Saga Ruby

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"Vistafjord" - Piraeus, 1984.jpg
Vistafjord in Piraeus
  • 1973–1999: Vistafjord
  • 1999–2004: Caronia
  • 2004-2014: Saga Ruby
  • 2014-2017: Oasia
  • 1973–1983: Norwegian American Line
  • 1983–2004: Cunard Line
  • 2004-2014: Saga Cruises[1]
Port of registry:
Builder: Swan Hunter, Tyne and Wear, United Kingdom
Cost: $35 million[4]
Yard number: 39
Launched: 15 May 1972[1]
Acquired: 15 May 1973[1]
Maiden voyage: 22 May 1972[1]
In service: 22 May 1972[1]
Fate: Scrapped in 2017
General characteristics (as built)[1]
Type: Cruise ship
Length: 191.09 m (626 ft 11 in)
Beam: 25.00 m (82 ft 0 in)
Draught: 8.20 m (26 ft 11 in)
Ice class: 1 C[3]
Installed power:
  • 2 × Sulzer 9RD68
  • 17,650 kW (combined)
Propulsion: 2 propellers[5]
Speed: 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph) (service)[5]
Capacity: 670 passengers (maximum)
General characteristics (after 2005 refit)[4]
Tonnage: 24,492 GT[3]
Draught: 8.23 m (27 ft 0 in)
Decks: 9 (passenger accessible)
Capacity: 655 passengers (maximum)
Crew: 380
Notes: Otherwise the same as built

MS Saga Ruby was a cruise ship that was last operated by Saga Cruises. She was built as the combined ocean liner/cruise ship Vistafjord in 1973 by Swan Hunter Shipbuilders in the United Kingdom[5] for the Norwegian America Line. In 1983 she was sold to Cunard Line, retaining her original name until 1999 when she was renamed Caronia. In 2004 she was sold to Saga and sailed as Saga Ruby until sold in 2014 for use as a floating hotel and renamed Oasia. This never came to fruition. Her owners went bankrupt, and in April 2017 she arrived at Alang for scrapping.[6]

Concept and construction[edit]

The Vistafjord was ordered by Norwegian America Line (NAL) from Swan Hunter Shipbuilders, Newcastle, United Kingdom.[1] She was based on the company's 1965-built MS Sagafjord, but with an enlarged hull, additional superstructure deck and improved interior layout.[7] However, as the cost of building the Sagafjord had put her builders, Forges et Chantiers de la Mediterranee, out of business, the Vistafjord had to be built at a different shipyard.[citation needed] She was launched on 15 May 1972 and delivered to the Norwegian America Line exactly a year later on 15 May 1973.[1] She is the last cruise ship to have been built in the United Kingdom.

Service history[edit]

Norwegian America Line[edit]

On 22 May 1973 the Vistafjord set on her maiden voyage, a transatlantic crossing from Oslo to New York.[1][5] In early 1980, the vessel was famously chartered by car manufacturer British Leyland to internally launch the Austin Metro to its British dealer network.

Although their ships were high-rated, Norwegian America Line had trouble making profit.[8]

Cunard Line[edit]

In 1983 Trafalgar House, the owners of legendary Cunard Line, purchased NAL[9] and in October 1983 the Vistafjord joined the Cunard fleet together with her sister ship Sagafjord. She retained her original name and the grey NAL hull colour, but received Cunard Line funnel colours and was re-registered to the Bahamas.[1] Despite the flag change she retained Norwegian command staff.[10]

During this time, both Vistafjord and Sagafjord, were considered to be amongst the most luxurious cruise ships in the world, sharing the top 5 in Berlitz Complete Guide to Cruising, together with her sister ship the Sagafjord and Royal Viking Line's Royal Viking Star, Royal Viking Sky and Royal Viking Sea for several years.[11]

In 1999 the decision was made to rename the Vistafjord with a more traditional Cunard Line name. On 10 December 1999 she was renamed Caronia and re-registered in the United Kingdom.

