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cinnamon

‘Live From’ Spirit of Discovery, 5th-12th September.

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12 minutes ago, Wacktle said:

We found chatting to passengers who were much older than us fascinating, and many had a true zest for life. On the 2 Saga cruises we've done, there were fewer people with mobility issues than we'd seen on P&O a few years ago. Maybe the demographic changes according to the itinerary. Whatever cruise or hotel holiday you do, there'll always be someone or something you don't like or agree with. 

 

I did have some very interesting conversations with people where age was completely irrelevant.  Just as it generally is for me in my everyday life.  Unfortunately there were far more instances where the 'conversation' was a litany of complaints about the world in general or boasting, and I found the 'upstairs, downstairs' attitude towards the crew uncomfortable on many occasions.

 

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41 minutes ago, Mrs Miggins said:

I liked many things about Saga

 

The ship was lovely

Cabins excellent, great bathrooms, good verandah.

Great smiling friendly crew.

Lovely Norway in glorious weather

Varied entertainment plus good interactive TV with lots of films etc.

Food good, but a little too old school sometimes for me.

Good Speciality Restaurants.

 

 

I agree with you on all those points Mrs Miggins.

 

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42 minutes ago, Mrs Miggins said:

I do agree that there were many with sticks and walkers.  Not so many wheelchairs as we have seen on mainline cruises.

They need to extend hours in the grill as it seemed very crowded.  There is an extensive terrace however and also tables set up surrounding the pool and of course room service.

MDR has 50 two tops and Maitre D said he  saves tables for singles who make the request and want to eat alone.

 

 

That's interesting about the MDR.  I only ate there for dinner, when I do prefer to share a table and have company.  They certainly don't appear to have the same policy in The Grill probably because, as you say, it seems to get very crowded possibly due to the relatively limited hours.

 

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24 minutes ago, Lindy028 said:

Mrs Miggins, a very fair review, I think cruising from Dover with the included door to door transfer is always going to skew things to an older less mobile demographic. We have spent many happy hours with people much older than us on both Azamara and Oceania so that aspect would not bother us, I would say however that they have always been young at heart and modern in their thinking. Our ex next door neighbour, who is 86 and loves to cruise and has done one Saga cruise, declared she felt she wasn’t old enough for a Saga cruise!

 

My closest friends are in their late 60s, my siblings are in their 60s, my husband would be in his mid-60s, my sister-in-law and husband are late 70s, and my friend and neighbour is 89.  When I'm with any of them I don't give a thought to their age, it is irrelevant.  A few of them teased me about booking a Saga cruise, saying it was only for 'old' people.  Now I'm sure I'll get told "we warned you", as I know they would all have had very similar reactions to mine.

 

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Following your blog Cinnamon!

We were on the same cruise as you, and it was our first Saga cruise. We are in our late 60s.  We loved the ship, the crew were fantastic and the food excellent.  We managed to eat at all three speciality restaurants during the week.  We enjoyed most of the entertainment, which included a classical quartet.  I also joined in the Joanna Hall WalkActive sessions which were very useful for improving my posture and walking technique!  

 

However we would have liked to hear some interesting lectures, as we thought those delivered by the ex SAS chap were poor.

 

We also book fly cruises, as we don’t want to be away from home for more than 2 weeks at a time, and flying means we can venture further afield with fewer sea days.  Perhaps Saga will consider offering fly cruises when Spirit of Adventure is launched?  Maybe one ship could be located in Piraeus from April - October, then reposition to Barbados for the winter?

This  would also attract a younger demographic.

 

 

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3 hours ago, Tigrou said:

 

I do not consider it rude and discriminatory to tell the truth.  And the truth in this instance is that my fellow passengers were predominantly 30+ years older than me, with a very large proportion of them having mobility issues to varying degrees.

 

Good on them all for wanting to travel, and I applaud Saga for making it possible for them to do so.

 

However, I do not want to travel with such a narrow representation of the world, I enjoy diversity.  I wouldn't want to be on any cruise where 90% of the passengers were of a particular group to which I don't really belong, whether it be a particular religion or gender or creed or nationality - or in this case, age.  I do not live in a world which is inhabited exclusively by elderly Caucasian people and I was not comfortable cruising in that environment.  

 

Saga needs to play to it's strengths, stick to what it clearly does well and advertise accordingly.  Not advertise to attract a different customer base that it hasn't, or isn't willing, to adapt to.

