Saga Spirit of Discovery

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Saga Spirit of Discovery

Post by Midlandslass » 04 Oct 2019, 16:35

I’ve just returned from a very enjoyable 7 night cruise on Spirit of Discovery.
There were some niggles but overall the cruise met our expectations.
There is certainly a wow factor in the living room with its mural which goes up the stairs.
All around the ship the art work was of a high standard.
The china and cutlery in the dining areas were very high quality.
The furniture in public areas was one of my niggles, many of the seats were too deep and because of this uncomfortable, a case of style over substance.
In spite of this the library was a lovely spot to grab a coffee and sit and chat.
I wish they had a couple of self service coffee machines in the Britannia lounge then we might have used it more. It did seem very underused during the day.
The cabin was nicely appointed, our cabin steward did a good job and promptly changed the very warm duvet for a sheet and blanket when requested.
The bed was fairly comfortable so no real complaints, no bed ever meets the one at home does it? , although the beds on Oceania are an exception.
The bathroom had a good shower etc. but no drying line (these are being retrofitted) and for myself I would have preferred to have shelves or a bathroom cabinet at eye level, I don’t like cluttered sink surrounds. The toiletries were super.
In the cabin my main concern was the lack of hanging space, just ok for a 7 night cruise.
The placement of the safe and box containing hair dryer restricts hanging space even more.
Using the hairdryer is a pain as you have to remove the kettle plug to access the only 2 pin plug.
The fridge really is inadequate. What more can I say?
I liked the rounded bedside cabinets but felt they should have been a little bigger and the USB ports at the side of the bed are a nice touch.
We managed 2 visits to the club, 2 to East to West and 1 to Coast to Coast, the remainder were taken in the MDR.
The food in the specialities was excellent and in the dining room good to very good.
We found the Grill a slightly confusing layout but it was very popular although we preferred the relative quiet of the MDR.
In the evening we enjoyed the ambience of the Club lounge and their resident vocalist.
The bartender mixed my s-i-l and I some very tasty cocktails.
Entertainment by the resident dance group was excellent and the other acts The 4Tunes and Elektra received standing ovations.
I only managed to attend one lecture which covered global warming and renewables, but I thought it was well presented.
The gym was fitted out with weights machines, 4 treadmills, 2 cycles, 2 rowers and 2 steppers.
The spa area had a thalassotherapy pool, heated beds, an infrared sauna, a steam room and a conventional sauna, plus the usual showers etc.
I found the steam room to be far too hot.
On the sea days I attended the jewellery workshops and made 3 necklace and earring sets. There was no charge for any of the kits and the instructors were very patient with us.
There is a shop with the usual sort of ship stuff, perfume, clothing and jewellery plus essentials like toothpaste and shaving foam.
My s-i-l was worried about sea sickness one evening and reception supplied her with a full box of Sturgeron - no charge.
The staff were all very friendly and happy to help.
I tried to fit in as much as I could but with 4 ports in a 7 night cruise I’m sure there are some experiences I missed.
We arrived late into Bergen, midday instead of 8am which was a nuisance as we had booked a private fjord cruise with Rodne.
Saga extended our leaving time and I was able to change our tickets for the afternoon and reprint them in the library, no charge for printing or WiFi.
Any questions I will do my best to answer them.

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Re: Saga Spirit of Discovery

Post by oldbluefox » 04 Oct 2019, 17:29

Thanks for your review Midlandslass. We have been having a look at alternatives to P&O since they seem to be going down the 'bigger ships are best' route so it's interesting to read about Saga. Do they still pick you up door to door? (Not much use to us as we live outside the area they cover but I always wonder what that entails).


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Re: Saga Spirit of Discovery

Post by Midlandslass » 04 Oct 2019, 17:51

oldbluefox wrote:
04 Oct 2019, 17:29
Thanks for your review Midlandslass. We have been having a look at alternatives to P&O since they seem to be going down the 'bigger ships are best' route so it's interesting to read about Saga. Do they still pick you up door to door? (Not much use to us as we live outside the area they cover but I always wonder what that entails).
Yes, they do still pick you up door to door, but if you are outside the 250 mile zone, they will pay for train transport or give you free parking at the ports.


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Re: Saga Spirit of Discovery

Post by Midlandslass » 04 Oct 2019, 17:57

Just to add alcoholic drinks are very reasonably priced and there are free bean to cup machines in the library.
The Living Room, South Cape Bar and Britannia lounge all have included coffee served to you.
Of course gratuities are included as are the speciality restaurants.
I’m sure I have omitted lots of relevant information but as I’ve already said I will try to answer any questions.

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Re: Saga Spirit of Discovery

Post by Mervyn and Trish » 04 Oct 2019, 19:24

Thanks for the review. Very encouraging as we have booked four nights next year. By then drinks are all inclusive too.

