Built by Societe Nouvelle des Forges et Chantiers de la Mediterranee, France, Sagafjord was one of the most luxurious liners of her day, The shipbuilders received the original plans and specifications for the vessel from Norwegian America Line during the summer of 1960 though it wasn’t until 1965 that the ship was in service.
The contract to build Sagafjord was signed on 24 September 1962 and the ship’s keel was laid on 19 June 1963. The ship was launched on 13 June 1964, after which she underwent sea trials from May until September in 1965. Sagafjord sailed on her maiden voyage from Oslo to New York on 2 October to 11 October 1965, and her introduction into service set a new benchmark for luxury at sea. Sagafjord as so luxurious that Cunard were unable to compete with their 1949-built Caronia, resulting in the elder ships retirement.
Sagafjord sailed with Norwegian America Line until 1983, at which time that company was taken over by Cunard Line’s owners Trafalgar House Co. Sagafjord left the Cunard fleet in 1996, being chartered by Transocean Tours between 1996-97, where she was renamed Gripsholm. During her time with Transocean, Gripsholm was damaged by fire. She was sold to Saga Cruises in 1997 and after a costly refit, the ship was renamed Saga Rose.
Saga Rose she was joined in 2004 by her former-fleet mate Vistafjord (later Caronia and finally renamed Saga Ruby). Saga Rose was retired in late 2009 and later scrapped.