Spirit of Discovery emerging from the building hall at Meyer Werft's shipyard (Image: Meyer Werft)
Saga’s first purpose-built boutique cruise ship, Spirit of Discovery, touched water for the first time on 12 May, floating out of the building hall at Meyer Werft’s shipyard in Papenburg, Germany.
After the 999-guest vessel left the building dock, Meyer Werft’s team lifted her mast and funnel onto the top deck and she was moved to a nearby quay for final outfitting and trials. Towards the end of May, Spirit of Discovery will be towed from Papenburg to Emden along the River Ems in preparation for her sea trials in early June. Meyer Werft will deliver the ship to Saga on 20 June, at which point she will be officially registered in London and bear the Red Ensign, which was established as a naval flag of royal standard in 1707.
After the handover ceremony, Spirit of Discovery will set sail for England, arriving at the port of Dover on 28 June. On 5 July, Spirit of Discovery will become the first cruise ship to be christened at the port in over 10 years.
“This is a major milestone for Saga Cruises and for the future of the company,” said Nigel Blanks, COO of Saga Cruises.
Spirit of Discovery, which will feature British-style interiors created by UK-based company SMC Design and items from a host of independent British suppliers, is the first of two newbuild ships set to join Saga in the next two years. Meyer Werft has already cut the steel for the second, Spirit of Adventure, which will enter service in 2020.
“Spirit of Discovery has been meticulously designed for our customers and to epitomise Saga’s unique British boutique cruising concept,” said Blanks. “We’d like to thank everyone at Meyer Werft and look forward to the keel laying of Spirit of Adventure on 3 June as we start the construction of our next ship for the British market.”
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