Saga Cruises’ Spirit of Discovery is preparing for her relaunch on June 27, the cruise line said in a press release.
The ship was initially launched on July 10, 2019, so had only recently taken to the waves when COVID-19 locked down the country. Her first sailing as restrictions lift will see her depart Tilbury on June 27 on a six-night Scottish Highlands and Islands cruise. It will then go on to complete two, six-night itineraries from the Northern Isles to the Fjords on July 3 and 25 respectively, and in between will take in a Great British Isles Adventure cruise from July 11 for 14 nights.
“We are so looking forward to welcoming guests on Spirit of Discovery on June 27 as we set off around the British Isles. We know how keen they have been to get onboard and our crew members are excited to give them an incredible cruise experience. We’ve all waited so long to cruise again, and we want to make this as special as possible for everyone,” Nigel Blanks, CEO of Saga Cruises, said.
When she is at full capacity, the Spirit of Discovery will accommodate 999 guests across 554 cabins, although this number is being capped further for these initial cruises to observe Covid protocols.
At this stage, the 540-strong crew are joining the ship over the coming days ahead. Many are returning crew members so regular guests will recognize friendly faces.
Once onboard, the crew will re-familiarize themselves with the ship and their roles as well as go through extensive COVID-protocol training ahead of any guests arriving onboard.
The ship will also undertake a number of sea trials, which enable the crew to practice and refine key elements like breakfast, lunch and dinner service, theatrical performances, the daily cleaning routine, and restocking at ports.
And they’ll need to be well-practiced, as it takes nearly five days to load the ship with all the supplies needed for her first cruise around the British Isles. During a normal port of call, restocking of the ship takes around 10 hours as food, drink and supplies are brought onboard.
While she was in dock over the past year, the maintenance crew also took time to invest in further improvements including the installation of handwashing stations at the entrance to all the restaurants.
The Spirit of Discovery and her brand-new sister ship, Spirit of Adventure, which will leave on its inaugural cruise on July 26, are both small by today’s ship standards but clever design and the limited number of guests combine to give a real feeling of space and comfort to guests.
Designed with a modern, contemporary look with a muted, sophisticated palate and every design element carefully thought-through, the Spirit of Discovery offers a host of ways for guests to while away their cruise. There are five restaurants including The Grand Dining Room, The Grill, Coast to Coast (seafood specialty), East to West (Asian fusion) and The Club by Jools (steakhouse), all of which are complementary to dine in.
The Living Room offers coffee, snacks and full bar service and South Cape Bar is the ship’s main bar. Outdoor facilities include an observation deck, full wraparound promenade and terrace, pool, sports court and deck games. Entertainment and wellbeing facilities include The Playhouse (a 444-seat theater with completely unobstructed views seating, home to Saga Cruise’s resident performance company), the signature Britannia Lounge with a dance floor and live entertainment, The Library with refreshments, craft and card rooms, The Spa with hydrotherapy pool, sauna, steam and treatment rooms, The Salon, a gym, shop and medical center.
Art lovers are also in for a treat as specially commissioned artwork by British and British-based artists and design studios that draws inspiration from the geography, landscapes, and palette of the British Isles is to be found around the ship.