At first glance, Saga’s latest ship – Spirit of Adventure – is the image of its sister Spirit of Discovery.
Accommodating 999 passengers, both are identical in size, with virtually mirror image facilities and the same free-flowing contemporary vibe and signature artworks that push both boutique vessels up the style stakes.
But where Spirit of Discovery’s colour scheme is a muted palate of understated shades that complement and blend, Spirit of Adventure screams for attention with splashes of bright hues giving it a bolder persona.
The idea, according to Saga chief executive Nigel Blanks is to give each ship its own distinct personality for guests to try, likening them to “sister ships like twins, but wearing different clothes”.
Beyond the colour schemes and geometric carpets, other differences are minimal, though one of the most significant is the addition of Nepalese speciality restaurant Khukuri House, claimed to be the only one at sea, and new Italian eaterie Amalfi.
The Supper Club, which on Spirit of Discovery has more of a classic cabaret feel, is larger on Spirit of Adventure with a more modern jazz club style ambience.
However, unlike the Jools Holland link-up that made such an impact on the former, there doesn’t appear to be any such partnership for this latest ship.
Another small difference can be seen in the spa, with its six treatment rooms, salon, nail station and hydrotherapy pool, where in addition to the regular sauna a more temperate infra-red sauna has been added.
Aside from this, Spirit of Adventure shares the same features that made her older sister ship stand out; from the striking Art Deco pool area to the popular promenade deck and The Playhouse theatre with its unobstructed views and air-conditioning that is, interestingly, piped up the back of seats.
All 554 cabins have balconies, with 109 dedicated to solo travellers. Layouts have been tweaked on the newer ship to give more room to well-appointed en-suite facilities, with an extra metre added, apparently at the expense of cabin space, but not noticeably so.
With Spirit of Discovery and now Spirit of Adventure, Saga bosses have been at pains to challenge perceptions of what Saga stands for and throw any tired stereotypes overboard.
“We could have designed a floating nursing home, but we decided that we didn’t want to do that. It’s not what we – or our guests – are about,” said Blanks.
These ships are the result and the very antithesis of that - two free spirits clearly breathing new life into the Saga brand.