Spirit of Discovery Review - July 2019
GoCruise – 8th July 2019
I was invited to spend two nights onboard Saga Cruises’ new ship Spirit of Discovery early in July 2019, before she entered service with paying passengers. I have given details below of my thoughts about the ship, as well as a video I made while onboard. You can also look at my photos of Spirit of Discovery. Further down the page I have given some general information about the ship, which also applies to the next ship in the fleet, Spirit of Adventure, which is due to enter service in August 2020. If you would like any further information, or would like to book your next cruise, call GoCruise with Ian on 01455821770 or 08002922850.
Spirit of Discovery has been built with Saga’s British clients in mind, and I was pleased to see just how much thought has gone into the design. Many cruise ships of this size would carry several hundred more passengers, so the public areas are spacious, with many comfortable armchairs and sofas for people to relax in. The dining venues don’t feel too crowded, and the cabins are a really good size. There is also plenty of space on deck, with numerous areas for relaxing and sunbathing. I particularly like the terraced decks at the back of the ship, meaning more people can use a sun lounger and look out to sea while cruising.
The fact that there are no charges in the speciality dining venues (although you do need to make reservations) means that you can try different restaurants during your cruise. I was only on for two nights and went to the Grand Dining Room both nights, and thoroughly enjoyed it. The menu still has many courses to choose from, unlike some cruise lines which seem to now just have starter, main and dessert. On both evenings there was a choice of 3 appetisers, then 3 soups, then a salad, then sorbet, then 3 main courses, 1 vegetarian or a choice of dishes available every day, then for dessert there was 3 choices, or diabetic, or ice cream or cheese. The cheese was served at the table from a large trolley containing a varied selection of cheeses. To finish your meal, we were served petit fours with a choice of tea and coffee.
I found the crew members to be very friendly and helpful, and nothing was too much trouble. On the first day I spoke to one member who was in the corridor and asked how I could get something which was missing from my cabin. He said to leave it to him and he would find my cabin steward and arrange it. When I went to my cabin later that day, the missing item was there. Even better, the next day I was wandering around the deck and the crew member came up to me and asked if I had received the item. On the basis that I hadn’t recognised him, I thought it was amazing that not only had he remembered me, he came up to me and checked that everything was okay.
I realise that I only had two days onboard, but I would love to spend a bit more time onboard in the future when on holiday with my wife, as the experience was so good. There is more information below, but watch my video and look at my photos of Spirit of Discovery, and then ask me any questions you might have.
Benefits of Cruising on Spirit of Discovery and Spirit of Adventure
- Chauffeur service to the port, up to 250 miles in each direction (private if within 75 miles, or shared service from 76 to 250 miles)
- All meals, snacks and daily afternoon tea
- Choice of selected wines with lunch and dinner (All-Inclusive from 2020)
- All on-board tips and bar service charges
- Programme of live music, entertainment and talks
- 24-hour room service
- Gym, sauna and exercise classes
- Free Wi-Fi
- Welcome sailaway party with complimentary drinks
- Unlimited tea, coffee and fruit juices
- Complimentary self-serve launderettes
- Free shuttle buses at most ports
- Optional travel insurance
- New for 2020 departures – unlimited drinks package included
Ship Facts & Figures
Size – Spirit of Discovery carries a maximum of just 999 passengers, looked after by 505 officers and crew. There are 6 lifts for the 10 passenger decks.
Accommodation – There are 554 cabins and suites, spread across 28 categories, including 109 which are for solo passengers. The really important point is that all 554 have a balcony, so no inside or outside cabins. The single cabins are 185 sq ft, which is larger than double cabins on many ships, with the double cabins starting at 215 sq ft. The suites range from 462 to 855 sq ft. All cabins and suites have 3-pin UK power sockets, and USB charging points (in my standard cabin I counted five 3-pin sockets, and two USB sockets). There are several wheelchair accessible cabins across various grades, often with an interconnecting cabin next door, suitable for a relative or carer.
Dining – you have a choice of 5 dining venues, with no charge for speciality dining, and selected wines served complimentary with lunch and dinner. These are the Grand Dining Room (breakfast, lunch and dinner), The Grill (breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks, with dining spaces outside as well), Coast to Coast (seafood speciality for dinner), East to West (dinner serving Asian cuisine), The Club by Jools ( steakhouse restaurant and evening music club), and The Living Room a ‘hub’ offering coffee, snacks and full bar service)
Bars – The South Cape Bar, The Club by Jools, The Britannia Lounge, The Terrace, The Living Room and The Lido
Entertainment – you have a choice of four venues in the evening, which are The Playhouse theatre (also used as a cinema), The Britannia Lounge, The Club by Jools and The Living Room. Daytime activities are held in the Britannia Lounge, The Library with Café, the Card Room, the Craft Room and the Chart Room. There is also a large shop if you fancy some retail therapy.
Outdoor Space – The Lido, outdoor pool, and socialising, Sun loungers, Sun Deck, Britannia Balcony and The Terrace, and a full walkaround promenade deck
Wellbeing – you have a great choice of activities, which include The Spa, sauna, steam room, Hydrotherapy pool, The Salon, Gymnasium, sports court, outdoor games, The Fairway golf simulator
Dress Code – Casual wear is normal during the day, and most evenings it is smart-casual. On average, there are two formal nights for each week of the cruise, and these are advised in the daily programme. The dress codes apply to all public areas from 6pm.
- Smart-Casual – for men this could be smart open-neck shirt and trousers, with a jacket being optional. Polo shirts, t-shirts, shorts and denim are not appropriate. For ladies it could be a smart dress, or perhaps trousers with a blouse or elegant top.
- Formal – men can choose a tuxedo, dinner jacket or dark suit, with ladies opting for an evening gown, perhaps with a shrug or pashmina, alternatively a dress suit or elegant separates.
Spirit of Discovery will be based in Dover from July 2019 until early October 2019, offering varied itineraries from 4 to 10 nights, including Scandinavia and the Baltic.
From mid-October 2019 until April 2020 she will be based in Southampton. Itineraries will range from 4 to 35 nights, visiting destinations in the Mediterranean, Canary Islands, and as far afield as New York.
She then moves back to Dover until the end of August 2020 (except for one Southampton departure in May 2020) with itineraries ranging from 4 to 26 nights, with destinations including the Baltic, the Arctic, the Adriatic and Norway.
From September 2020 until December 2020 she will be based in Southampton again, with voyages ranging from 5 to 30 nights to places such as North Africa, the Mediterranean, the Canary Islands and the USA.
Spirit of Adventure will be in Dover from August 2020 to September 2020, and then in Southampton from October 2020 to December 2020. Her itineraries will range from 4 to 31 nights, and her itineraries will include the British Isles, Norway, Mediterranean, Caribbean and the Canary Islands.
To book your next cruise call GoCruise with Ian