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Spirit of Discovery

Former name: SAGA OLYMPIC

Spirit of Discovery Review and Specifications

Specifications of Spirit of Discovery

Year built2019 new ship
Flag state United Kingdom
BuilderMeyer Werft (Papenburg, Germany)
Classice-strengthened expedition ship
Building costUSD 346 million (GBP 280 million / EUR 310 million)
OwnerSaga Holidays
OperatorSaga Cruises
Speed23 kn / 43 kph / 26 mph
Length (LOA)236 m / 774 ft
Beam (width)31 m / 102 ft
Gross Tonnage58250 gt
Decks with cabins6
Sister-shipsSpirit of Adventure
Former namesSAGA OLYMPIC
Christened byHRH Camilla (Duchess of Cornwall)

Current itinerary / position of Spirit of Discovery

Spirit of Discovery current cruise is 10 days, one-way from Dover to Southampton. The itinerary starts on 07 Oct, 2019 and ends on 17 Oct, 2019.

All Itineraries Current Position
Date / TimePort
07 Oct 17:00    Departing from Dover, England hotels
08 Oct 08:00 - 17:00    Guernsey Island, St Peter Port, Channel Islands
10 Oct 07:00 - 11 Oct 17:00    Bordeaux, France
12 Oct 10:00 - 17:00    Bilbao, Spain
14 Oct 08:00 - 17:00    Porto-Leixoes, Portugal
15 Oct 08:00 - 17:00    La Coruna, Spain
17 Oct 08:00    Arriving in Southampton, England hotels

Review of Spirit of Discovery

MS Spirit of Discovery cruise ship is the first of two identical polar expedition vessels built for Saga Cruises at Meyer Werft's shipyard in Papenburg Germany. Spirit of Discovery (scheduled delivery on June 28, 2019) has one sistership - Spirit of Adventure (scheduled delivery August 2020).

MS Spirit of Discovery cruise ship (Saga Cruises)

Saga Cruises is a UK company, division of Saga Group. With the purchase of Saga Rose (former NCL ship MS Sagafjord), in 1997 Saga Holidays started passenger shipping operations under the brand name "Saga Cruises". Unlike Saga's current fleet (the operated under charter Saga Sapphire and Saga Pearl 2), the new ships are fully owned by Saga Group and will replace the two chartered vessels.

Saga Spirit of Discovery ship

Next timelapse video shows some phases of the vessel's construction process.


Saga Spirit of Discovery itinerary program offers both cruises leaving roundtrip from UK ports and UK fly-cruise deals. Ship's both homeports are in England (Dover and Southampton). Dover roundtrips visit ports in Baltic Sea (Scandinavia and Russia, Norwegian Fjords, Germany and Belgium). Southampton roundtrips visit ports in the Mediterranean Sea (Spain, France, Italy) and the Canary Islands with Madeira. The ship also operates on roundtrip UK (Southampton) Transatlantic crossings to Caribbean and USA ports.

The inaugural cruise was initially scheduled for July 23, 2019 (themed "Channel Island Hop Cruise"), with next voyages, themed "Gourmet Spain" (August 3) and "Natural Scandinavia" (August 17). However, as the liner was delivered earlier (in June instead of July 2019), the maiden voyage was re-scheduled for July 10 (themed "A British First") - see more in the ship's WIKI section.

Saga Cruises' new ships are operated with all-inclusive package deals. Fares include unlimited (shipboard served) house spirits, beers, wine (by the glass) and soft drinks. Packages also include:

  • UK travel package (to/from departure port), Shuttle bus transfer (to the nearest downtown from homeport)
  • Onboard gratuities, Porterage
  • Onboard Welcome cocktail party
  • All onboard meals, afternoon tea, live entertainment
  • Unlimited tea and coffee (selected ship venues)
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • 24-hour room service
  • premium service (2 staff members for 3 passengers)


All Saga Discovery ship's 540 staterooms are with private balconies, which also means that the ship has no Inside cabins. Cabin categories include Standard Balcony, Deluxe Balcony, Mid-ship Suites and larger Panorama Suites. 100 single cabins are specifically designed for solo travellers (can be booked with single-occupancy rates and without single supplement), which is approx 20% of the ship's total capacity.

Saga Spirit of Discovery cruise ship cabin

Staterooms as decors and colour schemes are in three styles. First group's design features garden-like elements with light timbers, pastel-green colours, beautifully embroidered fabrics. Second group's design incorporates the more sophisticated grey with a dark-timber scheme, with pink-orange accented furnishings and carpet and upholstered headboard. Third group's colours are most calming, in neutral sunset tones with burnt oranges.

