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Upcoming river cruises on Saga's new ships

Lesley Bellew / 25 May 2022

From castles and vineyards on the Rhine to birdwatching on the Danube Delta – exciting upcoming cruises on Saga’s two new ships.

Spirit of the Rhine
Spirit of the Rhine

Now the European river-cruise season is back– to many sighs of relief – two of the continent’s great waterways have an extra sizeable draw. Both the Danube and Rhine have brand-new, purpose-built river ships taking in the glories of the rivers and their surrounding areas.

From the medieval towns of Bavaria, past Vienna and through the grandeur of Budapest, the Danube traverses some of the most beautiful parts of the continent as it heads east towards the Black Sea and the haven for hundreds of bird species that is its delta.

Meanwhile, the Rhine – originating in Switzerland, and passing close to the Black Forest source of the Danube – boasts the stunning Rhine Gorge with its castles and vineyards, and the historic cities of Bonn and Cologne, before entering its own delta approaching the North Sea, where highlights include Dutch gardens and vibrant cities such as Amsterdam.

On its cruises this year, Saga’s Spirit of the Danube – which launched on 21 March in Arnhem, Holland, two days after its naming ceremony – takes in an array of the sights on and around what Napoleon called the ‘Queen of Europe’s rivers’. Some of them are on The Carpathian Mountains to the Land of the Bears, a new cruise from Budapest that passes through the dramatic Iron Gates Gorge between Serbia and Romania and on to the Danube Delta, from where guests continue to Bucharest by road, with an optional excursion to go bear-watching in the thick Carpathian forests. Another highlight is the Wildlife on the Danube Delta cruise to see a multitude of birds, such as herons, eagles, pelicans and storks, in their natural habitat.

Spirit of the Rhine was also officially named in March, after it launched in the autumn, and set sail on 23 March on its Keukenhof and Dutch Delights for solo travellers cruise to see ‘the most beautiful spring garden in the world’ as it entered its prime.

When it comes to the ships' designs, the places they visit are reflected in their looks and the names of some of the rooms. Elegant Art Nouveau-style lines gently curve throughout the Spirit of the Danube’s interior, evoking turn-of-the century Vienna, the architecture of which can be explored on the Danube Discovery and Vienna cruises. The a la carte restaurant is appropriately called Delta, while her sister ship’s lounge is called Lorelei, after the legend of the Rhine Gorge siren.

‘The Spirit of the Rhine has received encouraging feedback,’ says Andy Iwasyszyn, of Saga River Cruises. ‘Passengers said they love the space in the cabins[17 square metres], with French balconies and floor-to-ceiling picture windows on the main and upper decks.

‘I’m so glad the 2022 season is well and truly underway, so more of our guests can see these beautiful river ships,’ he adds. ‘We took a fraction of the passengers we were hoping to in 2021, due to restrictions, but the response to Spirit of the Rhine from those who did travel was phenomenal.’


Quality dining is another signature on the ships. Both have two restaurants, a main dining room and an a la carte restaurant – Rheinfels on Spirit of the Rhine and Delta on Spirit of the Danube. They each seat up to 34 guests, who can dine at least once during a cruise with no extra charge. Vegetarian meals and special dietary requirements can be requested when booking.

Chef Paul Rankin is joining guests on Spirit of the Danube on several occasions this year, and Spirit of the Rhine’s celebrity chef is Nick Nairn. On both ships, there are barbecues on the sundeck in good weather.

Ship statistics

Capacity: 190 passengers but, with many solo-use cabins, expect a maximum of 150 guests. Crew of 40.
Length: 135 metres
Breadth: 11.4 metres
Passenger decks: Four
Lift: Runs between the middle and upper decks. It does not serve the sundeck, which is accessed via 14 steps, and the Lower Deck, which is 13 steps down from the Middle Deck.

Cruise some of the world's most beautiful waterways. Find out more about river cruises here


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.