Over 50s insurance and travel specialist Saga has unveiled the first look at its new-build river cruise ship, Spirit of the Rhine. Planned to launch in 2021, Saga says the ship will offer a ’boutique experience’ that brings the luxury of ocean cruising to river cruise holidays.

Saga aims to offer river holidays on the new ship from 2021, with Spirit of the Rhine sailing rivers including the Moselle, Main, Danube and Rhine. It will also offer routes along the Dutch waterways, travelling through Holland. Saga says the first itineraries will be released in December, with over 50s customers able to register their interest from this week.

Read our guide to river cruises in Europe – how to choose a river cruise holiday.

Saga Spirit of the Rhine luxury river cruise cabin in blue sailing in 2021.

Spirit of the Rhine

Spirit of the Rhine seeks to mimic the floating luxury hotel offered by its ocean cruise sister ships, Spirit of Discovery and Spirit of Adventure. The Saga river cruise ship will feature large, 17sq metre cabins, with most of the luxury cabins featuring floor-to-ceiling windows and a French balcony.

Outside the cabins, Spirit of the Rhine will feature a small library and gym, a lounge with bar, and two restaurants: the main restaurant, and a reservation-only restaurant that includes show cooking demonstrations. Outside, passengers will be able to take in the sights from a substantial sun deck with extensive open-air seating. A jacuzzi and barbeque area is also planned for the river cruise ship.

Saga says that free wifi will be included throughout the ship during river cruise holidays.

Once onboard, all cruises will be full board with soft drinks, beer and wine included with lunch and dinner. And, in a departure for the brand, Saga says all gratuities will be included, while VIP transfers will also be included as standard.

Travelling solo on a river or ocean cruise? Read our 10 essential tips for solo travellers on a cruise.

Saga dining on its luxury river cruise ship Spirit of the Rhine.

Saga river cruise holidays

Saga is promising a new take on itineraries, too. Rather than stick to tried-and-tested excursions and destinations, Spirit of the Rhine will visit less familiar ports. Multiple options are also promised for main ports, offering passengers a range of excursions and activities.

The new ship will be built by Vahali, a Dutch-founded company who have been building rivers ships since 1923 and has constructed some of the finest river cruise ships afloat.

A small library and lounge with bar will feature on the Spirit of the Rhine.

Robin Shaw, CEO Saga Travel said: “I am delighted to announce that we are using our experience in ocean cruising to design a bespoke ship for those guests who want a luxurious, boutique river cruise experience.

This launch of Spirit of the Rhine heralds a step-change in the future of river cruising and when it comes to the onboard experience, our boutique approach to cruising will ensure that our guests have an experience that combines unrivalled, first-class service with bespoke authentic experiences that are tailored just for them.”

For further information visit www.saga.co.uk/spirit-rhine