My favorite London cruise blogger – John Honeywell a/k/a @CaptGreybeard – penned a couple of excellent blogs this weekend explaining that the maiden voyage of the Saga Sapphire cruise ship, already delayed due to refurbishment over-runs and striking workers, has cut its maiden voyage short due to the failure of one of its engines.

It tuns out that the new flagship for Saga Cruises is stuck in Valencia, Spain waiting for engine repairs. Not an impressive start.  

Engine problems, can you imagine that on a cruise ship? Add the Sapphire to the club of recent engine failure cruise ships: Splendor, Celebration, Caribbean PrincessQueen Mary 2, Allegra, Quest. & Plancius.  But Captain Greybeard doesn’t stop there. He reports that:

"It has also emerged that Sapphire’s week in Southampton was not without incident.

An inspection by officials from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency uncovered a total of 55 "deficiencies" on board, ranging from lack of training in fire drills, to an incomplete lifeboat inventory. The faults were not considered serious enough for the MCA to detain the ship.

The Marine Accident Investigation Bureau is also holding an inquiry into an incident in which two crewmembers went overboard from a lifeboat during a drill on March 29."

More bad news for the bad news cruise industry.  Watch the smoky cruise ship’s debut below.  Ah, the smell of bunker fuel:

  • Diane Winter

    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.

  • Agnes Lattimer and Freda Feasby.

    We were on the Saga cruise to the North Cape.Alright so we didn’t sail around the North cape in high winds,lashing rain and large report from a Norwegian at the Polar Bear centre in Hammerfest when Inquiring where we were going next said “DO YOU REALLY WANT TO KNOW WHAT THE WEATHER IS GOING TO BE LIKE”as he checked it up on his computer.It would have been a feat of endurance for the many immobile people on board so we think the captain made the right decision.As the guide said on our tour Hammerfest is the North Cape.We were detained in Tromso but we made the most of it visiting the Botanical Gardens,The arctic Cathedral etc.Apleasant stay which we could not have seen in the schedule.BETTER TO BE SAFE THAN SORRY!
    Most people seemed to enjoy the cruise until near the end when encouraged by copious amounts of free wine the complaints became more voluble.The culture of compensation seems to have become ingrained in the psyche of some British people!We will make them pay for this we heard from some people.If you have your car serviced it can break down the next time you take it out.These things happen,the last cruise we went on turned into a coach trip because the Danube was flooded fortunately everyone was philosophical about it and said life’s a gamble.I think it is diabolical to suggest 100 per cent refund.What about all that delicious food you ate,the excellent care you received from those delightful filipino staff and the way the Saga staff endeavoured to make amends.

  • philip

    very poor offers of compensation as well

  • Dorothy Gumbley

    This ship is the most dreadful ship I have been on including the Costa Concordia.

    24.6.2012 we embarked on a thirteen night cruise around the British Isles.

    Before sailing we were informed we would not be going to our first port of call in The Channel Islands as the weather was unfavourable,but we cruise slowly to our next port of call Falmouth,this did not occur because a generator had had broken down, we spent the day in Dover. later we were unable to go ashore in The Isle of Man due to unfavourable weather conditions.

    That was not the worst of our problems.When we first went on board we noticed afoul rotting blocked drain smell,not everywhere but as you made your way aroun the ship we would walk through it,relaxing round the oudoor pool we would get a whiff of it.The first night on board I did not sleep very well,three times in the night the smell came into our cabin very strongly so much so I felt I was eating it.The following morning I reported it at reception.During my time on board I challenged anumber of senior crew members they denied any knowledge of this stink including the Captain who on many occasions we saw walking arond the ship, I told him if he had not smelt this foul smell he should make an appointment with an E.N.T.surgeon,to which he replied there had been problems with the ducting and thought this problem had bee resolved.

    The weather throughout had been appaling no fault of Saga but the travel arrangments before and after the cruise left a lot to be desired.

    I regard this holiday as a complete waste of time and money and willnot be booking with Saga again,this was my first and last time.s