Saga’s 2023 river cruise itineraries for new Spirit of the Danube and Spirit of the Rhine include all inclusive offerings from 2023 and up to 25% off when booked early. Discount included in the pricing below. In addition, the introduction of back-to-back cruises have an extra 10 per cent off and dedicated solo traveller cabins are allocated on every cruise. The change comes as part of a range of updates that will align the customer experience more closely to that of Saga’s ocean cruise proposition. Other new benefits also include the option to book back-to-back cruises, which will be clearly marketed as such and guests selecting them will receive a further 10% off their booking. There is also a simpler pricing model that means early bookers are rewarded with discounts of up to 25% off the full price. If, for any reason, the price should be reduced after a guest books, Saga will automatically give them the difference back as part of its price promise.
Other already excellent inclusions remain in place such as the complimentary door-to-door chauffeur service, travel insurance with up to £5m covid-cover, at least three sight-seeing excursions on all seven-night cruises and up to eight included on longer cruises as well as gratuities. Guests can also feel reassured that everyone on board is required to have both vaccines and booster and covid safe protocols continue to be observed.
Nigel Blanks, CEO of Saga Cruises, said: “We know our guests want an exceptional experience and value for money so the ‘Spirit’ river cruises will move to all-inclusive from 2023 and we’re introducing back-to-back itineraries with 10% off and discounts starting from 25% off in response to their feedback. These are in addition to the complimentary chauffeur service, travel insurance and a range of included excursions we already offer. We’ve got a lovely line-up of itineraries too, with plenty of new cruise options on-board the brand-new Spirit of the Danube and Spirit of the Rhine along with some firm favourites. All of this is in addition to an exciting line-up of cruises with itineraries ranging from between seven and 16-nights across the two brand-new ‘Spirit’ ships, which only had their official naming ceremony last month."
New to the 2023 line-up will be:
The Golden Age of Art on the Rhine where guests will cruise the Dutch waterways stopping to view iconic artwork in the world-renowned galleries of Amsterdam, Utrecht and The Hague. Joined on board by famous art-dealer and Antiques Roadshow star, Rupert Maas. Seven nights on board Spirit of the Rhine, departing May 8, 2023 starts from £1,241 per person.
Autumn Colours of the Danube is a beautiful ten-night journey on Spirit of the Danube taking in the seasonal scenery along the famous river, with stops in Budapest, Bratislava and Vienna. Prices from £1,574 per person, departing on November 11, 2023.
Art on the Danube takes in Budapest’s Hungarian National Gallery, the Danubiana Meulensteen Museum, Bratislava’s City Gallery and a plethora of galleries in Vienna. The eight-night art-themed river cruise departs on October 27, 2023 on Spirit of the Danube with prices from £1,499 per person.
These join firm favourites:
Flowers on Parade with Charlie Dimmock is a seven-night cruise on Spirit of the Rhine that travels through Antwerp, Utrecht and Zaandam visiting the 17th annual Floralia Brussels flower show, Utrecht botanical gardens, Keukenhof, Haarlem annual flower parade and finishing with a tour of Amsterdam. The cruise departs on April 17, 2023 prices from £1,649 per person.
Gilbert & Sullivan on the Rhine on Spirit of the Rhine starts in Amsterdam with either a culinary walking tour or coach and canal excursion before heading to Cologne for an included city tour, Koblenz, Bingen, Boppard and Andernach, including an optional tour to visit Europe's largest cold-water geyser. The cruise finishes in Dusseldorf with another city tour. All of course accompanied by live performances of the music of Gilbert & Sullivan on board. This seven-night river cruise starts from £1,274 per person and departs on November 13, 2023.
To book guests can visit saga.co.uk or call 0808 258 2031.
Spirit of the Rhine and Spirit of the Danube build on Saga’s boutique design philosophy of its ocean-going vessels, Spirit of Adventure and Spirit of Discovery, and offer a luxury cruise experience for customers on Europe’s famous riverways.
