The 9th May of 2009 was a sad day to Funchal's port as it paid farewell to Saga's emblematic SAGA ROSE, after inumerous calls to the portuguese island.
The SAGA ROSE was built at Chantiers de la Mediterranée, France and delivered in 1965 as a combined ocean/cruise liner named SAGAFJORD for Norwegian America Line. Her construction costs were so expensive that the shipyards went bankrupt the following year.In early 80's the ship gained new colours due to the aquisition of NAL by Cunard Line. She retained the named and started operating for Cunard's more seasonal fleet, along with her near sister VISTAFJORD.
SAGAFJORD was later short time chartered for Transocean Tours as GRIPSHOLM and finally in 1996 purchased by the Saga Group then renamed SAGA ROSE.In late 2009 and due to SOLAS new standarts, she left the fleet and was laid up near Gibraltar.
On the following year SAGA ROSE left her anchor and started a mysterious voyage round the african and taiwanese coast, ending in the Yangtze River, China at a local recycling scrapyards, where her unfortunate fate was finally discovered. This last voyage remained in the dark and was surrounded with total mystery, not existing many photos about it. Personally it's better this way, best to remember the ships as they were in service. In the end it was another sad outcome for such a classic liner of the seven seas.Text & Photos, © João Abreu, Funchal 2009.