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On 7/31/2019 at 8:24 AM, Medeba said:

Just wanted to thank all you Saganauts for your postings on this forum.  As an experienced cruiser, but a first time Saga cruiser next April, I'm finding the information very useful.  The new ships have attracted us to Saga and remind us a lot of the Viking Ocean ships.

Just wondering which cruise you are on next April.   Like you I am an experienced cruiser but am doing one on Saga next April

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Hi DreamflightPat.  We are on the 4 night "Escape to the Continent'.  I have signed up on the roll call.

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I was browsing Saga cruises online today and I was amused to see that Saga is promoting ice skating as an activity on its "Christmas Sights of Amsterdam' cruise on 16 December 2020.  Really?!!  I know that many of us would consider ourselves as young at heart (and I know that Saga is trying to attract a younger clientele with its new boutique ships) but I'm not sure that encouraging ice skating is a good idea despite the fact that Saga travel insurance appears to provide cover for this activity.  What do others think?

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51 minutes ago, Medeba said:

I was browsing Saga cruises online today and I was amused to see that Saga is promoting ice skating as an activity on its "Christmas Sights of Amsterdam' cruise on 16 December 2020.  Really?!!  I know that many of us would consider ourselves as young at heart (and I know that Saga is trying to attract a younger clientele with its new boutique ships) but I'm not sure that encouraging ice skating is a good idea despite the fact that Saga travel insurance appears to provide cover for this activity.  What do others think?

 

Not that I've ever been able to ice skate myself but I don't see it as only being for younger people.

Saga is aimed at those who are 50+,  adults who can assess their own risk for any activity.

One of the shore excursions on my upcoming cruise is 'Bergen by Bike'.  As well as not being able to ice skate, I've never been able to ride a bike, so I won't book that excursion.  

Thinking about it, me on a bike in a public area is probably far more risky - to me and others - than me on ice skates!

 

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Whilst mostly people were very elderly and infirm there were people who would be able and look forward to ice skating too. Why would people assume it’s always an expensive care home setting? People are on holiday and if they enjoy ice skating then what a great experience! Hopefully they’ll have a great time too ! 

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12 hours ago, Solosailing said:

Why would people assume it’s always an expensive care home setting?

This didn't cross my mind.  IMHO not everyone is sensible in making decisions, especially when on holiday. I just felt that some people may decide they would give it a try on the basis that Saga is promoting it so it must be ok. There would be an expectation that Saga would sort out any ensuing problems.  I'm sure that if this activity is offered as an excursion that Saga would have some sort of disclaimer but I just think that Saga is on to a hiding to nothing promoting this particular activity in its description of the cruise. Just my opinion. 

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Gosh I certainly hope it’s not like an expensive Care Home!  😮

Our first Saga cruise is in a month. At 67 and 74 we decided we were ready to try Saga and the beautiful new ship. If it feels like a Care Home it would be the last!

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I don't think it will - the new ships will definitely appeal to a younger and fitter crowd.  There have been cruises, notably in the winter to the Canaries, for instance, when the majority were probably 80 plus, and unfit.

 

Regarding suitability for excursions, Saga definitely try hard to let everyone know how much physical activity is involved, more than other lines, and in fact for tendering - at least on Sapphire - everyone had to do a special step test the day before to see if they could manage to get on and off the tenders, and you had to pass, or else!  Sounds a bit draconian, but IMO a good idea.  There will always be those who book for trips they should not do, and hold others up, but I think Saganauts generally have more sense than some on other lines I have seen.

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19 minutes ago, cinnamon said:

Gosh I certainly hope it’s not like an expensive Care Home!  😮

Our first Saga cruise is in a month. At 67 and 74 we decided we were ready to try Saga and the beautiful new ship. If it feels like a Care Home it would be the last!