 

 

I remember taking a Celebrity cruise to Norway a few years ago as a b2b after a Transatlantic.  The average age of guest went up at least 20 years and I have NEVER seen so many wheelchairs, walkers and scooters. It certainly changed the atmosphere of the ship and for me I would not wish to repeat it.  Having said that, it was pleasing to see that people could still go on a cruise at their age.  I hope I can do it.

 

I guess what I’m saying is be careful of generalising.  I believe the Norway cruises typically attract an older demographic anyway.  A chance to see some beautiful countryside without necessarily needing to venture off the ship.

 

Corinne, thanks for your critique.  I enjoyed reading it.

 

Phil

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Forgot to say that the very large Library was excellent.  Very wide selection of books plus a good coffee machine.  Also two jigsaws - don't indulge myself but I saw many stop to add a piece or two.

We were on Deck 7 so walked through the library often to get to the front of the ship.

 

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10 hours ago, Tigrou said:

Where I believe Saga is being seriously misleading in their advertising is the 'boutique cruising' hype, aimed at attracting those of us at the lower end of their age group, to build up their future customer base.  Not a single photo shows large groups of elderly and infirm passengers making areas of the ship look like the lounge of a nursing home.  Nowhere in the narrative does it mention that you will be forced to share a table at every meal whether you want to or not, even in the buffet -. . .

 

Caveat emptor.

 

I can't think of a single travel, resort, or cruise brochure / website that lives up to your standards.

 

Shared tables have been the norm in cruising for quite some time. It is only relatively recently that lines have started offering smaller tables, If one is not willing to dine at a shared table I would have thought it prudent to inquire about onboard dining arrangements. Just as it is prudent to research any facet that might seriously negatively affect one's experience.

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Cinnamon, I have very much enjoyed reading your blog. The photos were excellent too. Thank you for all your efforts. 

 

Tigrou, I am sorry you did not enjoy the cruise. I have to say  your comments, which I can entirely sympathise with, have helped me to decide that Saga is not for me. I am 58 and think this sounds too reminiscent of one previous Silversea cruise which left me with the same feeling you have now.

 

Broberts, I have cruised on Seabourn, Silversea, Oceania, Crystal and Regent, more than once on each of these, some many times. I did not find that sharing tables was  "the norm" on any of those. It was certainly possible on them all, but only if you  specifically chose to share. It was not foisted upon you at all, ever. Each of those lines offers tables at whatever size you need, although at the very busiest times you might have to wait for a short while, say 10 mins max, depending on the size of your party. I have read the marketing material for SOD and sharing tables as "the norm" is not mentioned. 

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I am on the ship at the moment and we have been able to get a table for two at every meal, as there are lots. We have also seen plenty of people on their own at these tables, so I haven’t heard of anyone being forced to share. I can assure anyone worried by negative reviews that there is a good age range on this ship. This is a two week cruise to the Baltic, so whether this makes any difference I don’t know.

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9 minutes ago, IbizaLover said:

I am on the ship at the moment and we have been able to get a table for two at every meal, as there are lots. We have also seen plenty of people on their own at these tables, so I haven’t heard of anyone being forced to share. I can assure anyone worried by negative reviews that there is a good age range on this ship. This is a two week cruise to the Baltic, so whether this makes any difference I don’t know.

 

22 hours ago, auldlassie said:

Cinnamon, I have very much enjoyed reading your blog. The photos were excellent too. Thank you for all your efforts. 

 

Tigrou, I am sorry you did not enjoy the cruise. I have to say  your comments, which I can entirely sympathise with, have helped me to decide that Saga is not for me. I am 58 and think this sounds too reminiscent of one previous Silversea cruise which left me with the same feeling you have now.

 

Broberts, I have cruised on Seabourn, Silversea, Oceania, Crystal and Regent, more than once on each of these, some many times. I did not find that sharing tables was  "the norm" on any of those. It was certainly possible on them all, but only if you  specifically chose to share. It was not foisted upon you at all, ever. Each of those lines offers tables at whatever size you need, although at the very busiest times you might have to wait for a short while, say 10 mins max, depending on the size of your party. I have read the marketing material for SOD and sharing tables as "the norm" is not mentioned. 

I don't believe it is the 'norm', it is up to you to make it clear that you don't wish to share.

I was never forced to share a table on my Sapphire cruise, although I was always asked if I would like to share. 

This is standard practice on cruise lines, I have always been asked on Oceania and Azamara but my preference is not to share at dinner and this has never been forced on me.

