Saga replacing a Rose with a Pearl
Saga, the Kent-based holiday and financial services company, is
replacing a Rose with a Pearl.
Saga Rose, the flagship of the Saga cruise fleet, starts its
final voyage on October 30 and the business has been searching the
world for a suitable replacement.
It found an ideal cruise ship - the Astoria - but its plans to
buy the vessel were scuppered when the former owners went into
receivership and she was impounded in Barcelona.
Saga, whose head offices are in Sandgate, Folkestone, feared it
had lost the ship but at a recent auction in Gibraltar, Saga’s bid
won the day.
The Astoria - to be renamed Saga Pearl II - will now undergo a
£14million refit before entering service in March. A special hull
coating will enable her to travel with greater ease, cutting fuel
consumption and carbon footprint.
Her new name is a tribute to the original Saga Pearl which
sailed under the Saga flag until 2004 when she was replaced by the
The 18,500-tonne ship - built in Germany in 1981 and originally
named Arkona - will carry up to 446 passengers and 269 officers and
crew. Her first cruise leaves from Southampton for the Norwegian
coast and the Northern Lights on March 15.
Andrew Goodsell, Saga Group’s executive chairman, said: "I am
very excited that we at long last have Saga Pearl II.
"She is a lovely mid-sized ship true to the Saga tradition and a
perfect addition to our fleet. I am sure that Saga Pearl II will
win the hearts of Saga cruisers, just as Saga Rose did a decade
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