My family took a cruise on the MV Discovery "Grand Asia and Australia", January 4 to February 10, 2012. To cut to the chase. We would not take this ship, nor any Discovery Cruise again, and here is why:
1. This really is a 2 star ship; it was the original Love Boat, and does show its age. It is very tired!! From not having any cold water in the sinks, to having sporadic hot water in the shower, to having no hot water for three days, to having minimal A/C in the hot climates, to sulfer smell coming from the toilet, to a very rocky ship, and other issues.
2. The entertainment was lacking. From poor lectures, to high school entertainment at night, to 40 year old movies, to sing- alongs as evening entertainment, to dead evenings, there is basically nothing to do on this ship. A word to the wise: bring your own entertainment!!
3. The ship makes no modifications of meal times for those passengers doing shore excursions and returning late; meals are at 6:30 (first seating) or 8:30 (second seating); there is no Lido buffet or open dining for anyone outside of the set hours. There is no alternative Lido buffet or other dining choice other than the dining room, or reservations at the Yacht Club -- which is the area where the Lido breakfast/lunch is served. Reservations at the Yacht Club are limited to twice during each segment of the cruise.
4. In the only dining room on this ship, if you are not lucky enough to get a table for four or six or eight, you will be assigned to bench seating (like high school picnics), where you are crammed together so tight that one rubs elbows with your neighbor; there is no personal space.
5. Tipping is automatically added to your account, but one can request it to be removed so that one can tip independently.
6. During this voyage, we all were advised several times both in the daily program and over the public address system to conserve water by taking shorter showers and flushing less frequently, as the ship's water reserves were at a low ebb; and this was only after two days out of port. Apparently this is a common occurrence for this ship.
7. PA announcements are constant; several times a day to remind the passengers of the daily activities; this gets very annoying and disruptive.
8. In Sandaken, Indonesia we were originally scheduled to depart at 6PM, but that was changed to 1PM, so we all were on board as requested; it turned out that the ship did not have an updated chart (the captain announced that his charts for this area were from 1958) so the ship left the docks and anchored in the harbor until 10:30PM, so we could depart at high tide. A total waste of valuable port time!
9. We understand that this ship can not enter United States waters per the CDC; there are health issues in the kitchen that do not pass muster. They were heavily fined the last time they stopped in the USA, and the ship was almost impounded; so instead of fixing the health issues, Discovery Cruise Company choice to not berth in American waters.
10. Room service is good, but limited to sandwiches, fruit, beverage, and snacks. You may not get a full lunch or dinner from room service.
11. The service throughout the ship is excellent; we could not have asked for more.
12. The food quality is similar to Princess Cruise Lines; not fabulous, but more than adequate.
13. We can not comment on the shore excursions as we did not use them; we were independent in each port, but the comments were that they were very overpriced and not worth the money.
In summation: as I said, we would not use this company again as there are too many other cruise lines that do a better job, but they did visit the ports that we wanted, so we sucked it up. I do understand that the Discovery Cruises has an 80% return rate for the Brits, so for that crowd, it works well. But for the American market, this would not go over well.
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"