ORCA celebrate a decade of wildlife spotting on Saga cruises

Tuesday 21 June 2016

• Members of the ORCA team will be present on 11 Saga cruises in 2016 and 11 crusies 2017 • In 2015 a record 5,866 marine mammals were recorded on 6 Saga cruises • All Saga cruise cabins have complimentary binoculars

ORCA celebrate a decade of wildlife spotting on Saga cruises

ORCA was formed in 2001, devoting time to studying sea life and protecting it for future generations. In 2006 Saga and ORCA started their Wildlife partnership, with members of their team spending time on board Saga ships, particularly where the itinerary and locations are perfect for spotting an abundance of marine mammals. Now, a decade on, ORCA are reporting record sightings of wildlife from Saga’s cruise ships, Saga Sapphire and Saga Pearl II.

In 2015 ORCA Wildlife Guide Teams were present on 6 Saga cruises sailing to Norway, the Arctic Circle, Iceland, and Mediterranean and traversing the Atlantic to Canada. ORCA Wildlife Guides on board spotted an amazing 5,866 marine mammals – showcasing these beautiful creatures to the passengers on board.

This included an incredible 19 different cetacean species (the collective term for whales, dolphins and porpoises), along with various seal, turtle, shark and fish species.

Marine wildlife highlights include:

•    A pod of 128 long-finned pilot whales including 25 calves seen in Norway in March 2015
•    A blue whale, the largest animal that has ever existed on earth, seen off the cost of Portugal in July 2015
•    Rare and illusive True’s beaked whales sighted when crossing the Atlantic on the way to Canada in October 2015
•    20 orca and killer whales seen in one day in Iceland – all showing themselves very clearly and close to the ship giving passengers some wonderful and memorable sightings
•    Juvenile humpback whale seen when leaving Dover in March 2015 – a very unusual sighting!
•    An incredible 1,270 individual animals seen in one day on a Mediterranean cruise in July 2015

Since ORCA and Saga began their partnership an incredible 20, 196 cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) have been recorded. Of all marine life (including seals, turtles, and some shark species) 20,834 animals have been recorded.

Lucy Babey, Survey & Conservation Manager at ORCA says; “The Saga cruises are instrumental in collecting vital scientific data to inform cetacean conservation and also a wonderful opportunity to showcase these charismatic creatures to passengers on board.”

Robin Shaw, Chief Executive of Saga Cruises says “The partnership between Saga and ORCA is an obvious fit and we were keen to support from the outset. It’s a great opportunity to take advantage of our ships being in key positions in the world to support their wildlife research. Our passengers are also keen to get involved with the monitoring, helping the team spot a fin here or a water blow there, at sea. The complimentary binoculars in our cabins are often seen up on deck when ORCA are on-board”.

When ORCA Wildlife Guides are on board Saga cruises, passengers can look forward to deck watches, a programme of talks and optional wildlife excursions, to get up close to many of these amazing animals.

In 2016 ORCA Wildlife Guides will be present on 11 Saga cruises, with a further 11 cruises confirmed for 2017 including:

Saga Sapphire

  • Anniversary Cruise - 20 May 2017
  • The Faroes and Land of Ice and Fire - 18 June 2017
  • Canada in the Fall - 15 September 2017
Saga Pearl II
  • Northern Lights Adventure - 28 February 2017
  • Azores and Canaries in Spring - 22 March 2017
  • North Cape Adventurer - 28 May 2017
  • A Med Trio - 12 June 2017
  • Icelandic Explorer - 30 June 2017
  • Summertime in the Fjords - 28 July 2017
  • A Spanish Sojourn - 20 August 2017
  • Contrast of the Canaries and Cape Verde - 1 November 2017

-ENDS-

For details visit saga.co.uk/cruises or call 0800 50 50 30

Editors: Saga Holidays is the winner of 16 Gold British Travel Awards 2015 including Best Small Ships Cruise Line, Best Specialist Cruise Line (Ocean) and Best Cruise Line for Customer Service.

Contact Senior Press Officer Naomi Thornton email naomi.thornton@saga.co.uk or call 01303 772499

Saga is a leading provider of products and services primarily tailored for customers over the age of 50 in the UK. The Saga brand has been carefully developed over the past 60 years to become one of the most recognised and trusted brands among UK consumers aged over 50. Saga is synonymous in the UK with the over 50s market and is recognised for its high quality products and services.  These include cruises and holidays, home and motor insurance, savings and share dealing and the UK’s award winning Saga Magazine.  

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