 

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I believe the problem that some experienced on our cruise was more in the buffet at breakfast and lunch, not at dinner. Seating for two is very restricted up there and as we were not given the opportunity to choose our own table, but placed by the Maitre D, eating without others was not possible. . 

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As I'm not a morning person  I would not be prepared to share at breakfast either, we shall see how our cruise on the 26th goes. 😉

I'll let you know.

 

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Broberts commented that sharing tables is "the norm". Glenndale, you say it is not "the norm" but add that you were "always asked" if you wanted to share. 

 

Glenndale and Ibiza Lover, I didn't ever mention being "forced" to share, but you seem to think I have. I can't imagine I'd ever allow myself to be "forced" to share.  🙂  I said it was never foisted upon me, meaning that I was never asked that question on any of the lines I have mentioned (including Oceania, which differs from Glenndale's experience it seems). There is a difference. I don't want to be asked if I want to share a table. It would be bad enough being asked once, but being asked regularly would be an imposition. I find it a strange assumption that I would want to share.  I wouldn't expect to be asked in any landside or hotel restaurant (and I certainly never have been) and I don't want to cruise on a line which asks me either. I don't want to be put in that position at all. I share Tigrou's discomfort about even being asked, as my refusal might just offend someone.  I am actually surprised some don't seem to understand that. 

 

I feel the impression I was given regarding the SOD was that this was to be a more "upmarket" placing of the Saga cruise brand, into the luxury cruise market I am familiar with, where you are most certainly not asked to share tables, unless the circumstances are extremely "abnormal" for a particular reason or you specifically ask to share. Possibly Saga regulars could say my expectations were too high, but that is why cruisecritic forums are so useful after all -  so we can find out more about cruise lines we have not tried, before we commit our pennies.

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On Sapphire, anyway, it is an idea to be proactive with the maitre d' at the door to the dining room, and say I/we would prefer  to be at a table for two, or four, rather than a large one, and if you are only two and do not wish to share it is always honoured, sometimes with a four for two.  I can imagine that this may not work so well with the SOD,  in the Grill restaurant as it sounds as if it is often crowded.   I appreciate that for one on their own who does not wish to share this could be difficult. Many single passengers enjoy meeting others on a casual basis for breakfast and lunch,  and I think the staff find this to be the norm, so tend to offer/suggest it.  But certainly worth saying 'can I just have a table for one'.

 

I don't know if you can book a  set table for two or four each evening in the main dining room in advance by phone with Saga on SOD, as you can on Sapphire.  The table is there for you each night, coming in when you wish in dining hours.  When you dine in an alternative, obviously only manners to inform the maitre d' he can give your table to someone else that night.  You have the same waiters each  night, and they get to know your likes and dislikes.   I am not at all certain that this is possible on SOD.

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43 minutes ago, auldlassie said:

Broberts commented that sharing tables is "the norm". Glenndale, you say it is not "the norm" but add that you were "always asked" if you wanted to share. 

 

Glenndale and Ibiza Lover, I didn't ever mention being "forced" to share, but you seem to think I have. I can't imagine I'd ever allow myself to be "forced" to share.  🙂  I said it was never foisted upon me, meaning that I was never asked that question on any of the lines I have mentioned (including Oceania, which differs from Glenndale's experience it seems). There is a difference. I don't want to be asked if I want to share a table. It would be bad enough being asked once, but being asked regularly would be an imposition. I find it a strange assumption that I would want to share.  I wouldn't expect to be asked in any landside or hotel restaurant (and I certainly never have been) and I don't want to cruise on a line which asks me either. I don't want to be put in that position at all. I share Tigrou's discomfort about even being asked, as my refusal might just offend someone.  I am actually surprised some don't seem to understand that. 

 

I feel the impression I was given regarding the SOD was that this was to be a more "upmarket" placing of the Saga cruise brand, into the luxury cruise market I am familiar with, where you are most certainly not asked to share tables, unless the circumstances are extremely "abnormal" for a particular reason or you specifically ask to share. Possibly Saga regulars could say my expectations were too high, but that is why cruisecritic forums are so useful after all -  so we can find out more about cruise lines we have not tried, before we commit our pennies.

Hi Auldlassie, I never specifically mentioned that you had been forced to share.

I said that I had never been forced to share, I’m sorry if you thought I was referencing a post that you had made.

On entering the MDR on Oceania and Azamara when you give your room no, the question has always been asked If I would like to share. On Cunard too when I travel in Britannia class.

I agree that I would not like to be ‘forced’ to share and no, I don’t believe your expectations are too high. No one should have to dine with others if they don’t wish to. 

