March 11, 2013
The line blamed the cancellation on technical problems following an inspection by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency in Portland on Friday, which resulted in the ship being formally detained.
According to the MCA: "a Detention Notice on the passenger ship Discovery, preventing the vessel from sailing … will remain in place whilst the owners and crew undertake revisions to their safety management system."
A spokesperson for CMV declined to comment on the specific nature of the technical problems, but confirmed to Cruise Critic that the ship would require a follow-up inspection before it would be allowed to sail again.
At least one report citing concerns over crew training and familiarity with emergency procedures onboard as a reason for the ship being detained has surfaced in Cruise Critic's forums. Member lemoncurd wrote: "Given that there was no information given out on board, it's a bit of a poor show, but the reason for the cancellation seems to be that the MCA refused a marine certificate due to safety reasons. The muster drill was cancelled just before it was due to begin and some passengers were told that there was a problem with the lifeboats and that because the staff could not speak fluent English, there were communications issues during the first drill. My mother said the cabin was actually OK and had no problems with the water supply, but other people were saying that lots of stuff had been left unfinished after the overrunning refit."
Discovery's cancelled cruise was to have been the first since its recent lengthy dry-dock in Genoa, Italy, and the first since CMV took over operation of the vessel from owners All Leisure Group. Captain Greybeard has also posted photos and reports in his Daily Mirror blog that the ship's refurbishment is incomplete.
The next scheduled cruise itinerary is nearly identical to the cancelled cruise and is set for departure on March 15. The line says they are working towards ensuring the cruise goes ahead as planned.
According to CMV's spokesperson, talks are underway with All Leisure Group -- which also owns the 12,500-ton, 352-passenger Minerva and the 2,112-ton, 49-passenger Hebridean Princess -- to address the causes of the ship's detention and determine who bears the responsibility for bringing it up to regulation.
Discovery was originally scheduled to depart from Bristol on Thursday, Feb. 28, but bad weather and tidal restrictions in the port required that the ship be rerouted to Portland instead, resulting in a delay.
Passengers were bussed to Portland and boarded Discovery, remaining in port for more than 24 hours before being disembarked on Friday, March 1, according to a statement from CMV.
CMV said it will provide passengers on the cancelled cruise with a full refund, compensation of GBP £250 per person and a future cruise discount of 40% for cruises booked on Discovery by April 30, 2013.
--by Jamey Bergman, U.K. Production Editor