Discovery Cruise Review by Canalsailor: Discovery Review
My wife & I arrived at Avonmouth at the appointed time and were made to feel very welcome by the port staff. The refreshment facilities are basic, but at least the tea & coffee are free.
Boarding was quick and painless and when we got to our cabin our bags were already there. Our cabin was clean, tidy and well presented, and remained that way due to the diligence of our cabin stewardess, despite our best efforts!
Amongst the passengers were many elderly and infirm, using sticks and crutches. And we were not informed prior to booking the cruise that 3 of the planned 5 ports of call could not be reached by the ship so tenders are used to get passengers ashore, except that the tenders are unusable by the old and infirm, so 3 of the visited ports would be out of the reach of a lot of the passengers.
One of the ports of call was Douglas, IoM and we did not visit there as the weather was so bad. So we sailed past the Isle of Man on our way to Cobh, missing out More Douglas completely.
The tender operation that we witnessed at Oban was so dangerous, in our opinion, that we decided not to go ashore at Tobermorie, so that is another port of call denied to us.
Perhaps the biggest disappointment, though, was our visit to Dublin, European City of Culture, with sights, museums, theatres, and a thousand years of history yet our stay there was 3 HOURS! but we had a full day at Oban and a full day at Tobermorie. We were told that the free shuttle buses laid on to take us into Dublin took 3/4 of an hour each way, so the 3 hours in Dublin was, in reality, only 1 1/2 hours, so we took a taxi, which, there and back (2 people), was less than the cost of an excursion for 1 person.
We spent a night sheltering in Cobh, unable to leave as the storm in the Celtic Sea was too severe (10 gusting 12, apparently) so we arrived in Avonmouth a day late having crossed the Celtic Sea in what we were told was a force 5. At times it felt like the ship was not fitted with stabilisers, as she rolled quite badly, although there was no sign of the extreme left hand list reported elsewhere.
It is alleged that the ship has recently undergone a refit, but there is no evidence of that, as the paintwork is tired and chipped, the carpets are faded, the decking is chipped and rotted and some of the handrails on deck have an alarming amount of rust on them.
And this trip cost us more than a longer trip on P&O last year. We did this trip mainly because Avonmouth is less than an hours drive from us, but we would much rather drive down to Southampton than travel on Discovery again.
I believe they are planning a trip to Australia. I can't imagine it! Less
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Cabin large enough for twin beds but there was also a chair in the room and the only place that it could go was in front of the wardrobe (closet) so it had to be moved every time we needed access. There was no storage for the suitcases, so they spent the whole voyage behind the door. They would not fit under the beds (we did think of that!) But the big problem was the shower. Every day I reported it to reception and every day they said they would send someone to look at it, and one day we actually saw an engineer. He came in, turned on the shower, grunted and left. I reported (and explained) to reception that the shower worked perfectly at times of the day when no-one wanted a shower, it was only early in the morning that the problem occurred, indicating that the problem was with the capacity of the system to deliver water, not with the shower in our cabin. Another problem was the TV. We had an ancient, CRT set that took up a lot of space and was heavy and bulky, which matters when the ship spends most of its life battling through raging storms. The picture on most channels was very poor, and the volume was completely uncontrolled, leaping up and down as channels were switched.
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