Unfortunately yes elements of situation definitely are ‘care home’ related ! Maybe bad experience but definitely I’m in younger end of Saga age range and some people were ‘sent’ on holiday by relatives and couldn’t manage or even understand where they were never mind cope with doing anything. That saddened myself and many others, did have impact on various things and staff did their best but it is not a care setting and nobody should be allowed to be there unless capable of sorting themselves out. Even on the final morning we were showing people where to go for their breakfast as they cannot remember or anything else. We had one lady as we were waiting to get off the ship asking people when her holiday would start as she hadn’t been anywhere yet. Extremely difficult, concerning and could have been disastrous if any of them had got off the ship with no coat or shoes [ as one lady tried to do !] in Oslo in December! She would not have survived. Enjoy your holiday! 

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Good Heavens! 

 

My friend and I had booked Spirit of Discovery for The Fjords in September with very lively friends. Like cinnamon we are Azamara cruisers. Unfortunately we had to cancel the Saga cruise due to my friend's illness and ongoing treatment but I certainly would have hoped it is not at all like "a care home at sea". I am probably on the younger age demographic for Saga and am usually quite "lively". 😄

 

I think Saga are trying to target a younger demographic with their new ships and I must say that Spirit of Discovery looks beautiful. I'm going to see what my friends think of their September cruise and maybe book a cruise on her for next year. 

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Lottie, my thoughts entirely. 

I plan to do a ‘Live From’ blog whilst onboard so as well as giving my thoughts about the ship, service, entertainment and food, hopefully I’ll be able to answer questions from other newbies. 

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I do think Solosailing's story is untypical, certainly of any of the 6 or so Saga cruises I have been on.  There have been a few on board with some physical difficulties, and one or two - always with a companion looking after them - who were beginning to have memory loss, but nothing like this.

 

Please do not be put off,  I would be surprised if the atmosphere on the Spirits is anything like this.

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1 hour ago, lincslady said:

I do think Solosailing's story is untypical, certainly of any of the 6 or so Saga cruises I have been on.  There have been a few on board with some physical difficulties, and one or two - always with a companion looking after them - who were beginning to have memory loss, but nothing like this.

 

Please do not be put off,  I would be surprised if the atmosphere on the Spirits is anything like this.

The staff told us it’s getting harder each year as relatives think they can book and send Mummy off to sea and they get a break from whatever is happening usually at home. There were some lovely friendly people but sadly these few who were extremely incapacitated and unable to understand very much at all as indicated already [ and 100% the truth too thanks very much for *possibly doubting that ]  indicated. 

 

We were advised to almost ignore these people and the staff did their best to deal with the ongoing regular issues caused throughout each day and night. Wandering is quite common in people with dementia and how any relation could possibly have thought a sea holiday alone would be safe or suitable goodness alone knows. 

 

I will look forward to my next holiday with Saga but we all know age related incapacity is not going away and there will be a % who will struggle more on the larger ships. Some people on the holiday I was on in December do back to back cruising and never ever leave the ship ! Some evidently never leave their cabins and cope with cabin service and just sit in their chairs and sail wherever we are going but they never ever really know- those facts came from other passengers who know them plus staff confirmed this does always happen each cruise too ! 

 

Thanks and enjoy your holidays ! 

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Solosailing - I did not say that your story was not true, simply that it was not typical of the Saga cruises I have been on - around 6 in the past couple of years.

 

Most posters here are new to Saga - I hope some others like me and I think Glenndale will come on board so that we can have a varied  collection of responses to questions from newbies.

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I sincerely hope next time is a better mixture and less stressful for parts of the weeks anyway! 

 

I don’t understand why people would assume their relations would be safe at sea when they are so confused and clearly need constant care and support. One lunch time we had a lady trying to get me to go ‘over there’ to the shops and she was clearly very unwell. We encouraged her to sit down and eat something and eventually she forgot about shopping for a while. She had no idea we were on holiday and was quite distressed when we had finished lunch because we were all going off to do other things and she had no clue what she should do or where she should/could go. I went and got help for her but the staff Sid it wasn’t their job to do so. Extremely sad and made me feel horrible leaving her . I avoided this happening by changing seats and looking the other way if she was heading towards me again- i was there for myself and desperately needed a total rest. I didn’t need to be responsible for strangers whose needs were extremely high and unresolved all week. 

