Spirit of Discovery Tour Index
I had the chance to visit Saga's new ship, Spirit of Discovery during her debut Southampton winter season.  She was now six months old and slowly becoming a favourite of Saga cruisers used to their much smaller ships.  The visit had been rescheduled from the 18th November 2019 after bad weather delayed the ship into Southampton.  I had to report to Reception at 10:30am when Nat Green, Guest Services Director, would give me the tour.

Due to hernias, I decided to board earlier to have a look around the outside decks in my own time.  It was also wet from cleaning so I needed to be extra careful getting around, particularly on steps.  I'm a huge fan of deck space.  Many newbuilds sacrifice it for cabins so I was delighted to see so much on this.  The forward observation area on Deck 14 is very spacious.  The Promenade Deck is wider than many larger ships, which also impressed me.  It is also wraparound, but there is a tunnel forward.  Her stern is tiered, another plus.  Not like the previous ships in their fleet but still giving her that gorgeous space away from the crowds.  Her pool is heated.  I've read complaints from those saying not being covered is a deal-breaker.  Most ships sailing the seas today don't have covered pools so I personally can't see what the issue is.  Her yellow funnel dominates everywhere you look on the top decks making sure you're in no doubt you're on a Saga ship.

I met my guide, Nat Green, Guest Services Director, in The Living Room and he showed me around the interior.  The Living Room is the atrium you come across when you board complete with seating of various shapes and sizes and bar.  The two lift banks aren't too far to walk from there, while there is a staircase going up to the next deck which is the centrepiece.  There is a piano by the staircase, one of many playing music around the ship.  The Grand Dining Room aft has various table sizes in a cosy setting.  On the Promenade Deck, you have the speciality restaurants.  Coast To Coast and East To West are aft, leading onto The Terrace, a lovely bit of deck area.  The Club is probably most famous for being associated with Jools Holland.  This is above the Grand Dining Room.  Midships is the South Cape Bar, named after the one of Saga Ruby.  The theatre has has unobstructed views and seat numbers.

I saw a few cabins, but sadly no single ones.  The Accessible cabins are better than you find in any hotels.  The rails in the wardrobes can be pulled down as well.  All cabins have plenty of sockets, which are needed in this day and age with the umpteen gadgets we all  Some grades of cabins had space sacrificed to make the bathrooms larger.  There are baths in some, shower only in others with detachable shower heads - another thumbs up!  The cabins are all balcony and even the standard ones are larger than some I've had on bigger ships.  Spirit of Discovery also has launderettes.

On the Lido Deck, as well as the pool, you can find the Britannia Lounge forward, which has live music and a dance floor.  Outside is the Britannia Terrace, another gorgeous area of deck.  Aft is the Grill and The Verandah, the buffet areas.  There are sinks to wash your hands before entering, which is much better for killing germs than gel.  These have appeared on other ships oin recent years but people just annoyingly walk past.  One thing I noticed were the amount of public toilets (male, female and accessible) around the ship.  All artwork is by British artists.

Lunch was some of the best food I've eaten on a ship.  I'm not a big fan of seafood, especially prawns, but these were the best I've had and I used to make prawn cocktails when I worked in a hotel kitchen far too many years ago.  Even the post-lunch cup of tea I opted for had flavour.  As I was leaving, I saw Captain Julian Burgess greeting embarking passengers.  That's the first time I've ever known that.

The ship is absolutely beautiful.  She may be much larger than their loyal passengers are used to but she retains that same cosiness and she is slowly becoming just as well loved.  You can tell a lot of thought went into her design to give passengers generally what they were used to.  She certainly left a lasting impression on me and I miss her.  That's never happened before!

Many thanks to Nigel Blanks at Saga for arranging this visit and lunch with him plus Nat Green for being my guide.

Observation Deck (14)
Sun Deck (13)
Lido Deck (12)
A Deck (11)
B Deck (10)
E Deck (7)
Promenade Deck (6)
Main Deck (5)

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© Patricia Dempsey 22nd January 2020
Not to be reproduced without permission