All cabins offer as standard (complimentary) amenities smart HDTV (infotainment system - Internet, on-demand movies, ship info channel, real-time camera views from the Bridge), direct-dial phone, large wardrobe, electronic safe box (in the closet), hotel-type beds (two twins, convertible double beds or fixed double beds with headboards), luxury bedding and pillows, bedside cabinets, wall-mounted reading lamps, mirrored dressing table (writing desk) with chair and magnifying mirror, separate lounge area (low table with two comfortable armchairs), en-suite bathroom (WC, glass shower, single-sink vanity with under sink storage), private step-out balcony (with table and deckchairs), individually controlled air-conditioning, LED lighting, keycard room access.

Shipboard dining and entertainment options

Spirit of Discovery has 4 restaurants (3 specialty, 1 Dining Room), several bars and lounges (indoor and outdoor), wellness complex (Fitness, Spa, Hydrotherapy Pool, 5 treatment rooms, 2 Saunas, Steam Room, Beauty Salon, Sports Court), Boutique Shop, Library, Lobby area (Reception, Tour Desk), 2 swimming pools (indoor and outdoor), Promenade Deck (wraparound), Sun Deck (with comfortable seating, outdoor gym equipment), laundrettes (on all cabin decks). The ship has all 6 elevators (2 clusters of 3 lifts).

Saga Cruises new ship (The Living Room Bar Lounge)

"Saga Discovery" ship features all-balcony staterooms, modern hotel amenities, British-style themed onboard activities, professional and traditionally attentive service. There is a choice of dining experiences, bars and entertainment venues, including speciality (one of which Asian, serving complimentary wines), outdoor Lido Deck (with open-air/alfresco dining space), Saga's signature Britannia Lounge, theatre lounge, central hub (named "The Living Room").

Saga Cruises new ship (Spa pool)

The cruise liner also has a modern wellness complex and 2 swimming pools (outdoor and indoor). The Spa complex consists of Beauty Salon, Hydrotherapy Pool, Salt-Steam Room, 2 Saunas (one infrared), 5 treatment rooms (for massages, latest beauty treatments and therapies). Library Lounge offers coffee and fresh cakes and one of the best-stocked book collections at sea. The 430-seat Playhouse Theatre has tiered seating and hosts grand-scale evening show productions, cinema screenings, live music performances.

Ship's team of Executive Chefs serves the all 5 onboard restaurants. Grand Dining Room (main restaurant) serves the best of British-influenced cuisine specialities. The chefs use locally produced food sources (based on cruise itinerary/destination) and create menus of ever-changing dishes. Passengers are able to make a reservation and eat in any of the other 4 restaurants at no extra cost. House wines from the ship's cellar are complimentary and served in every restaurant.

On Lido Deck is The Verandah Restaurant that consists of Bar and Grill with separate indoor and outdoor seating areas. These are actually two restaurants combined into one, with self-service buffet lunch and waiter-served dinner. Open-kitchen allows passengers to watch ship's chefs preparing the food during their galley (kitchen) show.

Saga Cruises new ship (The Verandah restaurant)

In June 2018, Saga Cruises signed a partnership deal with Jools Holland (English pianist, singer, BBC TV presenter) for "The Club by Jools" steakhouse restaurant. By the 5-year partnership deal (until 2024), at the Jools restaurant will be performed live music and its bar will be designed like a cabaret lounge from the 1950s. The dinner-only restaurant's menu features classic steaks (fillet, T-bone, ribeye, tomahawk steaks), live music performances (by resident and guest musicians) and premium cocktails.

In December 2018, Saga Cruises signed a partnership deal with Hush Heath Estate (Kent England wine producer, Staplehurst-based winery) to blend a new wine label specifically for Saga's new liner Discovery. The project was coordinated by Owen Elias (Hush Heath Estate's consultant winemaker), who worked with cruise company's executive chefs to create Saga's exclusive sparkling wine label "Spirit of Discovery".

Spirit of Discovery wiki

For the new ship series, Saga employed the designer company SMC Design, which has extensive experience with cruise vessel design. Among SMC Design's customers are also P&O Cruises UK (Sindhu / Indian restaurant), Viking Ocean Cruises (Explorers Lounge), NCL (Mandara Spa).

Vessel's construction started on February 28, 2018 (steel-cutting ceremony), attended by Lance Batchelor (Saga Group's CEO) and Tim Meyer Meyer Werft's managing director). The boat's hull sections and building blocks were constructed and assembled at Building Dock I (Meyer Werft's Papenburg shipyard). Saga's Spirit of Discovery bookings (for all itineraries 2019-2020) opened in October 2017.

