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Spirit of Discovery is not just the name of Saga Cruises’ new ship, it is a whole new ethos with an on-board ‘Explore Ashore’ concierge team to ensure guests make the most of their time on land. While there are many thrilling organised excursions such as river rafting and canoeing, the team can also create bespoke tours to enable passengers to ‘Keep Doing’ their own thing.


Neil Cron, Shore Excursion Manager said: “While many of our guests opt to join our exciting range of tours, many are hugely independent and well-travelled, so once the gangway is lowered in port they are keen to jump ashore to discover a region. The ‘Explore Ashore’ team has been created to help guests make the most out of a destination – so if picnicking on Yyteri Beach in Finland sounds fun they can help plan the perfect day from booking a return taxi to organising a packed lunch or giving advice on hiking routes and ‘must-see’ attractions.”


Spirit of Discovery launches next summer with voyages including an exploration of Natural Scandinavia which will appeal to lovers of art and the great outdoors. The cruise departs on 17 August 2019, sailing around the Baltic and weaving a course through the idyllic islands that surround Stockholm, Sweden’s waterfront capital. Tours include canoeing at the ‘Gateway to Lapland’ in Kemi, river-rafting adventure in Luleå to experience the raw beauty of Sweden’s arctic Lapland or travelling aboard a river cruiser through the quintessential Finnish countryside before sightseeing in Pori by road train.


Those who prefer to get in touch with their arty side can join a new excursion to Skagen, which is known for the purity of its light and the school of painters drawn to its wild scenery, to visit art galleries and the studio of artist Peder Munk Ravn. Guests inspired by archipelagic scenery can capture their impressions on paper during watercolour lessons on board. Guests can also enjoy the music of Jools Holland – not only will the TV presenter and his band perform on the cruise but he has lent his name to a dining room in the supper-club style aboard the ship - The Club by Jools Holland, modelled on music lounges of the 1950s.


Over-50s tour operator Saga joined the cruise world in 1997. Since then they have been refining this adults-only cruise experience. No doubt the reason for the company’s popularity is the fact that there is so much is included in the price. Wine at lunch and dinner, free bottled water on excursions, gratuities and bar service charges are all included, so too is all speciality dining, Wi-Fi and shuttle bus transfers from the ship to the centre of the port town or city. Another unique feature is the complimentary Chauffeur Service for passengers living up to 250 miles from their departure port; as an alternative there’s free parking at the port, domestic flights, as well as rail and coach options. For more details of Saga cruises call 0800 484 0370.

  • 16th October 2018

Gary Buchanan

Edinburgh-born Gary Buchanan has been a travel writer for over 30 years. He has been a specialist cruise writer for 25 years contributing to leading British publications including national newspapers and consumer magazines. He is the author of five books about cruising and spends over seven months every year at sea sailing the world’s oceans.