With just three weeks until Saga Cruises returns to the ocean on Spirit of Discovery, the ship is a hive of activity as it prepares to relaunch.
Spirit of Discovery was initially launched in July 2019 so had only recently taken to the waves when Covid-19 locked down the country. Her first sailing as restrictions lift will see her depart Tilbury on Sunday 27 June on a six-night Scottish Highlands and Islands cruise. It will then go on to complete two, six-night itineraries from the Northern Isles to the Fjords on 3 & 25 July, and in between will take in a Great British Isles Adventure cruise from 11 July for 14 nights.
Commenting, Nigel Blanks, CEO of Saga Cruises, said: “We are so looking forward to welcoming guests on Spirit of Discovery on June 27 as we set off around the British Isles. We know how keen they have been to get on-board and our crew members are excited to give them an incredible cruise experience. We’ve all waited so long to cruise again, and we want to make this as special as possible for everyone.”
When she is at full capacity, Spirit of Discovery will accommodate 999 guests across 554 cabins, although this number is being capped further for these initial cruises to observe Covid protocols.
At this stage, the 540-strong crew are joining the ship over the coming days ahead. Many are returning crew members so regular guests will recognise friendly faces.
Once on-board the crew will re-familiarise themselves with the ship and their roles as well as go through extensive Covid-protocol training ahead of any guests arriving on board. The ship will also undertake a number of sea trials, which enable the crew to practice and refine key elements like breakfast, lunch and dinner service, theatrical performances, the daily cleaning routine, and restocking at ports.
And they’ll need to be well practised, as it takes nearly five days to load the ship with all the supplies needed for her first cruise around the British Isles. During a normal port of call, restocking of the ship takes around 10 hours as food, drink and supplies are brought on board.
While she was in dock over the past year, the maintenance crew also took time to invest in further improvements including the installation of handwashing stations at the entrance to all the restaurants.
Spirit of Discovery and its brand-new sister ship, Spirit of Adventure, which will leave on its inaugural cruise on 26 July are both small by today’s ship standards but clever design and the limited number of guests combine to give a real feeling of space and comfort to guests.