Mv Saga Sapphire – Past and Present

Mv Saga Sapphire

ex Bleu De France, Holiday Dream, Superstar Aries, Superstar Europe, Europa (1981)

© Ken Smith

© Ken Smith

Steel twin screw motor vessel built in 1981 by Bremer Vulkan,Vegesack, Bremen, Germany (Yard No 1001) for Hapag-Lloyd AG, Bremen, Germany

Technical Data

  • Original Cost: $120 million
  • Length: 199.62m (654.9 ft)(overall), 175.18m (registered)
  • Breadth of hull: 28.60m (93.8 ft)
  • Depth: 12.98m
  • Draught: 8.42m (27.6 ft)
  • Tonnage: 33,819 gross, 37,012, 37,049/22,545 net, 15,521/6,506 deadweight, 5168t
  • Engines: Two 7-cylinder MAN-Bremer K7 SZ 70/125B diesels
  • Propulsion/Propellers: 21,280 kW/2
  • Speed: 21 knots
  • Capacity: 600 passengers (1981), 778 (1999), 1,048 (2010)
  • Crew: 560/406
  • Navigation Officers: European (2004)
  • Passenger Decks: 10
  • Call Sign: DLAL (Europa), C6PU4, 9HOF8
  • IMO Number: 7822457
  • MMSI Number: 256208000
  • Registry: Bremen/W Germany, The Bahamas (2004), Valletta/Malta

Current Location

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April 1st 1980: Keel laid.

December 22nd 1980: Launched.

© Joerg Seyler  

© Joerg Seyler

September 25th 1981: First sea trials.

December 6th 1981: Delivered to Hapag-Lloyd AG, Bremen, Germany.

December 28th 1981: Positioning voyage without passengers, Bremerhaven – Genoa.

January 8th 1982: Maiden voyage from Genoa to Africa, then cruising around the world.

© Brian Fisher   © Brian Fisher

© Brian Fisher (both)

April 30th 1992: East of Hong Kong collided with the Greek container ship INCHON GLORY. Towed to Kaohsiung, Taiwan where passengers disembarked.

July 7th 1992: After repair in Singapore, returned to cruising.

April 5th 1998: Sold to Star Cruises, Nassau, Bahamas. Chartered out to Hapag-Lloyd until 1999.

June 30th 1999: Arrived in Hamburg after final cruise for Hapag-Lloyd.

July 1st 1999: Renamed SUPERSTAR EUROPE.

July 31st 1999: Arrived at Sembawang yard in Singapore for more than $15 million rebuild.

October 24th 1999: Relocation cruise from Singapore to Laem Chabang.

October 1st 1999: Inaugural cruise from Laem Chabang.

February 2000: Renamed SUPERSTAR ARIES.

March 2004: Sold to Club Vacaciones, Nassau, Bahamas and renamed HOLIDAY DREAM.

© Carlos Poveda

© Carlos Poveda

2004: Began cruising for Pullmantur Ship Investment, Madrid.

© Cees Bustraan  © Cees Bustraan

© Cees Bustraan

June 2006: Registered to Pullmantur Cruises Holiday Dream Ltd., Valletta, Malta.

© Yvon Perchoc  © Yvon Perchoc

© Yvon Perchoc (both)

May 2008: Registered to CdF Bleu De France Ltd, Valletta, Malta. Renamed BLEU DE FRANCE.

© Gerolf Drebes  © Gerolf Drebes

© Gerolf Drebes

© Gerolf Drebes (all)

November 2009: Sold to unknown shipping company.

© Daniel Ferro

© Daniel Ferro

October 23rd 2011: At Marseilles, completed her final CdF cruise.

October 28th 2011: Expected at Palermo

November 2011: Arrived at lay-by berth Palermo for rebuild/refurbishment Fincantieri Palermo yard. Work to include the refurbishing of all public areas and spaces, the addition of a significant number of new passenger cabins, the complete refurbishment of the existing cabins and a new balcony deck.

December 20th 2011: Entered dry-dock during which time items involving the external hull and all underwater work, such as painting and tailshaft, rudder and propeller maintenance to be undertaken.

January 28th 2012: Returned to lay-by berth.

January 29th 2012: Returned to dry-dock.

February 2012:On completion of the work, the ship will be renamed the ‘Saga Sapphire’ and then shall set sail for the inaugural cruise from Southampton to the Mediterranean, which is due to start on March 26th 2012.

February 7th 2012: Officially renamed SAGA SAPPHIRE.

February 19th 2012: Returned to lay-by berth.

March 19th 201 2: Left Palermo.


© Saga Shipping  © Saga Shipping

© Saga Shipping  © Saga Shipping

© Saga Shipping  © Saga Shipping

© Saga Shipping  © Saga Shipping

© Saga Shipping  © Saga Shipping

© Saga Shipping (all)

March 26th 2012: Arrived in Southampton.

© Maritime Photographic

© Maritime Photographic

April 3rd 2012: After numerous delays, departed Southampton

April 13th 2012: The cruise had to be curtailed unexpectedly at Valencia, when a fault developed in the cooling system of one of the engines. Remained in Valencia for repairs.

April 27th 2012: Left Valencia.

April 29th 2012: Arrived at Gibraltar for bunkers.

April 29th 2012: Departed Gibraltar.


© José Ricardo Rodriguez Montero (all)

May 2nd 2012: Arrived in Lisbon. Joined fleet sister ship SAGA PEARL II  for the “Gala Welcome”.

May 3rd 2012: Left Lisbon.

May 21st 2012: Inaugural arrival in Dover.

© Ray Goodfellow  © Ray Goodfellow

© Ray Goodfellow  © Ray Goodfellow

© Ray Goodfellow

© Willem Oldenburg  © Willem Oldenburg

© Willem Oldenburg

November 15th 2017: Arrived at Lloyd Werdt for refit. (“Mellow Yellow”????????)😀

© Christian Eckardt  © Christian Eckardt

© Christian Eckardt

© Christian Eckardt  © Christian Eckardt

© Christian Eckardt  © Christian Eckardt

© Christian Eckardt

December 2nd/3rd 2017: Arrived in Southampton before sailing to Ijmuiden.

© Willem Oldenburg  © Willem Oldenburg

© Willem Oldenburg

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: Cees Bustraan, Gerolf Drebes, Christian Eckardt Daniel Ferro, Brian Fisher, Yvon Perchoc, Gary Davies (Maritime Photographic), José Ricardo Rodriguez Montero, Willem Oldenburg, Carlos Poveda, Joerg Seyler, and Ken Smith for their assistance in producing this feature.

Special thanks go to Saga Shipping.

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

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