First cruise on Discovery, have been on small ships before when Page and Moy had Ocean Majesty and Ocean Monarch.Similar layout and facilities.
Fairly speedy embarcation in Harwich for first time cruisers with Discovery in one queue, a longer line for previous Discovery clients in Discovery Club, slight advantage for once!
Cabin on Bali deck, not able to request which one I would have as I booked the Discovery Fares deal for an outside cabin with a 40 percent reduction. Still had to pay a substantial single supplement though!
A bit noisy at night as my cabin near lifts and reception which was thoroughly hoovered at midnight every night!
I ate my meals in the Lido on deck 9 for breakfast and lunch, food good and plentiful, never seen so much fruit available! Staff helpful with the more elderly guests, helping them with carrying food to the table. 24hour tea and coffee available, hot chocolate being a popular choice which led to rationing, but in true British spirit was overcome after late North Cape visit at 1am, by passengers going through all the cupboards when crew not around!
I was on 1st sitting for dinner and was put on a table with 5 other solo travellers and we all got on fine. The deputy cruise director Jessica organised lots of parties, lunches, dinners and breakfasts for the solo's. we numbered 98 which was a nightmare for her to book us a meal in the Yacht Club, but she managed it. I dined there twice, lovely food, well presented with good views to the front of the ship as long as it wasn't foggy.Staff friendly and attentive.
I had pre booked my shore excursions online so had a slight reduction on the price paid. Still think some trips are ridiculously over priced! similar gripe with other Cruises I have taken. This is the first time that Shuttle buses have had a '£5 price tag attached though! Bit much for a 10 minute journey into town.
Two Formal nights, the first being the Captains Party. We were in good hands with Captain John Brocklehurst, he kept us informed of everything from weather to how many had been affected by Norovirus.
The outbreak occured after the first or second port of call, Trondheim or Leknes. The Buffet stopped being "help yourself" and we were served by the crew.They worked tirelessley cleaning everything continuously until the cruise ended, but there were still 11 passengers affected and they did a "deep clean" once we disembarked.
The ports that we visited were amazing, I hadn't been to this part of the world before and the Port Lectures we had helped us understand more of what we saw.No Polar Bears, but lots of different sea birds, Walrusses,and Dolphins. I missed the Whales when they appeared!!Attacked by Arctic Terns in Ny Alesund, but all part of the experience! Then thoroughly licked by the Husky's!
The glaciers I saw brought me back to all my O level Geography notes that I had written then and now finally made sense!Also WWII history brought to life.
The "white nights" or midnight sun made a great impression on me, and 3 days after the cruise ended, I find the dark night a novelty.
Well done Discovery for a brilliant cruise.I'm sure I will go on others when finances permit.I met so many like minded people from USA, Australia, New Zealand and Holland and hope to keep in touch with some of them.
Also need to add thanks to the very efficient Medical Team on board who looked after my friends' sore legs. They worked very hard.The ship is going in for refit, so hopefully the more "tired" parts of the ship will look a bit brighter!
Community Manager's Note: 'This review was written when the ship sailed for Voyages of Discovery. As of February 2013, it is now sailing under the Cruises & Maritime banner"
Booked a city tour and trip up funicular railway to top of Mount Floein. Worth going up for the brilliant view. Also shopping opportunity at the summit.
Sun was out! Ny Alysund first, a real feel of being in the Arctic. Walked around the research station looking at beautiful scenery, glaciers and snow covered mountains.
Longyearbyen, toured around by coach, then visited Svalbard Husky Centre. Everyone very friendly. Then to shopping area. Must not go outside of marked ares as could end up as a Polar Bears lunch.
Barentsberg could be visited by tender. A climb of 264 steps up to look around the mines and accomodation of the miners working there. Sad, depressing place.
Taken by coach up out of the port to catch the "street car" and our ride back down.A novel experience.