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New captains for two Saga river vessels
Captain Marinus Pols will take charge of Spirit of the Rhine next month

New captains for two Saga river vessels

Two brand-new river ships from Saga, Spirit of the Danube and its sister Spirit of the Rhine, are set to welcome captain George Dudunica and captain Marinus Pols as their respective masters when they get underway next month.

Captain Dudunica, who hails from Romania and originally qualified as a first officer through the River Navigation School, will be a familiar face to many Saga guests as he previously operated the Filia Rheni between 2013 and 2019, during which time he qualified as captain.

He said: “I’m delighted to be back working with Saga again and it’s such a pleasure to be operating the beautiful new Spirit of the Danube.

“I have a real love for the river it is named after and have always so enjoyed meeting Saga guests, so I look forward to welcoming them on-board again.”

Spirit of the Rhine’s Master, Pols, is from Holland and operated Spirit of the Rhine on its initial sailings towards the end of 2021.


Having grown up with parents who transported cargo ships around Europe, he was born and raised on the water and became a captain at the age of 22.

Pols said: “I made the switch from tankers to river cruise ships some years ago and I’ve never looked back.

“I so enjoy contact with the Saga guests – they are curious about how the ships manoeuvre and always keen to explore and learn more about our journey, which means we build up a real rapport and friendship.

“It’s fantastic to know they leave the ship having had such a fantastic time on board.”

The new ships can both host up to 190 guests who will be served by up to 50 crew.

The vessels have been designed to the highest specification and have four decks and 95 cabins.

Spirit of the Danube and Spirit of the Rhine will have a joint naming ceremony in Arnhem in the Netherlands on March 19th.

Both ships are owned by the shipping company Rijfers Nautical Management and built by Vahali Shipyards.