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nosapphire

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  1. The price promise is that (a) the lower price has to be the same grade of cabin, booked under exactly the same terms - so often while it looks as if the price has been reduced, it hasn't. If the price promise does apply, then the credit can be in the form of a cabin upgrade or on-board credit - and these days, I would not be surprised for it to be in the form of a FCC instead. They are also getting much cuter on their pricing strategy with various offers, making it much harder to see if the price promise should apply. Having said that, I have never heard of anyone who booked early at the maximum 35% discount finding somebody on board in the same grade of cabin at a lower price - even the "run-of-ship" cabins will not be as cheap as the first to be sold. It is indeed a clever move, as it encourages people to book very, very early and surely helps Saga both on cash flow and forward planning. The problem nowadays is that not so many people are willing to book very early, not least as there is so much uncertainty about which lines are still going to be in business, and for the next 2 years at least, there seems to be a lot more competition for no-fly cruises from UK, so I suspect that many people who traditionally booked 18 months or more ahead will now be prepared to take the risk of no availability and/or increased prices and be waiting until month or so before sailing date.
  2. Not quite correct. Although Saga have not told their customers, they have issued press releases for their shareholders which state that the TOURS (the land based holidays) are cancelled to April 2021. The same press releases state that they still plan to restart cruises this year. Can't see it happening, myself - but that is the official line from Saga (and their press release of 10th September for shareholders goes a stage further - by saying they are planning to restart cruises November 2020, and also planning for another suspension because of lockdowns January to May 2021).
  3. whereas the Spirit of Adventure (Saga) has been moored at Emden since 12th Sept.☹️
  4. I imagine that the board of Saga currently have their minds on raising funds rather than updating cruise customers. Their press release and interim shareholder statement of 10th September rather ominously ends with the warning that should travel continue to be disrupted beyond January 2021, there is uncertainty about whether Saga group will be able to continue operating. They are in the middle of raising funds to make sure they remain solvent, which hopefully should be resolved beginning of October. Maybe then, after a sigh of relief and a stiff drink, they will switch focus back again to their customers.
  5. And with breakfast from 7.30 to 10.00, I always wonder about the mindset of those who always arrive at the buffet for breakfast at 9:59. Not talking about those who have overslept and pant in at the last minute apologising profusely to the staff, but those who happily saunter in and want cereal, toast, cooked breakfast and then a croissant. At leisure. Every morning. We saw them coming in as we walked through to the ping-pong, on our way back 45 minutes later they were still seated munching away.
  6. In fairness to all cruise lines (including Saga...) it must be an impossible task to try and prepare itineraries without knowing when you can sail, where you can sail to, and what you can do when you get there. P&O may have taken the better option with their announcement that there would not be any cruises from Southampton before February 2021, rather than keep the cancellations going bit-by-bit.
  7. Well, in addition to the statement made by Saga to their shareholders (see my post about Saga restarting cruises 2020) that said all Saga passengers travel to and from the ship in a Saga arranged bubble - the front page of the October Saga magzine has another statement form the CEO, "We will be testing passengers for Covid-19 before they leave home again before they embark..." So unless the Saga arranged transport is carrying testing kits with them... Saga failed to tell their own staff about the plan to post testing kits. And apparently the daily crew testing will be blood oxygen levels. My understanding is that you have to be pretty far gone before this shows anything. And not sure how the transport "bubble" is going to work for those living further than 250 miles, or who use their own transport.
  8. Re: topics about various press reports, some saying Saga plan to restart in 2020, some saying not until April 2021. These must have been taken from the company interim results published on their corporate website for shareholders. https://corporate.saga.co.uk/investors/results-reports-presentations/ It is an open website (no need to be a shareholder) and the file dated 10th September, which is the updated interim report from 31st July 2020, gives the clue. To avoid breaching CC rules about cutting and pasting, I'll just highlight(paraphrasing) the pages of interest. Page 2, all protocols are in place ready to resume cruising as soon as they have the green light. Page 6, they lead the way for the cruise industry with their response. Page 22, expecting to resume cruise operations November 2020, with the tours operations resuming April 2021. They are also planning for cruises to be suspended again January to May 2021. Page 26 repeats this. Page 35 repeats this, with the clarification that another suspension could happen in the event of another lockdown. Page 57 repeats that cruises are expected to start 2020, with tours April 2021. And..... I just LOVE the CEO statement on page 6, that Saga have always operated heir cruises in a bubble, with all passengers being picked up from home and transported to the ship, then back home again at the end. No mention of the fact that this is provided you live within 250 miles, or that some passengers catch trains/flights/coaches to get to and from the ship. Hey h. Reading it is quite interesting, but also evident that Saga are none too confident that things will be back to normal any time soon,
  9. The web is simply a guideline as to what to expect. It may be changing now, but I think much depends on the Captain - some certainly seem to like formal nights, some are more relaxed. We certainly noticed that recently formal seemed to be coming round more often. Alternatively, on the Pearl Christmas cruise, Captain said that while Christmas Day was always formal, he would allow passengers to vote whether they wanted formal or smart casual. The majority (by quite a large margin) was smart casual. As already said, anyone who does not have the "full works" will not be out of place. Some are dressed up to the nines, others are "Smart casual plus", nobody gets hissed at. Incidentally, the Captain's cocktail parties are well worth visiting for the canapes. I go for the vegetable spring rolls, the spicy samosas, the mini sausage rolls, etc. The waiters bring the plates round - and round - and round.. along with the wine waiters with the fizzy stuff. And just in case anyone is wondering whether the included drinks are capped at one or two glasses - Saga do NOT stint, they are extremely generous with both food and drink. It was sometimes a bit of a struggle to waddle out from the dining room - always stopping at the door to collect a few chocolates and mints. I wonder if the self-serve (free) ice cream machine is still up there by the pool?
