ex Saga Ruby, Caronia, Vistafjord
© Brian Fisher
Steel twin screw motor vessel built by Swan Hunter Shipbuilders, Wallsend, (Yard No 39) in 1973 for Norwegian America Line, Oslo
- Cost: $35 million
- Length: 191.09m (626.96 ft)(overall), 169.05m (between perpendiculars)
- Breadth of hull: 25,05m (82.1 ft)(extreme)
- Depth: 11.58m (38 ft )
- Draught: 8.20m (27.0 ft)(maximum)
- Tonnage: 24,492 gross (ITC 69), 24,291 (pre 69)/9,356 net (ITC 69)/5,954 deadweight
- Engines: Two 9-cylinder Sulzer-Clark diesels, totalling 27,000 shp
- Power: 17,900kW
- Speed: 20 knots
- Capacity: 500 passengers (1973), 655 (2005)
- Passenger decks: 9
- Crew: 400 (1973), 380 (2005)
- Navigation Officers: British
- Call Sign: LFVI (1973 – 1999), C6ZV (1999 – 2004), MZFP7 (2004 – 2014 ), 9HA2415, C6AZ3 (since 01/2/2014), V4PN3
- IMO Number: 7214715
- Registry: Bahamas (1973 – ), Southampton (1999- ), London, Valletta (June 2006 -), Bahamas, St Kitts & Nevis
- Sister Ships: SAGAFJORD
May 15th 1972: Launched.
April 6th – April 9th 1973: Sea trials were conducted.
May 15th 1973: Christened and delivered to Norwegian America Line, Oslo.
May 15th 1973: Sailed from Newcastle for Norway.
© Ken Lubi
May 17th 1973: First called at Stavanger (Norway’s Independence Day), then arrived Oslo.
May 22nd 1973: Maiden journey from Oslo to New York.
June 7th 1973: Maiden cruise from New York to Nassau since which she has been in world-wide cruise service.
© John Jones (Left) and Nigel Thornton Collection (right)
🆕© Frank Heine (Hamburg, October 1981)
May 1983: Sold to Cunard Line, Nassau, for delivery in October 1983.
December 1983: $15 million refit at Malta. Her aft superstructure was extended and 22 cabins added.
© Ken Smith (29/07/1990)
© John Jones (29/07/1990)
🆕© Frank Heine (Oslo, 11/07/1991)
1999: Underwent an extensive refit.
Nigel Thornton Collection
December 12th 1999: Emerged as CARONIA. She was also re-registered to Great Britain at Southampton.
January 5th 2000: Just five months after a refit in Cunard Lines Southampton confirmed the vessel would have to return to Germany on May 18th for repairs. Portions of the shell plating were too thin.
February 26th 2002: After CARONIA spilled nearly 7,800 gallons of oil on the night of February 23 into Guanabara Bay, Brazilian environmental authorities fined Cunard Lines $410,000. The incident was reported to have happened during an operation to remove water from the vessel’s tanks. The spill was contained quickly and the clean up completed. The company was fined because the water removal operation was in violation of Brazil’s environmental crimes law which prohibits the risky operation in Rio’s Guanabara Bay.
May 23rd 2003: Announced today that Cunard would sell the vessel to Saga Holidays, owners of the her former fleet-mate, SAGA ROSE (ex SAGAFJORD). It was believed that she would leave the Cunard fleet in November 2004 upon delivery of the new Vista-class QUEEN VICTORIA.
October 20th 2003: Departed Southampton for the last time as CARONIA.
May 10th 2004: It was revealed that the CARONIA (ex VISTAFJORD) would be renamed SAGA STAR when she joined the Saga Holidays fleet.
© Robert J Smith
May 13th 2004: Now rumoured to become Saga Holidays SAGA RUBY, not SAGA STAR.
November 2004: Planned entry into dry dock in Malta for a £17 million refit and refurbishment.
November 2004: Renamed SAGA RUBY. Refurbished/refitted in Valletta, Malta.
Courtesy of Saga Shipping
February 2005: Sea trials.
February 7th 2005: Arrived at Southampton. A three month refit in Malta saw the ship made ready for sailing with the Saga Cruises fleet.
Courtesy of Saga Shipping
February 2005: Two “mini” “shake down” cruises cut short owing to technical problems.
February 26th 2005: “Shake Down” overnight cruise to Zeebrugge.
February 27th 2005: Return to Southampton.
© Nigel Thornton (all)
March 1st 2005: Maiden cruise from berth 106 (18.00hrs) under Saga colours (Azores, Caribbean and Central America. “The Inaugural Cruise”) returning on April 2.