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Re: Saga Spirit of Discovery

Post by GillD46 » 04 Oct 2019, 19:36

Very interesting. Thank you.
Gill

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Re: Saga Spirit of Discovery

Post by Gill W » 04 Oct 2019, 21:47

Thank you for your report, very interesting, as I am considering Saga at some point in the future.

Regarding the MDR, was it freedom dining, or fixed seating at a specified time?
Gill


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Re: Saga Spirit of Discovery

Post by Midlandslass » 05 Oct 2019, 08:19

Gill W wrote:
04 Oct 2019, 21:47
Thank you for your report, very interesting, as I am considering Saga at some point in the future.

Regarding the MDR, was it freedom dining, or fixed seating at a specified time?
It was whatever you wanted, if you wanted the same table throughout the cruise then that could be arranged.
Most people seemed to opt for the anytime, although if you chose to keep the same table you were not obliged to turn up at a specific time.
The dining room hours were from 18:30 to 21:00, as was the buffet.
At the buffet type restaurant on deck 12 you could opt to ‘self serve’ or be waited on.
The menu in the buffet was more or less identical to the MDR.


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Re: Saga Spirit of Discovery

Post by CaroleF » 05 Oct 2019, 09:10

Thank you very much for that. We are certainly thinking of a cruise on Spirit of Discovery at some point to see what Saga offers. The same as Foxy, we don't like the way P&O is obviously going with larger and larger ships. Did you discover that with the items that were included that they were much more expensive than P&O or not too bad? I know it partly discovers what grade of cabin people choose. It certainly sounds good that you can get a cup of real coffee rather than whatever it is P&O serve in the MDR and buffet. I really miss decent coffee when I'm on board P&O. I have had a look at the Cruise Critic forum on Saga and one of the comments is to do with the so called Insurance. Some people seem to have found there can be difficulties with that and they have opted to use their own insurance - I believe that you get some form of payment if you choose not to take the Saga included insurance.

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Re: Saga Spirit of Discovery

Post by Manoverboard » 05 Oct 2019, 09:53

On our Saga cruise the insurance was included but only if you did not have any pre-conditions, if you opt out then a small refund is applied. Ironically we were on a Saga annual policy at the time of our booking.

Many thanks for the review ' Midlandslass ', your Saga experience was much better than ours and it seemed similar to ' Fred '.
Worth considering if the itinerary suits we thought.

:?: Home pick-ups used to be free for the first 100 miles, thereafter there was a scaled charge … is that still the case ?

.
Last edited by Manoverboard on 05 Oct 2019, 10:09, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Saga Spirit of Discovery

Post by Jan Rosser » 05 Oct 2019, 10:04

Interesting review - thanks for posting it - always good to hear about different ships. Spirit seems to have a lot going for it - I have a friend who regularly travels with Saga but I was quite taken aback at how much she was paying - she is a widow like me and the dreaded single supplement comes into play unfortunately. She is within the pick up radius and as she usually travels alone it is a welcome perk being picked up at the door. May be time to look again at what Saga has to offer :thumbup:
Janis


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Re: Saga Spirit of Discovery

Post by Midlandslass » 05 Oct 2019, 10:08

CaroleF wrote:
05 Oct 2019, 09:10
Thank you very much for that. We are certainly thinking of a cruise on Spirit of Discovery at some point to see what Saga offers. The same as Foxy, we don't like the way P&O is obviously going with larger and larger ships. Did you discover that with the items that were included that they were much more expensive than P&O or not too bad? I know it partly discovers what grade of cabin people choose. It certainly sounds good that you can get a cup of real coffee rather than whatever it is P&O serve in the MDR and buffet. I really miss decent coffee when I'm on board P&O. I have had a look at the Cruise Critic forum on Saga and one of the comments is to do with the so called Insurance. Some people seem to have found there can be difficulties with that and they have opted to use their own insurance - I believe that you get some form of payment if you choose not to take the Saga included insurance.
It is really difficult to compare however just for comparisons sake our cruise on SoD was in the lowest grade of cabin on E deck.
We booked over a year before the cruise in August 2018

Norway Rocks [ SD009 ] L Grade £ 1562.00 This was the full price for a 7 night cruise
Early Booking Discount - 15% £ -235.00 Depending on how early you book the maximum discount is 35% off full price
UK Travel - Shared Car £ 0.00 Car transfer included
Cruise Recommend a Friend Offer £ -131.00 We recommended my S-I-L who had never cruised with them before and received 10% discount
Insurance opt-out discount £ -26.00 We have our own annual insurance
Total pp £ 1,170.00
Sorry about alignment but copied and pasted.
In the MDR they serve filtered coffee but we always asked for latte or cappuccino.
Drinks prices very reasonable and wine is included with lunch and dinner. If you have cheese they also include a glass of port.
From the end of this month drinks will be included although there will be a charge for what are considered top-shelf items.


