sagafjord
Sagafjord
1965 - 2012
Norwegian American Line

During the mid 1960s the Norwegian-American Line planned to introduce a new liner, with service split equally between Oslo - New York trans Atlantic crossings and cruising. Almost from the outset the Sagafjord would find cruising as its primary purpose, gaining an enviable reputation, no doubt due to the ratio of passengers to crew being one to one.

The Sagafjord was built by Société Nouvelle des Forges et Chantiers de la Méditerranée, Toulon, France, the keel being laid down during June 1963 and launched June 13th 1964. Sea trials took place between May & September 1965 and was finally completed on September 18th 1965, being christened 'Sagafjord' in Toulon. Featues included stabilisers, air-conditioning and a bow thruster.

The construction of the Sagafjord was so expensive that it put the shipyard went into liquidation during 1966.

The Sagafjord undertook her maiden voyage from Oslo to New York City between October 2th & 11th 1965.

(The itineraries listed below do not include every port visited.)

Norwegian American Line: 1965 - 1982
1966
January 8th - ?? (93 days & 21 ports) World Cruise: New York.
September 2nd - ?? (10 days) Labor Day cruise.
September 14th - ?? (49 days) Mediterranean Fall Cruise.
November 4th - ?? (12 days) Mid-Autumn cruise.
November 18th - ?? (17 days) Thanksgiving cruise.

1968
January 10th - ?? (82 days & 23 ports) Southern Waters Southern Lands Winter Cruise: New York - Barbados - Recife - Rio De Janeiro - St Helena - Cape Town - Madagascar - Seychelles - Columbo - Aden - Suez Canal - Athens - Corsica - Tangier - New York?

1969
August 15th - ?? (21 days & 11 ports advertised)
October 10th - ?? (17days & 8 ports advertised)
October 28th - ?? (51 days & 13 ports advertised): New York - Port Everglades - Panama Canal - Easter Island - Valparaiso - Cape Horn - Montevideo - Buenos Aires - Rio De Janeiro - St Thomas - Port Everglades - New York.
December 19th - ?? (17 days & 8 ports advertised)

1970
January 7th - ?? (92 days & 24 ports advertised): New York - Port Everglades - Panama Canal - Easter Island - Pitcairn Island - Papeete -Moorea - Bora Bora - Auckland - Sydney - Port Moresby - Thursday Island - Bali - Singapore - Hong Kong - Yokohama - Honolulu - Los Angeles - Panama Canal - Nassau - New York.
June 30th - ?? (45 days & 24 ports) North Cape Northern Europe Summer Cruise: New York - Ireland - Scotland - Norway - Denmark - Sweden - Finland - Russia - Germany - Holland - Belgium - New York.

1971
April 10th - ?? (9 days & 3 ports): Easter cruise.
June 29th - ?? (45 days & 24 ports): North Cape Northern Europe Summer Cruise: New York - Ireland - Scotland - Norway - Denmark - Sweden - Finland - Russia - Germany - Holland - Belgium - New York.
August 14th - ?? (32 days & 13 ports): European Vacation Cruise: New York - Bergen - Stavanger - Oslo - Copenhagen - Kiel - Hamburg - Amsterdam - Le Havre - Southampton - New York.
September 16th - ?? (29 days & 12 ports): European Cruise: New York - Glengarriff - Southampton - La Coruna - Lisbon - Tangier - Madeira - New York.
October 22nd - ?? (55 days & 14 ports): South America & Africa cruise: New York - Barbados Rio De Janeiro - St Helena - Cape Town - Walvis Bay - Luanda - Freetown - Dakar - Santa Cruz - Port Everglades - New York.
December 17th - ?? (17 days & 8 ports): Christmas & New Year cruise.

