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First Look: Spirit of Discovery

The first ship in a new class for a cruise lines first newbuild.

The Spirit of Discovery has just set sail for England’s Saga Cruises. This is the wholly owned cruise division of the UK’s mega holiday company Saga. They’ve been in the news lately as their share prices have plummeted (52wk range £141.20- £31.78) and they’re currently undergoing some issues between their shareholders and upper management. However, even in those financial releases, they praised the financial health of their cruise sector. Cruisers on Saga needn’t worry.

The new ship is the first in a new class developed by and built at Germany’s Meyer Werft. At 58,250gt and 774ft. LOA she’s definitely the smallest ship out of that yard in a long time. What’s even more unique about this ship is that it’s Saga’s first newbuild ever!

Saga made their name selling vacation packages (hotel+flights+transportation, etc.) to British holidaymakers. They then ventured into the cruise sector by purchasing the Saga Rose (ex-Sagafjord, Gripsholm) in 1997 and chartering the Minerva (ex-Okean, Saga Pearl, Explorer II, Alexander von Humboldt) between 2003-2005. They then added some more second and third hand tonnage over the years.

As those charters were running out and the ships were getting a bit older, they decided to venture into the newbuild market. They shocked the industry in 2015 by ordering a single newbuild with the option of another one.

That brings us to the launch of the Spirit of Discovery earlier last month and now that she’s just departed on her maiden voyage around Ireland and the British Isles, so lets take a look at her.


The bottom two decks of the ship contain a majority of the public rooms. The forward parts contain the main theater and the spa.

Amidships is The Living Room (also called the same thing on Viking Ocean’s Newbuilds) and some bars.

The aft is where the restaurants are located.

The back of the ships feature The Terraces. Instead of having aft wrap-around balconies, Saga has opted for observation areas.

The next 5 decks contain all the cabins. Every cabin onboard features a balcony.

Up on top is the Lido and Sun decks. There’s the observation lounge up front.

The pool is amidships.

The Grill, casual restaurant, is aft.

There’s also a neat outdoor games area tucked away behind the funnel.