Another ocean cruise specialist branching into the rivers market, Saga have taken their over 50s product to the waterways of Europe and Africa. As well as having itineraries on famous and less familiar rivers all over the continent, they also offer trips along Egypt's Nile. Their vast fleet of chartered ships include many that are solely used by Saga guests, so you know you'll be sailing with people of a similar age and with similar interests.
Many of the options offer an all-inclusive price that includes a free bar, drinks with meals and even optional travel insurance. There's also a handy UK travel service that you can take advantage off, providing you with free rail or coach transfers to the airport or free parking if you would rather drive yourself.
Not only are the cabins on board Saga’s ships modelled on some of the top hotels in London, every one also offers a spacious balcony for you to enjoy morning, noon and night. With a variety of cabin grades available,there is something for every budget – even single cruisers have a choice between Standard, Superior, Deluxe and Suite.
Average floor space is 215 square feet, leaving you plenty of room to make yourself at home, and facilities include tea and coffee making facilities, bathrobes and slippers, hairdryer, fridge and fresh fruit daily.Upgrade to a suite and you can look forward to additional amenities like a whirlpool bath, walk-in wardrobe, full butler service, an espresso machine and a customised mini-bar.
The ships may be small but the selection of restaurants available definitely isn’t. Standard dining venues are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with other options available for evening meals with a difference. Relaxed and more formal environments are included in the range, serving up buffet or a la carte menus depending on the time of the day. The two standard restaurants offer open seating, but it is possible to book a fixed table if you prefer.
The menus feature a mix of British and international dishes, with speciality restaurants serving up food from specific regions. For example, East To West features the flavours of the Far East, whilst Coast To Coast is home to fresh seafood. One highlight is The Club, a venue inspired by Jules Holland that combines dining and live entertainment.
Afternoon tea is also available. You can enjoy free-flowing house wines with lunch and dinner; soft drinks, spirits and beers are complimentary throughout the cruise.
As well as the fantastic dining venues, there are plenty of other places to relax when you sail with Saga. Take your seat in one of the many bars, or enjoy the fresh sea breeze during some time hidden away on The Terrace. Back inside, nightly entertainment can be heard ringing out from the Playhouse Theatre, the Club and the Britannia Lounge. All three feature live performances courtesy of West-end style shows, solo singers and exciting acts.
If you’re looking to slow things down even further, you can spend some time in the spa, salon or fitness centre. Meanwhile, the Craft Room provides the perfect outlet for your creativity.
A few weeks before you sail, you will receive a booklet detailing the range of excursions available during your cruise. In general, these include various levels of activity, ensuring everyone has the chance to discover each port of call at a pace that suits them. You can book these in advance or wait to see if they’re still available when you get on board.
As well as this, Saga offers its Explore Ashore service. This enables you to pick the brains of an expert team to help you decide what you would like to do. They can tell you some of the highlights, point out some unknown areas to visit and even create bespoke tours to suit you and your travel companions. The advice and organisation offered is completely free of charge.