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Alfresco dining - a feature of the new Saga ship

Saga plans its first newbuild with a 1+1 Meyer Werft order

Saga Cruises and Meyer Werft signed a memorandum of agreement for a 55,900gt ship, the UK company’s first newbuild, to be delivered in summer 2019. The deal comes with an option for a second ship in 2021.

No price was disclosed.

Though the design is still being finalized, each ship would carry fewer than 1,000 passengers in about 540 suites and cabins, all with balconies. Some 15% of the accommodations would be for solo travelers. 

There will be single-sitting dining throughout a range of restaurants as well as a variety of bars, speciality restaurants and alfresco dining options. Also planned are outdoor and indoor swimming pools, a spa, saunas, treatment rooms and beauty salon.

'This is an important milestone in the future of Saga Cruises. We are happy to develop this vessel, tailored to our individual needs, and we’re delighted to be working with Meyer Werft, a recognised leader in cruise ship construction,’ said Robin Shaw, chief executive of Saga Cruises.

Meyer Werft said it had been talking with Saga for many years and the newbuild agreement followed intense negotiations and the decision to employ building dock 1.

That facility, currently used for block construction, will be reactivated. That means in 2019 the Papenburg builder will deliver three cruise ships instead of two.

'We are very happy and proud to deliver the first newbuild for this British cruise line,' Meyer Werft managing partner Bernard Meyer said.

The vessel will stretch approximately 234 meters, with a beam of 30.8 meters.

Saga said research it commissioned into the UK’s over 50s' spending on travel and tourism found that spending on cruising is expected to increase by 43% to £2.2bn by 2020. This compares to £1.65bn in 2014 out of a total over 50s spend of £41bn on travel and tourism. Nearly a third (32%) of those over 50 who are still working said they plan to increase their spending on cruises after retirement.

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