Saga has postponed the first cruise on Spirit of Adventure, its second ever newbuild, until February 5.
The ship had originally been due to launch this autumn. Spirit of Discovery, which launched last year, won’t sail until March.
“This year, we have all faced unprecedented challenges as a result of the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Nigel Blanks, the line’s managing director. “For us at Saga Cruises, this has meant that we haven’t been able to sail since March when we introduced a suspension of our operations to keep our guests and crew safe.
“Over the past few months, we have been working hard to put into place detailed plans to safely return to cruising when the time is right.
“Whilst we have made fantastic progress with this work, sadly, most countries around the world are not accepting cruise ships and we do not see this changing for the remainder of this year.
“Therefore, against the backdrop of the recent news that Covid-19 is again on the increase and the announcements of further restrictions, I am writing to inform you that we are postponing the inaugural cruise of our new ship, Spirit of Adventure until February 5, 2021 and extending the suspension of our cruising operations up to and including February 4, 2021 for Spirit of Adventure and March 7, 2021 for Spirit of Discovery.
“I know how disappointing this news will be for many of you who were so looking forward to a return to cruising and, perhaps particularly, for those who were as excited as we were to see Spirit of Adventure set sail later this year.”
The company also confirmed that passengers would have to abide by the following rules when sailings do resume:
- Pre-departure Covid-19 testing at home and in the terminal for guests and crew including full medical screening
- A reduced capacity of guests onboard to a maximum of 800
- Increasing crew to guest ratio, to enhance cleaning regimes onboard
- Private chauffeur car per household up to 250 miles
- Social distancing onboard
- Face coverings being worn in all internal public areas
- Additional enhancements to air conditioning, which already provides 100 per cent fresh air in all public areas and cabins
- Improved and expanded medical facilities with a new dedicated isolation area
- Double medical team
These will initially apply to all sailings up to the end of March 2021 and will be reviewed on a monthly basis going forward.