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Turning sailing into an art form: Saga's Spirit of Discovery ship has a £1million art collection

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Turning sailing into an art form: On board Saga’s Spirit of Discovery ship, which boasts a £1million art collection

  • Saga’s new Spirit of Discovery cruise ship has an incredible 1,200 commissioned pieces of art on board 
  • The ship’s onboard library has 3,500 books, as well as comfortable chairs with soft blankets for reading 
  • It also has a grand dining room with marble columns and ‘The Club by Jools’ (Holland) restaurant and bar

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I’m admiring a ceramic work inspired by the fragility of the Jurassic coastline by Julie Massie, made up of shards of porcelain stained in pastel colours of the sea. 

She is one of 40 British artists showing not in a Mayfair gallery but on board Saga’s new Spirit of Discovery

The new million-pound art collection of 1,200 commissioned pieces is in keeping with the meticulous interior detail awarded to this ship.

High style: Spirit of Discovery's grand dining room, which is flanked by marble columns and opens up to The Club by Jools restaurant

High style: Spirit of Discovery’s grand dining room, which is flanked by marble columns and opens up to The Club by Jools restaurant

From the comfortable chairs in the library with soft blankets, ready for cosying up with a good book (choose from 3,500), to the Art Deco influence in the use of glass, leather and copper, she feels modern, fashionable and expensively finished. 

How tricky to create a space where everything gleams but nothing is brash. 

Staircases sweep, the traditional observation deck allows generous space to single lines of loungers, and the wooden panelled Playhouse Theatre exudes drama with its peacock-blue velvet seats. 

The huge bronze artwork displayed in the ship's atrium is designed to be a celebration of the British Isles. It was designed by Emma Pearson and her Shropshire-based Feathercast company

The huge bronze artwork displayed in the ship’s atrium is designed to be a celebration of the British Isles. It was designed by Emma Pearson and her Shropshire-based Feathercast company

She feels clubby, neither too masculine nor feminine and wallpaper, cushions and carpets are luxuriously textured. It’s an offering I’d associated with the grand old dames of Cunard but not a brand new ship.

As a cruise novice I navigate this boutique (999 passengers deems it as such) ship with ease. 

I rather fancy eating in the grand dining room flanked by marble columns which opens up to The Club by Jools (Holland) but head to my cabin instead. 

I examine the curious metal bedside lamp switches, beautiful little woodpeckers and am drawn to touch the teal, mustard and ash silk cushions, then to the balcony where there’s plenty of room for two chairs. 

My bathroom, stocked with supersized shampoo and soaps, is not cramped either. 

The Spirit of Discovery may be brand new, but she has all the offerings of the grand old cruise liners of yesteryear

The Spirit of Discovery may be brand new, but she has all the offerings of the grand old cruise liners of yesteryear

Sleek as my cabin is, whoever unpacks in the Rose Suite is in for a treat of gold leaf and black and white deco design and a marble bathroom.

Solo travellers can rejoice too – 109 cabins are for single occupancy.

The Duchess of Cornwall is the ship’s fitting godmother: fun, with a winking sense of humour and impeccable style. 

Where do I sign up, please? Ah. Sadly not possible until I reach 50 – unless I set sail with my own silver traveller.



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