Saga Cruises is a part of the Saga Group Limited, a company that was formed by Sidney De Haan in the 1950's. The companies focus is also hidden in its name, it means 'Social Amenities for the Golden Age'. This said, the company is specially catering for people in their 'over 50's', offering classic, relaxing holidays that they so much prefer. The cruisebusiness really started in 1997, when the company bought it's first ship, the Gripsholm from Transocean Tours, that had sailed for years for Cunard Line as Sagafjord. The ship itself also was an oldie, built in 1965 for the Swedish American Line, so well underway to her 50's. For Saga Holidays she was named Saga Rose, her former name was thus a coincidence. This ship stayed in the Saga fleet for 12 years, being sold to the breakers in late 2009. It was the first ship that was owned by Saga Group, but by no means the first ship where Saga sold holidays on. As early as 1978, Saga Group was offering holidays aboard the Atlas of Epirotiki Lines and they had used a number of ships within the 1970's, 1980's and 1990's for this purpose.
Below, at the 13th of june 2012, Grandmother Saga Ruby is followed by her grandchildren when leaving IJmuiden (just some imagination).
In 2003, Saga chartered a second ship and named her Saga Pearl. Formerly, this had been the Minerva for Swan Hellenic Cruises. She only sailed for Saga one year, before being chartered to Phoenix Reisen of Germany as their Alexander von Humboldt. The following year, the company was able to buy the sistership of the Saga Rose, when Cunards Caronia became available. The ship was rebuilt and updated and entered the Saga fleet from the summerseaon of 2004 onwards as Saga Ruby. When Saga Rose left the fleet, a replacement was bought from the ruins of Club Cruise, and she became the Saga Pearl II. This ship had been built in 1981 as the first Astor for the Hadag Cruise Line of Hamburg. Another ship was added to the fleet of Saga when the 1980-built Europa was bought or services from 2012 onwards. For the first time, Saga now owned three ships, when this ship entered European cruises as the Saga Sapphire. The ship introduced the much debated new housecolours of Saga, where the funnel is now no longer yellow with a black top, but sporting the Saga name on a funnel in several types of blue. Just two years later, the Saga Ruby was sold to become a hotelship in Asia, reducing the fleet to two ships.
Sag Group offers a lot more then cruising, although in cruising they also own another brand, named Spirit Of Adventure. This is one part of the company that is not solely sold to people in their Golden Age, but available to everyone. Next to this, the company sells tourpackages for trips around the world and owns its own hotel at St. Lucia. Also, the company has an Insurances-department, a Personal Finance-department and a Healthcare-department so it's not just a travel business. When Sydney de Haan retired, his son Roger took over in 1984 and in 2004, the family sold the Saga Group to the private equity firm Charterhouse.
Saga Sapphire as seen between the pierheads at IJmuiden at the 10th of july 2012.
Saga Group kinda surprised the cruise industry as they ordered a 55.000-ton cruiseliner from Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany in september of 2015. The ship will be delivered to Saga Cruises in 2019 and she will probably be followed by an option sistership in 2021. These ships will be built in the tradition of Saga Cruises, but of course these are the first new ships ordered by the company that normally just buys secondhand ships. Next to that, they will be quite larger then the ships Saga sails with at this moment. But then, as te market for payable secondhand tonnage is really declining, it will be possible that more smaller companies will get orders out over the coming years.
Besides the ships that are placed under this main page, another ship that has sailed for Saga Cruises is also on this website. Below, I added the link to the page.
Saga Pearl (2003-2004) is placed as Minerva