Saga Cruises lays the keel of their first new cruise ship, Spirit of Discovery.
The keel-laying ceremony at Meyer Werft’s shipyard in Papenburg marked the official start of construction for the 999-guest vessel, the first of two cruise ships being built for Saga Cruises.
Commenting on the ceremony, Lance Batchelor, Group CEO of Saga said: “Laying the Keel is an exciting milestone for Saga Cruises. This marks a key stage in the construction of our first ever new build cruise ship. Our decision to bring two new boutique cruise ships, Spirit of Discovery and Spirit of Adventure, to the market by 2020 is in response to overwhelming customer demand. It will be truly transformational for our business.
Both ships have been designed to epitomise Saga’s unique British boutique cruising concept and are the only small, new, luxury ships to be built for the British market.”
As part of a maritime tradition, a commemorative coin stamped with the Spirit of Discovery’s name, keel-laying date and the lettering S714 was placed under the first block in the dry dock where a total of 54 blocks will be used to create the 58,250 gross tons ship.
Special occasion in Papenburg
British Ambassador to Germany, Sir Sebastian Wood, helped mark the occasion with the laying of the ceremonial coin alongside Lance Batchelor, Saga’s Chief Executive Officer and Tim Meyer, Managing Director of Meyer Werft.
In a short speech, Sir Sebastian said: “It’s a pleasure to be here in Papenburg on this special day. Meyer Werft was founded in 1795 and over the past 200 years many great ships have been built here. Today we mark the keel laying of another great ship to emerge from this historic yard – The Spirit of Discovery.
“Spirit of Discovery will be the product of a very special collaboration and partnership, between Britain and Germany. This partnership is born out of a passion for quality and excellence. It is a partnership of two proud companies – one British, one German – with enviable histories, that have come together to create a new ship that will push the boundaries for small-ship style and luxury.”
Due to be delivered in Bremerhaven on 20 June, 2019, Spirit of Discovery has been specifically designed using feedback from guests. All cabins will have a balcony, 107 of which will be single cabins.
“With one year to go to the launch of Spirit of Discovery” Nigel Blanks Chief Operating Officer for Saga Cruises said “Saga Cruises will continue to reveal exciting features – from the interior design and entertainment, the artwork onboard to restaurant venues, including The Club by Jools – the company’s first celebrity endorsed venue with Jools Holland.
He continued “The Club by Jools will offer great food as well as live music and cocktails with resident and guest musicians.
“Jools will be on board during July and August and we really can’t wait to get the party started!”