© Nigel ThorntonMV Saga Rose – Past and Present

MV Saga Rose

ex Gripsholm, Sagafjord

© Nigel Thornton

© Nigel Thornton

Steel twin screw motor vessel built by Forges et Chantiers de la Méditerranée, La Seyne sur Mer, France (Yard No 1366) in 1965 for Norwegian America Line, Oslo

Technical Data

  • Length on deck: 188.88m (619.6 ft)(overall) 169.08m (549.11 ft) (Between perpendiculars)
  • Breadth of hull: 24.46m (80.3 ft)(extreme)
  • Depth: 16.9m (55.5 ft)
  • Draught: 8.256m (27.0 ft)(maximum)
  • Tonnage: 24,002 gross (1965), 24,109 (1980), 24,474 (1983), 25,147 (1996) 24,474 (1998), 24,528 (2000)/13,340 net/6,353 deadweight
  • Engines: Two 9-cylinder turbocharged 2 stroke 9 RD 68 Sulzer diesels
  • Propulsion/Propellers: 17653 kW/24,000 bhp
  • Speed: 20 knots
  • Capacity: 85 1st class, 704 tourist class (1965),462 (in one class, when cruising 1965),509 (one class 1972),587 (2000)
  • Passenger decks: 7
  • Officers and Crew: 350
  • Navigation Officers: British
  • Call Sign: LFSA (1964 – 1996), C6ZU
  • IMO number: 6416043
  • Official Number: 16285
  • Registry: Oslo/Norway (1965), The Bahamas (1983 – )
  • Sister-Ship: VISTAFJORD

History

September 24th 1963: Contract awarded to Forges et Chantiers de la Méditerranée, La Seyne sur Mer, France at a fixed price of NOK 100 million (approx £5 million).

June 19th 1963: First plates laid.

June 13th 1964: Launched; intended name was NORWAY. The builders lost so much money on her construction that they went into liquidation the following year.



May 7th 1965: Ready for sea trials.

September 4th 1965: Conducted first sea trials over the measured mile off Toulon. Registered a speed of 21.7 knots using only 82% of her power then reaching a max of 22.5 knots.

September 18th 1965: Christened and delivered to her owners Norwegian America Line. Departed Toulon.

September 24th 1965: Arrived in Oslo.

September 24th 1965: Operated special cruise for distinguished guests.


Courtesy of Chris Howell

Courtesy of Chris Howell


October 2nd 1965: She first ran between Oslo and New York and then was exclusively for cruising.

October 23rd 1965: Arrived New York.

October 25th 1965: Sailed for Oslo, thereafter continuing cruising.


Courtesy of Chris Howell

Courtesy of Chris Howell


November 1976 – March 1977: Temporarily laid-up.

May 1980: Passenger ships of Den Norske Amerikalinje A/S transferred to K/S Norwegian American Cruises, Oslo (10% owned by Leif Hoegh & Co A/S, Oslo and 90% owned by NAL).

October 19th 1980 – December 1980: Rebuilt costing at Blohm & Voss, Hamburg, addition of superstructure on her bridge deck; change of engines and air-conditioning system; 15 cabins added.


   Courtesy of Chris Howell

 Courtesy of Chris Howell

Courtesy of Chris Howell


December 1980: Leif Hoegh & Co acquired balance of capital of the new company.

December 18th 1980: Sailed from Hamburg for Port Everglades.


Courtesy of Chris Howell  bar012

Courtesy of Chris Howell


May 1981: Summer season 14-day cruises from San Francisco to Alaska and British Columbia.

May 11th 1983: Announcement made that Cunard Steamship Co Plc had purchased both her and her sister for £47 million. Anticipated delivery in 5 months.


© Brian Fisher   © Marc Piché

© Brian Fisher (Left) and © Marc Piché (Right)


August 13th 1983: Final cruise (14 day Scandinavian – Baltic) as a Norwegian ship.

August 25th 1983: Arrived in Oslo.

October 9th 1983: Final cruise under Norwegian flag.

October 1983: Acquired by Cunard Line, Nassau, Bahamas, who bought out NAC

1983: $15 million refit at San Francisco


Courtesy of Chris Howell  Courtesy of Chris Howell

Courtesy of Chris Howell


1990: Suffix “NAC” dropped.


