The company has a good cruise pedigree: it is helmed by Gerry Herrod, a long time cruise entrepreneur who formerly was chairman of Orient Lines, Ocean Cruise Lines and Pearl Cruises. The Ft. Lauderdale-based company, which actually was formed in 2002, will charter its ship. And it also comes with pedigree. The 20,216-ton, 650-passenger M/V Discovery was built in 1972 as Island Venture. Princess Cruises aficionados may recognize the vessel from its long tenure – 17 years, in fact – as Island Princess.
M/V Discovery will depart on its maiden voyage – a 25-night Lisbon to Rio de Janeiro sailing – on November 27. Its largely exotic itineraries – a major focus for this destination-oriented line – will include, in its inaugural season, Antarctica, the South Pacific, Australia and New Zealand, Hawaii and the Panama Canal. The ship's 2003/2004 season will end next spring with a 17-night trans-Atlantic crossing to from Ft. Lauderdale to Europe.
Until its launch under Discovery World Cruises banner, the ship has been chartered by Voyages of Discovery, a British company, since it left the Princess fleet. Since then as well, M/V Discovery has been given a total overhaul. The ship has three restaurants, a health club and beauty salon, casino, two pools – including one with retractable dome – and an Internet center, among other features. Alas, one "modern improvement" that's missing: there are no cabins with private balconies.
Discovery World Cruises' founder Gerry Herrod, former chairman of Orient Lines, is considered by many in the industry to be a pioneer in the packaging of voyages that emphasize intensive destination experiences accompanied by land tours.