Gold Ribbon Banner
Sunday, September 22, 2019
Spirit of Discovery

WITHIN the last two months the British cruise industry has welcomed the arrival of Saga Cruises, 58,250gt, Spirit of Discovery, and bade farewell to P&O’s iconic, 1995 built, 69,153gt, cruise liner Oriana.

Although separated in age by 24 years, they not only have similar tonnages but dimensions too, with length and breadth at 236 metres, 31.2 metres, and 259 metres and 32 metres respectively. Both ships have been described as classic British cruise ships, purposebuilt for the British cruise market. Coincidentally, they were both constructed at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany. Perhaps it is there though the similarities end.

In her design, the Spirit of Discovery offers the – over- 50’s travel specialist – guests a celebration of British artists and landscapes, and an array of restaurants with cuisine refl ecting the myriad of destinations she will visit throughout the world. Every guest of the 999 capacity she is able to carry will be accommodated in a cabin with an average deck area of 215 square feet including a balcony. Her eSiPod propulsion system delivered by Siemens claims to be low-noise, low-vibration and superior to conventional diesel electric systems. The new vessel was christened at the £250 million pound recently developed Western Docks in the port of Dover on 5 July in a ceremony performed by her Godmother, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall. Five days later, the fi rst guests embarked Saga’s reported £346 million vessel for her 13 nights, maiden voyage around the British Isles, aptly named – A British First.

Earlier in the year, the keel laying ceremony was held for Spirit of Discovery’s sister ship, the Spirit of Adventure, Saga cruises’ second new build. Spirit of Adventure is expected to enter into service in summer 2020.

Robin Shaw, CEO of Saga Travel said: “Our decision to build two boutique cruise ships, Spirit of Discovery and Spirit of Adventure for our guests heralds a new era in the history of Saga cruising. Both ships have been designed to epitomise Saga’s British boutique cruising concept and they are the fi rst small, luxury ships to be built by a British company, for the British market, in more than four decades.”The Spirit of Discovery has been registered in the UK and proudly displays London as her port of registry. Spirit of Adventure will also fl y the Red Ensign.

At the time of her build in 1961, P&O’s, 44,807grt Canberra, did and would for more than the next 30 years defi ne the British cruise market. She was built by Harland & Wolff, in Belfast, and originally had accommodation for 556 fi rst-class and 1716 tourist-class passengers. From 1974 – when cruising – she could carry 1,641 passengers. She was a popular ship from her fi rst voyage. However, by the early 1990s it was apparent that a replacement for her would be required sooner rather than later and an order was placed with Meyer Werft to build what would become the second vessel to carry the name Oriana. Although considered at the time, no British shipyard felt able to compete for the order. Following her delivery voyage from her builders to Southampton, she was offi cially named by Her Majesty the Queen on 6 March 1995. Robert Tillberg, who was responsible for much of her design work, had spent a great deal of time onboard the Canberra to assess the needs of the British market. The result of his work was considered to be both elegant and traditional, including the design of Oriana’s single funnel bearing a resemblance to the prominent feature of the twin funnels on Canberra. The new vessel undoubtedly brought with her standards of accommodation and amenities which were a benchmark for others to follow. Arguably, one of the most noticeable differences from the Canberra and other contemporary passenger/cruise ships was Oriana’s entire deck of staterooms and suites with balconies. Conversely, of the 780 cabins on the Canberra which remained in service until 1997, 236 were without private facilities, let alone balconies. Following the introduction of Oriana the desire and demand for balcony accommodation grew enormously, culminating and evidenced by the design of the new Saga vessels. Oriana was powered by conventional diesel engines, equipped with twin rudders, bow thrusters and a stern thrust. In the mid- 1990s she was considered highly manoeuvrable and was capable of an impressive 24 knots. During her period in service she safely circumnavigated the globe on many world cruises. I am sure history will record she was extremely popular with the many thousands of passengers, including myself, who have had the pleasure and privilege of sailing aboard her. When she sailed up Southampton Water for the fi nal time in early August at the conclusion of her 18 nights, Norway and North Cape cruise I suspect it wouldn’t just be the grass in the adjacent Mayfl ower Park that was dewy, but many an eye on board as well. She may be gone to new horizons in the Far East but her loyal following with precious memories of her will ensure she is never forgotten.