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Re: Saga Spirit of Discovery

Post by Midlandslass » 05 Oct 2019, 10:17

Jan Rosser wrote:
05 Oct 2019, 10:04
Interesting review - thanks for posting it - always good to hear about different ships. Spirit seems to have a lot going for it - I have a friend who regularly travels with Saga but I was quite taken aback at how much she was paying - she is a widow like me and the dreaded single supplement comes into play unfortunately. She is within the pick up radius and as she usually travels alone it is a welcome perk being picked up at the door. May be time to look again at what Saga has to offer :thumbup:
For people travelling alone they have regular meet ups and organise singles tables in the MDR and in the specialities (or so it seemed).
If you are going ashore there are options to join other singles in exploring the ports.
Unfortunately, although they have singles cabins the price is not half of the double cabins.

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Re: Saga Spirit of Discovery

Post by towny44 » 05 Oct 2019, 10:21

Manoverboard wrote:
05 Oct 2019, 09:53
On our Saga cruise the insurance was included but only if you did not have any pre-conditions, if you opt out then a small refund is applied. Ironically we were on a Saga annual policy at the time of our booking.

Many thanks for the review ' Midlandslass ', your Saga experience was much better than ours and it seemed similar to ' Fred '.
Worth considering if the itinerary suits we thought.

:?: Home pick-ups used to be free for the first 100 miles, thereafter there was a scaled charge … is that still the case ?

.
I think its now within 250 miles, which would include Huddersfield.
John

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Re: Saga Spirit of Discovery

Post by Manoverboard » 05 Oct 2019, 11:12

towny44 wrote:
05 Oct 2019, 10:21
Manoverboard wrote:
05 Oct 2019, 09:53
On our Saga cruise the insurance was included but only if you did not have any pre-conditions, if you opt out then a small refund is applied. Ironically we were on a Saga annual policy at the time of our booking.

Many thanks for the review ' Midlandslass ', your Saga experience was much better than ours and it seemed similar to ' Fred '.
Worth considering if the itinerary suits we thought.

:?: Home pick-ups used to be free for the first 100 miles, thereafter there was a scaled charge … is that still the case ?

.
I think its now within 250 miles, which would include Huddersfield.
I looked it up on the Saga website and it seems there are variations … 250 miles if shared, 75 for a private transfer and not all holidays apply :?

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Re: Saga Spirit of Discovery

Post by Gill W » 05 Oct 2019, 16:23

Midlandslass wrote:
05 Oct 2019, 08:19
Gill W wrote:
04 Oct 2019, 21:47
Thank you for your report, very interesting, as I am considering Saga at some point in the future.

Regarding the MDR, was it freedom dining, or fixed seating at a specified time?
It was whatever you wanted, if you wanted the same table throughout the cruise then that could be arranged.
Most people seemed to opt for the anytime, although if you chose to keep the same table you were not obliged to turn up at a specific time.
The dining room hours were from 18:30 to 21:00, as was the buffet.
At the buffet type restaurant on deck 12 you could opt to ‘self serve’ or be waited on.
The menu in the buffet was more or less identical to the MDR.
Thank you, that's really helpful.

In 2022 we are hoping to go up to Svalbard, and I think Saga would fit the bill.

We would book as soon as the cruise is available, to get the maximum discount. When you consider that by that time all drinks will be included, tips included, decent coffee included, all dining venues included, wewouldn't have to spend much on board, so the prices don't seem too outrageous. I noted from their web site that all cabins have balconies too.

We'd have our own travel insurance, but the transfer from home to port would be useful.

Overall, I'm very keen on the idea of Saga
Gill

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Re: Saga Spirit of Discovery

Post by Mervyn and Trish » 06 Oct 2019, 10:01

The home to.port transfer is definitely attractive as I assume the ship will wait for its own vehicles if there's any hold up. We always go the day before when driving ourselves just in case so not doing that will save us a hotel overnight as well as travel costs and parking.

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Re: Saga Spirit of Discovery

Post by Stephen » 06 Oct 2019, 10:46

Being a Saga cruise i guess the majority of the clientele were well over 50.

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Re: Saga Spirit of Discovery

Post by Manoverboard » 06 Oct 2019, 11:40

Mervyn and Trish wrote:
06 Oct 2019, 10:01
The home to.port transfer is definitely attractive as I assume the ship will wait for its own vehicles if there's any hold up. We always go the day before when driving ourselves just in case so not doing that will save us a hotel overnight as well as travel costs and parking.
Saga are joined up with Titan so it seems likely that they will offer their ' Easy Rider ' scheme which involves an overnight stop in a Heathrow Hotel which in turn makes for a shorter journey to Southampton / Dover. Our experience using Titan when we lived in your neck of the woods was that a ' shared ' collection time could be as early as 04:00 am.

