New Saga Cruises ship will sail first voyage in November

Benjamin Parker
A date for the inaugural cruise of Spirit of Adventure has been set - SAGA GROUP

The maiden voyage of Saga Cruises' new ship will take place at the start of November 2020, the operator has confirmed.

Spirit of Adventure will set sail from the England’s southern coast for a 17-day itinerary from November 5, heading to the Mediterranean before returning home to the UK.

Ports of call include Monaco, Naples, Barcelona and Gibraltar, suggesting that the cruise line expects entry requirements in each country – including Britain for when travellers return – to be relaxed. It will sail with no more than 800 passengers – lower than the advertised maximum capacity of 999.

Only last week the cruise line announced that the “latest indication” was that the vessel would be delivered to them by the end of October, two months after it was due to arrive.

This is likely to be welcomed by cruise enthusiasts who have been buffeted by a string of disappointments, including delays to when lines will be sailing again. Earlier this month Spain announced that its ban on cruise ships would last indefinitely.

A rendering of Spirit of Adventure at sea

The new ship comes a year after the launch of their first new-build, Spirit of Discovery. 

“We are delighted to announce the planned inaugural sailing of the Spirit of Adventure, our new luxury cruise ship. For her first voyage, the Spirit of Adventure will leave Southampton on November 5 to sail the Mediterranean, before returning to the UK, said Nigel Blanks, managing director of Saga Cruises.

“My team is in the process of calling all passengers booked on the inaugural cruise to update them with this latest development and we look forward to welcoming them onboard. We have been working with the industry and government to put in place state-of-the-art appropriate health protocols, putting guest safety first to ensure a return to service in the autumn.”

Previously a statement from Saga said they were working closely with governmental and industry bodies to put health and safety protocols in place, and that their “new mid-sized ships are ideally placed to offer 'safe sailing' and all these measures will be in place by the end of August.”

And the managing director told The Telegraph that once they have the go-ahead from authorities they would be able to resume sailing “within three to four weeks”.

The coronavirus pandemic has led to the delays of a number of other ships, including Crystal Endeavour, which will now sail in 2021, and P&O Cruises’ Iona, which is yet to have a new date set for her maiden voyage.

Scarlet Lady, part of Sir Richard Branson’s brand new Virgin Voyages cruise line, had been due to sail an inaugural showcase season but this has now been axed until next year.