Saga, the cruise specialist line for the over 50s, is reported to be adding a third ship to its already expanding fleet.
According to sources, Saga will shortly announce the acquisition of CDF Croisières de France owned ship, Bleu de France. This 37,000 ton, 700 passenger ship is no spring chicken, beginning life in 1982 as Europa for German owned Hapag-Lloyd and has changed hands several times since.
But in 2008, it was given a £25 million refit after being bought by French cruise operator CDF Croisières de France. The Saga deal would see it get a further makeover whilst making use of extensive current features such as three swimming pools, a casino, library and children’s play area. She also has a passenger capacity of 700, well over Saga’s current two ships’ combined capacity of 1,100.
Bleu de France starts her season of South American cruises for Brazilian tour operator, CVC, this week. Any purchase carried out now is unlikely to have any immediate effect for Saga. It is thought the ship will complete a further season of CVC cruises in 2011 before it undergoes the refit and sails for Saga in 2012.
Bleu de France is a family friendly ship so the refit is likely to concentrate on adapting it for the mature traveller. With the removal of third beds, spacious cabins would give out even more room . Sources believe rooms would be converted for solo travellers and the number of balcony rooms increased, which currently stands at only six rooms.
A spokesperson for Saga commented:
“We are not making any comment about possible future additions to the Saga fleet.”
Saga launched its second new addition, Saga Pearl II in March. Bleu de France – who would receive her fifth new name in a 30 years lifespan– will be the third ship added to the UK line.