Saga is understood to have offered the government two of its cruise ships to act as floating hospitals to take pressure off the NHS amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Saga Sapphire and Spirit of Discovery are both currently docked in Tilbury after being taken out of service after the government advised people over 70 not to cruise last week.

No decision has been taken by the government about whether to use the ships as makeshift hospitals, Travel Weekly understands.

Last week, Saga suspended cruises until May 1 in a move likely to cost the over-50s operator up to £15 million.

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The line’s first new-build Spirit of Discovery was christened by the Duchess of Cornwall at the Port of Dover last year.

Saga Sapphire is scheduled to leave Saga’s fleet later this year after a 33-night Grand Finale voyage departing on May 6.

The 720-passenger vessel launched in 1982 but joined Saga in 2012.