Courtesy of Chris Howell  Courtesy of Chris Howell

Courtesy of Chris Howell


February 23rd 1996: Suffered a generator fire in her engine room and was towed to Subic Bay (in the South China Seas, south-western Luzon, Philippines).

March 1st 1996: Arrived at Subic Bay. Shortly afterwards Cunard confirmed rumours that she would be withdrawn immediately and that her scheduled cruises for 1966 had been cancelled.

April 1996: Having undergone some repairs and while on her way to the Sembawang shipyard at Singapore for completion of repairs, went to assist a Turkish cargo ship and rescued 26 crew members.

May 1996: Confirmed that she would be chartered to Transocean Tours, Bremen for 9 months.

June 1996: Repairs completed in Singapore.

July 12th 1996: Arrived at Bremerhaven for livery change.

July 16th 1996: Chartered to Transocean Tours and renamed GRIPSHOLM.

August 4th 1996: On a journey from Copenhagen to Kiel, whilst carrying 601 passengers, ran aground on a sandbank outside Landskrona.


© Marc Piché

© Marc Piché


August 5th 1996: All passengers were evacuated and taken to Landskrona, while the ships oil was pumped to another vessel in an attempt to lighten and free her.

August 7th 1996: Eventually she freed herself and sailed to Helsingborg for survey and examination then to Lloyd Werft, Bremerhaven for repairs to a propeller. Repairs were carried out at Lloyd Werft yard, Bremerhaven.

August 18th 1996: Returned to service.


© Tony Garner  © Tony Garner

© Tony Garner


October 23rd 1996: Sale for $19.23 million announced

1997: Sold to Saga Shipping Co, Nassau, Bahamas, and renamed SAGA ROSE whereupon she began cruising from her home port, Dover, for Saga Holidays.

April 1997: First of two part refit at A&P, Falmouth

May 14th 1997: Arrived in Dover prior to a 3 day shakedown cruise.

May 20th 1997: Began cruising for Saga Holidays from Dover and Southampton. Inaugural cruise to the Western Mediterranean.


© John Mavin

© John Mavin


December 14th 1997: Whilst in dry dock for her second stage refit at Southampton suffered a fire on promenade deck C, which caused minor damage to wiring and cabins. Minor injuries to 7 dockyard workers and 5 fire services personnel.


© John Mavin  © Nigel Thornton

© John Mavin (Left) and © Nigel Thornton (Right)


January 1998: Commenced world cruise from Southampton.

July 29th 1999: Collided with fishing vessel HAVBOS at 0350 hrs six nautical miles off Bremanger island in western Norway Sogn og Fjordane county. The HAVBOS immediately developed a 45 degree list and sank at 0541 hrs. The incident took place in thick fog. The 10 crew on the fishing boat were uninjured were taken on board the cruise-ship and dropped off at Olden in Nordfjord. The SAGA ROSE sustained no damage and continued her scheduled tour of the Norwegian fjords.


© Nigel Thornton  © Nigel Thornton

© Nigel Thornton  © Nigel Thornton

© Nigel Thornton


Thursday 12th August 2004: SAGA ROSE and SAGA PEARL docked together at Dover. This was the first time ever that the vessels had been together at the port.


© Nigel Thornton  © Nigel Thornton

© Nigel Thornton


Interior

© Nigel Thornton  © Nigel Thornton

© Nigel Thornton  © Nigel Thornton

© Nigel Thornton  © Nigel Thornton

© Nigel Thornton  © Nigel Thornton

© Nigel Thornton  © Nigel Thornton

© Nigel Thornton  © Nigel Thornton

© Nigel Thornton  © Nigel Thornton

© Nigel Thornton  © Nigel Thornton

© Nigel Thornton  © Nigel Thornton

© Nigel Thornton  © Nigel Thornton

© Nigel Thornton  © Nigel Thornton

© Nigel Thornton


July 20th 2005: SAGA ROSE and SAGA RUBY were reunited together at Dover.


© Nigel Thornton  © Nigel Thornton

© Nigel Thornton

© Nigel Thornton


July 9th 2006: Due to arrive at Dover 06.30 hrs delayed until 11.00 hrs. Official cause “bad weather en-route”. Dockside rumour, believed engine trouble.


© Saga Shipping  © Saga Shipping

© Saga Shipping  © Saga Shipping

© Saga Shipping

© Saga Shipping


December 6th 2006: To Hamburg for refit.

