Saga cruises: Spirit of Discovery assessment – cabins, eating, leisure and costs | – | Journey

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Saga is one in all Britain’s best-known manufacturers, offering holidays for the over-50s because the 1960s and launching its cruise line in 1996. Loyal “Saganauts”, as its passengers are recognized, love the home-from-home ambiance of Saga’s ships, which have all the time been older ships refurbished to British tastes till Spirit of Discovery’s launch in July 2019. With new laws about ship gasoline and air pollution, Saga introduced plans for the brand new ship in 2014 constructed to its passengers’ specs. A second new-build ship – Spirit of Journey – will observe in 2020 though it would have a very totally different inside to its sister ship Discovery.

THE WOW FACTOR

Signing up Jools Holland as an everyday star entertainer is an actual coup for Saga and a particular deal with for these fortunate sufficient to be on board when the pop star-turned TV legend performs his boogie-woogie piano together with his Large Band within the theatre.

Jools additionally had a hand within the idea behind The Membership, the ship’s cabaret membership restaurant with traditional darkish wooden panelling and moody lighting that serves steaks and cocktails whereas a band performs to diners. There is no such thing as a charge to eat right here or within the different two speciality eating places, which is outstanding in itself, and the meals is excellent in all three.

Additionally good is the free chauffeur service firstly and end of your vacation (as much as 250 miles away) or free home flights, coach, rail or parking.

THE LIFESTYLE

Saga’s immediately recognised over-50s branding has been a double-edged sword for its cruise line: all people is aware of the ships might be child-free however some mistakenly consider the clientele are all historical.

Passengers aren’t any older than these on another cruise line with ships leaving from Britain, so though there aren’t any passengers below 50 many are nonetheless of their 50s and 60s.

Saga’s glamorous new ships and refreshingly totally different leisure are more likely to entice much more from this age group – though a few of the most fascinating passengers are within the higher age vary.

There are nice tales to be heard over afternoon tea in The Grand Eating Room or pre-dinner drinks within the magnificent but bling-free Atrium and Dwelling Room.

And like all cruise traces you’ll have some passengers who like to pamper themselves within the attractive spa with its free hydrotherapy pool, infrared sauna and steam room, whereas others want sunning themselves on loungers across the Lido pool that’s truly lengthy sufficient to swim lengths.

STATEROOMS

With a most 999 passengers, Spirit of Discovery is the largest ship Saga has ever operated but all its staterooms and suites have balconies – even its 109 single cabins.

Normal balcony cabins are 215 sq. toes, together with the balcony, and have comfortably sized bogs with trendy showers slightly than baths and wonderful marble-topped sinks with darkish wooden drawers and a well-lit mirror.

Even these commonplace cabins have armchairs and a espresso desk in addition to balcony seating, as do the only cabins, whereas the deluxe balcony cabin is 350 sq. toes and has a walk-in wardrobe. All of the cabins have a fridge, tea and coffee-making amenities, British plugs, USB ports, Prija toiletries, flat-screen TVs and on-demand cabin films.

There’s additionally a great vary of suites, for an extra-special sense of luxurious, from mid-ship suites of 462 sq. toes that provide a lounge, bed room, walk-in wardrobe and bathtub with separate bathe, to individually adorned ahead suites which might be from 765 to 855 sq. toes. All have butler service and extras equivalent to pre-dinner canapes plus bigger balconies than different cabins.

DINING

The meals is an actual spotlight on Spirit of Discovery, not least as a result of there aren’t any cowl costs and wine is included with meals. It is usually wonderful high quality, significantly within the speciality eating places but additionally in The Grand Eating Room and self-service The Grill.

There’s open seating within the Eating Room, though you may ebook mounted seating earlier than you sail, and a lot of the tables are for 2 or 4 folks with a number of for teams of six.

Typical dinner menus embody smoked salmon, French onion soup, rack of lamb, tarte tatin and strange British cheeses. On formal nights the meals in The Grill is identical as within the Eating Room so it’s a great place to eat for many who don’t like black tie occasions – though room service can be free.

The Grill is unusually calm and chic for a buffet restaurant – the partitions are off-white with actually trendy seats – and there’s loads of tables on The Verandah for many who want to eat exterior.

The three speciality eating places are all free however get booked up inside a number of hours of passengers getting on board so it’s price making that your first job. The Membership by Jools has a 200g thick-cut New York sirloin steak as its completely scrumptious signature dish however there’s additionally lamb, pork, rooster, grilled fish and vegetarian choices plus uncommon cuts of steak such because the tomahawk – for 2 to share.

Subsequent door is Coast To Coast, a seafood restaurant that provides the whole lot from fish and chips to a powerful seafood platter for 2, with pasta and rooster for these with companions who don’t like fish. East To West is an Asian restaurant, much like the unique on Saga Sapphire however extra sumptuously adorned, serving major programs starting from its signature Asian-style surf and turf (teriyaki pork stomach and roasted cod) to Thai, Chinese language and Indian dishes.

There’s additionally a day-time espresso store in The Dwelling Room with tempting muffins and pastries, a espresso station in The Library – a stupendous house with cozy sofas and armchairs in up to date fashion – and occasional out there on the bar within the gentle and ethereal Britannia Lounge.

Drinks and snacks may additionally be out there throughout the day on The Terrace, the deck space on the finish of the ship’s wraparound Promenade – a great place to go for sundown cocktails too.

ENTERTAINMENT

An evening in The Playhouse listening to Jools Holland and his Large Band is among the many greatest leisure you’ll ever discover at sea – though his appearances are restricted. In 2020 he’ll be becoming a member of 4 cruises – to Spain, the Adriatic, France and the Baltic – in March, April, July and August respectively.

However The Playhouse additionally has musical theatre exhibits, performs, critiques, classical music performances and transforms right into a cinema, too.

The Britannia Lounge has double-height panoramic home windows and doorways out to a terrace with a few enigmatic sculptures, so it’s a great place for night drinks. At evening it’s one of many major leisure venues, with stay music performances and a dance flooring for energetic passengers.

There’s additionally stay music each evening in The Membership each throughout and after dinner and the grand piano within the Atrium is one other focus throughout night drinks.

Daytime leisure contains free use of the spa (therapies should not free), the gymnasium and health centre on the Solar Deck, which additionally has an out of doors video games space and indoor Fairway golf simulator. There’s additionally a Craft Room outfitted with stitching machines for expert-led courses and workshops, The Card Room for card recreation classes and tournaments and the stunning Library.

FACT BOX

Spirit of Discovery will sail round-trips from Dover and Southampton with itineraries to northern Europe and the Mediterranean in summer season 2019 and the Canaries within the winter – with a New York and Caribbean cruise over Christmas and the New Yr. In 2020 there are comparable itineraries with one-offs together with Greenland, the Arctic, the New World and North Africa.

The 35-night Festive New York And The Caribbean cruise is a return journey from Southampton departing December 5, 2019, from £7,101pp, two sharing, all inclusive (journey.saga.co.uk).


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