A Cruise Law News reader has alerted us to a major engine problem for the Saga Sapphire cruise ship which has broken down during a cruise through Norway. A passenger aboard the stricken cruise ship writes:
"The Saga Sapphire is currently struck with motor-problems again - this time whilst on a Norwegian Cruise - and has been unable to leave Trömso Fjord for the last two days. Efforts to repair the ship succeeded - after a further 4 miles the ship has broken down again."
Newspaper accounts in Norway corroborate the passenger's account.
Nordlys newspaper in Norway confirms that the cruise ship's generators failed and repairs were attempted in Trömso, without success.
You can see, from a photograph from the Norwegian newspaper, the Saga Sapphire smoking heavily. Something's definitely not right with this ship.
The Norwegian newspaper contains a rather humorous account of the situation where several of the 600 passengers asked the cruise ship's agent about the heavy diesel smoke pouring from the ship's engines and wondered: is it was normal to have such large emissions? The agent said "no it's not the worst thing I have ever seen." To which a passenger responded, "what is the worst thing you've seen?"
Of course, the situation is not humorous to the passengers who paid for a nice vacation cruise. They have been sailing part of the time in a tender vessel.
The cruise ship's captain has a blog - called the Saga Sapphire Captain's Blog - which has remained silent for the past 5 days. A lesson for any cruise line: If you have a cruise ship blog, be sure to write about the good times and the bad times in an equally transparent manner. Otherwise, it makes matters worse. It appears that you are covering things up. (please note that Captain Philip Rentell has since updated his blog, and seems to have a good nature approach in his assessment of the delays).
The last entry from the Captain in the ship's blog five days ago mentions "even worse weather, high winds, driving rain and temperature forecast to feel like only 1 degree Celsius." Yikes. I don't want to be on a cruise ship in crappy weather with crappy generators. That may take the situation from not funny to dangerous.
This is not the first time that the Saga Sapphire has encountered engine problems.
In April, we reported on problems during its maiden voyage which was cut short due to the failure of one of its engines.
As you can see in the video below, the Saga Sapphire was smoking heavily two months ago, during its maiden voyage.
Hopefully the cruise ship can get the generators running. But if so, it looks like a smokey cruise. Gas masks anyone?
June 30, 2012 Update: As you can see from the comments below, some of the passengers are upset with the botched cruise, the general condition and state of affair of the Saga Sapphire and the compensation offered by the cruise line. One passenger sent me the photograph below of the cruise ship leaving Tromso - I'm not sure I have ever seen any ship smoking like this!
August 10, 2012 Update: The Telegraph in the U.K. has an article today Saga Reassures Customers Over Newest Vessel. Not much substance to the article but this is what the company is saying.
Top: Northern Lights-tipping via Nordlys
Bottom: Saga Sapphire cruise passenger