Saga Rose

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Saga Rose in Auckland, New Zealand, February 2008
Name: 1965—1996: Sagafjord
1996—1997: Gripsholm
1997 onwards: Saga Rose[1]
Owner: 1965—1983: Norwegian America Line
1983—1997: Cunard Line
1997 onwards: Saga Shipping[1]
Operator: 1965—1983: Norwegian America Line
1983—1996: Cunard Line
1996—1997: Transocean Tours
1997 onwards: Saga Cruises[1]
Port of registry: 1965—1983: Oslo,  Norway
1983 onwards Nassau,  Bahamas[1]
Builder: Société Nouvelle des Forges et Chantiers de la Méditerranée, France
Cost: $30 million
Launched: 1965
Maiden voyage: 1965
In service: 1965-2009
Out of service: October 2009
Fate: Sold for scrap
Status: out of service
General characteristics
Tonnage: 24,474 gross tonnes
Length: 189 m (620.1 ft)
Beam: 24.4 m (80.1 ft)
Draft: 8.25 m (27.1 ft)
Capacity: 584 (double occupancy), 620 (full occupancy)
Crew: 350
Notes: Data from 'Cruise Reviews'[2] and 'Passenger Ship Society'[3]

MS Saga Rose is a retired ocean liner owned and formerly operated by Saga Cruises on worldwide cruises targeted at the senior market out of the United Kingdom.[2][4] She was built in 1965 by Société Nouvelle des Forges et Chantiers de la Méditerranée for Norwegian America Line as the combined ocean liner/cruise ship MS Sagafjord. Between 1983 and 1996 the Sagafjord was operated by Cunard Line. In 1996—1997 she was shortly operated by Transocean Tours as MS Gripsholm prior to being sold to her current owners.[1] She was retired from service in October 2009 and, as of June 2010, has arrived in China for scrapping.

Concept and construction

The Sagafjord was built by Société Nouvelle des Forges et Chantiers de la Méditerranée, France, who received the original plans and specifications for the vessel from the as the Norwegian America Line during the summer of 1960. The build contract was undertaken on 24 September 1962 and the keel finally laid on 19 June 1963 before her launch on 13 June 1964. She underwent sea trials from May until September in 1965 and was finally christened on 18 September 1965 Sagafjord in Toulon. The construction of the Sagafjord was so expensive that it put the shipyard out of business.[citation needed]

Service history

The Sagafjord undertook her maiden voyage from Oslo to New York on 2 October to 11 October 1965. At the time she was built to set the mark of luxury. She sailed with Norwegian America Line until 1983, when the company was taken over by Cunard Line. The ship retained her original name through-out her service with Cunard.

In 1996—1997 the Sagafjord was chartered to Transocean Tours as part of a 6 month deal.[5] While in service with Transocean Tours she was renamed MS Gripsholm. During this time she was damaged by fire. She was sold to Saga Shipping in 1997, who renamed her MS Saga Rose. The ship was refurbished prior to entering service with her new owners.[3]

The Saga Rose was retired from service in October 2009[citation needed] due to her not fulfilling the requirements of the new SOLAS 2010 regulations.[6]. Today, her future is uncertain. [7]

On February 21st, 2010, Saga Rose was reported as setting out from Gibraltar, where she had been laid up since her final cruise with Saga Cruises, with her destination listed as Kenya. Rumors circulated about a possible sale for use as an accommodation ship. The stories proved false, as the ship was merely repositioned to a new anchorage and remained in Gibraltar.

In early April, Saga Rose finally put to sea, with Port Elizabeth, South Africa listed as her destination. Once again, rumors of a conversion to a hotel ship circulated. On April 29th, Saga Rose docked in Durban for refueling, and was underway again with her destination now reported to be Maputo, Mozambique. Rather than dock again in Africa, Saga Rose next headed into the Indian Ocean, with Saga Cruises refusing to comment on the ships' possible sale for scrap or any other use. By May 23, the ship was off the Taiwanese coast with her destination being reported as Japan.

On May 27th, Saga Rose reached the harbor of Shanghai, China. After a few days at anchor, she continued further inland up the Yangtze River, docking in the Jiangyin district on May 29th, seemingly confirming speculation that the ship had been sold for scrap, as Jiangyin is home to the Changjiang Ship Recycling Yard, China's largest ship dismantling facility. In 2003, the same yard scrapped Sea World, the former King Alexander and Nanny, a 245,000 ton oil tanker that ranked as the 4th largest ship ever built.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Asklander, Micke. "M/S Sagafjord (1965)" (in Swedish). Fakta om Fartyg. Retrieved 30 November 2008. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Saga Rose Cruise Reviews (from the '' website. Accessed 2008-02-19.)
  3. 3.0 3.1 Saga Rose Statistics (from the 'passengershipsociety.comm' website. Accessed 2008-02-19.)
  4. Saga Rose Cruise Reviews (from the '' website. Accessed 2008-02-19.)
  5. Sagafjord
  6. Reinikainen, Kari (2009-02-28). "At least 7 old cruise ships face uncertain future due to SOLAS 2010". Cruise Business Online. Cruise Media Oy Ltd. Retrieved 2009-03-01. 

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