Saga’s new ship Spirit of Adventure “takes the line’s offering to another level”, according to boss Nick Stace.
Speaking at the ship’s naming ceremony in Portsmouth, he said the over-50s specialist’s 999-passenger vessel, and sister ship Spirit of Discovery, were “twins wearing different clothes”.
Saga Cruises chief executive Nigel Blanks said the design and décor of Adventure was a little bolder, inspired by a guest telling him: “Life isn’t beige when you get older.”
“On the basis of that, we decided to make it even more modern and more contemporary,” said Blanks.
“This is all part of our future-proofing. We could have designed a floating nursing home if we’d have wanted to. But that’s not what we’re about and it’s not what our guests are about either. We wanted to challenge the perception of what Saga stands for.”
He added: “Adventure is like a five-star boutique hotel, with boutique standing for choice. We are building smaller, intimate spaces that allow guests more choice and that helps with crowd control. People are dissipated around the ship making everything feel more spacious.”
Key differences on Adventure are new speciality dining venues such as Khukuri, offering Nepalese cuisine to “pay homage to the Gurkha regiment” based in Folkstone up the road from Saga’s head office.
There is also an Italian restaurant called Amalfi, a Supper Club offering food accompanied by live music, the assisted buffet Grill, the al fresco Verandah serving food from Grill plus burgers, hot dogs and fish and chips, as well as the main dining room.
Blanks highlighted the spa and salon with five treatment rooms, plus the complete walkaround promenade, all of which he said were popular with guests as they were increasingly interested in wellness and well-being.
He pointed out there were just two shops on board as guests were more interested in experiences than material goods.
“As people get older, myself included, they don’t want gimmicks,” he said. “We don’t hard-sell anything. It’s about service for our guests, not moneymaking. Once they’re on board, we just want to look after them.”
Blanks added that the crew were trained to “say ‘yes’, not ‘no’ – and definitely not ‘how much’.”
“As long as it’s legal, we’ll do it,” he said.