Saga Spirit of Discovery

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Midlandslass
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Saga Spirit of Discovery

Post by Midlandslass »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

Very interesting. Thank you.
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Re: Saga Spirit of Discovery

Post by Gill W »

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 »

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 »

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

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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.
Moby or Mob is far easier to type ...

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Re: Saga Spirit of Discovery

Post by Jan Rosser »

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:
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Re: Saga Spirit of Discovery

Post by Midlandslass »

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 »

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

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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.
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Re: Saga Spirit of Discovery

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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 :?
Moby or Mob is far easier to type ...

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Re: Saga Spirit of Discovery

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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 »

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 »

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

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Re: Saga Spirit of Discovery

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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.
Moby or Mob is far easier to type ...


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Re: Saga Spirit of Discovery

Post by Midlandslass »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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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Re: Saga Spirit of Discovery

Post by CaroleF »

We have just booked a 9 night cruise on Spirit of Discovery for April. We had to postpone a cruise we had booked on Oceana for next month. At the time the balance for that cruise was due - last November - we weren't sure whether John's health would allow us to go, or if we could get insurance cover. John has Vasculitis which is now in remission and he has one more infusion of a drug that combats his over-active immune system which is what causes the problem. He is much better - although not a lot of energy which for a man who was incredibly fit and active until this illness is very hard to bear. Of course the drug is responsible for the lack of energy and we hope after the last infusion next week when he will go onto a different drug - tablets - that gradually he will recover some of his energy and that the damage that's been done to some of his blood vessels will, in some cases, recover.

The doctors have said there's no reason for us not to go away so hopefully a cruise which goes from Southampton and returns to Dover visiting, La Coruna (overnight stay), Gijon Spain, Bilbao, La Pallice for La Rochelle, St. Peter Port, Dover shouldn't be too demanding. We live near Southampton but as travel is included in the fare we don't mind coming back to Dover, although we could do without the trek back to Southampton but never mind. We'll be in La Coruna on Easter Sunday, I'm not sure we'll get to Santiago de Compestela as with John not being able to walk very far it probably won't happen. Never mind, at the moment just the thought of getting away on a cruise is wonderful after the past months.

We have been impressed with our dealing with Saga so far. For the first time we booked direct with the Cruise Company. I'd read on the Saga Forum on CC that there seemed to be various problems for those people who booked through an agent so we decided to go direct. Saga have phoned us back exactly when they said so we'll see if the level of service continues. Now all the drinks are inclusive and what with that plus the travel included, no tips and WiFi included the price seems a little more manageable. As we've been through a fairly rough time we've splashed out and booked a mid-ship suite. This is the smallest of the three grades of suite so we'll see what it's like. Looking at the pictures it looks about the size of the aft suites on Azura and Ventura.

After all this time sailing with P&O, apart from a few departures to Fred Olsen and Cunard it seems strange to be going on a cruise ship when we are 'newbies'. I'm really looking forward to this holiday so we're keeping fingers crossed all is well. John has his insurance through his bank and after claiming for the on board medical expenses we incurred on the Aurora Canada/USA cruise and having to cancel a cruise back in May last year, booked before John was ill, we thought there was no way the bank would agree to continue cover which would include John's illness. Amazingly they agreed, providing we paid an extra premium - £25! John went through all the medical details with them, the drugs he was on etc. but they still agreed to cover us, really surprised. Of course Saga offer to include Insurance but we felt we'd stay with the bank, especially as it's an annual policy so we get a refund from Saga for not using their Insurance - £23 each apparently.

It seems like a real adventure on the horizon!

Carole

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Re: Saga Spirit of Discovery

Post by Happydays »

Good news that John is recovering, I hope you have a lovely cruise I'm sure you'll both be ready for it :)

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Re: Saga Spirit of Discovery

Post by Ray B »

Good news indeed, I'm sure you will be up to having a good time together. Happy Cruising.
Don't worry, be happy


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Re: Saga Spirit of Discovery

Post by Midlandslass »

Hi Carole
Fingers crossed that you have an incident free cruise this time, I remember reading about all your trials in Canada.
A suite sounds great, do let us know what extra perks you get, we have future cruises booked with Saga but only in their standard cabins.
Have you read Solent Richard’s review of his 16 night cruise on SoD?
Could you hire a motorised scooter for Santiago de Compostela? Just a thought ;)

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Re: Saga Spirit of Discovery

Post by Kenmo1 »

Really good to read your news, Carole.

