(10:15 a.m. GMT) -- Saga Cruises has been forced to put back the sail date of its new ship Spirit of Adventure until May 4, 2021 due to continued uncertainty about international travel.
The line finally took delivery of the 999-passenger new build, a sister to Spirit of Discovery, in October, after stoppages at the Meyer-Werft shipyard in Germany during the coronavirus pandemic led to a delay in delivery. The ship was due to launch in August this year.
In addition, sailings on Spirit of Discovery will now not take place until April 2021.
The line released the following statement:
"With COVID-19 bringing increasing restrictions to day-to-day life and most countries still not accepting cruise ships, we have taken the decision to further extend the suspension of our cruise operations. Spirit of Discovery will now re-start sailing in April next year, while the inaugural cruise of Spirit of Adventure will be in May.
"We know that guests will be really disappointed by this news, because they are keen to sail as soon as possible. Cruise bookings into 2021and 2022 remain strong, showing the pent up demand for our boutique cruise offer. The health and wellbeing of our guests and crew, however, is our number one priority and we have taken our decision to extend the cruise suspension against that backdrop."
Saga has put in place a large number of enhanced safety protocols for when sailings do resume, including:
- Pre-departure Covid-19 testing at home and in the terminal for passengers and crew including full medical screening
- A reduced capacity of passengers onboard to a maximum of 800
- Increasing our crew to passenger ratio, to enhance cleaning regimes onboard
- Social distancing
- Face coverings worn in all internal public areas
- Additional enhancements to air conditioning
- Improved and expanded medical facilities with a new dedicated isolation area
- Double medical team
The line stated it was in the process of contacting all passengers to discuss refund and Future Cruise Credit options.