After months of planning and organisation being put into place, Swansea were left disappointed when the scheduled visit of Saga Cruises, Saga Pearl II failed to materialise on Saturday 2nd July.
With tour companies arranged to take the passengers on tours of the city and surrounding areas, there was an air of disappointment in the Welsh city.
Saga Pearl II had been scheduled to visit the port in conjunction with the second day of the Welsh National Airshow, which would be attracting over 250,000 people.
However, the tidal window on offer for Saga Pearl II wasn’t sufficient enough for her to dock in the Welsh Port. Speaking to Wales Online, a spokesman for Saga explained:
“It just wasn’t possible to dock in Swansea on the day because of the tidal window. It would have meant the passengers would only have had an hour there, so we diverted to Holyhead,”
A spokesperson for the port’s owner, Associated British Ports (ABP) confirmed that the tidal access window wasn’t suitable for Saga Pearl II. They said:
“The tidal access window that they had wasn’t suitable for their passengers. The ship would have had to sail at lunchtime or in the night. Saga like their passengers to have full-day tours.”
Swansea Council reaffirmed their disappointment at the last minute cancellation from Saga Pearl II but was still aiming to attract cruise ships to the city, along with Cruise Wales and various cruises lines. A spokesperson for the council said:
“We were disappointed to hear, at short notice, that the Saga Pearl would no longer be visiting Swansea as we had a programme of activities organised to welcome the cruise visitors, as we do for every cruise that calls into Swansea. However, we will continue to work with our partners in Cruise Wales to attract cruise ships in future. It was a fantastic weekend for tourism, thanks to the Wales Airshow attracting over 250,000 spectators.”
This isn’t something new though and it should be noted that cruise ships sometimes have to alter their itineraries at the shortest of notice due to various reasons such as the weather or tidal conditions.
At 18,591 tons and draught of 20 feet, Saga Pearl II is small enough to get into some of the ports that the larger cruise ships can’t access. With only 449 guests and 252 crew on board, the ship has a country house style atmosphere in which guests can enjoy a relaxing and traditional cruise experience without feeling overcrowded.
February 2019 will see Saga Pearl II depart the Saga fleet as preparations are made for their new build, Spirit of Discovery, which is due to enter service in the summer of 2019.
Source: Wales Online