More on this and other news in Sea Breezes Magazine - September 2019 Issue
Click here to subscribe

Subscribe Graphic

Latest Issue - Look Inside!


Most Popular

  • First of Giant New Container Ships is Handed Over +

  • Alan Sinclair to Nova Star +

  • Welcome to 'Spirit Of Discovery' - Farewell to 'Oriana' +

  • From Gloucester Tall Ships to Kenyan Sailing Dhows +

  • Billionaire Arthur Blank has his own Dreamboat +

  • 1
  • 2

Latest Products

Maritime Log

  • Admiral Bellingshausen +

    Admiral Bellingshausen A 24m YACHT carrying members of an Estonian expedition arrived at Lerwick on Aug 14 on a voyage to mark Read More
  • Two Rescued by Lifeboat +

    Two Rescued by Lifeboat TWO local fishermen were rescued after their fishing vessel caught fire off Land’s End on the afternoon of July 16. Read More
  • First Task of Shell Bunker Barge +

    Shell Bunker Barge SHELL’S first inland waterway LNG bunker barge carried out her first bunkering operation at Rotterdam in June. Read More
  • A Special Surveyor Joins the Humber Estuary Fleet +

    Special Surveyor A NEW £600,000 vessel has joined the survey fleet of Associated British Ports (ABP)’ Humber Estuary Services. Read More
  • Denmark Sails into Fifth in the World +

    Denmark Sails into Fifth in the World DENMARK has now moved into fifth position in the list of the world’s largest shipping countries. Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

North America

  • Boost for Area's Exports and Jobs Forecast +

    Port of Morrow in Oregon THE EXTENSION of the barge service at the port of Morrow, in Oregon, is one of only three projects on Read More
  • Operation to Salvage Three Tugs +

    Tug Salvage THE US Coast Guard has launched an investigation into the sinking of three vessels in the Illinois River near Hardin, Read More
  • Terminal Being Made 'Big Ship Ready' for 2021 +

    Terminal Being Made Big Ship Ready WORK has started on the expansion of Seattle’s Terminal 5 so it can handle container ships of up to 18,000 Read More
  • Record Set by Largest US Ship for Hawaii Service +

    Lurline The largest combination container, roll-on, roll-off ship ever built in the United States was formerly named in a ceremony at Read More
  • $293mn for Port Projects +

    Long Beach port The United States is to invest $292.7mn in the country’s ports through a new Port Infrastructure Development Programme. Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3


  • Network Demands Recovery of the Second VDR +

    Stellar Daisy A new search has been demanded to recover the second Voyage Data Recorder (VDR) from the wreck of the South Read More
  • First of Giant New Container Ships is Handed Over +

    MSC Gulsun THE SWISS-based Mediterranean Shipping Co (MSC) has taken delivery of one of the world’s largest container ships, the MSC Gulsun, Read More
  • The Last New Magnolia Ship in Series +

    The Last New Magnolia Ship THE Singapore-based container shipping company Ocean Network Express (ONE) has taken delivery of the 14,000 teu capacity ONE Cygnus, 138,611dwt, Read More
  • Line Adds Automated Power Kite to Propulsion +

    Airseas The Japanese shipping company Kawasaki Kisen KK (K Line) aims to cut ship greenhouse gas emissions with automated power kites. Read More
  • ONE Express to North Sea and Baltic +

    ONE Apus The Japanese shipping line Ocean Network Express (ONE) was due to start an enhanced North Sea Baltic Service with Russia Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Naval Focus

  • RFA Tideforce is Welcomed into Service +

    RFA Tideforce BRITISH News THE FOURTH and last of the new Tide class tankers, RFA Tideforce, was offi cially accepted into service Read More
  • USS Cincinnati to be Delivered to US Navy +

    USS Cincinnati US News USS CINCINNATI is the latest member of the expanding littoral combat ship fl eet to be delivered to Read More
  • Scorpene Sub Snags +

    INS Khanderi indian News The troubled Scorpene class submarine program hit another snag in June. Read More
  • US Navy’s Frigate Program Passes Significant Hurdle +

    USS Minneapolis-St Paul US News The US Navy has unveiled its plans for the purchase of a new frigate known as FFG(X). Read More
  • Fourth Dreadnought Named HMS “King George VI” +