On June 28, 2018, was held the keel-laying ceremony. Traditionally, a commemorative coin was placed under the hull's first block (of all 54 blocks/hull and superstructure). The vessel was launched (floated out from drydock) on May 12, 2019. Its official delivery to Saga plc (UK) was initially scheduled for June 20, but later re-scheduled for June 28 (2019).

Ship's christening ceremony was on July 5, 2019, held at Dover Western Docks (Port Dover England). Ship's official naming ceremony was attended by 500+ guests, including Saga Group's management, employees and crew. The quayside event was transformed into a traditional British garden party, complete with grass (grown in Yorkshire), bunting and table settings, foliage, florals, trees and parasols.

In early-June 2019 was announced the name of liner's Godmother - HRH Camilla (Duchess of Cornwall, aka Duchess of Rothesay). The 1947-born Camilla Rosemary Shand (now Camilla Parker-Bowles) is a British royal family member as the second wife of Charles (Prince of Wales, 1948-born as Charles Philip Arthur George).

In early-March 2019, Saga Cruises announced that starting with the 14-day Inaugural Canary Islands cruise (Nov 4-18), the new liner becomes all-inclusive. This means that Saga cruise fares are inclusive of speciality restaurant dining, drinks (wine, beer, house spirits, soft drinks), 24-hour room service, Wi-Fi, gratuities, transfer (chauffeur service to/from homeport for cruise passengers based within 250 ml / 402 km distance). Shore excursions remain optional and at additional cost. The cruise company offers complimentary shuttle bus services in all ports where the town/city is over 0,5 km from the ship. The sistership Spirit of Adventure (August 2020) also offers all-inclusive deals.

Inaugural cruise itineraries 2019

The inaugural cruise was initially scheduled for July 23, 2019 (themed "Channel Island Hop Cruise"), with next planned voyages themed as "Gourmet Spain" (August 3) and "Natural Scandinavia" (August 17). However, as the liner was to be delivered earlier, its maiden voyage was re-scheduled for July 10. For 2019, the ship had scheduled a total of 11 roundtrips from homeport Dover UK. The following tables show liner's inaugural cruise itineraries in 2019. Prices shown are indicative, in USD, per person, based on double-occupancy (Standard Balcony cabin rates).

The 13-day maiden voyage (themed "A British First" / British Isles circumnavigation itinerary) is a Dover roundtrip priced from USD 4060 pp.

10 JulDeparting from Dover, England
12 Jul 08:00 - 17:00Newcastle, Port of Tyne, England
13 Jul 08:00 - 13 JulLeith-Edinburgh, Scotland
14 Jul 08:00 - 17:00Kirkwall, Orkney Island, Scotland
16 Jul 08:00 - 17:00Belfast, Northern Ireland
17 Jul 08:00 - 22:00Liverpool, England
18 Jul 10:00 - 20:00Dublin, Ireland
19 Jul 08:00 - 17:00Cobh-Cork, Ireland
20 Jul 08:00 - 17:00Isle of Portland, Dorset England
21 Jul 08:00 - 17:00Guernsey, St Peter Port, Channel Islands
22 Jul 08:00 - 17:00Southampton, England
23 JulArriving in Dover, England

4-day "Inaugural Cruise" from UK (themed "A Channel Island Hop", from USD 890 pp)

23 JulDeparting from Dover, England
24 JulGuernsey, St Peter Port, Channel Islands
25 JulBrest, France
26 JulIsle of Portland, Dorset England
27 JulArriving in Dover, England

7-day Inaugural "Norwegian Fjords" cruise (themed "The Fjords in Focus", from USD 1770 pp)

27 JulDeparting from Dover, England
29 JulBergen, Norway
30 JulAlesund, Norway
31 JulHaugesund, Norway
01 AugKristiansand, Norway
03 AugArriving in Dover, England

14-day Inaugural Iberia cruise (themed "Gourmet Spain", from USD 4030 pp)

03 AugDeparting from Dover, England
07 AugGibraltar, UK
08 AugCartagena, Spain
10 AugSete, France
11 AugBarcelona, Spain
12 AugAlicante, Spain
14 AugLisbon, Portugal
17 AugArriving in Dover, England

14-day Inaugural "Scandinavia and Russia" cruise (themed "Myths and Legends of the Baltic", from USD 4000 pp)

12 SepDeparting from Dover, England
14 SepGothenburg, Sweden
16 SepStockholm, Sweden
18 SepHelsinki, Finland
19 SepSt Petersburg, Russia
21 SepTallinn, Estonia
23 SepKalundborg, Zealand Island, Denmark
24 SepAalborg, Denmark
26 SepArriving in Dover, England