With designs inspired by the nature and culture found along the iconic waterways, both ships have been built with guests central to their design. Each vessel has four passenger decks and 91 guest cabins, hosting up to 182 customers and up to 50 crew. Each ship also features the first-class Saga facilities that guests have come to expect, complete with an en-suite bathroom and walk-in shower. There are two different types of cabin available on both ships. All have a clean, sophisticated design with Spirit of the Rhine reminiscent of Saga’s larger ocean ships and Spirit of the Danube based on an Art Nouveau and Danube Delta theme, with elements such as migratory birds used throughout the ship.
image (c) Saga
image (c) Cunard
Inspiring voyages sailing 2023 and 2024, including special maiden voyages on new ship, Queen Anne.
Luxury cruise brand Cunard unveils over 110 international voyages, sailing on its iconic fleet between 23 October 2023 and 14 May 2024, including maiden voyages on new ship Queen Anne.
Across the new itineraries, the four-ship fleet - Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Anne, will call at 126 ports in 51 countries, with voyages ranging from two-night city breaks to a 108-night world voyage.
Queen Anne is scheduled to call at more than 32 ports during her maiden season, all sailing out of Southampton. Following her maiden voyage to Lisbon, the newest Queen will embark on sailings in the Mediterranean, Caribbean and Northern Europe as well as an Eastbound Transatlantic Crossing.
In 2024, Queen Victoria will embark on a 107-night World Voyage, departing Southampton on a full circumnavigation. The ship will sail westbound to North America, including a transit of the Panama Canal onwards to Australia, Asia, returning to Europe via South Africa, visiting 32 unique destinations.
Queen Mary 2, the world’s only ocean liner, will begin her season with an Eastbound Transatlantic Crossing from New York, before setting off from Southampton on a 108-night World Voyage. The liner will sail to the Mediterranean, Asia via the Suez Canal, Australia returning to Europe via South Africa.
Following a fly-cruise season in Barcelona, Queen Elizabeth will relocate to Singapore before starting her Australian residency with a 6-night voyage from Fremantle. She’ll embark on a series of short break and roundtrip voyages from Melbourne and Sydney, including a Christmas and New Year voyage to New Zealand, 10-night exploration of Queensland and a new 14-night voyage calling in the South Pacific.
“Announcing every new programme for Cunard is always exciting, but this year is even more so, as guests will be able to choose itineraries across four magnificent ships in the fleet for the first time since 1999,” said Sture Myrmell, President, Carnival UK. “In the newly announced programme, each ship offers a unique experience with distinct itineraries. With Queen Anne based out of Southampton, Queen Elizabeth out of Australia and Japan and Queen Victoria and Queen Mary 2 both sailing world voyages, one with a full circumnavigation, the other exploring destinations across the Mediterranean, Asia, Australia and Africa. Our new voyages bring opportunities to explore all corners of the world in luxurious surroundings while enjoying our White Star Service and all the other special touches that make a trip with Cunard so special.”
Please sign up Shine Rewards Club at www.shinerewardsclub.com for further information.
Welcome to The World 2023 & 2024 New Voyages - Key Itineraries Maiden Voyage (H403)
Guests join an illustrious guest list on board Queen Anne’s maiden voyage to Lisbon, celebrating a new chapter of Cunard history. Sailing roundtrip from Southampton on 4 January 2024, this 7-night voyage will offer an overnight port call in which to savour Lisbon’s UNESCO-listed Belém Tower, palaces of Sintra, and the atmospheric nightlife of the Barrio Alto. On her return to Southampton, the newest Queen will be joined by sister ships Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria, marking the first time these three Queens will come together. A fitting end to a voyage filled with celebratory moments. Inside staterooms from £1,299 per person.
Eastern Caribbean (H405)
Guests can take pleasure in all that the newest ship has to offer on this 35-night Caribbean adventure taking in Barbados and St Lucia. Queen Anne departs Southampton 27 January 2024. Inside staterooms from £5,299 per person.
Western Mediterranean (H408)
This 16-night voyage comprises a mix of days at sea and time in port, offering the chance to discover the on board delights as well as the fascinating histories of Lisbon, Cadiz and Rome. Queen Anne departs Southampton 29 March 2024. Inside staterooms from £2,299 per person.
Full World Voyage (V404D)
This 107-night World Voyage provides the opportunty to see the four corners of the world. Destinations including San Francisco and Fiji plus overnights in Hong Kong and South Africa. Queen Victoria departs Southampton 11 January 2024. Inside staterooms from £12,499 per person.