1972
January 5th - ?? (93 days & 29 ports): Pacific cruise: New York - Panama Canal - Tahiti - Pago Pago - Wellington - Hobart - Melbourne - Noumea - Pitcairn Island - Easter Island - Valparaiso - Cape Horn - Montevideo - Recife - Amazon River - Belem - Barbados - Port Everglades - New York.
June 27th - ?? CHECK DETAILS (45 days & 24 ports advertised): North Cape Northern Europe Summer Cruise: New York - Ireland - Scotland - Norway - Denmark - Sweden - Finland - Russia - Germany - Holland - Belgium - New York.
August 11th - ?? CHECK DETAILS (32 days & 13 ports advertised): European Vacation Cruise: New York - Bergen - Stavanger - Oslo - Copenhagen - Kiel - Hamburg - Amsterdam - Le Havre - Southampton - New York.
September 12th - ?? CHECK DETAILS (29 days & 12 ports advertised): European Cruise: New York - Glengarriff - Southampton - La Coruna - Lisbon - Tangier - Madeira - New York.
October 11th - ?? CHECK DETAILS (advertised): Fall Mediterranean cruise.
November 20th - ?? CHECK DETAILS (advertised): Thanksgiving Carribean Grand cruise.
December 16th - ?? CHECK DETAILS (17 days & 8 ports advertised): Christmas & New Year cruise.

The Sagafjord was placed in dry dock during July at ??

1973
January 5th - ?? CHECK DETAILS (advertised) Great World Cruise.
April 14th - ?? (38 days & 16 ports advertised): Mediterranean Greek Islands cruise: from New York.

1977
April 16th - ?? (41 nights advertised): Spring Mediterranean and Egypt cruise.
May 28th - ?? (32 nights advertised): Scandinavia, Baltic and Eastern Europe.
June 30th - ?? (33 nights advertised): North Cape, Fjordlands and Northern Europe.
August 2nd - ?? (31 nights advertised): European Vacation cruise.
September 3rd - ?? (38 nights advertised): Fall Mediterranean and Adriatic.

1980
During 1980 the Sagafjord and Vistafjord passed to Norwegian American Cruises (NAC), 90% owned by Norwegian American Line. A potential merger with Royal Viking Line failed, leading to the Sagafjord being given a refit which included adding a deck above the bridge forward of the funnel. This new accommodation included 2 suites and 13 balcony cabins and increased passenger capacity to 505.

1981
May 9th - 20th: Carribean cruise: Port Everglades - Bermuda - St Thomas - Haiti - Port Everglades.
July 5th - 19th: San Francisco - Vancouver - Valdez - Sitka - Vancouver - San Francisco.

1982
January 9th - April 8th: World Cruise using Panama & Suez Canals.
September 21st - October 11th: Canada/USA East Coast: Montreal - New York - Port Everglades.
October 11th - 28th: Port Everglades - Panama Canal - Acapulco - Los Angeles.
October 28th - November 14th: Los Angeles - Acapulco - Panama Canal - Santo Domingo - St Thomas - Port Everglades.
November 14th - December 1st: Port Everglades - St Thomas - Cartagena - Panama Canal - Acapulco - Los Angeles.

Cunard Line 1983 - 1996
1983
During 1983 Trafalgar House acquired Norwegian American Cruises, and the Sagafjord and Vistafjord joined the Cunard fleet, both retaining their names. They were purchased for $73 million, with an additional $17 million for their renovation. The Sagafjord was a late replacement by Cunard for the Caronia. A refit followed which included adding balcony cabins aft of the funnel, a new two-tier Club Polaris and the removal of the sheltered sports deck. Although these and other changes were not favoured by her loyal passenger base the ship remained the highest rated cruise ship in the world. The changes did not affect the 'low density' approach to their passenger carrying volumes. Ten day cruises, double occupancy per person cost below $2,000, whilst the 102 day 1986 world cruise might exceed $87,000. The ships were registered in the Bahamas, allowing the captain & crew to retain a Norwegian flavour.

