The first of two new Saga cruise ships sailed into its home port of Dover today.
The arrival of 999-passenger Spirit of Discovery comes ahead of a royal naming ceremony by the Duchess of Cornwall next Friday (July 5) and a trade preview.
Spirit of Discovery’s sister ship, Spirit of Adventure is due to arrive in summer 2020, marking the realisation of a £600 million-plus investment in both ships.
When fully in service each ship will deliver around £40 million in earnings [ebitda] per year – marking a step change in the financial performance of the overall travel division within Saga, according to the over-50s specialist.
Saga Travel CEO Robin Shaw said: “We have unashamedly focused on the fact we are a British cruise line.
“We have designed the new ships with a focus on British contemporary design classics, with the vision of creating Britain’s first boutique hotel at sea.
“But these ‘hotels’ are able to take Saga guests to interesting and exciting destinations around the world. Both ships will have a bold and adventurous style that’s a testament to high-quality design and the best of British innovation and flair.”
He added: “With our classic, contemporary British design, we have absolutely hit the mark with boutique cruising. The design is not what you get with a cookie-cutter approach; it is meant to be individual.
“While we are ecstatic with the design of Spirit of Discovery, we have already taken the decision to give our next ship, Spirit of Adventure, a very different boutique look and feel.
“Our aim is to set the highest standards for quality and service for any cruise line operating out of the UK.
“There is an outdated perception that the older generation shies away from doing anything new – that is not the case.
“The conversations I have with our existing and potential future customers, alongside our ongoing research, gives us all the strategic pointers we need. This demographic wants adventure, and to discover and see the world in new and individual ways.”