  10. Unless Saga drastically change their procedures, formal attire is expected an all public areas of the ship on formal nights (from 18:00 hours). Means the buffet is also formal dress code - sorry. Not sure if there will be any self serve again, but when we were on the Discovery, on formal nights the buffet was split into two, one side was self-serve, the other waiter served. The formal nights have been increasing lately, not sure why - when we started seemed to be no more than once a week - on hot weather cruises (such a Caribbean) even less. The initial "Today" programme in your cabin when you embark should say how many planned formal nights, and which days, there will be on your cruise; it can change according to circumstances, it will give you an idea, and you can always decide to have room service (included in your fare) if you can't face another dressy night.
  11. The included drinks is not a package as such. It is house branded spirits and a selection of red, white and rose wines, usually about 3 of each, soft drinks and mixers (either alone or to make up a cocktail), beers - can't remember which ones, and water. The spirits are - erm - a bit rough. I could cope with the vodka, the brandy was a once-tried, unable to finish(others had warned us..). The house wines, on the contrary, are usually excellent. We had some wine buffs on one cruise, and they were all prepared to tell the sommelier how bad the house wines were. They started their drinks, went very quiet, then one said, .."but this is excellent...". They tried every one of the house wines through the cruise, and could not fault any of them. If you ask for sparkling water at the bar, you are liable to get tonic water. Premium wines, beers, spirits and coffees are all extra cost, but Saga's prices have always been reasonable. Unless things change a lot, Saga do not carry a large stock or variety of premium drinks, and it is not unusual for them to run out of popular premium drinks mid cruise. I know this only from others who prefer their favourite brands - we've always been very happy with their house wines. In the standard cabins, the fridge is a fridge, it is not a mini-bar and the only thing it gets stocked with is milk for the coffee/tea. There are usually 2 formal evenings a week, some Captains seem to try and squeeze in three, but while the dress code is generally adhered to, it is fairly laid back; those who have and enjoy evening wear are OK, those who have and enjoy M&S are also OK. Men are OK in full tux, or a lounge suit and tie, so no need to feel apprehensive. Not sure what you mean by the dancing - those who do are well catered for with dance lessons (very friendly) and gentlemen host for the ladies (polite and friendly), and those who don't (like me) are not coerced. One thing I will point out - the brochures keep saying the "library with cafe". It is NOT a cafe. It is a self-service coffee machine, with 3 jars of biscuits beside it.
  12. I've been reading these with fascination. Seriously - you get updates? Over on Saga, we get giddy with excitement if we get told anything. Ever. Makes me jealous.
  13. Thanks for that update. The interview/report was a 2-page spread on the Sunday Times Business section 13th September, by Sabah Meddings. The section I quoted word-for-word was an insert in this article, which was supposedly quoting Euan Sutherland. Unfortunately I cannot post a link as you have to subscribe to get the article on-line (we only buy the Sunday Times for the Jeremy Clarkson farming articles) but I have just retrieved the paper from the recycling bin to make sure I did not dream it all. It is definitely there, as a statement made by by Saga to the Sunday Times reporter. I'll look out next Sunday to see if there is a retraction - I'll let you know if there is. But - Saga saying they have no knowledge of the interview does not surprise me. They had no knowledge of the Adventure being delayed from the shipyard. They had no knowledge of norovirus on board the Discovery. They had no knowledge of planned protocols for restarting. They had no knowledge of cruises to be cancelled. Etc., Etc. The phone people, who are really lovely, must have a chart pinned up stating exactly what they can or cannot say to customers.
  14. I've no idea. It sounds as if Saga have no idea, either. As far as I am concerned, the information from Saga to the press is totally deranged, and the information from Saga to their customers is non-existent. They're not getting any more of my money until I am convinced that this company is going to survive - the reports at the minute make me very uneasy.
  15. According to Marine Traffic.com, the Spirit of Adventure is now registered under UK flag. Last time I looked (during sea trials) she was still on a German flag. So the handover to Saga must be imminent. Wonder when Saga will update their website - they haven't put anything since July.
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