Saga to name two new river cruise ships in joint ceremony

Spirit of the Danube and Spirit of the Rhine will be christened in Arnhem in the Netherlands

Saga to name two new river cruise ships in joint ceremony

By Alex Smith |

Saga is to christen two new river cruise ships, Spirit of the Danube and Spirit of the Rhine, in a joint naming ceremony in Arnhem in the Netherlands on 19 March. 

Broadcaster and journalist Jenni Murray will serve as godmother for both ships in the ceremony, smashing a bottle of champagne against each of the ships' hulls after a blessing for safe sailing is offered. She will be joined by Captain George Dudnica, who will take the helm of Spirit of the Danube, and Captain Marinus Pols, who has captained the Spirit of the Rhine on its first sailings since the end of 2021. 

“I am delighted to be involved in the naming ceremony of Spirit of the Rhine and Spirit of the Danube," said Murray. "As a keen cruiser myself it is an honour to be involved in this maritime tradition. I wish all who sail on these ships a wonderful time.”

Both ships can accommodate up to 182 guests and 50 crew across four decks and 91 guest cabins. However, the two ships have different designs for their cabins, with those on Spirit of the Rhine following the design of Saga’s ocean-going ships and those on Spirit of the Danube having an Art Nouveau and Danube Delta theme and featuring elements such as migratory birds. 

Both vessels offer a main Panorama restaurant, and Spirit of the Rhine features the Rheinfels restaurant, while Spirit of the Danube has the Delta restaurant. Other features onboard both ships include a sundeck with a hot tub and barbeque, an indoor and outdoor terrace, library, gym and panoramic lounges with floor-to-ceiling windows. 

Saga has curated a collection of art for each ship, with Spirit of the Rhine’s focusing on landmarks located along its namesake river, such as Lorelei and Rheinfels Castle. The Spirit of the Danube’s collection is focused instead on the River Danube, with a particular emphasis on the Art Nouveau style of Vienna in the Belvedere Lounge and the Danube Delta in the Delta restaurant.  

“After the delays as a result of the pandemic, we’re delighted to formally name both ships," said Nigel Blanks, CEO of Saga Cruises. "To see them side-by-side, after a challenging couple of years for the industry, it’s fantastic to reach this milestone, welcome two such stellar ships to our fleet, and enjoy the return to cruising Europe’s iconic waterways.”

Both Spirit of the Danube and Spirit of the Rhine are owned by shipping company Rijfers Nautical Management and were built by VAHALI Shipyards.

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