(1:45 p.m. GMT) -- Saga Cruises marked the start of construction of its new river cruise ship at a keel-laying ceremony in Serbia today.
The 190-passenger ship -- Spirit of the Danube -- will be a sister to Spirit of the Rhine and come into service in 2022.
"Over the past few years, we’ve been focused on redefining river cruise range to provide a Saga designed experience for our guests," said Saga Holidays CEO Chris Simmonds said:
"Spirit of the Danube joining the fleet marks an exciting milestone in this journey and we cannot wait until she joins her sister ship Spirit of the Rhine next year.
"Guests will be able to enjoy a range of first-class facilities and we cannot wait to show everything our latest ship has to offer."
The ship will departs on its inaugural cruise from Amsterdam and call in at destinations including Budapest, Vienna, Rousse, Bulgaria and Tulcea, Romania.
Onboard features include a lounge, library, bar and two restaurants, one of which will serve a signature dish from celebrity chef Mark Sargeant, who will also join the ship on a number of cruises once it enters service.
The new ship will host a range of other celebrities on future cruises including TV presenter and natural historian Miranda Krestovnikoff, antiques expert and regular on BBC’s Antiques Roadshow, Eric Knowles as well as the renowned horticulturalist, Sir Roddy Llewellyn
The addition of the new ship comes as Saga announced it would be mandatory for all passengers to be fully vaccinated before travelling with the company. The new vaccination policy will be in addition to the detailed arrangements Saga has already put in place for when operations can restart, which they are due to in May this year.