VESSEL REVIEW | Spirit of the Rhine – Saga Cruises’ 190-guest newbuilds to serve European river itineraries

VESSEL REVIEW | Spirit of the Rhine – Saga Cruises’ 190-guest newbuilds to serve European river itineraries

Spirit of the Rhine (Photo: Saga Cruises)

UK cruise company Saga Cruises recently commenced operational sailings of its two newest luxury river cruise ships, Spirit of the Danube and Spirit of the Rhine.

The sister vessels each have a length of 135 metres, a beam of 11.4 metres, a gross tonnage of 3,600, a speed of 12 knots, capacity for 190 passengers in 91 cabins, and a crew complement of 40. Guest accommodations include 17-square-metre cabins with French balconies and 14-square-metre cabins with fixed porthole windows. All guest cabins, which are located on three of the four decks, come with en suite bathrooms, walk-in showers, queen-size beds, individual AC units, and a seating area with two chairs and a coffee table.

Spirit of the Rhine (Photo: Saga Cruises)

Among the onboard facilities on each ship are a bar, indoor and al fresco restaurants, an atrium, a gym, a retail shop, a library, indoor and outdoor terraces, panoramic lounges with floor-to-ceiling windows, and a sundeck with a play area and a whirlpool tub. One lounge can also serve as a cinema, a lecture hall, or a music salon.

The main interior venues have floor-to-ceiling and wall-to-wall windows. Staircases provide access across all four decks.

Photo: Saga Cruises

The two vessels were built by Vahali Shipyards of Serbia and are homeported at Basel in Switzerland. Spirit of the Danube sailed on its inaugural seven-day cruise of waterways in the Netherlands and Belgium in March 2022. Spirit of the Rhine departed on its first post-naming cruise shortly afterwards, sailing through The Hague, Kinderdijk, and Arnhem before returning to Amsterdam.

The sister vessels are being operated by Saga Cruises under a time charter contract while they remain under the ownership of Rijfers Nautical Management, a shipping and ship management company based in the Netherlands. The ships’ routes cover 10 countries that lie along their namesake rivers as well as other European rivers like the Main and the Moselle. Another four ships from the same series are in various stage of construction with the first of these scheduled to enter service with Saga in May 2023.

Spirit of the Rhine (Photo: Saga Cruises)

Click here to read other news stories, features, opinion articles, and vessel reviews as part of this month’s Passenger Vessel Week.

Spirit of the Rhine & Spirit of the Danube
Type of vessel: River cruise ships
Port of registry: Basel, Switzerland
Flag: Switzerland
Owner: Rijfers Nautical Management, Netherlands
Operator: Saga Cruises, UK
Builder: Vahali Shipyards, Serbia
Length overall: 135 metres
Beam: 11.4 metres
Gross tonnage: 3,600
Cruising speed: 12 knots
Accommodation: 91 x cabins; bar; lounges; restaurants; atrium; gym; retail shop; library; sundeck
Crew: 40
Passengers: 190
Operational areas: Rhine River; Danube River; Main River; Moselle River

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