The Saga Sapphire recently won Best for Small Ship Dining at the Cruise Critic awards.
This is her last season, and I was lucky enough to spend three days on board, experiencing Saga's fine dining options.
As soon as I saw the selection of food on offer at Afternoon Tea, shortly after boarding, I knew I would be spoiled for choice on this cruise. As well as the most delicious cakes and scones, there were mini quiches, sausage rolls, tempura prawns and a table full of gluten and dairy free alternatives.
We dined in the speciality Asian restaurant East to West on our first night, the only restaurant on board where booking is essential.
I wanted to try everything I wouldn't usually have at home, and with a five course menu available it was easy to sample various high quality dishes. From crab cakes to curry, prawns to pan fried duck, it was all amazing.
For those who hadn't overindulged in the evening, coffee and cakes were always served in the Drawing Room. Red and White wine was all included, along with a selection of cocktails, lager, spirits and soft drinks - this is standard on the all-inclusive cruise.
Breakfast can be taken in both the Verandah & Pole to Pole restaurants, and a huge selection of continental and British favourites are on offer in both. Cereals, fruit, pastries, yoghurts and pancakes would be enough to start the day, but if you'd prefer something from the Hot Galley you can order anything, from Eggs Benedict to a full English. The usual tea, coffee and juices are plentiful and you are ready to start the day ashore.
If you are on board for lunch, again there is plenty of traditional hot food (I couldn't resist a roast dinner on Sunday!) or a selection of salads, meats and lighter bites for anyone still digesting their breakfast.
Our second night was the Formal Dinner, and we chose to dine in Pole to Pole. Appetisers such as sauteed escargot caught the attention of others on my table ('just like mushrooms', apparently), whilst I opted for the avocado and crayfish cocktail.
A soup course, followed by salad and sorbet soon followed, although you can choose to miss any of the courses if you are not so hungry. We were able to choose from a total of six main courses, all of which looked amazing, but I was glad I opted for the steak - one of the best I've had.
Gala Buffet Dinner
There was a Gala Buffet dinner in the main restaurant on our final sea day, and despite most of us saying 'we will just try a few bits' after our breakfast, we all came away with another full plate! The effort put into the food by the staff was clear, it could have been mistaken for bread week on GBBO!
There were bread windmills, ice sculptures, fruit sculptures and profiterole towers on show, so you can imagine it was hard to say no. There was also a choice of 15 different cheeses to try! Those who could resist the temptation of the pudding tables could eat ice cream up on deck and The Beach Club also served fresh fish, chips and mushy peas.
There really was something for all appetites on board the Saga Sapphire. With news of the new ship having the same restaurants, plus a speciality seafood restaurant and a steakhouse, it's clear that Saga know their guests have a high expectation. One which Saga meet every meal in every restaurant, and will continue to do on every ship.
I was accompanied on my visit to the Saga Sapphire by Eva from Abergavenny. Read her blog on the Saga Sapphire amenities.