December 19th 2006: Seen off Dover en route for Southampton.


© Nigel Thornton

© Nigel Thornton


June 8th 2009: Made her final arrival/departure at Dover.

© Nigel Thornton  © Nigel Thornton

© Nigel Thornton  © Nigel Thornton

© Nigel Thornton

© Nigel Thornton


Monday, June 8, 2009

“Treasures of Britain and Ireland – Day 8”

MS Saga Rose docked in Dover early this morning, which marked the end of the ‘Norwegian Beauty’ cruise. Once passengers had disembarked, the crew set to work preparing the ship for our new arrivals sailing with us on the next cruise. Embarkation began at 2.00pm. Senior Officers and the Cruise Staff greeted passengers at the gangway with Cabin Stewards on hand to assist with luggage and escort the new passengers to their cabins. Once all were aboard and the stores and provisions had been loaded, the Officers on the bridge began the preparations to embark on this 15-night cruise around Britain and Ireland.

MS Saga Rose sailed from Dover shortly after 5pm. This was a particularly poignant and memorable moment for passengers and the ship’s company as it was Saga Rose’s final visit to the port of Dover. After so many years of regular visits to this port, there was an air of sadness as she sailed gracefully from the white cliffs of Dover for the last time.

This evening’s entertainment featured the Cruise Director, Tanya with a special ‘Welcome Aboard’ show. The Cruise Director introduced members of the different departments, with the variety of services and products available on board. The Sixth Star Singers & Dancers performed the first of a series of Production Shows giving an insight into the talents our Entertainers have to offer.

Passengers settled into their new cabins to get a good night’s sleep as we set sail to travel the distance of 231 nautical miles to our first port of call, St Peter Port, Guernsey.”

© Nigel Thornton

Captain David Warden-Owen, Saga Rose (Captains Blog)


December 6th 2009: “Arrived in Southampton on a fine, sunny morning today to conclude her career with Saga Holidays after a nostalgic farewell cruise season. The 1965-built vessel will de-store some fittings and is scheduled to depart early Monday evening for “the World”. No further information is yet available but it is speculated with no announcements of the ship’s sale to future operators or for service in a static role, that her next destination may be Alang”

December 7th 2009: Departed Southampton with a crew of 66 (following the end of her service for Saga Holidays)

December 11th 2009: Arrived at Gibraltar Anchorage.

December 13th 2009: Remained in the Eastern Anchorage, about 2 miles off Gibraltar, awaiting “orders”. It remained unclear what her next destination would be.

January 8th 2010: Arrived in Gibraltar. Then continued to either be at “Gibraltar Anchorage” or showing as “Sea trials”


© Daniel Ferro

© Daniel Ferro


February 22nd 2010: Destination shown as “Kenya” quickly followed by “sea trials”

April 9th 2010: Noted as having sailed from Gibraltar destination Walvis Bay, Namibia (South Africa). Port Elizabeth, South Africa listed as her destination. Once again, rumours of a conversion to a hotel ship circulated.

April 29th 2010: Docked in Durban for refuelling, and was underway again with her destination reported to be Maputo, Mozambique. Rather than dock again in Africa, Saga Rose next headed into the Indian Ocean, with Saga Cruises refusing to comment on the ships’ possible sale for scrap or any other use.

May 23rd 2010: The ship was off the Taiwanese coast with her destination being reported as Japan.

May 27th 2010: Reached the harbour of Shanghai, China. After a few days at anchor, she continued further inland up the Yangtze River.

May 29th 2010: Docked in the Jiangyin, seemingly confirming speculation that the ship had been sold for scrap, as Jiangyin is home to the Changjiang Ship Recycling Yard, China’s largest ship dismantling facility. In 2003, the same yard scrapped Sea World, the former King Alexander and Nanny, a 245,000 ton oil tanker that ranked as the 4th largest ship ever built.



All information is believed to be correct and no responsibility is accepted for any errors or omissions. All items included in this article are subject to © copyright. We would like to take this opportunity of thanking: Daniel Ferro, Tony Garner, Chris Howell, John Mavin, Marc Piché, Saga Shipping and Andreas Wörteler for their assistance in producing this feature.

Article © Nigel Thornton and Ray Goodfellow (Dover Ferry Photos Group)


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