Southampton to Sydney (M403B)
Blissful days at sea provide a relaxing balance between time ashore in Portugal, South Africa and Australia on this 47-night sailing that includes three overnight port calls. Queen Mary 2 departs Southampton 11 January 2024. Inside staterooms from £5,699 per person.
The white sands of the Whitsunday Islands and UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Great Barrier Reef are among the natural highlights of this 10-night voyage. Queen Elizabeth departs Sydney 22 January 2024. Inside staterooms from £1,399 per person.
Southern Islands (Q417)
The 10-night round trip from Tokyo transports guests from neon-lit streets to historic shrines, stately castles and natural habitats. Queen Elizabeth departs Tokyo 14 May 2024. Inside staterooms from £1,399 per person.
2023 and 2024 new voyages sailing on Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth are available to book from 24 May 2022, Queen Anne’s maiden sailings are bookable from 17 May 2022.
Cunard, luxury British cruise line, is renowned for creating unforgettable experiences around the world. Cunard has been a leading operator of passenger ships on the North Atlantic since 1840, celebrating 182 years of operation. A pioneer in transatlantic journeys for generations, Cunard is world class. The Cunard experience is built on fine dining, hand-selected entertainment and outstanding service. From five-star restaurants and in-suite dining to inspiring guest speakers, the library and film screenings, every detail has been meticulously crafted to make the experience unforgettable. Destinations include Europe, the Caribbean, the Far East and Australia.
There are currently three Cunard ships, Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria and a fourth ship, Queen Anne, will be entering service in early 2024. This investment is part of the company’s ambitious plans for the future of Cunard globally and will be the first time since 1999 that Cunard will have four ships in simultaneous service.
1. Stavanger is the 'cradle of the Vikings'. Head for the Archaeological Museum where a guide (dressed as a Viking) will tell you tales and demonstrate Viking tools
2. Norway has a rich brewing tradition. Until around 200 years ago, no farm was complete without a brewhouse. Cheers!
all photos copyright Gilly Pickup
3. Lutefisk is a traditional Norwegian seafood dish, considered a delicacy. The recipe involves soaking a fish in lye then rinsing it in water. Is it good? Well let's say it's an acquired taste
4. Stavanger has some fabulous beaches. Yes, really. White sands and sheltered coves mean sun worshippers flock there despite the water's chilly temperature
5. The Sword in the Rock monument is made up of three swords forced into solid rock. They commemorate the place where Viking King Harald Haarfagre defeated the last of the regional princes way back in AD872 and founded the kingdom that is now Norway
6. This is crafty. A Norwegian invented the cheese slicer in 1927. It was a hot day when carpenter Thor Bjerklund opened his Gouda cheese slices and was horrified to find that they had melted and were all stuck together. He tried separating them, eventually using a plane that he used to slice wood. A few modifications later and voila! the cheese slicer had been invented.
7. Stavanger is the petroleum capital of Norway and one of the world's biggest oil exporters. This doesn't mean it's cheap to fill up here though, locals have to put up with some of the highest petrol prices in the world. Doesn't seem fair, does it?
The tiny Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is landlocked by Belgium, France and Germany. This constitutional monarchy with Grand-Duc Henri at the helm, has as its capital Luxembourg City. Built on a plateau dotted with ravines at the confluence of two rivers, this banking centre is one of Europe's most prosperous. Generations of listeners may also remember it as the home of Radio Luxembourg which broadcast around Europe for 59 years until 1992.
The city is an eclectic blend of old and new where history and high fashion rub shoulders with chic restaurants, culture and – it has to be said - a somewhat slow-paced nightlife. If you’re in town on a Wednesday or Saturday visit the market in Place Guillaume for a dose of local colour. Stalls are piled high with rich textured local wines, stacks of hearty cheeses, homemade preserves and fresh flowers.
photos (c) Mike & Gilly Pickup Click on any image to enlarge
Picturesque landscapes greet you wherever you go in this land of meandering rivers, dense forests, green valleys and steep ridges, more often than not topped by a ruined castle. The toy sized village of Vianden, a stone’s throw from the German border, has one such theatrically dramatic medieval castle, particularly beautiful when floodlit at night. It's a calf-wrenching climb to reach it, up a steeply pitched, cobblestoned road, but it's worth it for the king-of-the-world views that await you.
