Under new management: Change of cruise style for cut-price Discovery

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EXCLUSIVE: Cruise ship Discovery is the subject of a new joint venture announced today between All Leisure Holidays and Cruise & Maritime Voyages.
The popular 700-passenger vessel is scheduled to return from an extensive dry-dock refurbishment next February, and had been expected to join sister ship Voyager – launching in December – in an expanded Voyages of Discovery fleet.
Instead, it will sail alongside Marco Polo, replacing venerable Ocean Countess for most of CMV’s departures from regional ports in the UK.
While operating on similar-sized ships the cruise experience offered by the two companies has, until now, been markedly different. CMV has been generally lower-priced, while VoD has attracted passengers looking for a destination-rich holiday.
Passengers with advance bookings on Discovery have been informed of the change this week; they can choose to keep their existing reservation and pocket the price saving, or switch to a similar voyage on Voyager.
CMV Commercial Director Chris Coates told me this morning: “We have enjoyed three highly successful summer seasons operating Ocean Countess from regional ports around the British Isles and now look forward to operating the upgraded Discovery and establishing her as a great value cruise brand.”
Roger Allard, Executive Chairman of All Leisure Holidays – which also operates Swan Hellenic and Hebridean Island Cruises – added: “The opportunity to work in partnership with CMV is a great route to increase the audiences we appeal to and deliver something new to the cruise sector.
“We now have a great value cruise brand to bolster the existing discovery and luxury options already on offer. We look forward to welcoming new and existing passengers on board Discovery, which will premier its refurbishment in February.”
Mini one-night cruises will start from just £69 per person, with a five night cruise costing from £409 per person. Longer cruises from five to 18 nights will be available, with fares for a two-week cruise from £1,129 per person – less than £87 per night.
While both companies are claiming the move will benefit UK passengers, it does mean that there will be fewer ships offering ex-UK cruises next year; the loss of Ocean Countess will be followed next November by the retirement of Saga Ruby.
There will be noticeable changes to the operation of Discovery; under its new management, tips will not be included (£5 per night will be charged), transport to the departure port will no longer be provided, and nor will shore excursions. There will still be guest speakers on board, but they will now compete with bingo and cabaret entertainment for passengers’ attention.
More details on Voyages of Discovery and Voyager at www.voyagesofdiscovery.com or call 0844 822 0820. For more information about Cruise & Maritime Voyages, go to  www.cruiseandmaritimevoyages.com  or call 0845 430 0274.

By | 2017-06-15T15:59:44+00:00 30 August 2012|Cruise news, Cruise ships|2 Comments

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

2 Comments

  1. Mark O'Polo 31 August 2012 at 11:47 am - Reply

    Cruising is growing all the time, they say – especially ex-UK. Well this move, and the impending retirement of Saga Ruby, will REDUCE capacity substantially. Ocean Countess carries 780 passengers. Discovery just over 700. So that’s a 10 per cent loss there for CMV. Voyager is just 556, so another 154 capacity loss for VoD. When Saga Ruby (655) retires and Saga Pearl II (456) joins Sapphire, that’s 199 down for Saga. These figures are per cruise. Multiply by 52 weeks of the year and it becomes big numbers. Fewer passengers = less revenue. How can they make more money? Put the fares UP, that’s how

  2. John Honeywell 31 August 2012 at 12:22 pm - Reply

    Dear Mark (love your name, by the way. I assume you have done a lot of travelling).
    While you are quite right about the passenger numbers, Discovery is actually a bigger ship (21,186 GRT) than Ocean Countess (17,593) so passengers will have more space. The passenger to space ratio (tonnage divided by passenger numbers) is 22.5 for Countess and 29.8 for Discovery.
    Voyager is smaller (15,271 GRT) and with a passenger to space ratio of 27.4.
    Saga Pearl II, currently sailing as Quest for Adventure is 18,591 GRT compared to Saga Ruby’s 24,292. She has a superior passenger to space ratio of 40.7 compared with Ruby’s 37.3.

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