    Dreadnought Class UK News The fourth member of the new Dreadnought class of nuclear powered ballistic missile submarines will bear the name Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Ferry World

  • Alan Sinclair to Nova Star +

    Glen Sannox Those in management positions must dread the retirement of those characters who retire from their life’s work with a wealth Read More
  • Fragile Future for Calmac +

    Isle of Arran TMore and more, I am reading reports that say the media, and the public too, are well aware of the Read More
  • Oscar Goes to Italy +

    Oscar Wilde Irish Continental Group has entered into a bareboat hire purchase agreement for the sale of its 1987-built Oscar Wilde to Read More
  • CalMac Heritage +

    Columba I include a fine poster and artist’s image of the famed Macbrayne paddler Columba. Read More
  • Russian Adventure +

    Ocean Adventurer To the North East Coast and arriving at Aberdeen for the first time for many months, I witnessed a passenger Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Sail Review/Coastal Comment

  • From Gloucester Tall Ships to Kenyan Sailing Dhows +

    Royalist Gloucester Dock is linked to the River Severn at Sharpness by a 16 mile canal. Read More
  • The Zea Servant +

    Zea Servant The Hong Kong registered Zea Servant arrived late June from Hull. She was in Campbeltown to load wind turbines for Read More
  • The Green Band of Marstal +

    Bessie Ellen The Danish Maritime Museum had the schooner Bonavista built on the island of Aero at Marstal and this year they Read More
  • Norweigan National Day +

    Thorodd I was in Montrose on the Norwegian National Day, 17 May, when its independent constitution from Sweden was confirmed in Read More
  • Port of Aberdeen Fifty Years On +

    Aberdeen Harbour Extension Project When I first arrived in Aberdeen in 1968, I couldn’t believe my luck. Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

From the Lookout

  • Welcome to 'Spirit Of Discovery' - Farewell to 'Oriana' +

    Spirit of Discovery WITHIN the last two months the British cruise industry has welcomed the arrival of Saga Cruises, 58,250gt, Spirit of Discovery, Read More
  • Lower Figures in the Area of Ship Losses +

    The Sincerity Ace IT WAS HEARTENING to read in a recent press release from the Allianz Global Corporate & Speciality SE’s (AGCS), in Read More
  • President Opens ‘Largest UK Ship Simulation Centre’ +

    Sir Michael Bibby With the training of seafarers being so important to safety at sea, and in particular navigation equipment and bridge procedures, Read More
  • Hands-Free Mooring at St Lawrence Seaway +

    St Lawrence Seaway I feel there are probably many readers, like me, who feel a shiver down their spine when they think of Read More
  • Flying the Flag on Merchant Navy Day +

    Red Ensign For more than 35 years, it has been my immense privilege to be a local Isle of Man committee member Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Cruise News/Superyacht News

  • Billionaire Arthur Blank has his own Dreamboat +

    Billionaire Arthur Blank's Dreamboat ARTHUR BLANK helped create the American home improvement store chain, Home Depot, and it seems that now, his new fl Read More
  • Boudicca Pays Tribute to D-Day Veterans +

    Boudicca Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines were proud to have played its part in hosting 250 D-Day veterans. Read More
  • Captain of a Modern Passenger Carrying Sail Ship +

    Sea Cloud 2 If you have ever wondered what qualities a Captain of a cruise vessel might need to have listed on his Read More
  • Every Ash Cloud Has A Silver Lining +

    The ash cloud crisis continues to cause uncertainty as we see sporadic closures of airspace and cancelled flights, and this Read More
  • Damen Group Superyachts +

    Amels With 25 projects underway, business is booming for Amels, the Dutch luxury yacht builder. Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Ships, Ports and Places


An Unexpected Job in Cuba

In 1948, I joined the MV Yamaska Park as an EDH and, over the first few days aboard, I became Read More
Suez Canal

The Creation of the Suez Canal - Part Two

IAt the end of 1858, the company’s Works Committee convened for the first time. It included an impressive assembly of Read More
  • 1
  • 2

Companies, Events and Other Features

HMS Beagle

Naval Heritage Meets Modern Luxury

She began life as HMS Beagle, was then converted to become a super yacht and renamed Titan. Now, following another Read More

Women and Children First

HMS BIRKENHEAD was one of the first iron-hulled warships built for the Royal Navy. Although laid down as the frigate, Read More
  • 1
  • 2