Cruise ShipsPast and PresentSaga Cruises

MV Spirit of Discovery – Past and Present

IMO Number: 9802683

MV Spirit of Discovery

Spirit of Discovery © Meyer Werft

© Meyer Werft

Steel twin azimuthing pod motor vessel built in 2019 by Meyer Werft, Papenburg (Yard No 714) for Saga Holidays/Saga Cruises as a Cruise/Ice-strengthened expedition ship

Technical Data

  • Cost: USD 350 million.
  • Length: 236 m (overall) 210.45 m (between perpendiculars)
  • Breadth: 31.2 m
  • Depth: 10.40 m
  • Draught: 7.3m
  • Tonnage: 58250 gross/42124 net/5120t deadweight
  • Engines: 4 x MAN – B&W L32/44 common-rail diesel engines
  • Propellers: 2 x Siemens (‘ESiPods’) fully azimuthing pods
  • Power: 21600 kW/HP
  • Speed:23 knots (max) 16.0 knots (service)
  • Decks: 11
  • Passenger Cabins: 554
  • Decks with cabins: 6
  • Capacity:¬†999 passengers (1048 max)
  • Crew cabins: 302
  • Crew: 530 approx
  • Call Sign: MEYE7 (current July 2019)
  • MMSI Number: 232021171
  • IMO Number: 9802683
  • Official Number: 923924
  • Port of Registry: London/UK ūüá¨ūüáß
  • Sister-Ship: Spirit of Adventure (715)

Current AIS Location

Please note that this specific vessels AIS position data may be over an hour old and that the vessels position will only be displayed when it is within range of the VesselFinder AIS system. The AIS transponder/ship position data featured on this page is intended for information purposes only and it is in no way related to the 'Safety of Navigation at Sea'. All the AIS ship position data featured within this article is provided by VesselFinder and we are therefore not responsible for its content or its accuracy.


September 30th 2015: Ordered.

December 21st 2015: Contract signed

February 28th 2018: First steel cut.

Courtesy of Saga Shipping

Courtesy of Saga Shipping

June 2018: Keel laid.

Courtesy of Saga Shipping

Courtesy of Saga Shipping

© Meyer Werft  © Meyer Werft

© Meyer Werft  © Meyer Werft

© Meyer Werft

© Meyer Werft

May 12th 2019: Floated out of the building hall where the funnel and masts were added.

© Meyer Werft  © Meyer Werft

© Meyer Werft

© Christian Eckardt

© Christian Eckardt

© Jochen Wegener

© Jochen Wegener (12/05/2019)

© Meyer Werft

© Meyer Werft (13/05/2019)

© Jochen Wegener   © Jochen Wegener

© Jochen Wegener

© Jochen Wegener (13/05/2019)

May 27th 2019: Anticipated sea trials from Emden.

“The new cruise ship for British Saga Cruises, Spirit of Discovery, will probably leave Papenburg on Sunday, May 26 2019 to be conveyed on the river Ems to Emden. The ship is planned to arrive in Emden on Monday, May 27, at 08.00 am. Later on the ship will go through several days of technical and nautical sea trials on the North Sea.

The Ems barrier will be helping Spirit of Discovery to pass through the river Ems, a procedure which will be kept as short as possible. The following schedule has been drawn up for the conveyance of the new cruise ship, with changes possible at short notice due to the weather and tidal conditions:

Sunday, May 26, 2019
Approx. 09.00 pm: ship in waiting position (Papenburg)
Approx. 10.00 pm: ship passes sea lock (Papenburg)

Monday, May 27, 2019
Approx. 00.30 am: ship passes Friesenbr√ľcke (Weener)
Approx. 02.30 am: ship passes the Jann Berghaus bridge (Leer)
Approx. 05.00 am: arrival at the river Ems barrier (Gandersum)
Approx. 06.45 am: ship passes the Ems barrier
Approx. 08.00 am: arrival Emden sea lock

!! All details are subject to the wind, weather and water levels and are therefore without guarantee. Timings can be changed at short notice!!

Once again, a team of river pilots from Emden will be responsible for manoeuvring the ship to Emden. The pilots on the river Ems also looked after the MEYER WERFT ships during their passage to the North Sea in previous years. The whole team trained the conveyance at the computerised simulator in Wageningen (Netherlands) to be better prepared for the task.

Spirit of Discovery will proceed in reverse up the river Ems to the North Sea. This approach has proven successful in the past as it makes it easier to manoeuvre the ship. Two tugs will be providing assistance in the process.”

Source: Meyer Werft

May 26th 2019 (23:03 hrs LT (UTC +2): Departed Papenburg accompanied by the tug BUGSIER 6 (IMO 9376218).

May 27th 2019 (07:55 hrs LT (UTC +2): Arrived at Emden.

