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Cruise Wonderland >> Ship Visits >> Saga Ruby


SHIP VISIT TO SAGA RUBY (SAGA CRUISES)

Date: 2012/03/24
Port: Hong Kong
Berth: China Merchants Wharf, Kennedy Town

Click here to go to different sections of this page:
--- About Saga Ruby
--- About the Visit
--- Downloads

Unless otherwise specified, information in this article was correct at the time of publishing in March 2012.


About Saga Ruby

Click on the picture for the virtual ship tour:


About the Visit

Shuttle Bus at Central Piers Gangway Gangway
     

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 2009.

On 23rd 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.

Visitor Pass
 
Christening Plaque
     

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.

Finally we 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 Saga Ruby at China Merchants Wharf Saga Ruby's Official Plaque

Downloads

Daily Programme "Today"

Restaurant Menus

Dinner (2012/03/23)

Lunch (2012/03/24)

Dinner (2012/03/24)


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