On Friday 5th July HRH The Duchess of Cornwall today became Godmother to Saga’s new boutique cruise ship, Spirit of Discovery, in Dover, Kent. It’s the first cruise ship to be named at the Port of Dover for over a decade.
HRH The Duchess of Cornwall joined over 500 guests in true British style, at what is thought to be the first ever garden party on a quayside. Grass grown in Yorkshire adorned the harbour, surrounded by traditional bunting and table settings, stunning foliage, florals, trees and parasols.
HRH was given a tour of the ‘contemporary classic’ Spirit of Discovery which has been designed and built to be a British ‘boutique’ hotel on the sea. Whilst on board she met Jools Holland OBE in ‘The Club by Jools’, as well as Captain Julian Burgess and crew on the Bridge and entertainers in the Playhouse, the ship’s theatre. She also viewed some of the 400 plus pieces of original art commissioned by British based artists and artisans. These include a striking glass work created by sculptor Peter Layton, and inspired by the Royal Gardens at Highgrove.
Following the tour of Spirit of Discovery, HRH The Duchess of Cornwall cut a specially made cake, a two-metre long replica of Spirit of Discovery, designed and made by Mark Tilling, award winning chocolatier and winner of Bake Off Crème de la Crème. During the official naming ceremony, HRH and guests were entertained by The Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Collingwood and the Morriston Orpheus Choir. The ship was blessed by The Right Reverend Trevor Willmott, Bishop of Dover.
HRH The Duchess of Cornwall formally named Spirit of Discovery with a jeroboam of the specially-blended Hush Heath English sparkling wine, before an eco-confetti cannon fired across the proceedings.
HRH is the patron of the charity The Silver Line, which provides a 24-hour telephone service for older people who are feeling lonely or isolated, and is Saga’s first national charity partner. During her speech she said of The Silver Line, “Since its launch in 2013, it has received over 2 million calls – and the support of Saga will ensure that its vital work can continue.”
Robin Shaw, Chief Executive Officer of Saga Travel, said, “This is an immensely proud moment for Saga. We started this journey to build something special some three and a half years ago, and today, we are honoured to be joined by our Godmother, HRH The Duchess of Cornwall. We firmly believe that Spirit of Discovery creates a new British quality standard in the cruising market and we can’t wait to welcome guests on board.”
The occasion celebrated the start of a significant new era for Saga Cruises, the only remaining British registered, independent, cruise company, whose headquarters are in Folkestone and Best Small Cruise Company winner at the British Travel Awards 2019. Saga’s Spirit of Discovery is their first commissioned ship, and is the only ship built and delivered exclusively for the British market this year. She has been registered in the UK and will proudly display London as her port of registry on her stern. Her sister ship, Spirit of Adventure, will also fly the Red Ensign when she launches in 2020. Moreover, Spirit of Discovery is the first ship to be docked, and named, at Dover Western Docks following the £250m redevelopment of the area.
The inaugural cruise of Spirit of Discovery, named ‘A British First’, will depart from Dover on 10th July and sail around the British Isles and will make her first visit to Southampton 22nd July.
With the first half of 2019, being busy with 12 new cruise ships delivered to various owners the second half of 2019 looks to be just as busy. According to the latest cruise ship order book there are a another 12 new ships set for delivery in the second half of the year, with an average of two ships being delivered each month..
The remaining order book is valued at around $5.5 billion with an estimated 24,190 new berths entering service. Of the ships yet to be delivered, five are expedition vessels and one is LNG-fuelled ship.
2019 New cruise ships
Take a look at what new ships are due for delivery:
Spirit of Discovery
Capacity: 1,000 Guests
Constructed by Meyer Werft in Papenburg Saga’s first-ever new build, the Spirit of Discovery was delivered in mid-June ahead of her inaugural cruise from Dover in July. Departing from Dover on July 10th, the new ship’s first voyage is aptly named British First, circumnavigating the UK and adding calls to Ireland.
All Saga Discovery ship’s 540 staterooms have private balconies, which also means that the ship has no Inside cabins. Cabin categories include Standard Balcony, Deluxe Balcony, Mid-ship Suites and larger Panorama Suites. 100 single cabins are specifically designed for solo travellers (can be booked with single-occupancy rates and without single supplement), which is approx. 20% of ship’s total capacity.
Le Dumont d’Urville will be the fourth in Ponant’s six-ship Explorer-class of expedition vessels. Named after the French explorer and naval officer who explored the south and western Pacific, Australia. The Dumont d’Urville scientific station in Antarctica is named after him.
Featuring innovative and environmentally-friendly equipment, elegantly designed staterooms, spacious suites with large windows, and lounge areas that open onto the outside, this new limited-capacity yacht boasting just 92 staterooms and suites will offer you a truly unique cruising experience. the ship will have reinforced hulls for when sailing in polar regions and an aft marina for when it’s in tropical destinations.
Standout features on Le Dumont d’Urville will be an aft marina and the underwater Blue Eye Lounge. The marina, located at the back of Deck 3, gives cruisers easy access to the ship’s fleet of Zodiacs, as well as for entering the water (conditions permitting) for swimming, kayaking and paddle boarding.
