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kentchris

Cruise Critic review of Spirit of Discovery

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Thanks again; not a problem for us as DH has a dj (but no smart suit or good sports coat), and will with a bit of a grumble wear it.  I did notice some men on Sapphire in what was actually a cream or beige sports coat, with bow tie, slightly masquerading as a tropical DJ, and they looked all right.

 

Just trying to be helpful to those who really object to formal.

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Just one thing to bear in mind, if any ladies have arthritic hands: the hairdryer provided in the cabin has a two pin plug and you have to use the socket that the kettle uses.  The hairdryer will only work if you keep the large button on the handle pressed down.  Some people might prefer to take their own.

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Thanks Hermione. I do have arthritic hands but only have short hair, which dries pretty easily. I’ve managed with those sort of dryers on other ships so I won’t bother taking a dryer of my own. Some lines don't allow your own electrical appliances but that might just be straighteners and curling tongs. 

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Hermioneb One slightly frivolous question about the trivia.

On Oceania, Cunard and Azamara we always enjoy playing trivia, it gets you meeting other guests and it is generally fun (except for those who take it way too seriously 😂)

Do Saga award points or stickers for participants to be cashed for little prizes at the end of the cruise?

We left Cunard this month with an emergency phone charger and a weather station 👍

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I am afraid I don’t know, as we only went to the evening quiz on a couple of occasions.  They had a quiz every day of the cruise, whether at sea or in port, at 2pm, but that timing didn’t suit us.  There was also a quiz at 8.45pm on about six or seven evenings.  I am fairly sure that there was no talk of prizes for the evening one, where people joined up into teams of up to 6 people.  The teams seemed to vary, according to who was around.

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I doubt it, Glenndale - no prizes on the older ships.  A trivia quiz on Sapphire each evening, usually at 8.45 to  finish before the show.  Often hotly contested; sometimes themed. (Like 80s pop, Royalty etc.  Not generally terribly intellectual, but rarely did any team gain maximum points.  Also mostly one after lunch, not as well supported as most people were otherwise occupied.

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Posted (edited)

We have sailed Mariner and Riviera,Oceania,and I can honestly say I think SODiscovery just tips them.There are extra staff and that is obvious in all areas.I love no flights and transfers for my holidays.The specialist restaurants did not bring me any reasons to fault them whereas I often find fault in Oceania’s specialist restaurants.

Edited by janecambridge

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So looking forward to our two week Baltic Cruise on September 12th. Hopefully we’ll have plenty of time for all the speciality restaurants. We loved East to West on Sapphire. I’ve been mentally picking out some outfits for the formal evenings, and my OH enjoys getting his bow tie out!

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On 8/22/2019 at 3:50 PM, hermioneb said:

I have added a review to the Cruise Critic site for the Spirit of Discovery.  This is what I said....

 

Gourmet Spain

 

My husband and I are both in our seventies and we have never considered a cruise with Saga before. The last five cruises we have have taken have been with Azamara or Oceania, but we were attracted by the idea of sailing on the Spirit of Discovery as she seemed to incorporate all that we like about a cruise ship.

 

We were absolutely delighted with the 14 day cruise around the Iberian peninsular. The weather was wonderful and everything about the ship lived up to expectations.  We were collected from our home and driven to Dover, where embarkation was swift and we were shown to our standard twin cabin, which was very near the stern of C deck.  I was a bit concerned that being so far aft might not be ideal, but the ship is so quiet and smooth it was not a problem at all.  The balcony was a good size and was furnished with two upright chairs with cushions and a small low table.

We wondered if there would be enough drawer space in the cabin, but there is so much room in the wardrobe we just hung most things up, as there were fifty hangers. Anything we didn’t have room for in the drawers stayed in our suitcases as there was lots of room under the bed for those.  The bed was extremely comfortable with good quality sheets etc. It was nice to have a USB port next to each side of the bed and also a good reading light.

 

After the safety drill, which for us took place in the Club, we went to make our bookings at the speciality restaurants. (It is also possible to book these by telephone at certain times during the cruise). There seemed to be no problem getting a table for two at each of the three restaurants.  We enjoyed all three dinners very much, but perhaps we liked Coast to Coast, the seafood restaurant, the most.  All the other evenings we ate in the Grand Dining Room on Deck 5, where the food was also excellent.  We were able to have a table for two every night except one, when we sat at a table of 10.  Breakfasts was either in the Grand Dining Room or, when we were in more of a hurry, in the Grill or the Verandah.  The food was the same in both locations, and was very good.  When the weather became very hot we tended to have lunch in the grill, where there was a delicious choice of salads as well as all the hot food which was also available in the dining room.  We managed to resist afternoon tea except on a couple of occasions, but it was delightfully served every day in the dining room with a choice of teas and a glass of sparkling wine, as well as sandwiches, cakes and scones.  It was also available in the Grill.

