Discovery from ‘Cruise & Maritime Voyages’ – March 2013
Ian Warren – 15-03-2013 – Cruise & Maritime – MV Discovery
Never having visited Discovery while she was with ‘Voyages of Discovery’, I was pleased to have the opportunity to have a look around while she was berthed in Bristol Avonmouth docks. This was the first time for many years that a cruise ship had embarked in Avonmouth, so the local television cameras were there as well.
Ship Facts & Figures – Discovery is a traditional style cruise ship with a gross tonnage of 20,186, and carries 700 passengers and 350 members of crew. Her size means she can access ports which many larger ships cannot, giving a greater range of destinations to choose from. Back in the 1970’s she was called the Island Princess and, together with her sister ship Pacific Princess, starred in the American TV series ‘The Love Boat’. More recently she was operated by Voyages of Discovery, where she built up a following of loyal passengers. She recently underwent an extensive refurbishment before joining Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV).
Dining – There are two restaurants, each with two sitting options, and these are the Seven Continents Restaurant and the Yacht Club. In addition there is the Lido buffet, so there should never be a shortage of food during your cruise.
Onboard Facilities – There are four lounges, Carousel Lounge, Discovery Lounge, Palm Court and Discovery theatre, 6 bars, a gym, hair & beauty facilities, a library and card area, internet room, and a shopping arcade. Out on deck there are two small pools, one of which is heated, and two whirlpools. One major benefit on the Sun Deck is that there is a retractable roof, which can be closed if the weather is bad, meaning that area of the ship can always be used.
Accommodation – With 16 categories of cabin and suite, ranging from a category 1 standard twin inside, up to the category OS Owners Suite, there is something to suit everyone. All cabins benefit from a twice daily steward service, television, music channel, safe, hair dryer, individually controlled air conditioning, en-suite bathroom with amenity pack. As you move up through the categories there are added features, which can include complimentary bottle of Champagne on arrival towelling robes, priority boarding and disembarkation etc.
Entertainment – The onboard Cruise Director and entertainment team arrange a varied selection of west-end style shows, such as We Will Rock You and Joseph, as well as quizzes and game shows. They also have guest singers and comedians, which will change from cruise to cruise. During the day there will be opportunities to join a dance class, take part in a quiz, or relax on deck and read a book. There are also two or three specialists on each cruise, and these could include experts on the destination ports, maritime historians, or someone to give arts & crafts demonstrations and classes. It should be noted that while children are welcome onboard Discovery, when accompanied by adults, there are no specific facilities for them.
What is Included? – The price you pay covers your accommodation, food and entertainment while onboard. You will pay for any excursions you book, as well as any purchases in the shops and bars. Drinks onboard are very favourably priced, and compare well with many pubs and bars at home. The onboard currency is £ sterling and all purchases are added to your onboard account, for settling at the end of the cruise. Gratuities of £5 per passenger per night (£4pppn for cruises over 16 nights in duration) are added to your onboard account, to cover tips for your cabin and restaurant stewards. This amount can be amended if you wish, by going to reception during the cruise.
Summary – Discovery offers small ship cruising from the UK, with departures from Avonmouth, Liverpool, Harwich, Hull and Newcastle, ranging from 1 to 18 nights. She offers value for money 3 star cruising, and is mainly targeted at the British market. She is ideal for first time cruisers and experienced cruisers alike, as is the other ship in the CMV fleet the Marco Polo.