Passengers sent home as cruise is cancelled after ‘unfinished’ refit

//Passengers sent home as cruise is cancelled after ‘unfinished’ refit

Discovery’s first cruise since transferring from Voyages of Discovery to Cruise & Maritime Voyages has been cancelled at the last minute. Passengers who boarded the vessel yesterday, expecting to be travelling on a 15-night voyage in search of the Northern Lights, will be going home tomorrow.
The ship has been in Portland, Dorset, since Thursday morning, after arriving from a lengthy dry-dock refit in Genoa, Italy. Bad weather in the Bay of Biscay was blamed for an 11th-hour diversion from Avonmouth, its intended departure port.
Officials from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency have been inspecting the vessel since it arrived back in the UK, and it would appear they have refused to allow it to sail.
A statement from CMV, issued tonight, said: “We very much regret that, despite every effort, we have been unable to complete Discovery’s preparations and surveys to the satisfaction of the authorities and therefore with their agreement are unable to operate this current cruise. We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused to our passengers. A further statement will follow.”
Earlier, passengers who had been bussed across country from Bristol to join the ship reported that refurbishment work had not been completed.
One told me that “instead of a lovely clean lovely clean ship” they were shocked to discover many cabins had no running water in the bathrooms and “the overall condition of the ship was filthy.”
MCA surveyors are responsible for checking that ships visiting UK ports comply with UK and international safety legislation. They carry out detailed checks of construction elements and safety procedures, and have the power to detain vessels and prevent them from sailing if equipment or crew are found to be deficient.
The 700-passenger Discovery, built in 1972 and one of the original Love Boats from the TV series, was hugely popular when it sailed for the Voyages of Discovery line, providing destination-intensive cruises with distinguished guest speakers. Loyal passengers were prepared to overlook the wear and tear brought on by 40 years at sea in order to enjoy travelling in the traditional manner.
In September, VoD announced they would be transferring the vessel to a new joint venture partnership with CMV, where it has joined the even more venerable Marco Polo (built 1966) and replaced Ocean Countess on the company’s departures from regional ports in the UK. The refit had been announced some months earlier, although the extent of the work completed remains unclear.
Discovery’s inaugural cruise in its new colours was intended to be the first time a passenger ship had operated from Avonmouth Docks in 20 years. The ship’s next scheduled voyage is from Avonmouth on March 15 and a further 31 cruises are planned between then and October, operating from Liverpool, Harwich, Hull, Newcastle, and Barcelona.

By | 2013-03-01T22:37:09+00:00 1 March 2013|Cruise News|0 Comments

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

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