Saga Cruises[edit]

Saga Ruby in Stockholm 2011

She continued service with Cunard until November 2004, when she was sold to Saga Cruises. Following a £17 million refit[12] at Valletta, Malta the Caronia reappeared as Saga Ruby in March 2005.[1] In the Saga Cruises fleet she joined her former Norwegian America Line fleetmate Sagafjord (now named Saga Rose).[13][14]

It was reported in 2012 that Saga Cruises would retire the Saga Ruby in 2014 and the Quest for Adventure would move back into the fleet as the Saga Pearl II.[15]

Farewell Voyage with Saga[edit]

She sailed her final world cruise in the first months of 2013. However it was marred by technical difficulties which kept the ship in Southampton until late February, which led to the cruise being renamed the 'Grand Voyage' visiting South America and South Africa.

It was reported that the Saga Ruby would depart on her final cruise with Saga Cruises on 7 December 2013 round trip from Southampton, England on a 31-day voyage to the Caribbean stopping at ports Praia da Vitória, Azores; Bridgetown, Barbados; Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago; Kingstown, St Vincent; St George's, Grenada; Castries, St Lucia; Roseau, Dominica; Basseterre, St Kitts; St John's, Antigua; Funchal, Madeira; Lisbon, Portugal; A Coruña, Spain (for Santiago de Compostela).[16][17] While on her final cruise she was forced to change her itinerary to a Western Mediterranean cruise stopping at Tenerife; Almeria, Spain; Valletta, Malta; Messina, Sicily; Naples, Italy; Civitavecchia (for Rome); Livorno (for Florence, Pisa); Monte Carlo; Barcelona, Spain; Valencia, Spain; Gibraltar; Funchal, Madeira; Lisbon, Portugal; La Coruna; and finally returning to Southampton on January 7, 2014. While in Funchal, Madeira the Saga Ruby met up with the Saga Sapphire for a New Year's Eve fireworks display; due to problems with one generator after reaching the Canary Islands. The loss of that generator meant that there was insufficient power available to run the air conditioning plant. The cruise also returned to Southampton late due to poor weather in the Bay of Biscay, eventually arriving on 9 January 2014, with passengers disembarking on 10 January.

Floating Hotel Oasia[edit]

In January 2014 she was sold for $14M USD to Millennium View Ltd, a privately held company based in Singapore. The new owners planned to convert her into a floating hotel in Myanmar.[18] In mid-February 2014 she sailed from Gibraltar as Oasia under Bahamas flag and management of FleetPro Ocean.[19][20] In February 2017, it was announced that Oasia was being sold for scrap. This came as quite a surprise to many, as the ship, still SOLAS compliant, had recently undergone a $10 million USD overhaul as a hotel and museum ship. She was found in Thailand, awaiting tow to scrapping, after having 20 million USD invested in her.


Exterior design[edit]

Saga Ruby in 2013

The Vistafjord was built with a very traditional ocean liner profile,[4] with the funnel placed amidship and a notable sheer on her hull.[10] The superstructure is terraced both at the fore and aft of the ship. In two refits during her Cunard Line career additional structures were added to the rear and top of the superstructure.[10]

In Norwegian America Line service the Vistafjord carried the traditional NAL livery, with a grey hull, white superstructure, yellow mast and a yellow funnel with red, white and blue (colours of the flag of Norway) stripes. Following the sale to Cunard she retained the grey hull colour, but her funnel was painted in the red/black Cunard colours and her mast white. A red "Cunard" text was later added to her superstructure. Coinciding with her renaming into Caronia in 1999 the ship's hull was repainted black. As Saga Ruby her hull was repainted dark blue and her funnel yellow, with a dark blue top and a narrow white stripe separating the two colours.