Maureen

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Re: Saga Spirit of Discovery

Post by Mervyn and Trish »

Hope you enjoy. We're on for a short one next month

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Re: Saga Spirit of Discovery

Post by GillD46 »

So pleased to read things are starting to look up for you both. I’ll be really interested to read your thoughts afterwards.
Gill

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Re: Saga Spirit of Discovery

Post by Mervyn and Trish »

We are aboard now. Review coming up a piece at a time. The headline is very impressed so far, despite some hiccups out of the cruise lines control.

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Post by Mervyn and Trish »

So first hiccup. The ship had an outbreak of norovirus on the previous cruise and was denied berthing at Gib.

Despite media hysteria about plague ships I never blame the ship, the crew or the line. Noro is endemic in the UK in the winter and we currently have a lot of cases. It has an incubation period of up to 48 hours so it is entirely possible for a passenger to innocently and unknowingly bring it aboard. And that is even before those who know damn well they just had it and lie on the boarding questionnaire.

On this last cruise there was a further problem. Noro can be passed on for around 48 hours after the worst symptoms have gone. Yet apparently some sick passengers defied instructions to remain in their cabins putting others at risk. If I was the cruise line I'm afraid I'd blacklist them.

Anyway the upshot was boarding was delayed while a specialist team was brought on board to do a deep clean. We were notified of that by phone call from Saga in good time and our included transfer was put back by three hours so we didn't end up hanging around at the port. It worked well and we were on board around half an hour after arrival at the terminal.

Departure was initially put back to 10pm and then till 10am the following morning so we had a peaceful night in port. More on that and the second hiccup later.

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Re: Saga Spirit of Discovery

Post by Stephen »

Hope you and Trish have a lovely cruise. I look foreward to hearing about the Saga.
Last edited by Stephen on 14 Feb 2020, 07:52, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by GillD46 »

I shall look forward to reading about your experience. Enjoy.
Gill


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Re: Saga Spirit of Discovery

Post by cruisin_duo »

Have a great cruise. Looking forward to reading your review.

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Mervyn and Trish
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Re: Saga Spirit of Discovery

Post by Mervyn and Trish »

Hiccup two. Our sole purpose for this trip was to try the ship so destination was relatively unimportant. It was supposed to be across the channel, up the River Seine to Rouen, all day and overnight there and then return.

However Storm Ciara had resulted in heavy rain and flooding in northern France and the river well above normal levels. That resulted in a bridge being too low. So the fallback was to be Le Havre but with a final decision made at the last minute.

Once aboard Captain Julian Burgess (ex P&O, Princess and Cunard) announced at dinner that Rouen was indeed still inaccessible and that the French, as seems is often the case, were having industrial action at Le Havre. So we were now going to Honfleur. A much nicer alternative in our view. Most tours would operate as planned with the addition of a coach trip to Rouen for those who really wanted to be there. We had only intended a walk ashore so Honfleur would do quite as well for that.

So the new itinerary was a quiet overnight in Southampton that meant drill could wait till the morning followed by 10am sailing, a leisurely coastal cruise to Eastbourne, then double back to cross the channel and dock in the early hours of Valentine's Day. All day and overnight there along with part of Saturday before crossing back accompanied by Storm Dennis.

In a first for me the Captain announced that because of concerns about reboarding the Southampton pilot if the weather was bad we were taking him with us for the entire cruise.

In the end departure was further delayed by a medical disembarkation and we finally got away at around 11. At time of writing we are indeed alongside in Honfleur.

So a lot of issues before we even set off but in our view and clearly that of most passengers Saga dealt with them well. One or two muttering about compo and one claiming to have secured a full refund, on board credit and a free future cruise. I don't think so somehow.

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Meg 50
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Re: Saga Spirit of Discovery

Post by Meg 50 »

Wow - I hope the pilot had sufficient warning to pack his glad rags!
Meg
x

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Stephen
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Re: Saga Spirit of Discovery

Post by Stephen »

Mervyn and Trish wrote:
14 Feb 2020, 08:44
Hiccup two. Our sole purpose for this trip was to try the ship so destination was relatively unimportant. It was supposed to be across the channel, up the River Seine to Rouen, all day and overnight there and then return.

However Storm Ciara had resulted in heavy rain and flooding in northern France and the river well above normal levels. That resulted in a bridge being too low. So the fallback was to be Le Havre but with a final decision made at the last minute.

Once aboard Captain Julian Burgess (ex P&O, Princess and Cunard) announced at dinner that Rouen was indeed still inaccessible and that the French, as seems is often the case, were having industrial action at Le Havre. So we were now going to Honfleur. A much nicer alternative in our view. Most tours would operate as planned with the addition of a coach trip to Rouen for those who really wanted to be there. We had only intended a walk ashore so Honfleur would do quite as well for that.

