Have cruised on "Discovery" about six times in the past (and always given it great reviews). We booked this cruise because the ship was supposed to have been fully refurbished. No noticable improvements had been made - in fact the carpets, cabins and general decor were in a worse state than when we last sailed - Dec. 2011.
The roof of the Lido restaurant was leaking badly over its whole area, with water on the deck and buckets to catch the worst.
The cruise had a poor start with having to wait in a draughty warehouse in Avonmouth for nearly two hours, due to a computer failure.
At least we were luckier than the previous cruise, which was not allowed to sail after passengers had embarked - due to safety issues and staff being untrained.
For most of the time on board the ship listed badly to port, without any official explanation. Also we experienced a bad storm in the North Sea, which combined with the list resulted in a lot of sea-sickness. Some passengers were told by members of the crew that the list was due to the wind but, when we finally managed to speak to the Captain, he admitted that there were problems with the transfer pump hydraulic valves thus making it impossible to level the ship. This information was not officially passed to the rest of the passengers. The list was considerable and made walking difficult for fully-ambulant passengers - there were a lot of elderly, physically-handicapped people, who found it extremely difficult. Due to the listing of the ship quite often the lifts were inoperable. We also heard stories of people falling out of bed.
At about 4 a.m. one morning over the P.A. system the crew were summoned to an engine-room fire. this caused distress to many of the passengers. The fire was quickly put under control, but again passengers were not reassured.
The ship's P.A. system was far too loud, and could be m. away when in port (Arctic Cathedral, over a 3 km. bridge in Tromso).
Excursions extremely expensive - i.e. Northern lights tour 9 p.m. - 1 a..m., and 10 p.m. - 2 a.m. for Â£100 each. to add insult to injury the tours took place when the sky was heavily overcast and there was no possible chance of seeing anything other than clouds. Very little information for independent passengers wanting to do their own excursions. The maps supplied the night before were useless and information sparse. we had to wait until arrival at port to get detailed maps and information from the local tourist information centres, despite the company doing this cruise on a regular basis.
Although the new crew did their best and were very mannerly they did not have the same social skills as the Philipinos who used to crew for "Voyages of Discovery". The food was adequate, but not of the same standard as "Bill Anderson's of V of D".
The return journey down the coast of G.B. was very disappointing, as no commentary was given of places passed. We went searching for senior staff to announce what we were seeing - a few sparse announcements were made (due to our prompting), but not nearly enough for the amount of islands passed.
All in all - very disappointed, and our last cruise on what used to be an excellent vessel.