19 September 2011

Discovery in Helsinki, 6 July 2011


IMO 7108514
Previous names: Island Venture, Island Princess, Hyundai Pungak, Platinum
Built 1972, Rheinstahl Nordseewerke Emden, West Germany
Tonnage 21 186 GT
Length 168,74 m
Width 24,64 m
Draugth 7,49 m
796 passengers
4 Fiat diesels, combined 13 240 kW
2 controllable pitch propellers
1 bow thruster
Speed 18 knots

Discovery is  currently the sole ship of the All Discovery Cruising's Voyages of Discovery brand (until November 2012, when she will be joined by the Voyager). The Discovery was ordered in 1967 from the Rheinstahl Nordseewerke shipyard by a joint venture of Fearnley & Eger and Øivind Lorentzen for a planned Caribbean cruise service, Flagship Cruises. The design work of the ship, eventually named Island Venture, was entrusted to the well-known naval architect Knud E. Hansen. The Island Venture was delivered in 1972, a year after her older sisten Sea Venture. She was placed on two-week long cruises from New York to the Caribbean.

The Flagship Cruises joint venture was not a success, and soon Fearnley & Eger and Øivind Lorentzen decided to go their separate ways, with the former taking the Island Venture and the latter the Sea Venture. Fearnley & Eger had purchased Princess Cruises and already at the end of 1972 the Island Venture was transferred to the Princess Cruises fleet as the Island Princess on cruises from San Francisco. In the end of 1974 P&O purchased Princess Cruises and the Island Princess. The following year P&O also purchased the Sea Venture, which became the Pacific Princess. Between 1976 and 1986 both the Pacific Princess and the Island Princess starred in The Love Boat.

The Island Princess sailed for Princess Cruises until the year 1999, when the classic ship was sold to Hyundai Merchant Marine and renamed Hyundai Pungak for "pilgrim cruises" from South Korea to the shrine on Mount Kumgang in North Korea. For these cruises Hyundai also acquired two other classic cruise ships, the Hyundai Pongnae (ex-Sun Viking of Royal Caribbean) and the Hyundai Keumgang (ex-Royal Viking Sky, current Fred. Olsen's Boudicca). Hyundai Merchant Marine was not a huge success and it was closed down in 2001, following the death of the Hyundai boss whose brainchild the line was.

Soon afterwards the Hyundai Pungak was sold to Gerry Herrod, perhaps best known as the man behind the now-defunct Orient Lines (the cruise line, not the liner operator that had merged into P&O in the 1960s). The Hyundai Pungak was renamed Platinum and sailed to Europe for a $15 million refurbishment into a modern cruise ship (other sources state $10 million). Meanwhile negotiation were being carried out between Herrod and Voyages of Discovery, the latter wishing to take the Platinum under charter. Voyages of Discovery had previously sold cruises on ships of other companies but had not before operated a ship of their own. An agreement was reached and in 2002 the Platinum became the Discovery. In May 2003 she entered service with Voyages of Discovery, cruising to exotic destinations and mainly aimed at the British market. In 2005 Voyages of Discovery's (then-)new parent company All Leisure Group purchased the Discovery from Gerry Herrod. She (obviously) remains in Voyages of Discovery service to date.

(Much of the previous account is sourced from Voyages of Discovery's website for the ship).

The photographs below show the Discovery departing from Helsinki on 6 July 2011. Photographed from Kustaanmiekka. Click on the individual images to see in larger size.

Cue the theme from The Love Boat starting to play in your head.
The Discovery and her sister (currently laid up as the Pacific) are fascinating ships in terms of their exterior stylings... even by the standards of Knud E. Hansen, whose creations tended to be quite unusual. Even by the standards of that day, IMO.
The Discovery (and the Pacific) are better-looking when viewed from the rear in my opinion. Perhaps it's the nicely-rounded aft or the terraced superstructure or something completely different... or maybe the fore just doesn't match the aft in terms of attractive design.
Yeah, I had a similar image in the preceeding entry on the Gemini. What can I say, the little lighthouse-thing by the shipping lane just looks too photogenic to ignore.


  1. Wow, this is just amazing! I am a student at Kalmar Maritime Academy, and my first route as a student will be with Viking XPRS this winter, great to actually see the ship in action beforehand. Thank you :)

  2. Glad you enjoyed the photographs. ;) Maybe I'll run into you onboard the XPRS at some point...

  3. Maybe you will, I'll be there between the last days of november and the first days of january, short time but looking forward to it :) A bit scared of the winter over there, born and raised in the south of Sweden, not really ready for "real" winter...

  4. I guess I ought to book a trip to Tallinn around that time. ;)

    You should be relatively safe from a too bad winter, usually "proper" winter doesn't begin until January in here... though the last two years have been exceptions to this rule, so we'll see. Maybe you'll have proper ice and show during your visit after all.