1984
April 19th - May 5th: Fort Lauderdale - St Thomas - Cartagena - Panama Canal - Acapulco - Los Angeles.
June 17th - July 1st: San Francisco - Vancouver - Whittier - Sitka - Vancouver - San Francisco.
July 1st - 15th: Alaska cruise: San Francisco - Vancouver - Sitka - Whittier and return.
July 15th - 26th: Alaska cruise: San Francisco - Vancouver - Skagway and return.
July 28th - August 8th: Alaska cruise: Vancouver - Anchorage and return (?).
December 15th - January 7th 1985: Christmas Cruise: Los Angeles- Acapulco - Panama Canal - Aruba - Puerto Rico - Fort Lauderdale.

1985
January 8th - April 6th: World Cruise (Pacific): Fort Lauderdale - Panama Canal - Callao - Easter Island - Pitcairn Island - Papeete - Bora Bora - Auckland - Sydney - Bali - Singapore - Shanghai - Pusan - Yokohama - Honolulu - Los Angeles - San Francisco.

June 13th - 23rd: Anchorage - Sitka - Vancouver.
July 14th - 25th: Alaska cruise: Vancouver - Sitka - Anchorage.
August 4th - 15th: Alaska cruise: Vancouver - Sitka - Anchorage
November 2nd - 23rd: Puerto Rico - Recife - Victoria - Montevideo - Rio De Janeiro.

1986
January 6th - April 18th: World Cruise westbound: For Lauderdale - Panama Canal - Los Angeles - Honolulu - Fiji - Sydney - Perth - Bali - Hong Kong - Bombay - Dijbouti - Suez Canal - Cadiz Madeira - Fort Lauderdale.

August 7th - 17th: Alaska cruise: Anchorage - Skagway - Vancouver.
September 26th - October 10th: Fort Lauderdale - Barbados - Manaus.

1987
January 8th - April 17th: World Cruise westbound: Fot Lauderdale - Panama Canal - Moorea - Papeete - Noumea - Cairns - Darwin - Hong Kong - Singapore - Madras - Mombasa - Cape Town - Montivideo - Belem - Bridgetown - Fort Lauderdale.
September 6th - 21st: Los Angeles - Acapulco - Panama Canal - Cartagena - Fort Lauderdale.

1988
January 6th - April 23rd: World Cruise (Pacific): Fort Lauderdale - Barbados - Belem - Buenos Aires - Puerto Montt - Easter Island - Pitcairn Island - Bora Bora - Christchurch - Sydney - Bali - Singapore - Shanghai - Pusan - Yokohama - Honolulu - Los Angeles - Acapulco - Panama Canal - Fort Lauderdale.

September 25th - October 5th: Canada/USA East Coast: Montreal - New York - Fort Lauderdale.

October 29th - November 14th: Fort Lauderdale - Cozumel - Panama Canal - Acapulco - Ensenada.
December 5th - 20th: Ensenada - Acapulco - Panama Canal - Cozumel - Fort Lauderdale.
1989
January 6th - April 16th: World Cruise: Fort Lauderdale - Barbados - Dakar - Walvis Bay - Cape Town - Mombasa - Bombay - Male - Singapore - Beijing - Tokyo - Honolulu - Los Angeles - Acapulco - Panama Canal - Georgetown - Fort Lauderdale.

April 27th - May 10th: Bermuda & the Colonial South: New York - Savannah - Hamilton - New York.
November 13th - November 26th: Manaus - Trinidad - St Thomas - Fort Lauderdale.
November 26th - December 8th: Carribean Cruise: Fort Lauderdale - Puerto Rico - Barbados - St Thomas - Fort Lauderdale.

1990
January 7th - April 14th: World Cruise: Fort Lauderdale - Panama Canal - Moorea - Cairns - Bandar Seri - Hong Kong - Penang - Bombay - Muscat - Suez Canal - Rhodes - Istanbul - Yalta - Thessaloniki - Catania - Malaga - Fort Lauderdale.

