SAGA SAPPHIRE the former BLEU DE FRANCE seen departing from Southampton on April 03, 2012 on her inaugural cruise for Saga Cruises. The ship had originally been scheduled to take up service on a 23 day Mediterranean itinerary in March but this was curtailed and rescheduled to depart on April 02. However, this departure date was put back by yet another day and she did not get away until April 03.
A strike at the Fincantieri shipyard in Sicily Sicily, where the former BLEU DE FRANCE underwent a four-month, multi million pound refurbishment to become SAGA SAPPHIRE was the reason for the delay. When the ship arrived in Southampton it had to be fitted out with soft furniture and stocked with linen, cutlery and various other supplies, She is seen being assisted off the berth at Mayflower Cruise Terminal by Ostensjo tug VORTEX who then escorted her down Southampton Water.