city from Keelung in her 2012 World
Cruise. She could not moor at Ocean Terminal again, since this time it was occupied by Amadea of Phoenix Reisen.
Instead she had to berth at China Merchants Wharf at Kennedy Town.
Thank Grant Laversuch, the Operations
Director of Saga Cruises, for arranging a ship visit on 24th March for me
and two colleagues. In the morning we arrived the Central Piers, located the
stop of the free shuttle bus, and took the bus at 10:00 which brought us to
Kennedy Town in no more than 15 minutes. When we got off, the royal-blue
hull of Saga Ruby was immediately in front of us. Within a very short
walking distance was already the gangway.
We were welcomed by
the Cruise Hostess Carol Curling. She was our guide who would lead us to
various parts of the ship. Our tour was started from the lowest deck, Deck
3, which is the Spa. Deck 4 is crew-only area. Deck 5 and Deck 6 are
composed of mainly cabins with a few facilities. After passing through the
Reception and spacious Dining Room on Deck 7, we came to the aft end and
took the elevator to the top decks.
The highest deck
onboard is Deck 12. At first we thought that there were only the upper level
of two Duplex Suites. But we also found the Cloud Nine fitness centre and
some more sporting areas that were beyond our expectation, as they are not
shown on the deck plans printed on brochures. Then we went to the bars,
lounges restaurants and swimming pool at the aft of Deck 11 to Deck 8,
followed by the majority of indoor public rooms on the entire Deck 8.
The tour concluded
with a relaxing coffee chat in The South Cape Bar, forward of Deck 8. Thank
Carol for inviting for the latte and delicious cookies. We were delighted to
hear her seagoing stories and onboard life, as well as her introduction to
the brilliant history of Saga Ruby. Last but not least, we would like
to express our gratitude to her for giving us the ship's official plaque.
This is the first ship's wooden plaque that I have ever received, which is a
very traditional and commemorative maritime collectible.
Details on the
technical specifications and amenities of Saga Ruby can be found in
the virtual ship tour. In my opinion, though this ship is small in size, it
still bears almost all essential facilities on those modern big ships. As a
classic liner with a rich history, numerous artworks are placed in the
hallways, staircases and public rooms around the vessel. The souvenirs given
by countless ports are the witness to her tens of years of voyages over the
world. She is really a legendary ship, and also a museum representing the
golden ages of cruising.
disembarked at 12:00. We definitely hope to stay longer onboard, yet had to
rush for another tour on Amadea in Tsim Sha Tsui in the afternoon,
which was our first time to visit two ships within one day. Saga Ruby
departed at 17:00 after staying overnight in Hong Kong. She would continue
with her world cruise and the next stop would be Ho Chi Minh City.
(Obviously, we wish
to see Saga Ruby again in the coming future. Although Saga Cruises
keeps promising that the ship will be continuously refitted to be in good
conditions, the sad news eventually came. In July 2012, Saga Cruises
announced that this beautiful vessel will embark on her final voyage in
early 2014. Since the 2013 World Cruise will not cover Hong Kong, we no
longer have the opportunity of seeing her unless travelling aboard.)
Artwork in The South Cape Bar
Inaugural Voyage Plaque
Refreshments in The South Cape Bar
at China Merchants Wharf
Saga Ruby's Official Plaque
Daily Programme "Today"
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