May 19th - June 4th: Fort Lauderdale - Aruba - Panama Canal - Acapulco - Los Angeles.
July 1st - 12th: Vancouver - Sitka - Anchorage.
August 23rd - September 2nd: Anchorage - Sitka - Vancouver.
November 17th - December 3rd: Los Angeles - Acapulco - Panama Canal - Aruba - Fort Lauderdale.
December 21st - January 6th 1991: Carribean cruise: Fort Lauderdale - Curacao - grenada - Antigua - Fort Lauderdale.

1991
January 6th - April 27th: South Pacific & Orient Odyssey: Fort Lauderdale - Aruba - Panama Canal - Acapulco - Los Angeles - Honolulu - Pago Pago - Dunedin - Sydney - Port Moresby - Singapore - Hong Kong - Rabaul - Rarotonga - Papeete - Nuku Hiva - Los Angeles - Acapulco - Panama Canal - Fort Lauderdale.

April 27th - May 9th: Carribean cruise: Fort Lauderdale - Santo Domingo - Barbados - St Maarten - Fort Lauderdale.
May 9th - May 23rd: Bermuda/USA East Coast: Norfolk - Hamilton - Key West - For Lauderdale - Nassau - Charleston - Norfolk.
May 23rd - June 8th: Fort Lauderdale - Aruba - Panama Canal - Acapulco - Los Angeles.
July 4th - 15th: Vancouver - Sitka - Anchorage.
August 5th - 15th: Anchorage - Skagway - Vancouver.
August 15th - 26th: Vancouver - Sitka - Anchorage. 1992
January 6th - April 22nd: World Cruise Salute to the Explorers: Fort Lauderdale - Panama Canal - Lima - Valparaiso - Strait of Magellan - Rio de Janeiro - Cape Town - Mombasa - Madras - Singapore - Shanghai - Tokyo - Honolulu - Los Angeles - Acapulco - Panama Canal - Fort Lauderdale.

May 3rd - 15th: Fort Lauderdale - Charleston - Hamilton - Eleuthera - Key West - Fort Lauderdale.
July 13th - July 23rd: Alaska cruise: Anchorage - Sitka - Vancouver.
August 3rd - 13th: Anchorage - Sitka - Vancouver.
October 25th - November 8th: Fort Lauderdale - Cozumel - Aruba - St Maarten - Fort Lauderdale.

1993
January 5th - April 11th: World Cruise westbound: Fort Lauderdale - Grand Cayman - Panama Canal - Easter Island - Pitcairn Island - Moorea - Cairns - Bali - Hong Kong - Singapore - Cochin - Muscat - Suez Canal - Cairo - Rome - Tangier - Fort Lauderdale.
June 3rd - 17th: Los Angeles - San Francisco - Vancouver - Skagway - Vancouver.
June 17th - 27th: Vancouver - Sitka - Anchorage.
August 30th - September 9th: Anchorage - Sitka - Vancouver.
September 26th - October 13th: Bermuda, New England & Canada: For Lauderdale - New York - Hamilton - Bar Harbor - Halifax - Quebec - Montreal.

1994
July 28th - August 8th: Vancouver - Sitka - Anchorage (direction assumed).
August 18th - September 1st: Vancouver - Sitka - Valdez - Skagway - Victoria - Los Angeles.
September 1st - 15th: Los Angeles - Panama Canal - Aruba - Fort Lauderdale.

1995
July 27th - August 7th: Vancouver - Sitka - Anchorage.
August 28th - September 7th: Anchorage - Sitka - Vancouver.
November ?? - December 7th: Fort Lauderdale - New Orleans - Cozumel - Puerto Plata - Key West - Fort Lauderdale.

At the end of 1995 Cunard announced the retirement of the Sagafjord during September 1996 due to her age and the cost of complying with new safety legislation.

Transocean Tours: 1996
1996
Midway through the 1996 World Cruise whilst travelling between Hong Kong & Kota Kinabulu a generator fire crippled the Sagafjord, requiring tugs to tow her to the Philippines. The ship was held at Subic Bay awaiting a decision on her fate.

