Saga Cruises has completed the keel-laying ceremony for its new river ship, Spirit of the Rhine.
In the ceremony, which took place at Vahali shipyard in Serbia on 11 December, a crane lowered the first part of the keel onto a “lucky” coin.
The event was attended by Robert Goodwin, Saga’s director of product and purchasing; Andrew Iwasyszyn, head of product and purchasing for Saga River Cruising; Vahali’s owner Vincent Bekker; Johan Rijfers, of the ship’s Dutch owners Rijfers River Cruises; and guest of honour Gilles Beschoor Plug, the Netherlands ambassador to Serbia.
The Rhine and Dutch waterways will feature regularly in Spirit of the Rhine’s inaugural season, which will begin with a six-night voyage in March 2021.
Saga’s travel chief executive Robin Shaw said: “This is another historic landmark in Saga Cruises’ history – our first new-build river ship that will echo the luxury styling of our new ocean ships Spirit of Discovery and Spirit of Adventure.
“Saga has chartered river ships for many years, so we are thrilled to take another giant step to build a river ship to our own specifications to transfer Saga Cruises’ renowned quality of service, accommodation and cuisine across to river vessels.”