10 December 2020






3 mins

One of the elegant Ocean Liners we had around was undoubtedly the SAGAFJORD. She was built in 1965 as yard number 1366 by Société Nouvelle des Forges et Chantiers de la Meditarranee, France for Norwegian America Line costing around $30 million as a combined ocean liner/cruise ship trading until 1980.

Leaving Grand Harbour, Malta circa 1965

in 1983 she was sold to Cunard Line and she retained her original name throughout her service with Cunard. She was awarded a 5 Stars Plus rating by the Berlitz Cruise Guide and consistently voted amongst the 10 best cruise ships in the world until the early 1990s. She remained in service with Cunard until 1996.

Cunard Line Official Postcard of SAGAFJORD.

During 1996 she was chartered to Transocean Tours as part of a 6 month deal and she was renamed GRIPSHOLM with white hull and Transocean Funnel Colours. During this time, she damaged a screw after grounding and was seen at Malta Drydocks later on that year as seen below.

In 1997 she was sold to Saga Shipping and renamed SAGA ROSE and was refurbished prior to entering service with her new owners.

Drydocked at Malta Drydocks Dock no 5 back to 2004 Christmas Eve.

Various images of SAGA ROSE berthed at Valletta Cruise Port between 2005 and 2008.

Below Images – Leaving Grand Harbour, Malta back to 29th December 2008.

SAGA ROSE was retired from service in October 2009 due to the new SOLAS 2010 regulations requirements and was left with an uncertain future. On Saturday 21st February, 2010 she was reported as leaving Gibraltar where she had been laid up since her final cruise with Saga Cruises, with her destination listed as Kenya. Rumours circulated about a possible sale for use as an accommodation ship. The stories proved false, as the ship was merely re positioned to a new anchorage and remained in Gibraltar. During early April she left bound to South Africa and once again, rumours of a conversion to a hotel ship circulated. On Thursday 29th April, she bunkered at Durban and was underway again with her destination now reported to be Maputo, Mozambique. Rather than dock again in Africa, SAGA ROSE next headed into the Indian Ocean, with Saga Cruises refusing to comment on the ship’s possible sale for scrap or any other use. On Sunday 23rd May, the ship was off the Taiwanese coast with her destination being reported as Japan.

Images below entering Grand Harbour, Malta back to 8th October, 2009.

On Thursday 27th May, SAGA ROSE  reached the harbour of Shanghai, China. After a few days at anchor, she continued further inland up the Yangtze River, docking in the Jiangyin district on Saturday 29th May, seemingly confirming speculation that the ship had been sold for scrap, as Jiangyin is home to the Changjiang Ship Recycling Yard, China’s largest ship dismantling facility.

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 original name SAGAFJORD even surpassing the RMS QUEEN ELIZABETH 2.

SAGA Cruises is represented in Malta by Malta Cruise Services, a division of Mifsud Brothers Ltd –

Watermarked Photos are by Capt. Lawrence Dalli otherwise stated. NO PHOTOS can be used or manipulated without our permission. © All rights reserved. Malta Ship Photos & Action Photos –

Published – Wednesday 10th December 2020

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Watermarked Photos are by Capt. Lawrence Dalli otherwise stated. NO PHOTOS can be used or manipulated without our permission.
© All rights reserved. Malta Ship Photos & Action Photos –