The last time I sailed with Saga, my partner and I opted for a set table in the evening and would always request a table for 2 at breakfast and lunchtime in the MDR, this was never a problem.

As I said to Tigrou I would have insisted that I dined alone, which she thought would have been rude.

I have in the past sat on shared tables at breakfast where other guests have had at least 3 courses when all I wanted was a poached egg and a cup of tea. Never again.

 

Edited by Glenndale

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5 minutes ago, lincslady said:

On Sapphire, anyway, it is an idea to be proactive with the maitre d' at the door to the dining room, and say I/we would prefer  to be at a table for two, or four, rather than a large one, and if you are only two and do not wish to share it is always honoured, sometimes with a four for two.  I can imagine that this may not work so well with the SOD,  in the Grill restaurant as it sounds as if it is often crowded.   I appreciate that for one on their own who does not wish to share this could be difficult. Many single passengers enjoy meeting others on a casual basis for breakfast and lunch,  and I think the staff find this to be the norm, so tend to offer/suggest it.  But certainly worth saying 'can I just have a table for one'.

 

I don't know if you can book a  set table for two or four each evening in the main dining room in advance by phone with Saga on SOD, as you can on Sapphire.  The table is there for you each night, coming in when you wish in dining hours.  When you dine in an alternative, obviously only manners to inform the maitre d' he can give your table to someone else that night.  You have the same waiters each  night, and they get to know your likes and dislikes.   I am not at all certain that this is possible on SOD.

I haven’t cruised on SOD yet, but I would certainly have something to say if I am forced to share.

One thing, we generally dine in the MDR but even so, should we choose to dine in the buffet we would expect our choice to be honoured.

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Glenndale thanks for that last comment here. I wondered if I was being too sensitive or coming across as "hoity-toity", but now  I am much happier to know you understand exactly how I would feel too.  

 

Happy travels to all - sharing or not 🙂

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I’m not sure why this has become such a hot topic!

I never mind being asked if I would like to share a table...I quite enjoy meeting new people but not at breakfast. That’s my quiet time. 

All  it takes is a polite “No thank you, I would prefer to dine on my own today”. Job done.

 

If I was told there were no tables for two available at that moment then I would say with a smile “that’s fine. I am happy to wait.” A table for two would then magically become available within the next five minutes! Happens on every cruise line sometimes, including my beloved Azamara. 😄

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15 minutes ago, Lottie A said:

I’m not sure why this has become such a hot topic!

I never mind being asked if I would like to share a table...I quite enjoy meeting new people but not at breakfast. That’s my quiet time. 

All  it takes is a polite “No thank you, I would prefer to dine on my own today”. Job done.

 

If I was told there were no tables for two available at that moment then I would say with a smile “that’s fine. I am happy to wait.” A table for two would then magically become available within the next five minutes! Happens on every cruise line sometimes, including my beloved Azamara. 😄

Absolutely - I'm not a morning person either and always happy to wait for a two top.

 

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29 minutes ago, Glenndale said:

Absolutely - I'm not a morning person either and always happy to wait for a two top.

 

But two tops are few and far between in The Grill. 😏

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39 minutes ago, cinnamon said:

But two tops are few and far between in The Grill. 😏

As I said I very rarely use the buffet, the only buffet I will use is the Oceania one where food is served to you and not self service.

😉

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39 minutes ago, cinnamon said:

But two tops are few and far between in The Grill. 😏

 

39 minutes ago, cinnamon said:

But two tops are few and far between in The Grill. 😏

We never shared a table at all in our 15 day cruise. As we entered we just said ‘table for 2, no sharing and it was always honoured.  In fact out of all our numerous cruises this was the best one for tables for 2.

In the grill there were very few tables for 2 at the beginning but then, a few days in, a lot more appeared.  It turns out they split some of the tables for four into two 2s.  I guess they have this flexibility depending on what people on that particular cruise want.  

We were careful when and where we went to eat. For example there were some days when we left port at 5pm so we guessed there would be an early rush for tables. We chose to eat in the speciality restaurants on those nights.  

The tables for 2 were very close together and we frequently chatted to our neighbours. However we were able to be served at our own pace and we could gauge the friendliness of our neighbours as to whether or not we struck up a conversation.  

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Would those who prefer to dine alone decline an invitation to dine with captain or any othe ships Officer on formal night?

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3 minutes ago, trams said:

Would those who prefer to dine alone decline an invitation to dine with captain or any othe ships Officer on formal night?

Only for breakfast! 🤣

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