May 30th 2019 (23.59 hrs UTC): Departed Emden for sea trials.

June 3rd 2019 (09.47hrs LT (UTC + 2)): Returned to Emden.

© Frits Olinga  © Frits Olinga

© Frits Olinga (River Ems inbound for Emden after sea trials 03/06/2019)

June 6th 2019: Departed Emden for further trials

June 11th 2019: Arrived at Eemshaven.

June 12th 2019: Arrived Emden.

June 19th 2019: Meyer Werft back on track

“Spirit of Discovery, the first of two new cruise ships for the British cruise line Saga Cruises, will be leaving the harbour of Emden next week as planned. The handover of the new cruise ship will take place before departure. The ship is expected to be on time in Dover on June 28th, 2019.

‚ÄúWe are extremely happy with Saga‚Äôs first new build and believe we have created something very special for our guests that will be enjoyed for years to come. Indeed it has exceeded our expectations and we look forward to welcoming our very first guests on the inaugural cruise on 10th July‚ÄĚ says Robin Shaw (CEO, Saga Travel).

‚ÄúThe team, existing of cruise line, shipyard and suppliers, is working very hard and made it: the shipyard is back on track after delivering two ships in the first six month of the year 2019‚ÄĚ, Tim Meyer (Managing Director of Meyer Werft)

During the following days final outfitting work and some more tests will be executed at the pier.”

Source: Meyer Werft

June 20th 2019: Handed over to Saga Cruises V Ltd.

Spirit of Discovery © Meyer Werft  Spirit of Discovery © Meyer Werft

Spirit of Discovery © Meyer Werft  Spirit of Discovery © Meyer Werft

Spirit of Discovery © Meyer Werft  Spirit of Discovery © Meyer Werft

Spirit of Discovery © Meyer Werft

© Meyer Werft

MEYER WERFT hands over Spirit of Discovery

Second of three new cruise ships in 2019 delivered

Today MEYER WERFT handed over Spirit of Discovery to the British cruise line Saga Cruises. The vessel with a rating of 58,250 GT is already the second new build completed by MEYER WERFT in 2019 after Spectrum of the Seas was delivered to Royal Caribbean International in April.

‚ÄúWith great team effort we already completed two modern cruise ships this year‚ÄĚ, says Tim Meyer, Managing Director of MEYER WERFT.

Spirit of Discovery stands out with an environmental friendly and resource conserving Design. For the first time MEYER WERFT equipped a ship with the eSiPod propulsion system delivered by Siemens.

Earlier this month, the keel laying for Spirit of Adventure, Saga Cruises’ second new build, was celebrated at MEYER WERFT. Spirit of Adventure will be completed in summer 2020. The ships each have an overall length of 236 metres, a width of 31.2 metres, 999 passengers can be accommodated.

Therefore MEYER WERFT will complete three new cruise ships in 2020 as well. In autumn 2019, Norwegian Encore is scheduled to be the third vessel delivered by MEYER WERFT this year.

Source: Meyer Werft

June 24th 2019: Whilst departing Emden the vessel made contact with a lane marker/dolphin, minor damage reported.

Emden: “Spirit of Discovery” collides with dolphins

In Emden, on the late Monday evening, the cruise ship¬†“Spirit of Discovery”¬†in the Great Sea Lock collided with a dolphin.¬†As a spokesman for the water police announced, it came to color abrasions and a slight dent on the hull of the ship.¬†Significant damage has been done to the stake marking the fairway.

Water Protection Police determined

When the accident happened, the “Spirit of Discovery” built in Papenburg just left Emden in the direction of Eemshaven.¬†It had been handed over only a few hours earlier by the Meyer shipyard officially to the shipping company Saga Cruises.¬†The cause of the collision is still unclear, the water police has taken investigations.¬†According to the speaker, the captain and the pilot should be interviewed.

Maiden voyage is due to start on the 10th of July

Source: NDR Niedersachsen

June 25th 2019: Sailed to Helgoland anchorage.

June 26th 2019: Sailed to Ijmuiden.

June 27th 2019: Departed Ijmuiden for Dover

June 28th 2019 (07.45 hrs): Arrived in Dover.

© Nigel Scutt  © Nigel Scutt

© Nigel Scutt  © Nigel Scutt

© Nigel Scutt

© Nigel Scutt (Dover Strait Shipping)

July 3rd 2019: Sailed from Dover for a cruise past of the Saga company offices at Sandgate (Folkestone).

© Nigel Scuttt  © Nigel Scuttt

© Nigel Scutt (Dover Strait Shipping)

July 3rd 2019: Returned to Dover

July 5th 2019: Christened at Dover by HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, who also became the ships Godmother.



© Andrew Cooke

July 7th 2019: Departed Dover.

