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16th January, 2020

Gran Canaria

My name is John Fielding and I am a 3rd Officer on the Spirit of Discovery. On Thursday, 16th January, the Spirit of Discovery made another call to the port of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.

This being my first voyage to the Canaries, I’ve found that these unassuming volcanic islands seem to defy the seasons. Throughout our post-Christmas cruise, there has been nothing but clear skies and 20°C+ temperatures.

The first task of any ship sailing south of Gibraltar, however, is to endure the wintery Biscay seas. Though only a modest 240 metres in length, the ship tends to surprise her guests at just how little she rolls in the tall Atlantic swell. In fact, the Spirit of Discovery performs in all-weather equally brilliantly.

With the ship being of polar certification, she has to abide by strict environmental and safety requirements. One part of my job is the maintenance and inspection of all the fire-fighting appliances on board to this standard.  In total, the Discovery holds in the region of 350 fire extinguishers, 600 fire protective doors, and over six kilometres of fire hose. She also has the unusual feature of possessing radiators for all her external fire hydrants, meaning that firefighting could be conducted as normal even in sub-zero temperatures. At the moment, that extremity of weather is very difficult to imagine.

In my relatively brief maritime career of around four and a half years, I’ve been privileged to work on a wide variety of vessels; ultra-large container ships, mass-market cruise liners, three-masted tall ships, and even a brief stint on the paddle steamer the PS Waverley. The Discovery exceeds all of them in every way, be it in food, comfort, ease of manoeuvrability, or the general happiness of everyone on board.

These things in mind, it’s no surprise that a Canaries cruise on the Spirit of Discovery is a fantastic way to bookend the festive period!

John Fielding, 3rd Officer


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

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