Technical details[edit]

Main engines
  • 2×Sulzer 9RD68 made by George Clark & NEM, 24,000 bhp (18 MW).
  • Port main engine turns anti-clockwise engine number #1696 cylinders are numbered from 82561 through to 69.
  • Starboard main engine turns clockwise engine number #1697 cylinders numbered from 82570 through to 78.
  • Maximum economic loading is 5 MW per engine at 135 rpm, this produces a speed of 20 knots (37 km/h). At this speed the engines consume approximately 48 tonnes per day of IFO 180 fuel oil which relates to 42 litres, 11 US or 9 UK gallons per nautical mile.
Auxiliary engines
  • 6×Bergen LDG6 - 670 kW
  • Wärtsilä CW170L8 1040 kW
  • 2× Spanner MK III marine boilers at 10 bar (1.0 MPa; 150 psi)
  • 2× SAACKE oil burners at 10 bar (1.0 MPa; 150 psi)
Other specifications
  • Gas oil (GO) capacity—normal cruising: 440 tonnes (970,000 lb)
  • Marine diesel oil (MDO) capacity—normal cruising: N/A
  • Heavy fuel oil (HFO) capacity—normal cruising: 1,900 tonnes (4,200,000 lb)
  • HFO Specification, Grade (IFO 380, IFO 180, >IFO 180 etc.): IFO 180
  • HFO storage tanks (type & location): deep tanks
  • Lubricating oil (LO) capacity—normal cruising: 100 tonnes (220,000 lb)
  • LO storage tanks (type & location): double bottoms
  • Fuel consumption per 24 hours—normal cruising: 50 tonnes (110,000 lb) IFO + 12 tonnes (26,000 lb) MGO
  • Fuel consumption per 24 hours—max: 60 tonnes (130,000 lb)
  • Fuel consumption per 24 hours—penetrating ice: 65 tonnes (143,000 lb)


  • Saga Ruby has 1 emergency and 7 main electrical generators.
  • The emergency generator is a Caterpillar SR4 producing 275 kW at 440 V.
  • The main generators consist of 6 Bergen RSGB-8 producing a maximum 690 kW each and 1 Cummins KTA 3067-G producing a maximum 750 kW. The maximum safe working loads are 550 kW for the Bergens, and 400 kW for the Cummins; at this loading the total power is 3700 kW. During cruises in Northern waters, the average daily loading is 2,975 kW. The tropical waters loading of the generators will result in an average fuel consumption of 15.5 tonnes per day of marine gas oil.
  • The Bergens are numbered :
  1. Starboard Outer is #1, engine serial number #1986.
  2. Starboard Center is #2, engine serial number #1987.
  3. Starboard Inner is #3, engine serial number #1988.
  4. Port Inner is #4, engine serial number #1989.
  5. Port Centre is #5, engine serial number #1990.
  6. Port Outer is #6, engine serial number #1991.
  • The Cummins engine has a serial number of #33105825.
  • The power is supplied from the main switchboard to 21 transformers that take the voltage down from 440 V to 120 V for the cabin and public areas.

Air conditioning[edit]

Three Carrier 19XL5353306CR (R134a) marine air conditioning units which supplies treated chilled fresh water to 42 air handling units (AHU). The Carrier units each consume 400 kW (at 100%) of electricity for the motors, which results in 1,734 kW (5,917,000 Btu/h) cooling from the plant. The AHU’s provide 14,750,000 cu ft/h (418,000 m3/h) of conditioned air. This relates to 8 air changes per hour in cabins, 15 changes per hour in the public rooms, and 60 changes per hour in the galley.

  • The engine room inlet fans produce 306,000 m3/h (10,800,000 cu ft/h) and the exhaust fans remove 50,000 m3/h (1,800,000 cu ft/h). The main engines, generators, and boilers use approximately 230,000 m3/h (8,100,000 cu ft/h) of fresh air at full load.


  • 22 pumps, 11 sea water and 11 fresh water accomplish the cooling for the above units.
  • The 11 sea water consist of 3 for the main engine cooling system, 3 for the diesel generators, 4 for the air conditioning units, and 1 for the Cummins.
  • The 11 fresh water consists of 3 for the main engine jacket water, 3 for the diesel generators, 3 for the main engine piston cooling, and 2 for main engine nozzle cooling.


