You could be forgiven for thinking that all cruise ships are mammoth entities after what is read in the press. There are however cruise lines specialising in small intimate ships and Voyages of Discovery are one with their ship, Voyager, fitting perfectly into this category. Carrying only 540 passengers this ship will transport you in comfort to places the larger ships cannot reach, to destinations that have not been overtaken by tourism.
Boarding at Portsmouth is quick and efficient. Standing on Sundeck as we sail is a trip through naval history passing modern ships of the Royal Navy, Nelsons HMS Victory and the famous HMS Warrior. With 3 blasts from the ships whistle its past Gun Wharf, the Spinnaker Tower and into the channel taking us past the Isle of Wight and South West to the first port of call, St. Helier.
Cabins are basically in three categories, inside, outside view and balcony. 3226 an outside view is spacious with enough wardrobe and drawer space to accommodate the clothing for two on a 14 day voyage. Many cabins are configured into two single beds allowing for more room between them. Hair dryer, safe, air conditioning, small flat screen television, good quality toiletries, shoe shine and sewing kit all come as standard. Three styles of electric socket, 2 pin European, American and 3 pin UK. The shower whilst fairly small is powerful but more than adequate.
Food, an important item to many cruisers will not disappoint. Choose between Discovery Restaurant the main restaurant or the more intimate Veranda Restaurant that boasts an Al Fresco area enabling passengers to enjoy both good food and the scenery. Both lunchtime and dinner menus offer a good selection of Appetisers, Soups, Mains and Deserts followed by coffee, add to this excellent service and your expectations are satisfied.
Main entertainment is held in the Discovery Lounge with comfortable chairs but due to its size and small stage is more suitable to cabaret and tribute acts.
Arriving next day at Jersey we are anchored in the beautiful St. Aubin’s bay with its long sweep of beach stretching from St. Helier to St. Aubin’s Harbour. Tender ashore across blue water in the early summer sunshine, walk along the esplanade with palm trees and flowers, it is difficult to believe this Crown Dependency is but a 100 miles from the south coast of England. Jersey, split into 12 Parishes has much to offer, a history stretching back over the centuries, small villages set on sandy beaches and rocky coves, visit the underground hospital built by the Germans when they occupied Jersey during WW2, the Durrell Wildlife Park, Corbiere Lighthouse, Mont Orgueil Castle and much more.
Back on board fellow passengers are relaxing around the swimming pool and on Sundeck, enjoying a drink in the late afternoon sunshine whilst a singer entertains and the crew make ready for sea. Tonight is a Formal Night where passengers dress in their best, meet the Captain over a glass of Champagne as he introduces his senior officers followed by dinner and more of the excellent food this ship provides as we head to the next port of call, Honfleur.
Honfleur, a picturesque town situated at the mouth of the River Seine in the Calvados Region of Normandy is a delight, its harbour busy with small boats flying various forms of decorations, artists with their easels recording the scene in oils and water colours. Quayside cafes and restaurants sporting colourful table cloths and awnings that have few spare seats so no surprise the owners and waiters are wearing smiles as large as their aprons. The mouthwatering aroma comes from bowls of ‘Moules’ and freshly grilled fish that adorn the tables where diners are washing down these delectable dishes with copious amounts of white wine. Step away from the harbour into the side streets and find the church of St. Catherine built from wood in the early 1400’s on the model of a market hall, which, using naval construction techniques gives the impression of an upside-down ship's hull. The church bells housed in a separate wooden structure across the square are equally impressive. Entering the main doors, you’re greeted by what appears as two main altars and a smaller side chapel where flags, pendants and paintings from a bygone age hang from the walls and wooden pillars. A church that is simply furnished but beautiful, models and statues reminding the visitor that this is a church associated with the sea, candles burn slowly at various locations providing an air of peace and tranquility. Take the ‘Little Train’ to the Chappelle Notre-Dame-de-Grace, a small chapel built in 1615 high in the hills above Honfleur, with its beautiful statues and ornamentation. A small town but much to see. Sadly, it is back to the ship and Harwich the following day.
This was an excellent 3 nights/4 day voyage that will appeal to many. The ship is adult only and has many excellent features. The library adorned with large comfortable leather armchairs and settees, large wooden book cases full of hard backs on many subjects, giving the feel of a country home. Sundeck, offering more sunbathing space than many larger ships, a pool area shielded from the wind, the Al fresco area of Veranda Restaurant, Scotts Lounge for that late night drink, good food and excellent service, spa, sauna and hairdresser the list is endless. No wonder I met so many people who keep returning to Voyages of Discovery
more information at www.voyagesofdiscovery.com
Alan Fairfax -
is a travel writer for
YOUR HOLIDAY TV
Alan also writes for the
Ashford Advertiser Media Group with regional papers across Kent with regular holiday & travel sections in all editions
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