I was lucky enough to spend a day on board Saga’s newest boutique ship, Spirit of Adventure recently in Portsmouth, as well as attend her special naming ceremony.
The naming of Spirit of Adventure
The naming of a ship is always a special event. Steeped in history, tradition and ritual there’s nothing quite like it. You can read all about how cruise ships start their lives, including their naming, or Christening, here.
I’ve been to a few naming ceremonies for ships and each one has been completely different and special in its own way.
As a mark of respect to the medical profession, particularly with regards to the tireless work they have done over the last 18-months with the Covid-19 pandemic, Commodore Inga J. Kennedy, a senior Royal Navy Officer and former Head of the Royal Navy Medical Service, was named as the Godmother to Spirit of Adventure.
The ceremony took place in a warm & sunny Portsmouth Port, the first time a cruise ship has been named there. All the crew lined the decks overlooking the pier as the event was broadcast live on Facebook (you can watch it here). Though the course of the ceremony a number of speeches were given, including from Nick Stace, Saga’ CEO of travel, Captain Tanner and the blessing of the ship by the Dean of Portsmouth. As is tradition, a bottle was smashed over the bow during the special moment – a bottle of English sparkling wine from the Kent-based Balfour Hush Heath Estate.
The whole event really felt like another move back to normality and that slowly cruising is returning with the ongoing impacts on the Covid-19 pandemic.
But what is Spirit of Adventure like?
A boutique hotel experience
The first thing you notice when you step on board Spirit of Adventure is its striking design – it really has been thought about as more of a boutique hotel that you would find staying in London, with a bold use of colour everywhere. That is because guests have highlighted that “life isn’t beige”, something which was taken to heart in creating these ships.
When you board you will find yourself in The Living Room, featuring The Atrium and Bar. The centrepiece is the Atrium, a delightfully designed space with its double height staircase. Famous British adventurers dominate the double storey artwork behind the staircase, which is reminiscent of currents of water with its dual toned carpet blending from teal to light grey.
Upstairs you will find the Library, a contemporary space that is full of nooks to spend time in. Around the Atrium you will find various seating areas, with a variety of different chairs and seats. All of these spaces boast exclusive artwork that works with the colour palette of the ship.
For entertainment on board, head to The Playhouse. A 444-seat theatre which has been designed so that there are no visual obstructions or pillars. Spirit of Adventure also features a full wrap-around promenade, something that many cruisers love to stroll on (and miss on other ships). At the aft you will also find the large terrace area affording amazing views out to sea.
Heading upstairs, you will find the iconic Lido pool and space. This has a true art deco feel to it and it is a wonderful space to spend time in day or night. Finally, near the Lido you will also find The Britannia Lounge. This airy space is light and airy thanks to the use of glass. Not only does it have amazing views from the ship, but it’s designed to be a lively space with a large dance floor, live music and other activities.
On board there are five restaurants, all with their own look, feel and take on cuisine.
Firstly, there is The Main Dining Room, which while being quite a large space, feels quite intimate due to clever design. There’s a variety of tables from large booths to smaller tables for two.
Heading directly upstairs, you’ll find The Supper Club, a new venue which specialises in steaks and live entertainment. It’s sure to be a lively place to spend time in during an evening. Heading aft from here you will also find the two speciality restaurants on board (both of which are included in your fare). Firstly, Amalfi, a modern-Italian and then a first on any cruise ship, Khukuri, which is a Nepalese restaurant drawing on culture, design and colours from the Gurka community – this excites me so much.
Finally, there is The Grill, a multi-functional restaurant which is open all day from breakfast to evenings. The look and feel of this space will change through the day from a relaxed feel to cosier and just a bit formal. While is has a buffet design, it won’t be used like that for the foreseeable future, with people going up to the various food bars, choosing their food and staff bringing it to their table.
Spirit of Adventure also features a number of bars on board. In addition to the above, there is the North Cape Bar. Named after a predecessor on one of Saga’s earlier cruise ships. It is also the sister to The South Cape Bar on Spirit of Discovery. Spanning the entire width of the ship, both have a refined, late-night feel complete with high stools and comfortable seating.
Spirit of Adventure has 554 cabins on board, with everyone also having a balcony. What I noticed immediately is just how big rooms are on board, when compared to other ships. A standard balcony on board is easily the size of an equivalent entry-level suite on other lines. What’s also special about Saga, is that there are 109 single cabins specifically designed, and priced, accordingly in a variety of grades, including suites.
Each cabin offers Wi-Fi, a flat-screen TV with free on demand movies, 24-hour room service, tea and coffee-making facilities, a writing desk and seating, a fridge, mineral water and fruit basket, binoculars, a private bathroom and luxury toiletries.
Spirit of Adventure also features a plethora of suites on board. And every suite comes with butler service, in-cabin dining options, a morning wake-up tray (on request), pre-dinner canapés, a large seating area with a sofa and dining table, walk-in wardrobe, enhanced bathroom with twin sinks, a shower and bath. Taking things even further are the four forward suites. These range from 765 to 855 sq. ft. and designed on an individual basis and including a series of living spaces to relax and dine in, a separate bedroom, luxury bathroom with a whirlpool bath, large private balcony, cabin extras such as daily newspapers, a guest bathroom, in-cabin dining for entertaining and a wine cooler. The guests’ preferred choice of wine is also pre-stocked to ensure their time onboard is as memorable as possible – amazing!
With Spirit of Adventure, Saga has taken the successful blueprints of its sister Discovery, and continued to develop and define quite an interesting product and something Saga’s clientele, and importantly, future clientele are going to love.
For more information please visit here.
So, what do you think? Would you consider sailing with Saga and what do you think of Spirit of Adventure? Let me know in the comments and on social media.
Disclaimer: I was a guest of Saga for this day trip. All views and opinions are my own and I retain editorial control. I was not paid to attend this event.