From Vianden, take an afternoon’s gentle sightseeing cruise on the Moselle river to Trier and enjoy Kaffee und Kuchen (coffee and cakes) en route. Trier, said to be Germany’s oldest city, is famed for its Roman ruins and bustling market. The Moselle flows through Luxembourg's main wine-producing region and many larger wineries including Domaines Vinsmoselle, offer tours of their cellars with tastings of white and sparkling wines.
Nowhere is far from anywhere here. Müllerthal, ‘valley of millers’, so-called because of its abundance of watermills, is known as 'Little Switzerland'. Imposing rock formations date from the ice age, clear silver streams rumble and cascade between boulders while pine, birches and hornbeams reach up towards the skies. The road is lined with bizarrely shaped rocks with strange sounding names like Hölle (Hell) and l'Ile du diable (Devil's Island). Little Switzerland is also popular with hikers and cyclists.
Tips for Travellers
Specialist small-ship expedition cruise company Heritage Expeditions offers ‘Siberia’s Forgotten Coast’ tour which explores Kamchatka’s remote coastline and supports the critically endangered spoon-billed sandpiper. The company is delighted with the latest news that 22 healthy chicks have been released into the wild.
Heritage Expeditions Commercial Director & Expedition Leader Aaron Russ says, “Having supported conservation efforts for the spoon-billed sandpiper since 2011, we are thrilled to learn of this latest success, part of international efforts to help save this incredible wader from extinction.”
Of the 30 eggs collected from Arctic breeding grounds, 22 chicks were successfully reared in captivity before being released recently into their natural habitat of Meinypil'gyno, Russia.
The head of BirdsRussia, a Russian NGO committed to the Conservation and Study of Wild Birds, Dr Evgeny Syroechkovskiy, explains, “The birds are healthy. All 'wards' were provided with tags before release so they can be tracked along the migration routes, which began in early August. We followed them every day documenting who stayed, who has flown away and who is doing what. "
The international ‘head-starting’ project which aims to preserve and increase the bird population was launched nine years ago with the participation of the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust, British Royal Society for the Conservation of Birds and the International Spoon-Billed Sandpiper Task Force of the EAAFP and is supported by the Chukotka Government.
These iconic wading birds only breed in Chukotka and northern Kamchatka in the Far East of Russia, a remote, largely inaccessible region, making it difficult for researchers attempting to identify potential new breeding sites for the birds.
However Heritage Expeditions whose purpose-built expedition ships allow them to reach otherwise isolated and inaccessible locations, have been able to support SBS conservation efforts by providing transport for the Spoon-billed Sandpiper Task Force and BirdsRussia. This has enabled researchers to visit parts of the 4,500-kilometre coastline in search of breeding pairs and discover new breeding sites. The company has also delivered a new boat and quad bike to assist research and even transported spoon-billed sandpiper eggs and chicks bound for a conservation breeding facility.
Spoon-billed Sandpiper Task Force Coordinator Dr Christoph Zöckler describes the partnership with Heritage Expeditions as a ground breaking example for future cooperation in modern conservation. "Nature conservation urgently needs more collaboration with tourists to enhance their efforts to save the ailing biodiversity on this planet. Our relationship with Heritage Expeditions is a win-win situation for both and an outstanding example of an effective relationship between a conservation group and the business sector."
Passengers who join the 14-day Siberia’s Forgotten Coast expedition will not only be able to view spoon-billed sandpipers in Meinypil’gyno the main breeding area in Chukotka, they will also have the chance to play an active role in locating breeding areas in locations never before surveyed.
Every day of the expedition reveals the richness and diversity of wildlife species. Highlights include the Commander Islands where sea otters, a variety of whale species and a plethora of sea birds from red-face cormorants to whiskered auklets may be seen, as well as the Govena Peninsula and the largely unknown Chukotka Coast, both of which are home to brown bears.
I'm Gilly, award winning journalist, travel/ cruise writer & author of 12 books. Credits incl: Telegraph, CNN, Daily Mail, Independent, BBC mags, Country & Town House, The Scotsman, Best, My Weekly, trade titles etc