18-day Inaugural Mediterranean cruise from UK (themed "The Chic Mediterranean", from USD 4930 pp)

17 OctDeparting from Southampton, England
21 OctMalaga, Spain
22 OctCartagena, Spain
23 OctIbiza, Ibiza Island, Spain
24 OctPalma de Mallorca, Majorca Island, Spain
26 OctSaint-Tropez, France Riviera
27 OctToulon, France Riviera
28 OctBarcelona, Spain
29 OctValencia, Spain
31 OctGibraltar, UK
02 NovFerrol, Spain
04 NovArriving in Southampton, England

14-day Inaugural Canary Islands cruise from UK (themed "Spanish Islands of the Atlantic", from USD 3020 pp)

04 NovDeparting from Southampton, England
07 NovLisbon, Portugal
09 NovFunchal, Madeira Island, Portugal
10 NovSanta Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands
11 NovSanta Cruz de la Palma, Canary Islands
12 NovLa Gomera, Canary Islands
13 NovPuerto del Rosario, Fuerteventura, Canary Islands
16 NovLa Coruna, Spain
18 NovArriving in Southampton, England

35-day Inaugural Transatlantic crossing from UK (themed "Fairy Tale of New York", from USD 9450 pp)

05 DecDeparting from Southampton, England
09 DecFunchal, Madeira Island, Portugal
16 DecBridgetown, Barbados
17 DecPortsmouth, Dominica
18 DecPhilipsburg, St Maarten Island, Dutch Antilles
19 DecSan Juan, Puerto Rico
22 DecKey West, Florida
23 DecMiami, Florida
24 DecPort Canaveral, Orlando, Florida
26 DecNorfolk, Virginia
27 DecNYC, New York
31 DecSt George, Bermuda
09 JanArriving in Southampton, England

Godspeed to the new ship!

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Spirit of Discovery Itineraries

The below listed Spirit of Discovery cruise prices on itineraries are only indicative and Per Person (in US dollars, based on double occupancy). These are the cheapest Saga Cruises fares on the ship’s lowest category cabins available for booking. Cruise fares typically change with departure dates approaching, last minute deals, discounts, promotions, independent travel agency offers.

DateCruise NameDeparture PortPrice from
2019 Sep 26 7 days, round-trip Norway Rocks Dover
2019 Oct 03 4 days, round-trip Dance to France Dover
2019 Oct 07 10 days, one-way from Dover to Southampton Dover
2019 Oct 17 18 days, round-trip The Chic Mediterranean Southampton
2019 Nov 04 14 days, round-trip Spanish Islands of the Atlantic Southampton
2019 Nov 18 16 days, round-trip Roman Italy and Sardinia Southampton
2019 Dec 05 35 days, round-trip Festive New York and the Caribbean Southampton
2020 Jan 09 13 days, round-trip Pure Canaries Southampton
2020 Jan 22 21 days, round-trip An Italian Premiere Southampton
2020 Feb 12 4 days, round-trip Rendezvous in Rouen Southampton
2020 Feb 16 15 days, round-trip Norway's Skies Southampton
2020 Mar 02 13 days, round-trip The Glorious Canary Islands Southampton
2020 Mar 15 14 days, round-trip Sounds of Spain Southampton
2020 Mar 29 12 days, round-trip Scandinavian Cities Southampton
2020 Apr 10 9 days, one-way from Southampton to Dover Southampton
2020 Apr 19 4 days, round-trip Escape to the Continent Dover
2020 Apr 23 26 days, one-way from Dover to Southampton Dover
2020 May 19 7 days, one-way from Southampton to Dover Southampton
2020 May 26 7 days, round-trip Norway’s Ancient Fjords Dover
2020 Jun 02 14 days, round-trip Splendour of the Baltic Dover
2020 Jun 16 21 days, round-trip Greenland Explorer Dover
2020 Jul 07 16 days, round-trip Arctic Expedition Dover
2020 Jul 23 15 days, round-trip Western France and the Costa Verde Dover
2020 Aug 07 16 days, round-trip A Baltic Fable Dover
2020 Aug 23 7 days, round-trip Riddle of the Sands Dover
2020 Aug 30 7 days, one-way from Dover to Southampton Dover
2020 Sep 06 9 days, round-trip Ireland’s Romantic West Coast Southampton
2020 Sep 15 30 days, round-trip Pilgrimage to the New World Southampton
2020 Oct 15 16 days, round-trip The Mediterranean’s Beau Monde Southampton

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