They may not wait for a single courtesy car but they do have an excellent back up service throughout the country.


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Re: Saga Spirit of Discovery

Post by Midlandslass » 06 Oct 2019, 11:55

Stephen wrote:
06 Oct 2019, 10:46
Being a Saga cruise i guess the majority of the clientele were well over 50.
Yes.
I would guess that the average age was probably in the mid 70's but I saw far fewer walkers and motorised scooters than I saw on our August Cunard cruise.
I prefer to cruise in relatively child free environments so as far as I am concerned cruising with Saga is a plus.
The actual lower age limit is 40 if travelling with someone 50 or over.
I suspect that the majority of posters on this site are over 50 :)

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Re: Saga Spirit of Discovery

Post by Stephen » 06 Oct 2019, 12:00

Midlandslass wrote:
06 Oct 2019, 11:55
Stephen wrote:
06 Oct 2019, 10:46
Being a Saga cruise i guess the majority of the clientele were well over 50.
Yes.
I would guess that the average age was probably in the mid 70's but I saw far fewer walkers and motorised scooters than I saw on our August Cunard cruise.
I prefer to cruise in relatively child free environments so as far as I am concerned cruising with Saga is a plus.
The actual lower age limit is 40 if travelling with someone 50 or over.
I suspect that the majority of posters on this site are over 50 :)


Only just ;)


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Re: Saga Spirit of Discovery

Post by Midlandslass » 06 Oct 2019, 12:06

Manoverboard wrote:
06 Oct 2019, 11:40
Mervyn and Trish wrote:
06 Oct 2019, 10:01
The home to.port transfer is definitely attractive as I assume the ship will wait for its own vehicles if there's any hold up. We always go the day before when driving ourselves just in case so not doing that will save us a hotel overnight as well as travel costs and parking.
Saga are joined up with Titan so it seems likely that they will offer their ' Easy Rider ' scheme which involves an overnight stop in a Heathrow Hotel which in turn makes for a shorter journey to Southampton / Dover. Our experience using Titan when we lived in your neck of the woods was that a ' shared ' collection time could be as early as 04:00 am.

They may not wait for a single courtesy car but they do have an excellent back up service throughout the country.
On our last cruise we were transferred by this company http://aga-traveliners.co.uk/
On our previous cruises by Titan.
Titan used VW Caravelles and AGA Traveliners used a Mercedes Vito going down and a Mercedes Viano coming back.
There were just 4 passengers in our transport.


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Re: Saga Spirit of Discovery

Post by Midlandslass » 06 Oct 2019, 12:08

Stephen wrote:
06 Oct 2019, 12:00
Midlandslass wrote:
06 Oct 2019, 11:55
Stephen wrote:
06 Oct 2019, 10:46
Being a Saga cruise i guess the majority of the clientele were well over 50.
Yes.
I would guess that the average age was probably in the mid 70's but I saw far fewer walkers and motorised scooters than I saw on our August Cunard cruise.
I prefer to cruise in relatively child free environments so as far as I am concerned cruising with Saga is a plus.
The actual lower age limit is 40 if travelling with someone 50 or over.
I suspect that the majority of posters on this site are over 50 :)


Only just ;)
Did you have your fingers crossed when you posted?
:lol: :lol: :lol:

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Re: Saga Spirit of Discovery

Post by towny44 » 06 Oct 2019, 12:32

We have only been on Saga land based holidays, but the age profile was far younger than P&O during term time.
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Re: Saga Spirit of Discovery

Post by Stephen » 06 Oct 2019, 14:55

Midlandslass wrote:
06 Oct 2019, 12:08
Stephen wrote:
06 Oct 2019, 12:00
Midlandslass wrote:
06 Oct 2019, 11:55

Yes.
I would guess that the average age was probably in the mid 70's but I saw far fewer walkers and motorised scooters than I saw on our August Cunard cruise.
I prefer to cruise in relatively child free environments so as far as I am concerned cruising with Saga is a plus.
The actual lower age limit is 40 if travelling with someone 50 or over.
I suspect that the majority of posters on this site are over 50 :)


Only just ;)
Did you have your fingers crossed when you posted?
:lol: :lol: :lol:

And legs :D


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Re: Saga Spirit of Discovery

Post by Midlandslass » 06 Oct 2019, 18:40

Forgot to mention for all you P&O fans, all cabins get slippers and lovely fluffy cotton bathrobes.
No distinction between Pacific and Baltic :D
The bath towels are also large fluffy cotton.
Also to request your room to be made there is a switch inside the cabin which lights up a panel outside the door. Do not disturb the light is red outside.
Last edited by Midlandslass on 06 Oct 2019, 18:41, edited 1 time in total.

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