Named after the Australian mountaineer, the “Greg Mortimer” is a modern, purpose-built vessel designed specifically for expedition cruising, and is the first polar expedition vessel in SunStone Ships’ INFINITY series. Being constructed the CMHI yard in Shenzhen China. Four firm contracts have so far been signed, and six options. The INFINITY Class vessels are 104.4 m long and 18.4 m wide. They have a passenger capacity of 130-200, and a crew capacity of 85-115, and are built to the ice standard PC5, Cat B. The most striking feature is the X-BOW®, an inverted bow which results in smoother sailing and increased efficiency. Rather than rising over and then dropping onto waves like a traditional ship, the X-BOW® pierces through them, splitting the wave’s energy.
Constructed by the Uljanik Group in Croatia “Scenic Eclipse” is a six-star, ultra-luxury mega yacht developed by Australian river cruise operator Scenic. It is the first ocean cruise ship for the company, which specialises in luxury river cruises. The yacht will carry 228 guests (restricted to 200 in Polar Regions) in 114 all-veranda suites. It will carry a crew of 172 for normal regions and 182 for Polar Regions.
The Magellan Explorer was constructed in Chile and will be primarily used for fly-in voyages, with a maximum of 100 passengers it will be sail with 73 passengers for the season, which is the exact number of seats the company has on its plane that flies to King George Island. The ship features comfortable and spacious cabins, with twin, queen or king-size beds. The ship also features dedicated single cabins. All cabins except the Porthole category feature a private balcony and separate sitting area.
The 230-passenger cruise ship Hanseatic Inspiration is the second of three identical ships under construction by Norwegian company VARD Holdings Ltd (a subsidiary of Fincantieri) at Tulcea shipyard (Romania). The vessel has ice-class PC6 (highest for passenger ships) and offers 5-star premium hotel service and amenities, gourmet cuisine, large staterooms, and public spaces. The HANSEATIC inspiration will be an international ship, with all cruises conducted in both English and German.
The second of carnivals groups Excellence-Helios class ships is currently under construction at Meyer Werft, Turku shipyard in Finland. Costa Cruises will take delivery its new LNG powered flagship in October. Costa Smeralda’s itinerary program is based on 7-day Western Mediterranean cruises sailing round trip from the Italian homeports Rome-Civitavecchia, Savona, Barcelona, and Marseille. To be able to handle the large cruise liner, Port Savona’s terminal had to be modified. In 2020, two other Carnival brands will take delivery of the same class of ships as Carnival Mardi Gras & Iona enter service.
Sky Princess is the fourth Royal-class vessel all of which have been constructed by the Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri at its Monfalcone Shipyard. The class offers a unique glass-enclosed walkway over the ocean known as the SeaWalk. There are 1539 staterooms in 38 categories. 36 are the wheelchair-accessible rooms. The ship will also debut the new and innovative Princess Sky Suites. After a three-day preview cruise from Port Everglades, the new ship launches alternating seven-day Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale Dec. 7, 2019 – April 4, 2020.
Norwegian Encore is the fourth and final ship in Norwegian Cruise Line’s Breakaway plus Class. Currently under construction at the Meyer-Werft shipyard in Papenburg, and is the 13th ship built for NCL at Meyer Werft. Norwegian Encore will feature a two-level race track that is larger than the go-“karts at sea” tracks featured on Norwegian Bliss and Norwegian Joy. After her debut in Miami, the Encore will head to Seattle in 2021, sailing seven-day cruises to Alaska.
The first of MSC’s MSC Meraviglia-plus class MSC Grandiosa is under currently construction at Chantiers de l’Atlantique in Saint Nazaire. She is able to accommodate 6334 passengers with 75% of all staterooms featuring private balconies. MSC Grandiosa deck plans feature “cluster cabins” (up to 3 connecting staterooms for families) allowing up to three rooms to be interlinked for max capacity 10 guests. The vessel will spend her inaugural season in the Western Mediterranean. The ship will offer a seven-night sailing calling in Genoa, Civitavecchia, Palermo, Valletta, Barcelona and Marseille, with its first cruise sailing from Genoa on November 16, 2019.
Capacity: 4,000 Guests
The third Vista class ship for Carnival Cruises was originally ordered for P&O Cruises Australia, but in December 2016 was changed to Carnival. She is being constructed by Fincantieri at its Marghera shipyard in Italy. As with the previous sister ships Carnival Panorama features 1965 cabins, of which 48 percent of the staterooms on board have balconies. For the first time in its history, the cruise line announced that the ship would feature a female cruise director with British-born Emma Nixon taking the role. The ship will sail from Long Beach, California, offering seven-day Mexican Riviera itineraries. She will be Carnival’s first new ship homeport on the West Coast in more than 20 years.
Currently under construction at the Brodosplit Shipyard in Croatia, the ‘Flying Clipper’, is 162 meters long and 18.5 meters wide with a deadweight of 2000 tons. The ship will have five masts and sails with an overall surface of 6.347 square meters, making it the largest sailing ship in the world. Flying Clipper has five decks, with accommodation for 450 persons, of which 300 are passengers in 150 luxury cabins, and 74 crew cabins for 150 crewmembers.