Published: 07:51, 28 June 2019
| Updated: 11:51, 28 June 2019
A new cruise ship, the first of two new build ‘boutique’ vessels built by over-50s holiday giant Saga, has arrived in Kent for the first time today.
The Spirit of Discovery has pulled into the Port of Dover this morning ahead of her naming ceremony next week, when the Duchess of Cornwall will become her ‘Godmother’.
It will be the only ship built and delivered exclusively for the British market this year from the Saga Cruise division.
Scroll down for pictures of the ships arrival
Her sister Spirit of Adventure is due to arrive in summer 2020, with more than £600 million investment in both ships.
To create the ships, Saga say they commissioned research with feedback that people didn’t want much larger cruise ships and also wanted a distinctly British experience, and to be challenged both on board and ashore as they sail around the globe.
The 999 passenger, 523 crew, Spirit of Discovery has been created by London-based agency SMC.
Key features of the new ship include a wraparound promenade deck which is removed from nearly all new design ships, an above water spa, ‘The Club’ - a dining and music venue in collaboration with Jools Holland, a private balcony for every cabin and 20% of cabins have been designed for single occupancy. Typically ships have only 5% and often these cabins do not have a view.
The ship also has almost 400 original pieces of British art amongst the over 1,000 total artworks, all of which have been created by British based artists.
A host of independent British suppliers including Hush Heath wine producers of Kent, Shepherd Neame, Britain’s oldest Brewery based in Faversham, Kent, Donald Russell British Lamb and River Test Trout, Salmon from the Severn and Wye smoker have been confirmed as providers.
Saga Travel chief executive Robin Shaw said: “We have unashamedly focused on the fact we are a British cruise line.
"We have designed the new ships with a focus on British contemporary design classics, with the vision of creating Britain’s first boutique hotel at sea. But these ‘hotels’ are able to take Saga guests to interesting and exciting destinations around the world.
"Both ships will have a bold and adventurous style that’s a testament to high-quality design and the best of British innovation and flair.”
Robin continued: “With our classic, contemporary British design, we have absolutely hit the mark with boutique cruising.
"The design is not what you get with a cookie-cutter approach; it is meant to be individual. While we are ecstatic with the design of Spirit of Discovery, we have already taken the decision to give our next ship, Spirit of Adventure, a very different boutique look and feel.
"Our aim is to set the highest standards for quality and service for any cruise line operating out of the UK.”
Guests can also take part in Saga’s new concierge service ‘Explore Ashore’.
Each voyage will have an on-board team of experts to organise individual and small group excursions and activities so that guests can experience exactly what they wish to in each port.
Robin Shaw added: “There is an outdated perception that the older generation shies away from doing anything new – that is not the case. The conversations I have with our existing and potential future customers, alongside our ongoing research, gives us all the strategic pointers we need. This demographic wants adventure, and to discover and see the world in new and individual ways.”