An interesting ship visited us here in Cartagena on 8th August; the new ‘Spirit of Discovery’ – owned by Saga Cruises, a British based cruise line.

Most of us are probably aware of Saga Holidays, but perhaps not everyone is aware the company operate cruise vessels. Two ships have visited Cartagena fairly regularly previously; ‘Saga Sapphire’ and ‘Saga Pearl ll’. The latter vessel has recently been retired and replaced by new-build ‘Spirit of Discovery’, built in Germany and named in Dover on July 5th by the Duchess of Cornwall.

An interesting statistic is that the cost of this build was GBP 280 million!

‘Sapphire’ will be replaced by a second new-build to be named ‘Spirit of Adventure’ which is expected for completion in August 2020.

‘Spirit of Discovery’ is able to accommodate 999 passengers, with each cabin having a private balcony and aimed at people aged 50 and over.

Classed as an ‘ice strengthened expedition ship’, the ship is UK Registered (in London); thus as will be seen from my pictures, flying the Red ensign. This is a sight not often seen with a number of shipping lines offering cruises, although having offices within the UK, the companies are often foreign-owned with ships flying, as in the trade we say, ‘flags of convenience’.  Examples are that many vessels are registered within various Caribbean Island countries, thus flying that particular countries flag.

As Britain’s newest cruise ship, ‘Spirit of Discovery’ is advertised as offering luxurious ‘boutique cruising’. The current cruise commenced in Dover on 3rd August, on passage to Gibraltar, arriving on 7th, in Cartagena on 8th, departing for Sete (France) and on to Barcelona, Alicante, Lisbon, arriving back in Dover on 17th August. The ship is scheduled for return to Cartagena on 22nd October, departing from Southampton on 17th October.