 

We didn’t see all the entertainment, but we did see all three shows performed by the Spirit of Discovery Show Company; we thought they were very good indeed, with superb sets.  We also saw two different shows done by the Opera Boys, and one evening when Jools Holland performed - all marvellous.  The Playhouse is a beautiful theatre with room for over 400 people; the only thing that worried me was that there were a lot of people on board who had walking difficulties and they struggled with the steps in the theatre;  perhaps space should be reserved for them in the back few rows.  We did attend the very good destination talks by Alistair Guthrie, wine tasting with Oz Clarke, talks by cookery writer Jennifer Deeprose and talks by coroner Dr Peter Dean.  The ORCA team gave a presentation about the whales and dolphins we might see and then they were on the observation deck during the days we were at sea.

 

We had three sea days at the start of the cruise which gave us a good chance to explore the ship.  The spa is beautiful;  although we didn’t have any treatments we did use the lovely hydrotherapy pool.  One of our favourite places to sit and read was the Terrace, which is at the stern on the Promenade deck.  You can chose to be in the sun or shade there, and there are machines to help yourself to coffee or fruit juice.  The identical coffee machine is also to be found in the Grill and in the Library.  I have never had such good coffee from a machine before! The Library is a nice place to sit, and so are the Living Room and the Britannia Lounge.  In fact, there is a huge amount of space, both inside and out, with masses of chairs and loungers on deck, in both the sun and shade.

 

Our ports of call were Gibraltar, Cartagena, Sete, Barcelona, Alicante and Lisbon.  All very enjoyable, but hot!

 

We were interested to hear that the vast majority of passengers on board were all long time Saga enthusiasts and I now understand why.  The crew are fantastic and look after one superbly.  We very much hope to sail on this ship again in the near future; it really is lovely.

 

I haven’t really anything to add to this. We were Saga newbies and enjoyed our Scandinavian cruise very much but still think Oceania has the better food. I don’t think I’ve seen tapioca (frogspawn) since I left school many many years ago!

We too enjoyed sitting on the terrace at the back of the ship especially as ours was such a scenic cruise.  Deck 6 has the secret garden with facilities for making hot drinks but the soft drink machine was out of action for the whole of our cruise. 

Our ports of call were Skagen, Stockholm, Lulea, Oulu, Pori and Oslo.  We were supposed to go to Fredrikstad but it was too windy and Oslo was a very acceptable substitute. After not being able to book the tours we wanted we did our own thing, often copying the ship’s excursions and doing them for a fraction of the price. 

I loved the Library and also the fact you could make your own coffee there too.  The Brittania lounge was very underused except in the evening when it came into its own.  I think the fact that you couldn’t see the bow of the ship from there meant people sought other venues.  

One of the biggest surprises was that there wasn’t any of the hard sell now so common on other lines.  There were lots of sail away parties with free drinks, snacks were freely available, drinks were very cheap. Our fellow shipmates were a polite and friendly group and there was none of the pushing and jostling so common these days. 

We were able to get a table for two for every meal and, as I’ve mentioned on other posts, there was absolutely no problem getting a booking in the speciality restaurants whenever we wanted.  

The bonus for us was the Jools Holland show with Ruby Turner and two young singers.  

Im aware some of you are off tomorrow so I hope you have a great time and that the weather is good to you.  

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Thanks very much for this report. Whilst I was horrified at the idea of Tapioca, my husband was delighted!

What sort of ‘soft drinks’  were supposed to be available on deck 6 please?  Also, which is deck 6?  I thought they used letters rather than numbers.   I think for us, it’s the coffee machine in the library that is likely to be most used. 

 

Packing well under way here. 😀

Edited by cinnamon

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49 minutes ago, cinnamon said:

Thanks very much for this report. Whilst I was horrified at the idea of Tapioca, my husband was delighted!

What sort of ‘soft drinks’  were supposed to be available on deck 6 please?  Also, which is deck 6?  I thought they used letters rather than numbers.   I think for us, it’s the coffee machine in the library that is likely to be most used. 

 

Packing well under way here. 😀

It was mostly numbers for decks and 6 is the promenade deck.  Go round the back of the ‘greenery’ and you will discover the drinks machines.  I think they were fruit juices.  You had to pay for cokes, lemonades etc except at mealtimes.  Unfortunately they never had any proper lagers available.  Becks was on the drinks menu but never available and the only lagers they had we would class as IPA beers. 

I’m sure you’ll have a great time.  Bon voyage 🚢

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