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Discovery Cruise Review by Carol Singler: SCANDINAVIAN DELIGHTS


Carol Singler
1 Review
0 Post

Member Rating

Cabin 3.0
Dining 4.0
Embarkation 4.0
Enrichment Activities 5.5
Entertainment 4.0
Family & Children Not Rated
Fitness & Recreation 4.0
Public Rooms 4.0
Rates 3.0
Service 5.0
Shore Excursions 4.0
Value for Money 5.0

SCANDINAVIAN DELIGHTS

Sail Date: May 2008
Destination: Baltic & Northern Europe
Embarkation: Harwich

My husband and I just returned from a great two week cruise to the Scandinavian capitals with Voyages of Discovery. I had never heard of this cruise line but found it on the Cruise Critic website and chose it based on itinerary, the fact that it sailed out of and returned to Harwich, the prices seemed good (even with the miserable exchange rate) and we were looking for something with an academic focus rather than multiple amenities. Plus I enjoy being with Brits (there were only about 60 Americans aboard vs. 500 or so Brits, Australians and a few others.

We have sailed previously on Windstar, Princess and Oceania and enjoyed them all. Oceania had the same number of passengers and we knew it would be a hard act to follow, especially in the dining department. We knew the Discovery was an older ship but were pleasantly surprised at the lovely public rooms and the all over high level of maintenance. It looked so graceful on the water and along the pier unlike the huge boxy More cruise ships that are so ubiquitous nowadays.

The cruise package included two nights at a nice London hotel, a half day tour of London and a smooth transfer to the pier at Harwich. We also had a nice non stop flight on British Air from Seattle which the cruise line arranged very reasonably. My only disappointment with the arrangements was our choice of cabin on the Pacific deck. I wish we had spent a little more money for a superior cabin on the Promenade deck which we saw on the last day. The cabins were much larger, with a bathtub and on a quiet deck. We had asked for our cabin to be made up with one bed which made it very crowded and it didn't even have a bedspread so it didn't look very cheery. It was quiet, had lots of storage, a functional bathroom with a great shower (tiny) and an excellent cabin steward. It had a small TV which we mostly used to watch the excellent shore excursion and historical lectures which were offered frequently and televised round the clock. We were quite happy there but it would have been nice to have more space and nicer surroundings.

Discovery was operating on three engines rather than four and that slowed us down a bit and caused a rescheduling of one port - we visited Bornholm, Denmark (a small island) instead of Gdansk, Poland which was disappointing but it turned out to be a wonderful port and we had a great day on our own there. There was a lot of maintenance activity going on at each port and no bridge tours were allowed which my husband had been hoping for. Hope they have it fixed by now. The trip was very smooth and quiet and the North Sea was smooth as glass which is unusual.

The food was better than expected. We had room service almost every day for coffee (which was remarkably good) and cereal and we quite often had a big feed at the Lido buffet which was great. Lunch there was always good with plentiful choices including big salads, and tea at 4pm was fantastic (and very popular). Excellent baked goods and much to choose from. Dinner in the dining room was lovely, with excellent service, usually four entree choices, and very reasonably priced wine offerings. Lots of fish and a fair number of English type offerings - all very good. The alternative dining room was a nice change twice during the trip - a bit better food, especially the Asian night. Lovely restaurant looking out over the water. We usually took our buffet food in there during the day for a nicer atmosphere.

We enjoyed the entertainment almost every evening. There were four or five big shows, a lovely string quartet, a jazz singer and a big Filipino staff show, all of them very good. As I mentioned, the lectures were a highlight - everything from art to the Berlin wall, the czars, guarding the queen and more. They had a British slant and were mostly given by Brits and we learned a lot. There were movies offered in the nice theater each day but we never made it. There was an excellent art class offered on sea days and many other activities.

We only signed up for two shore excursions and visited most places on our own except for St. Petersburg. I had arranged a private tour with Denrus because the ship's excursions did not match our needs and it turned out to be an excellent choice. Everyone we spoke to seemed to enjoy the ship's tours and they were well organized and efficient.

I suppose I could write more but this seems like a lot. Overall, the ship, staff, service, food and itinerary all were wonderful and we would gladly sail with Discovery again. very cheery. It was quiet, had lots of storage, a functional bathroom with a great shower (tiny) and an excellent cabin steward. It had a small TV which we mostly used to watch the excellent shore excursion and historical lectures which were offered frequently and televised round the clock. We were quite happy there but it would have been nice to have more space and nicer surroundings.

Discovery was operating on three engines rather than four and that slowed us down a bit and caused a rescheduling of one port - we visited Bornholm, Denmark (a small island) instead of Gdansk, Poland which was disappointing but it turned out to be a wonderful port and we had a great day on our own there. There was a lot of maintenance activity going on at each port and no bridge tours were allowed which my husband had been hoping for. Hope they have it fixed by now. The trip was very smooth and quiet and the North Sea was smooth as glass which is unusual.

The food was better than expected. We had room service almost every day for coffee (which was remarkably good) and cereal and we quite often had a big feed at the Lido buffet which was great. Lunch there was always good with plentiful choices including big salads, and tea at 4pm was fantastic (and very popular). Excellent baked goods and much to choose from. Dinner in the dining room was lovely, with excellent service, usually four entree choices, and very reasonably priced wine offerings. Lots of fish and a fair number of English type offerings - all very good. The alternative dining room was a nice change twice during the trip - a bit better food, especially the Asian night. Lovely restaurant looking out over the water. We usually took our buffet food in there during the day for a nicer atmosphere.

We enjoyed the entertainment almost every evening. There were four or five big shows, a lovely string quartet, a jazz singer and a big Filipino staff show, all of them very good. As I mentioned, the lectures were a highlight - everything from art to the Berlin wall, the czars, guarding the queen and more. They had a British slant and were mostly given by Brits and we learned a lot. There were movies offered in the nice theater each day but we never made it. There was an excellent art class offered on sea days and many other activities. We only signed up for two shore excursions and visited most places on our own except for St. Petersburg. I had arranged a private tour with Denrus because the ship's excursions did not match our needs and it turned out to be an excellent choice. Everyone we spoke to seemed to enjoy the ship's tours and they were well organized and efficient.

I suppose I could write more but this seems like a lot. Overall, the ship, staff, service, food and itinerary all were wonderful and we would gladly sail with Discovery again.

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" Less


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Cabin review: Discovery 5257

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