So the new itinerary was a quiet overnight in Southampton that meant drill could wait till the morning followed by 10am sailing, a leisurely coastal cruise to Eastbourne, then double back to cross the channel and dock in the early hours of Valentine's Day. All day and overnight there along with part of Saturday before crossing back accompanied by Storm Dennis.

In a first for me the Captain announced that because of concerns about reboarding the Southampton pilot if the weather was bad we were taking him with us for the entire cruise.

In the end departure was further delayed by a medical disembarkation and we finally got away at around 11. At time of writing we are indeed alongside in Honfleur.

So a lot of issues before we even set off but in our view and clearly that of most passengers Saga dealt with them well. One or two muttering about compo and one claiming to have secured a full refund, on board credit and a free future cruise. I don't think so somehow.

:thumbup: :D

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GillD46
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Re: Saga Spirit of Discovery

Post by GillD46 »

Result for the Pilot I'd say. I fancy trying Saga.
Gill

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Stephen
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Re: Saga Spirit of Discovery

Post by Stephen »

Expensive.


CaroleF
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Re: Saga Spirit of Discovery

Post by CaroleF »

Really looking forward to your account of the trip. Can't wait until our trip in April.

Carole

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Mervyn and Trish
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Re: Saga Spirit of Discovery

Post by Mervyn and Trish »

As Stephen has commented I'll do price next. Yes it is significantly more expensive than P&O. But there are a number of good reasons for that.

First small ships are always more expensive to operate.

It's the newest ship currently operating out of the UK.

Standards are without doubt higher than the main stream cruise lines as I'll elaborate later.

An awful lot is included in the price. Transport to and from the ship (private car up to 100 miles or shared with one other couple up to 250) or if you don't fancy that other travel options or parking. Drinks. Tips. Wifi and internet. Specialist dining. Insurance or a reduction if you don't want it. Room service. Shuttle buses.

The pricing policy is very clear. If it goes down after you book you get a refund. So it is always cheaper by a chunk to book early and noone is going to get a bonkers deal on the cabin next door by booking very late.

Robes, slippers, binoculars, fruit, bottled water in every cabin, not just the posh ones.

A good selection of on demand films in the cabin tv with no extra charges.

Excursions seem a little cheaper than most.

And finally without doubt they are very clearly not aiming to be the cheap one that attracts the yobs for a booze cruise!

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Mervyn and Trish
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Re: Saga Spirit of Discovery

Post by Mervyn and Trish »

The ship I won't over do the detail as their website is very clear.

It's shiny new and small. Around 1000 passengers. It has a lot of single cabins. About 100 I believe.

Decor is modern bright and elegant. It feels spacious. Even on sea days there were plenty of places to sit. No inside cabins and all balconies means noone has to hog the coffee shop because they have nowhere else with daylight.

One main restaurant with open seating from 6.30 to 9. There are a small number of fixed tables which can be requested when booking but I believe they are also flexible on time.

The buffet, which is called The Grill, offers exactly the same dinner menu if you simply want less formal surroundings.

Three speciality restaurants, sea food, Asian and a music and food place, all of which have to be booked on board but all in the price.

An area called the Living Room where you can get drinks and snacks. All included .

Self service coffee machines doing fancy stuff in the buffet and other places including the library. Again no extra charge. Ditto ice cream .

Two main entertainment venues. One a theatre. The other a bar/show lounge/dance venue where the Crows Nest would be. Cinema is shown in the theatre and simultaneously on one of the tv channels.

A number of smaller bars and lounges.

One outdoor pool and two whirlpools. A lot of outside deck area for the number of passengers.

Nice library. Card room. Craft room. A couple of shops but not the vast malls appearing on the big ships.

Golf simulator. Sports Courts. Deck games. Spa. Salon. Gym.

No casino and of course no kids areas. No pub doing karaoke.

Overall very nice and very classy.

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Stephen
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Re: Saga Spirit of Discovery

Post by Stephen »

What is the cabin like Merv.

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Manoverboard
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Re: Saga Spirit of Discovery

Post by Manoverboard »

Mervyn and Trish wrote:
14 Feb 2020, 14:36
…. Overall very nice and very classy.
Right up your street then 8-)
Moby or Mob is far easier to type ...

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Mervyn and Trish
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Re: Saga Spirit of Discovery

Post by Mervyn and Trish »

Stephen wrote:
14 Feb 2020, 15:31
What is the cabin like Merv.
Patience dear boy. I have a cruise to enjoy between typing this stuff

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Stephen
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Re: Saga Spirit of Discovery

Post by Stephen »

Slacker. .

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