May 13, 2019
(1:20 p.m. BST) -- Saga Cruises teased a glimpse of its new ship, Spirit of Discovery, as it floated out of the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany, on May 12.
The 999-passenger ship will undergo sea trials in early June before being handed over to the line on June 20 ahead of its debut in Dover on July 5, when an official naming ceremony will take place.
Nigel Blanks, COO, Saga Cruises, said: "This is a major milestone for Saga Cruises and for the future of the Company. Spirit of Discovery has been meticulously designed for our customers and to epitomise Saga’s unique British boutique cruising concept. We’d like to thank everyone at Meyer Werft, and look forward to the keel laying of Spirit of Adventure, on 3 June, as we start the construction of our next ship for the British market."
Spirit of Discovery will feature 540 all-balcony cabins and suites -- with 100 rooms specifically designed for solo passengers. Other features include two specialty restaurants, a main dining room and a Britannia Lounge, two swimming pools, a theatre, a library, a spa and a beauty salon.
One of the ship's speciality restaurants, The Club by Jools, is in partnership with Jools Holland and is inspired by 1950s cabaret lounges. As part of a five-year partnership with the line, Jools will sail on three cruises in 2020, playing a mix of Boogie-Woogie, R&B, Jazz and Soul during two performances, accompanied by his band of musicians.
The sailings including the 16-night "A Baltic Fable," departing Dover on August 7; the 14-night Sounds of Spain, departing Southampton on March 15, and the 15-night Western France and the Costa Verde, departing Dover on July 23.
Saga revealed earlier this year that the new ship will go all-inclusive from winter 2019 -- two months earlier than originally planned -- with drinks (house spirits, wine, beer and soft drinks), tips, specialty restaurants, 24-hour room service and Wi-Fi included in the price of a cruise fare.
The line confirmed in September 2018 that sister ship, Spirit of Adventure, will also be all-inclusive when it joins the fleet in August 2020.
Spirit of Discovery’s inaugural cruise, "A British First" around the British Isles, commencing on July 10.