Saga Spirit of Discovery Cruise Ship Review
We were invited by Saga to come on board their brand new Ship the Spirit of Discovery for a two day preview cruise. The Spirit of Discovery is the first ship to be built specifically for the British market so were excited to see what cruising on this brand new Saga ship would be like.
We joined the Spirit of Discovery in Saga’s home port of Dover, with the back drop of the white cliffs it was certainly a great place to start our Saga experience. Dover’s cruise terminal building is absolutely stunning and we only had to wait a short time before we were able to board.
As we had been invited on board the Spirit of Discovery we had no idea what category of cabin we had been allocated or location on the ship. The Spirit of Discovery has 12 types of cabins, all of which have balconies for their 999 passengers.
Embarkation was smooth and we were greeted by the Saga crew who guided us to our cabin which was cabin B528 on deck 10. To our surprise we found that our cabin was is in fact a mid ship suite, utterly gobsmacked we tentatively opened the door.
Well what can we say it was just amazing! We have never been able to walk around a full circle through a sitting room, bedroom, walk in wardrobe and bathroom! The balcony was incredible too. The attention to detail was wonderful, click our video here and we will show you around.
We started exploring the ship and found an elegant and light ship that is just oozing class. The living room is the hub of the Spirit of Discovery, a large space with various seating options. During the day its a great place for a coffee and snack and during the evening a place for pre and post dinner drinks with classical entertainment. The centrepiece is the magnificent bronze relief which spans three decks of the atrium and the stunning staircase.
Climbing up the beautiful staircase we found the South Cape Bar where we stopped for a drink. As well as the main seating area there were also areas to the sides that were smaller and more personable. It is a great bar in the heart of the ship.
Access to the full wrap around promenade deck is accessed from here and what a spectacular promenade deck it is. A really deep deck that has really comfortable sunbeds and lots of shade. We followed the promenade around to the aft of the ship and found what became one of our favourite parts of this ship, The Terrace. A really pretty area decorated with lots of foliage and plenty of seating. Towards the back of the terrace is a self service tea and coffee station so this spot is perfect for a cup of tea whilst admiring one of our favourite views the wake!
After our time chilling at the terrace we headed to the Lido Deck as we were told a surprise guest would be entertaining. When we arrived there was a guy with a guitar who was a good all round entertainer so we grabbed a chair and enjoyed his set. We were then introduced to Fleur East which was a real surprise. We like her music and looked forward to her singing her songs. She came to the stage and started a DJ set playing the decks and the atmosphere was great. Unfortunately she only sang one song which was a shame but a fun set never the less.
We returned to our cabin and are really loving our first experience of the suite life Having a a shower and a bath was a real treat and we freshened up ready for dinner.
We found that we had received a VIP invite to dinner at the Club by Jools. The Club combines fine dining with live music and takes you back to the classic cabaret lounges of the 1950’s. With wood panelling, red velvet and a piano it is a splendid dining option. From the centre of The Club you can look down to the spectacular main dining restaurant called the Grand Dining Room.
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We were on a table hosted by Emma Wadhams from Saga, and she was a really funny and knowledgeable host. We enjoyed a starter of Prawns and caviar, cream of vegetables and black truffle soup, followed by lemon and lime sorbet. Our main course was the most delicious pink roasted and herb crusted fillet of angus beef, anna potatoes, a red wine reduction that just melted in your mouth and was perfect. The meal was finished with warm apple pie with salted caramel ice cream, coffee and petit fours.
We can understand why Saga have the highest repeat passenger rate in the cruise industry the quality of food was phenomenal and is all included in the cruise fare.
Following dinner we went to the Playhouse Theatre which is situated on the promenade deck right at the front of the ship. Seating 444 guests it has really comfortable seating all with an unobstructed view and a drinks holder available in your arm rest if needed. However we were surprised with the amount of steps there were in the theatre particularly with the average age of passengers that Saga do attract.
The show started with the compere who had the poshest presenting voice we had ever heard. He introduced the entertainments teams who gave us a performance of Mary Poppins and the standard of the team singers and dancers was excellent. Next up was a guy called Lewis who’s main talents were singing and taking his shirt off which did go down very well with the crowd. The Globe Girls then appeared who were a humorous drag act that put on a very entertaining show and had the whole theatre rocking!
We finished our first day in the Britannia club, a fabulous lounge with floor to ceiling windows right at the front of the ship. We know that if we were on board for a longer period we would spend a lot of time here. It is definitely one of the most spectacular lounges we have ever seen on all of our cruises and it also has a large out door balcony overlooking the bow of the ship which is a fabulous spot for sail away’s.