2005: Both SAGA RUBY and SAGA ROSE sailed out of Southampton and Dover
April 30th 2005: Set sail on maiden 7 day cruise from Dover, “Fjordland Wonders”
© Nigel Thornton (all)
July 20th 2005: Sisters reunited together at Dover.
© Nigel Thornton (both)
March 27th 2006: Made her maiden visit to Los Angeles. She later departed for San Diego and the remainder of her world cruise that included a transit of the Panama Canal and a visit to Bermuda among other stops.
April 25th 2006: Arrived in Southampton.
Departing Dover on the 04/06/09 © Ray Goodfellow (all)
August 14th 2006: At Dover, had one of her satellite domes replaced and repositioned.
© Nigel Thornton
2006: Owner and manager; Saga Shipping Company Ltd
November 30th 2007: Having arrived in Southampton she will next proceed to a dry dock in Hamburg for a wintry refit.
© Jens Boldt (all)
December 18th 2007: Scheduled to emerge in Southampton from where she will begin the Christmas cruise to the Canary Islands.
© Nigel Thornton
December 2009: Refit in Bremerhaven.
© Jens Boldt
July 10th 2012: Announcement mad that she would retire from service early in 2014.
November 9th 2012: “Owing to engine problems, held up in Portugal for emergency repairs. The ship was scheduled to go into dry-dock in Germany this week for a £4 million refurbishment, which would keep her in service until her farewell cruise next December.”
© The Ferryman
November 15th 2012: “Docked at Lloyd Werft big Kaiser Dock, Bremerhaven. Lloyd Werft has until the start of December to complete a comprehensive catalogue of class, repair and maintenance work on “Saga Ruby”. The repairs in particular will take up a lot of time. They include the renewal of pipe work, the maintenance of pump, valves and fire-fighting equipment, steel repairs and the repair of cracks to superstructure supports and windows. Other scheduled work will be the cleaning of 16 tanks, the exchange of a generator and the cleaning and conservation of the hull of the “Saga Ruby”.
Arriving in Dover 03/09/12 © Ray Goodfellow
December 4th 2012: “The ship will take passengers on board again in England for another cruise.”
September 26th 2013: Final “ever” arrival/departure Dover.
“Thanks for everything. Good Luck for the future!” © Nigel Thornton (all)
January 7th 2014: “All three of Saga Cruises’ fleet have been delayed by the weather — Saga Ruby and Saga Pearl II have been stuck in Lisbon all weekend, while Saga Sapphire was delayed leaving Southampton.”
“Both Saga Ruby — which is on its last voyage with the line — and Saga Pearl 2 were due in to Southampton today (Tuesday 7th). However, the ships have only just left Lisbon and are now due in on Thursday evening. They will be forced to skip one port stop — Porto — and all passengers who have booked shore excursions will be refunded.”
January 9th 2014: Arrived Southampton.
January 10th 2014: Departed Southampton showing e.t.a. Gibraltar 13/01/2014, where “…she will be handed over to her new owners”.
© Fay Jordan (left) and © Gary Davies (Maritime Photographic), right (Passing Black Jack buoy on Southampton Water for the last time – 10 January, 2014)
January 13th 2014: Arrived Gibraltar. “Media reports point to the sale of SAGA RUBY as finalized for use as a floating hotel in Myanmar…..The sale is reported at $14 million and the buyer, Millennium View Ltd, an affiliate of a private equity fund from in Singapore. “
February 6th 2014: Now she appears to have been renamed OASIA.
February 15th 2014: Left Gibraltar destination showing as Suez.
March 10th 2014: Arrived at Penang prior to commencing a new life as a stationary hotel at Yangon, former capital of Burma (Myanmar). Her new owners later went bankrupt.
May 29th 2014: Last known still in the port of Sattahip (Thailand).
March 4th 2017: Left Sattahip, “under her own power”, for Sattahip Anchorage.
March 13th 2017: Left Sattahip Anchorage bound for Singapore.
March 2017: After bunkering in Singapore continued to Bhavnagar (north of Alang,India) eta 04/04/2017.
April 6th 2017: Arrived at Alang anchorage
April 12th (17.03 hrs): Beached at Alang.
© Vaja Nilesh Ship Breaking (Facebook Group)
All information is believed to be correct and no responsibility is accepted for any errors or omissions found. All items included in this article are subject to © copyright. We would like to take this opportunity of thanking: Jens Boldt, Gary Davies (Maritime Photographic), Brian Fisher, Frank Heine, John Jones, Fay Jordan, Ken Lubi, Vaja Nilesh, Ken Smith, The Ferryman and Robert J Smith for their assistance in compiling this feature. A Special thanks goes to Saga Shipping, Ship Breaking (Facebook Group) and Rederi Swedish American Line AB.