What a Saga! Has a Norwegian troll curse hit cruise ship Sapphire again?

//What a Saga! Has a Norwegian troll curse hit cruise ship Sapphire again?

pearl2_x.jpgQuest for Adventure (Saga Pearl II) in Norway
Chateau Greybeard is in the throes of packing, and the alarm clock will be set for an early start on Wednesday morning to fly to Stavanger and join an old friend.
I will be cruising to Svalbard on board Quest for Adventure (above), the ship on which I have sailed around Cuba, and which provided a welcome haven from the 2010 General Election during another Norwegian cruise.
It was called Saga Pearl II in those days, and became Quest last year – replacing Spirit of Adventure. Later this year, with the retirement of Saga Ruby, Quest will become Pearl once again. (I hope you’re following all this; there will be questions later).
The full 18-night “Expedition to North Cape” cruise leaves Dover today. I’m cheating by taking a short cut, and I’m looking forward to visiting a few Norwegian ports new to me.
First will be Brønnøysund, close to the mountain of Torghatten, which has a hole pierced through it. It was created, according to legend, by a troll who was chasing a beautiful maiden.
I have taken out a second mortgage so I can afford to buy a glass of lager when we call at Leknes, in the Lofoten Islands; a round of drinks when I visited nearby Svolvaer a few years ago was so expensive that I can only assume the alcoholic at the other end of the bar had been a multi-millionaire until a couple of weeks earlier.
We head north for a few days of sightseeing in the Svalbard archipelago, visiting Longyearbyen, Ny Alesund, and Magdalena Bay. My camera will be poised, so that if we encounter whales, walrus, polar bears or Arctic foxes, I will be viewing them through a lens instead of with the naked eye.
I’ll be leaving the ship in Tromsø, much to the relief of Mrs Greybeard; it means she will be home in time to watch the mens’ Winbledon Final.
Unless Quest for Adventure suffers a fate similar to the one which has just befallen sister ship Saga Sapphire (below).
On a similar itinerary this week, cruising in the land of the midnight sun, Sapphire has experienced an engine fault and has been delayed in the port of Molde. Passengers have been provided with free excursions while engineers wait for a spare part to arrive, and they will be a couple of days late reaching Svalbard.
The time will be made up on the return journey, as Saga have decided to cancel visits to Tromsø and Geiranger.
A spokesman said: “Saga Sapphire is currently in Molde after one of the two engines had a small technical fault that didn’t affect passengers’ comfort or safety. Although Saga Sapphire is designed to run safely on one engine we took the decision to stay in Molde while a new part is fitted.”
Sapphire has an unfortunate history of mechanical problems; last April the ship’s maiden voyage in Saga colours was brought to an abrupt end by an engine room fault, and further delays occurred in Norway almost 12 months ago today.
I can only hope that revengeful trolls have not cast a curse on all of Saga’s ships.
 Hapag-Lloyd Cruises have cancelled two more voyages on their 185-passenger expedition ship Hanseatic following damage caused by a fire during maintenance in dry dock.
The ship was in Bremerhaven when a blaze broke out on June 9 during welding work in a ballast tank. Two crewmembers and a shipyard fireman were taken to hospital suffering from the effects of smoke inhalation.
A June 17 cruise from Bremerhaven to Norway, and a July 4 departure from Tromsø were initially cancelled. Now a July 14 sailing from Longyearbyen and the scheduled August 1 voyage from Kangerlussuag, Greenland, have joined the casualties.

By | 2017-06-15T15:59:31+00:00 24 June 2013|Cruise News|1 Comment

About the Author:

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

One Comment

  1. David Hinxman 24 June 2013 at 1:50 pm - Reply

    I do hope you have better luck than we did on our February cruise on the Saga Sapphire. I returned home with food poisoning (Campylobacter). I also felt that Saga had made many cutbacks in their service and after nearly 150 nights with them would never use them again.

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