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14th July, 2020

Spirit of the Rhine travelling to Gendt for the next stage of her build

Head of Product and Purchasing, Andrew Iwasyzsyn, shares his excitement on the launch of our new purpose-built river cruise ship, Spirit of the Rhine, and how it came to be.

Saga has been looking at launching a brand-new river cruise vessel for a long time, but we wanted it to be perfect before embarking on the project. For many years we chartered the Regina and Filia Rheni and they became firm favourites with our guests, thanks to the exquisite food and fantastic service. In fact, an industry expert recently told me that his experience on Filia Rheni was one of the best he had experienced on any river cruise, and the catering company, Seachefs, has a reputation for being the best.

"So, when the opportunity came to combine the best features of our two previous Saga flagships with a custom-made boutique ship designed specifically for our guests, we leapt at the chance! I am genuinely very excited to see how our guests react to Spirit of the Rhine. She has been designed with a host of great features, some which you may have seen and some not – watch this space! A shallower draught than nearly all other vessels means the ship will be able to sail in conditions other ships cannot, such as lower water levels, plus we’ll have a UK plug socket in every cabin and even a second restaurant – the Rheinfels restaurant – at the aft of the ship with fabulous panoramic views as you dine."

"We are very proud to be working with some of the best partners in the industry for Spirit of the Rhine. I’ve mentioned Seachefs who will be providing the catering, but in addition, the building of the ship is being undertaken by Vahali. This shipyard has nearly 100 years of experience and have produced some of the best river ships since their state-of-the-art facility on the Sava river started operating. I visited the shipyard in December for the keel-laying and it was a fascinating tour as well as an exciting ceremony for us. They do so much in-house, in fact I could have spent days there watching Spirit of the Rhine start to take shape! We’ve been posting lots of pictures on our Facebook page @Sagaholidays – take a look to see how Spirit of Rhine has taken shape."

"Thankfully, the build was ahead of schedule before the Covid-19 pandemic hit, so the ship left Serbia as planned with all the main machinery in place. When she reaches the Netherlands work will begin on the outfitting, where the spacious, well-equipped cabins and library, gym and other public areas will be installed. We look forward to sharing the next chapter of the build with you soon!"

Find out more about Spirit of the Rhine and browse her itineraries for 2021, or download a brochure to see what our bespoke river cruise ship has to offer.