We were enjoying a few drinks with our blogging friends when Fleur East made another appearance and had the dance floor full with her choice of music doing another DJ set. The Britannia Lounge is a great place for a party with it’s large dance floor and funky lighting. We partied until the early hours and returned to our suite very contented and very tired!
The bed in our suite is huge, so comfortable and we slept in until 0915 which is unusual for us. With breakfast finishing at 0930 we quickly got ready and headed to the Grand Dining Room. We were given the option of a table for two or sharing and we chose to share. We ended up with a lovely couple, Mike and Leslie from Go Cruise & Travel. It is always good to meet people who have the same passion for travel as we do.
The main dining room has a comprehensive menu and the poached eggs were perfect! We received excellent service and the restaurant is a lovely environment, with plenty of room between the tables.
We spent the rest of the morning exploring the ship, it really is stunning, the attention to detail is exquisite. There is a an art gallery to the left of the entrance to the playhouse theatre housing a permanent collection of art, and throughout the ship there are fabulous pieces of artistic glass work.
We made two stops today at The Grill which is the buffet restaurant on Deck 12. We stopped for lunch with our friend Emma and enjoyed the selection of foods on offer. We also had afternoon tea which was very good too! This is a great dining venue with fabulous views. It is light and spacious with plenty of space between the tables and doesn’t feel like a busy buffet restaurant. There is also a delightful outside Verandah for al fresco dining.
We were very impressed with how much outside space there was on the Spirit of Discovery. Plenty of deck space with comfortable loungers can be found all around the ship. The Lido deck is a great space during the day and a very pretty place at night.
Up one deck and there is more deck space and loungers to enjoy the sun shine, there definitely would not be any trouble finding a sun lounger on this ship!
Back to our suite and we made the most of our large balcony. We have been so blessed with the weather, and this balcony is the best we have ever had. Really deep with the most comfortable chair and lounger and a full size dining table, so you could dine al fresco in private here if you wanted too with room service which is all included in the fare.
It was formal night so we put on our posh frock and bow tie and headed to the fabulous Britannia Lounge. We met up with our blogging friends who we have had such fun with and were entertained by the classical quartet while the bubbly flowed. We were treated again to the wonderful voice of John Parton who introduced Captain Julian Burgess and Iain Powell, Head of Trade Sales who both made amusing speeches. The Britannia Lounge is definitely one of our favourite parts if the ship the light just radiates all around and is just perfect.
With everyone heading to the Grand Dining Room, we were unfortunately unable to get a table unless we wanted to wait. All fairly hungry we decided to go The Grill which is also waiter service on formal nights.
Another delicious meal was had, starting with smoked salmon and french onion soup. This was followed by pan fried fresh cod and grilled lobster, and pink roasted tenderloin of Angus beef which again was just spectacular. Paul finished his meal with the white and dark chocolate mousse with baileys and I chose the lemon and lime sorbet, another perfect end to a fabulous meal. The company was superb too, it has been so good getting to know our cruise blogging friends, they really are a lovely bunch.
There are other dining options available on board including two more speciality restaurants which are all included in the fare. Unfortunately they were all booked up when we got on, so if you do want to experience these then go straight to reception and book them the minute you step on board.
If you love seafood then Coast to Coast is for you. Seating 74 guests it is a great space with outside seating too. We were told about the seafood platter from a couple who were lucky enough to get a table there and it sounded amazing!
East to West serves spicy delights from around the world including grilled king scallops, Himalayan spiced marinated rack of lamb, southern Thailand tiger prawn massaman curry and much more. We would of loved to have sampled both of these menus but that will have to wait until next time!
Following dinner we decided to go to The Club by Jools. Kiddy and the Cads were performing, and were superb. A very talented vintage jazz band with some interesting twists to modern hits and with some tap dancing thrown in too. We thoroughly enjoyed their show and this act was perfect for The Club.
We finished the evening busting some moves back in the Britannia lounge on the dance floor with Emma, Ben and David. We had such a fun night we didn’t want it to end as we knew it would be soon time to disembark.
We returned to our suite in the early hours and slept very well! Sadly our short cruise on the Spirit of Discovery had come to an end. We packed up our stuff and had one last wander around the ship.
We have had an amazing time on board this beautiful ship. Saga’s aim was to build a ship that would reflect the finest boutique hotels and they have certainly achieved that. The Saga experience is incredible and we would recommend anyone over 50 to consider cruising with this company. We would like to thank Saga Cruises for inviting us on board and look forward to watching the Spirit of Adventure come to life for next year!
For more information do check out Saga Cruises website here.
We now understand why Saga have one of the highest passenger return rates in the cruise industry, check out our video here where we discuss why this is the case.
Further reading and videos –
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