Grand dame Ruby puts on a diva act and then misses a gala performance

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There’s disappointment at Saga Cruises over a planned triple celebration in Lisbon this week. The company arranged a unique opportunity for all three of its ships to be moored in the River Tagus together, and to be serenaded at a special concert by soprano Lesley Garratt.
Saga Sapphire, now fully operational after engine room repairs which disrupted her inaugural voyage last month, was there. As was Saga Pearl II, making her last cruise before a name change to Quest for Adventure, which will happen in Southampton on Sunday (May 6).
Sadly, they were let down by grande dame Saga Ruby, the senior member of the fleet, whose departure from Southampton earlier in the week was delayed by technical problems.
The concert went ahead, and Ruby’s passengers did not miss out on a Garratt performance. Saga – who do these things properly – ensured no-one would miss out by arranging for her to sing in the “more intimate surroundings” of the ship’s Britannia Theatre.
I sometimes think ships have minds of their own, you know. How else to explain QE2 running aground on the Brambles sandbank in Southampton Water on her final arrival in her home port in November 2008. The resulting delays ensured she berthed in daylight rather than under cover of darkness.
Saga Ruby might just be feeling a little jealous of her younger and bigger sister, and did not want to be seen in close company with Sapphire. Strange things happen at sea!
Captain Steve Angrove has a more prosaic explanation, set out in his blog entry for the day he returned to the ship to take over command on its return from a 114-night world cruise.
He explained that the Maritime and Coastguard Agency had arranged a scheduled inspection of the vessel, including a crew drill and thorough checks of all the ship’s systems.
Drill completed, Ruby was give the “all clear” by the visiting surveyors, and with supplies replenished and new guests settling in on board, Capt Angrove prepared to leave.
“As with every departure, a series of tests is conducted. It was during these preparations that one of the two steering motors was found to be not performing adequately to operate the rudder as quickly as it should – even though it had been working perfectly when tested just hours earlier.
“I would not depart without both motors being 100 per cent. Our engineers worked tirelessly, going through a detailed process of elimination to identify the cause. My frequent walks from the bridge served only to reduce the working life of the floor coverings, and at times I felt like pulling my hair out . . . if I had any, that is.
“In the end, once the problem had been identified, it was quickly fixed; unfortunately too late to make Lisbon in time for the rendezvous with Saga Sapphire and Saga Pearl II. We will still celebrate when we get there.”

By | 2017-06-15T15:59:49+00:00 4 May 2012|Cruise entertainment, Cruise news, Cruise ships|0 Comments

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John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

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