U.K.-based Voyage of Discovery's 40-night "Egypt, Arabia & the Orient" cruise got off to a rocky start last week. The line's single cruise ship, Discovery, was supposed to leave Barcelona on 28 November, but dry dock delays kept it in port until December 1 and rough seas caused further mayhem with the scheduled itinerary.
Discovery was undergoing a routine two-week dry dock when issues arose that delayed the ship's 28 November departure. Company spokeswoman Lis Kemp could not say at this point what those issues were. Passengers boarded the ship on the 28th as planned, and lived onboard while it remained docked in Barcelona for a few extra days. The delay in departure resulted in the cancellation of a scheduled call in Valletta, Malta. When Discovery finally departed, rough seas further impacted the itinerary and the ship was forced to further tweak its itinerary. Kemp did not elaborate on the rough seas -- but the Mediterranean is prone to choppiness during this time of year.
Discovery is now spending December 1 to 4 at sea, which will result in a missed call in Alexandria, Egypt. Its visit to Port Said, Egypt, and Suez Canal transit will each be delayed by a day, and the ship will then skip its second day in Safaga to get back on schedule. Barring future incidents, the rest of the cruise should take place as planned (though arrival/departure times in Safaga and Aqaba have been altered slightly).
Passengers on this voyage will receive a refund equal to the cost of two days of the cruise and a £50 per person shipboard credit. In addition, charges for pre-booked shore excursions in the missed ports were credited back to the passenger's shipboard accounts.
--by Erica Silverstein, Senior Editor
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Dry Dock Problems, Rough Seas Force Discovery Cruise Ship to Cancel Calls
December 4, 2009