We have sailed on the Discovery many times and have loved it mainly because it goes to different destinations. We sailed from Istanbul on the Treasures of the Black Sea. At the airport we heard a number of conversations about the Discovery and how the standards had dropped, poor staff service and very poor food at times. We were under the assumption when we booked the cruise that the ship was on lease to MV but it still belonged to Discovery,. We took the comments we heard 'with a pinch of salt' truly expecting the ship to be of the same standard as we had experienced before and we had picked the cruise for the destinations.
On boarding the ship we found the staff were not the same nationality as we had had before and that some of their attitudes to passengers was not friendly or helpful and quite off hand at times. Our waiter from Burma was fantastic and nothing was too much trouble. Our cabin stewardess was also friendly and made us feel welcome but these members of staff were the exception.
Generally the standards have dropped dramatically. We were not introduced to the show members until the last night. A few of the shows were excellent but many of them were lack lustre and boring. The shows were also let down by the state of the costumes which were ripped, bits missing, held together by safety pins and not very inspiring at times.
Coffee on the Lido deck was only available up to 10 pm, no longer 24 hours so if you wanted a late night coffee you had to get it at the bar and it was not good. Also on the lido deck on one of the coffee stations was open so sometimes there were up to 30 people queuing, the lack of cups was also a problem. The ice machine was not working and the bar manager of the Lido bar was very snooty if you asked for ice. They need to remember that not everyone is a drinker even of soft drinks. We have always enjoyed eating in the Yacht club as it had a lovely atmosphere. This time we felt rushed, no one playing the piano and generally you felt you could have been eating anywhere it was not an enjoyable experience.
The food at times was excellent but too often it was a disappointment and on a few occasions unedible. Breakfast was excellent and the choice as good as ever. Lunch was a bit hit and miss sometimes a good choice and tasty but other times very bland. Afternoon tea which if we had been out on a trip and back late and we were second sitting was a real disappointment. They used to make up sandwiches of your choice this time it was usually bits of French bread with lettuce, tomato and something and because they had been made a while before the bottom was always soggy. Usually we could find something we liked on the evening menu, we are not fussy eaters however the night I got pasta with chicken in a gravy type sauce I could not eat it. No salads seemed to be available but I did discover I could have fresh fruit, it was not on the menu and I do not have a sweet tooth.
The ports of call were excellent and we loved the places we visited especially Sochi, Yalta, Sevestopol and Odessa and we would love to visit these places again but not on the Discovery.
I contacted MV when we returned at the end of October and apart from an acknowledgement I have heard nothing even though I have emailed them several times. My reason for writing this review now is that good friends of ours who we met on the boat said in their Christmas card they were considering booking a cruise on this ship as like us they have enjoyed many brilliant cruises on the Discovery. People on board who had booked further cruises were not looking forward to the cruises. As MV have not answered any of my queries they obviously do not care about their passengers so please be aware their standards across the board are not as good as when it was sailing under the Discovery company.