During 1996 the Sagafjord was chartered for six months to Transocean Tours as the Gripsholm, whilst being operated by Trans-Ocean the ship sustained fire damage. Additionally the Gripsholm ran aground at Copenhagen, damaging a propellor and spending three days aground until freed by five tugs.

After the charter ended the ship was sold to Saga Cruises and renamed the Saga Rose.

Saga Line: 1996 - 2009
On October 22nd the Saga Rose sailed from Dover to Southampton to complete the second stage of an extensive refit. The refit included a major upgrade to the passenger cabins, modifications to the hairdressing salon, the installation of a new extensive fire detection system and a new Hi-fog water extinguishing system. It had been anticipated that the refit would be completed by December 20th in order to allow the Saga Rose to sail from Dover on a 20 day Christmas cruise to the Canaries.

During the early afternoon of December 14th 1997 whilst the Saga Rose was undergoing a refit at A&P's King George V dry-dock, Southampton a fire broke out in an electrical locker on the promenade deck. Damage was restricted to cabins and deckhead void spaces, with smoke and heat damage extending up to the officers' deck. Within the locker space extensive electric cable damage occurred, which affected navigational equipment on the bridge. The ship's fire fighting teams initially tackled the fire with units from the Hampshire Fire Brigade attending within minutes of the alarm being called in.

When fire broke out there were 300 shore workers and 350 crew members on the Saga Rose. Non-essential persons were evacuated, no injuries were suffered by the crew, but some shore workers suffered from smoke inhalation. The fire was declared out by 8.00pm.

The most likely cause of the fire was a fault on a secondary transformer cable connected to one of the floor mounted transformers.

2005
September 11th - 24th: Dover - Stockholm - Helsinki - St Petersburg - Tallinn - Warnemunde - Copenhagen - Oslo - Dover.

2008
Saga Rose in Auckland, New Zealand, February 2008.

On June 11th 2008, during a visit to Southampton, the second bosun died after entering a ballast tank to check on the quality of the water. It was assumed the tank would be full of water, but in fact was almost empty. The rusty iron tank had created a reduced oxygen atmosphere which led to the death of the second bosun after he entered the tank.

2009
On January 5th the Saga Rose departed Southampton on its 44th and final world cruise. The cruise would encompass 104 nights, 39 ports and 32,499 miles, including passage through the Panama & Suez canals.

October 30th - December 6th (37 nights) Farewll Cruise around the Mediterranean: Southampton - Southampton.
At the time of her withdrawal from service the Saga Rose held the record for world cruises, even more than the recently retired Queen Elizabeth 2.

The Saga Rose was retired from service in October 2009 due to her not fulfilling the requirements of the new SOLAS 2010 regulations and was left with an uncertain future. The ship was laid up at Gibraltar, after completing her last cruise which ended at Southampton. During April 2010 the ship commenced her last voyage, heading south from Gibraltar, around the Cape of Good Hope and across the Indian Ocean to her eventual destination of the Changjiang Ship Recycling Yard in the Jiangyin district of Shanghai on the Yangtze River, arriving on May 29th 2010. Scrapping commenced during October 2011 and was completed by the end of 2012.

The Saga Rose currently holds the record for the most World Cruises ever completed by a ship with 44 altogether, of which most were achieved under her previous name Sagafjord.

Details

Built: Société Nouvelle des Forges et Chantiers de la Méditerranée, Toulon, France
Laid down: June 1963
Launched: June 13th 1964
Completed: September 1965
Tons: 24,002 grt
Length: 615ft
Breadth: 82ft
Draught: 27ft
Propulsion: 2 x nine cylinder Sulzer diesel engines totalling 27,000 shp.
Screws: 2
Speed: 20 knots
Passengers (North Atlantic crossing): 1st Class 85; 2nd Class 704
Passengers (Cruising) One Class 462, later increased to 505.
Crew: 450 (when cruising)

Resources:
Marine Accident Investigation Report published October 25th 1999.
Modern Cruise Ships 1965 - 1990; William H Miller Jr.

Page added May 20th 2017.
Last updated May 25th 2017.

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