 

Hopefully SAGA listen to feedback and we did a good enough job in providing plenty of that ! 

 

Thanks 

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I have an elderly mother with dementia and I could not even think of leaving her on a cruise on her own. How heartless the relatives must be if they do that. I wonder if they put their relatives in the chauffeur driven car because I cannot see how anyone with advanced dementia could cope with the formalities of check in? 

 

My mother is 90 in a few weeks and all she wants to do is go on an Azamara cruise for her birthday. I wish she was fit enough to go because I would gladly take her. 

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4 hours ago, cinnamon said:

Gosh I certainly hope it’s not like an expensive Care Home!  😮

Our first Saga cruise is in a month. At 67 and 74 we decided we were ready to try Saga and the beautiful new ship. If it feels like a Care Home it would be the last!

 

I have to say I have some concerns.  Unfortunately there isn't much online about Saga compared to other cruise lines, but a good proportion of what I have read makes me me a little wary.  However, I like the look of the ship and reviews of service and food are always excellent, so I'm hoping perhaps Saga will be successful in making the new ships more 'boutique hotel' than floating care home.

 

It isn't only Saga that has this issue though.  In April I did a round-trip transatlantic crossing on QM2 and the outbound leg felt like I was doing community service in a nursing home!  Admittedly I didn't come across any obvious dementia cases but it seemed that a large percentage of passengers were elderly and infirm.  I hadn't expected it to be lots of families and younger people, but I did expect a wider mix of ages and wasn't prepared for the care home environment. 

 

I got talking to a lady who said it was her and her husband's first cruise, and they were so shocked at the average age and lack of mobility of their fellow passengers that they'd said they would never cruise again.  She was 74 years old.

 

Fortunately on the return leg the demographic was broader, more as I'd expected.  After a week of rarely meeting anyone on the stairs, I was quite taken by surprise during the second week to find there were other passengers using them!

  

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4 hours ago, lincslady said:

Regarding suitability for excursions, Saga definitely try hard to let everyone know how much physical activity is involved, more than other lines, and in fact for tendering - at least on Sapphire - everyone had to do a special step test the day before to see if they could manage to get on and off the tenders, and you had to pass, or else!  Sounds a bit draconian, but IMO a good idea.  There will always be those who book for trips they should not do, and hold others up, but I think Saganauts generally have more sense than some on other lines I have seen.

 

I read about the 'step test' and thought it was an excellent idea.  Made me wonder if they've previously had issues with passengers expecting ship crew to assist.  I've read that Saga crew provide excellent service and it seems as if they're probably well used to dealing with elderly passengers, but they are not care assistants and should not be treated as such.

 

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In October last year we had a Saga River cruise on the Douro - our impression was that people were very friendly - not everyone went on the excursions and I believe some didnt get off at all - but there was no one needing a carer as far as I can see.

In February 2020 we are going to see the Northern lights with Saga, anyone infirm will probably stay inside.  The conditions will I expect be icy on shore and that could be dangerous - old bones are brittle.

This will be our 5th cruise to see the northern light (where else can you go in February having been to the Carribbean over Christmas and New Year)   we have seen the lights from the deck each time - especially at Alta - mind you you need to keep moving at about minus 15 C 

We are both 80 plus no carers needed

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The step test isn’t unique to Saga - Cunard and P&O certainly do it on cruises where there are tender ports. I’d be very surprised if other lines don’t administer it before tendering in order to make sure passengers have sufficient mobility. 

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1 hour ago, Tigrou said:

 

I have to say I have some concerns.  Unfortunately there isn't much online about Saga compared to other cruise lines, but a good proportion of what I have read makes me me a little wary.  However, I like the look of the ship and reviews of service and food are always excellent, so I'm hoping perhaps Saga will be successful in making the new ships more 'boutique hotel' than floating care home.