  • SAACKE Built & Commissioned Burners
  • Steam is supplied at 9 bar (0.90 MPa; 130 psi) (wet) with a total boiler output of 19,300 kg/h (42,500 lb/h).
  • This is supplied by :
  1. 2 Spanner oil–fired Swirlyflow boilers type j.5655/6 producing 11,000 kg/h (24,300 lb/h) using an average of 3 tonnes per day of fuel.
  2. 2 main engine Spanner Swirlyflow exhaust gas boilers type J.5657/58 producing 6,200 kg/h (13,700 lb/h).
  • The steam is used to heat the fuel to a suitable injection temperature, for air conditioning re-heat, and for domestic hot water. The two domestic water heaters are retrofit and are Alpha Laval Plate Heaters type M10-BFG.


  • The provision plant is a retrofit with the new R-404a gas. It has two sides—a high temperature (plus boxes) and a low temperature (minus boxes) system. The plus system has a 35 kW (119,000 Btu/h) cooling capacity, and the minus system has a 41 kW (140,000 Btu/h) cooling capacity.
  • There are 20 ice-producing machines on board, which are capable of producing 9,450 lb (4,290 kg) per day. There are also 471 cabin sized 2.8-or-4-cubic-foot (79 or 113 L) refrigerators on board, 347 in passenger cabins.


Denny Brown AEG units which have a designation "Swan Hunter Ship 39 Contract". They take a full load current of 26 kW per main motor, and have a fin length of 15 feet (4.6 m), and are 7 feet (2.1 m) wide.

Water production plant[edit]

Three water production plants on board capable of producing 627 tonnes per day. They are the following:

  1. An Atlas-Danmark Distiller AFGU 2SN091 which is a 200 tonne per day unit.
  2. A Matrix Reverse Osmosis 66K SWRO Silver-D which is a 250 tonne per day unit.
  3. A Matrix Reverse Osmosis 44K SWRO Silver D produces 120 tonnes per day.

Steering gear[edit]

  1. The Steering Gear was manufactured by AEG is a vane type RDC 630/100 with a Standard Vickers VSG Mark III Pump. It also has an unusual emergency steering pump, which is driven by a pneumatic motor.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Asklander, Micke. "M/S Vistafjord (1973)". Fakta om Fartyg (in Swedish). Retrieved 2008-10-10.
  2. ^ "Saga Ruby". Retrieved 15 February 2014.
  3. ^ a b c "Saga Ruby (07939)". DNV GL Vessel Register. Det Norske Veritas. Retrieved 2008-10-10.
  4. ^ a b c Ward, Douglas (2008). Complete Guide to Cruising & Cruise Ships. Singapore: Berlitz. pp. 566–567. ISBN 978-981-268-240-6.
  5. ^ a b c d Miller, William H. (1995). Pictorial Encyclopedia of Ocean Liners, 1860-1994. New York: Dover Publications. p. 133. ISBN 0-486-28137-X.
  6. ^ Loade, Leslie. "Comment in "A Last Look Inside SAGA RUBY"". Maritime Matters. Martin Cox. Retrieved 13 April 2017.
  7. ^ Dawson, Philip (2005). The Liner: Retrospective and Renaissance. Conway. pp. 215–217. ISBN 978-1-84486-049-4.
  8. ^ Ulrich. p. 221
  9. ^ Ward (2008). p. 43
  10. ^ a b c Ulrich. pp. 188-189
  11. ^ Ulrich, Kurt. Monarchs of the Sea - the Great Ocean Liners. Tauris Parke. p. 210. ISBN 1-86064-373-6.
  12. ^ "Saga Ruby". Saga Holidays. Retrieved 11 October 2008.
  13. ^ Boyle, Ian. "Vistafjord". Simplon Postcards. Retrieved 10 October 2008.
  14. ^ "Vistafjord". Chris' Cunard Page. Retrieved 30 November 2008.
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^ Cox, Martin. "SAGA RUBY As Burma Hotel — Updated". Maritime Matters. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
  19. ^ "Live Ship Map - MSSI 311000198". Retrieved 4 February 2014.
  20. ^ "FleetPro takes over technical management of Oasia, ex Saga Ruby". Seatrade Insider. 6 February 2014. Retrieved 15 February 2014.

External links[edit]