July 8th 2019: Arrived Guernsey Anchorage.

July 9th 2019: Returned to Dover.

July 10th 2019: Departed Dover on her maiden round Britain cruise, “A British First”, calling at: Newcastle, Leith, Kirkwall, Belfast, Liverpool, Dublin, Cork, Portland, Guernsey and Southampton before returning to Dover.

July 17th 2019: Port number 5 of her current cruise, Liverpool.

© Robert Foy  © Robert Foy

© Robert Foy (Liverpool, 17/07/2019)

July 23rd 2019: Arrived back in Dover, maiden cruise completed.

July 23rd 2019: Departed Dover to continue her regular cruise schedule.

March 16th 2020: Sailed to Tilbury for an indefinite period of lay-up owing to concerns over the Coronavirus.

September 29th 2020:

Update: September 29th, 2020″

A message to all customers booked on cruises from November 2020 to February 2021 for Spirit of Adventure and March 2021 for Spirit of Discovery

….we are postponing the Inaugural cruise of our new ship, Spirit of Adventure until 5th February, 2021 and extending the suspension of our cruising operations up to and including 4th February, 2021 for Spirit of Adventure and 7th March, 2021 for Spirit of Discovery.

I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you some of the new arrangements we have made in preparation for our return to service next year. Initially these will apply to all sailings up to the end of March 2021 and will be reviewed on a monthly basis going forward:

  • Pre-departure COVID-19 testing at home and in the terminal for guests and crew including full medical¬†screening
  • A reduced capacity of guests onboard to a maximum of¬†800
  • Increasing our crew to guest ratio, to enhance our cleaning regimes¬†onboard
  • Private chauffeur car per household up to 250¬†miles
  • Social distancing which feels subtle onboard our spacious¬†ships
  • Face coverings being worn in all internal public¬†areas
  • Additional enhancements to our state-of-the-art air conditioning, which already provides 100% fresh air in all public areas and¬†cabins
  • Improved and expanded medical facilities with a new dedicated isolation¬†area
  • Double medical team”

Saga Update

March 29th 2021:

Saga announces four all-inclusive UK itineraries on Spirit of Discovery from June 27 – plus the 15-night inaugural voyage of Spirit of Adventure from Tilbury on July 26, which calls at ports such as Newcastle, Dundee, Kirkwall, Orkneys, Greenock, Belfast, Falmouth and Dover.
Discovery will sail six nights from Tilbury to Scotland from June 27; 14 nights British Isles on July 11 plus six nights Scotland and Norwegian scenic cruising on July 3 and 25.
All passengers must be fully vaccinated for the cruises.
June 8th 2021: Left lay-up and, assisted by tugs SD Dolphin, RT Evolution & RT Ambition, sailed to London Cruise Terminal, Tilbury.
© Robert J Smith © Robert J Smith
© Robert J Smith (Tilbury, 08/06/2021)
June 10th 2021: Sea trials to Southwold Anchorage.
June 11th 2021: Returned to London Cruise Terminal.
June 11th 2021:

“Saga is amending the itineraries of two UK cruises following the Scottish government‚Äôs decision not to allow cruise ships to currently visit the country‚Äôs ports.

The Scottish government has banned all cruise calls until the entire country can be placed under Scotland’s lowest level of Covid protection. This decision is not due to be reviewed until 28 June.

This move has forced Saga to change its Scottish Highlands and Islands cruise on Spirit of Discovery, due to depart on 27 June, to a West Country and South Coast trip from Tilbury.

Saga is also converting its scheduled Northern Isles to the Fjords cruise, departing 3 July, into a West County and South Coast itinerary from Tilbury.”

TTG Media

June 11th 2021: Left Tilbury for further sea trials.
June 13th 2021: Called at Dover (etd 13/06/2021 17.00 hrs).
© (Dover Straits Shipping),(Dover, 13/06/2021)
April 20th 2022: Called at Dover.
June 19th 2022: Scheduled call at Dover cancelled owing to technical issues (azimuthing pod). She will now call at Portsmouth.
June 22nd 2024: Due at Dover.

All information is believed to be correct and no responsibility is accepted for any errors or omissions. All items included in this article are subject to © copyright. We would like to take this opportunity of thanking: Christian Eckardt, Robert Foy, Frits Olinga, Meyer Werft, Saga Shipping, Nigel Scutt (Dover Straits Shipping), Robert J Smith and Jochen Wegener for their assistance in producing this feature.

Special thanks go to Andrew Cooke.

Article © Nigel Thornton and Ray Goodfellow (Dover Ferry Photos Group)

One Comment

  1. Only 16 knots, her sister is reported as 23 knots.

    The trouble with slow cruise ships is too much time on board and too few port visits…..QE2 34 knots!

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