When Saga Ruby (1973/24,492gt) returned to Southampton from her final cruise on 9 January two days late due to bad weather, she was expected to be taken by her Saga crew to Gibraltar, either to be laid up or to be handed over to her new owners, if the deal had been completed.

Although details are still sketchy, Saga announced the sale of the ship to Asian interests for conversion into a hotel in late November 2013, just before Saga Ruby sailed on her last voyage for the company. Unfortunately, that last cruise did not go quite according to plan, as a generator problem, discovered while the ship was at Tenerife on her way to the Caribbean for Christmas, forced a radical change of plan.

Without that generator it was not possible to run the ship’s air conditioning at full power, so instead of the Caribbean, her passengers were offered the Mediterranean, as it would have taken too long to get parts made to repair the generator. Saga offered a generous 40 per cent refund to those passengers who wanted to stay with the ship, and it appears that only a very small number chose the option of returning home with a full refund.

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