‘Freedom Day’ marked with the symbolic naming ceremony of Saga’s brand-new cruise ship, ‘Spirit of Adventure’

'Freedom Day' marked with the symbolic naming ceremony of Saga's brand-new cruise ship, 'Spirit of Adventure' (July 2021)As the UK reaches ‘Freedom Day’ on July 19 – the day lockdown restrictions are finally lifted in Britain – Saga’s brand-new cruise ship, ‘Spirit of Adventure’ will be named with a traditional bottle smashing ceremony at Portsmouth International Port.

It will be the first time in history that a new cruise ship has been named at the port.

The ship was handed over by the shipbuilder in September 2020 and was due to take to the waters last year but, because of Covid, has remained anchored and waiting to take to the seas.

That will be rectified on July 19, 2021 with the naming ceremony ahead of her inaugural cruise on July 26. In recognition of the countless hours of service given by medical professionals during the pandemic, she will be named by the recently retired Head of the Royal Navy Medical Service, Commodore Inga J. Kennedy.

Nick Stace, Saga’s CEO of Travel, said: “Today has been a long time coming for everyone, so it feels symbolic that the naming of our brand-new cruise ship, ‘Spirit of Adventure’ will be part of such an historic day for the UK.

“Those who love to travel have waited patiently for it to resume, and what better way to mark a return to the freedom that travel gives us than with the launch of a new cruise ship.”

During the ceremony, which will start at 1pm on July 19 and be televised via Saga’s Facebook pages and on YouTube, Commodore Kennedy will undertake the traditional smashing of a bottle – in this case a jeroboam of English sparkling wine from Balfour Hush Heath Estate – against the hull of the ship to offer a blessing of safe sailing and good fortune.

Stace continued: “We felt it was important to recognise the outstanding work the medical profession has undertaken during the pandemic and wanted to pay our respects the best way we knew how. Commodore Kennedy has served in the Navy for 20 years and within healthcare for 40 years, so we felt she was the perfect choice for the role and we’re honoured that she accepted.”

The new ship will be the first to be named at Portsmouth, known as the Great Waterfront City, thanks to the city’s investment in the extension of the port’s main cruise berth, which enables them to manage larger ships.

The ship will depart on her inaugural cruise on July 26 from Tilbury. Once underway she will sail on a round Britain cruise taking in Newcastle, Belfast, the Isle of Man, Liverpool, Holyhead, Bristol, Lundy Island, the north Cornwall coast, the Isles of Scilly and Falmouth before returning to Tilbury on Tuesday 10th August* (see detailed schedule in notes to editors).

Nick Stace concluded: “We are delighted to be officially naming ‘Spirit of Adventure’ at Portsmouth International Port – a first ever for the port – ahead of welcoming our very first guests on her inaugural cruise on July 26.

“She’s a boutique ship, with just 554 cabins and a maximum capacity of 999 people so she feels spacious and comfortable and every aspect has been designed with our guests in mind, from the bold colours and the wrap-around promenade through to the numerous restaurants and entertainment facilities. Every cabin has its own private balcony with uninterrupted sea views and everything from the chauffeur service to meals and Wi-Fi are included in the price.

“We’ll continue to follow Government advice when it comes to managing the risk of Covid, and we believe prevention is key so we’re asking all customers to have had both vaccines ahead of joining us. We’ve also been working hard to ensure our hygiene standards are above and beyond what is required, which has led to Lloyd’s Register awarding us their Shield+ accreditation – the highest category of health assurance they have.

“Now, it’s time to get Spirit of Adventure on the water with her sister, Spirit of Discovery and return to doing what we do best – giving our guests an amazing cruise experience.”

Both Spirit of Adventure and Spirit of Discovery are small by today’s ship standards, but clever design and a limit to the number of guests give a real feeling of space and comfort.

Spirit of Adventure has 10 passenger decks offering 554 all-balcony cabins including 109 single balcony cabins. It features five restaurants including The Main Dining Room, The Grill, The Supper Club, Khukuri (Nepalese speciality) and Amalfi (Italian speciality), all of which are complementary to dine in. The North Cape Bar is the ship’s main bar, and the Living Room offers coffee and snacks as well as a full drinks service. Outdoor facilities include an observation deck, full wraparound promenade and terrace, pool, sports court and deck games.

Entertainment and wellbeing facilities include The Playhouse (a 444-seat theatre with complete unobstructed views seating, home to Saga Cruise’s resident performance company), the signature Britannia Lounge with a dance floor and live entertainment, The Library with refreshments, craft and card rooms, The Spa with hydrotherapy pool, sauna, steam and treatment rooms, The Salon, a gym, shop and medical centre. The ship also features specially commissioned artwork that draw inspiration from the geography, landscapes, and palette of the British Isles.

The all-inclusive price includes a choice of complementary UK travel to and from the port including a door-to-door chauffeur service up to 250 miles each way, car parking near the port, domestic flights or standard class rail or coach travel.

There are no hidden costs on-board either. Saga Cruises come with all dining and house drinks including a selection of wines with lunch and dinner, Wi-Fi, on-board gratuities, fitness facilities, 24-hour room service, sightseeing tours in selected ports, entertainment (from lectures to recitals), porterage of luggage, shuttle buses to nearest town centres and travel insurance with up to £5m coronavirus cover included.

And all of this backed up by the Saga Cruise Promise – in the event that a cruise price is reduced guests will be the given the value of the difference back.

Other Spirit of Adventure cruises include:

– Taste of the Continent from October 5 for five-nights from £1,228 per person.
– Alternatively, there’s a Continental Escape from £999 per person departing on November 15 and taking in Amsterdam, Bruges and Cherbourg.

The ceremony will be broadcast live on Saga’s Holidays and Group Facebook pages at 1pm on July 19.