 

It isn't only Saga that has this issue though.  In April I did a round-trip transatlantic crossing on QM2 and the outbound leg felt like I was doing community service in a nursing home!  Admittedly I didn't come across any obvious dementia cases but it seemed that a large percentage of passengers were elderly and infirm.  I hadn't expected it to be lots of families and younger people, but I did expect a wider mix of ages and wasn't prepared for the care home environment. 

 

I got talking to a lady who said it was her and her husband's first cruise, and they were so shocked at the average age and lack of mobility of their fellow passengers that they'd said they would never cruise again.  She was 74 years old.

 

Fortunately on the return leg the demographic was broader, more as I'd expected.  After a week of rarely meeting anyone on the stairs, I was quite taken by surprise during the second week to find there were other passengers using them!

  

We’ve just been on the Spirit of Discovery after cruises on P&O, Celebrity, Princess and RCI, and didn’t find the cruise significantly different to the other cruise lines in terms of mobility of the other cruisers. In fact we went on a ship tour to Durdle Door followed by a walk to Lulworth cove and we had trouble keeping up with the older participants ( when I was worried we would have to wait for them). We found the ship atmosphere to be a little sedate compared to other other lines, but loved it. The design of the ship ( and attention to detail) is outstanding. I think boutique cruising is a suitable description. We would certainly cruise on this ship again.

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It’s extremely sad, relations are obviously uneducated about risks sending someone so vulnerable on a ship [ or anywhere else where they are unfamiliar with their surroundings for that matter!] its a difficult situation but SAGA will take anything that is a genuine concern for welfare of a passenger seriously. We just went to reception and requested calmly to speak with someone asap. The reception staff were extremely helpful and already aware of some parts of the situation with one of the ladies. I don’t think they will be cruising again. The numbers of people who struggled with mobility were high but I am one too. Age isn’t anything about disabilities but its how capable you are safely moving and coping with everything a cruise liner will bring to you next! 

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I have only been on one other Saga cruise, and that was a winter Northern Lights cruise to Norway. Yes, there were people on board with mobility difficulties, some of whom stayed on the ship because they still enjoyed the cruising. Some were even doing back to back cruises because they could afford to. There is no doubt that there is a significant minority of people aboard who are pretty well off. However, we didn’t ever encounter anyone with the issues described, so I think this is an unusual case. We are looking forward to September 12th and the Spirit of Discovery Baltic Cruise, because everything about the previous Saga cruise made us want to sample another. We are 66 and 67, and there were plenty of cruisers of our age and physically fit.

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spike 11 - it was good to hear a bit about your cruise - there is a pent up demand here for information about the new ship, from people who are booked to cruise in the near future, and I admit from me, as I only know how Pearl and Sapphire functioned.

 

I would love to know if you had lunchtime embarkation, with a buffet provided, for instance, and if you had some dinners in the alternative restaurants, and whether booking for them was easy or not.  If you have time to do a fuller report that would be great - in any event, there are a few people who will be reporting with the next month or two.

 

Oh - I get 'sedate', I would like to think 'civilised' would be a good description!  I think Saga, being more expensive than other British lines, and mainly attracting the over sixties does not tend to get the occasional rowdiness which can happen elsewhere.

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Lottie and Cinnamon,  We've been on 3 Azamara cruises and 2 Saga ones on Sapphire (as well as other lines). We currently have 3 Saga cruise bookings, one for this year and 2 for 2021.  (Azamara has priced itself out for us, and booking with them now seems to be risky as they change itineraries or cancel cruises altogether.) On Saga, we enjoyed the company of some passengers who were much older than us (we are now 65 and 66), but who were far livelier. The dance floor filled quickly in the evening with couples disco dancing, jiving, etc. On the last cruise, one couple were celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary and dancing the night away. After my partner had gone to bed one evening, I went up to the lounge to find a Motown tribute show in full swing, again with dancing. Of course there were those who just ate their dinners and went off to bed to read or watch TV, but many passengers certainly knew how to live!  I do hope you both enjoy your cruises. Maybe our paths will cross.  

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