Discovery Cruise Line, often incorrectly pluralized as Discovery Cruise Lines, was a cruise line that ceased operations on September 6th, 2011. Being defunct, we can’t tell you the standard information about Discovery Cruise Line that we normally would about other operational cruise lines (we can’t explain, for example, how to book a Discovery cruise), but an article about the company is nevertheless justified. Discovery was a highly unique enterprise – many passengers remember it fondly (although others don’t), and people still seek information about it to this day. For the latter reason, we have compiled a basic overview of Discovery Cruise Line and the niche it filled in the cruise industry.
Discovery began and ended as a small cruise line. Throughout its nearly 25 years of service (the company was founded in 1987), the cruise line only ever offered one voyage, which went between Fort Lauderdale and Grand Bahama, the northernmost island of the Bahamas. The company had only one ship, the Discovery Sun, which is now nonfunctional. It was built in Germany in the late 1960s, making it a fairly old ship by cruise-line standards, but it was renovated in 1995 and updated in 2000. The Discovery Sun left Fort Lauderdale every morning (save Wednesdays) at 9:30 AM and arrived in the Bahamas four hours later, at 1:30 PM. The ship would then leave Grand Bahama Island at 5:15 PM and return to Fort Lauderdale at 10:30 PM. As this time table suggests, the ship served as a passenger ferry between the two islands, bringing vacationers and other travelers to and from the Bahamas.
Despite its function as a ferry, the vessel had some of the features of a regular cruise ship. There were various sun decks and lounges on the ship, as well a swimming pool and a casino. There was also live entertainment on board the ship, allowing bands to perform and other shows to be staged. In addition to these less-essential amenities, there was food and drinks available on the ship too. Somewhat strangely, given how long the voyages took, the ship also had various cabins on board which could be rented out for an additional charge; all rooms had either one or two beds and a private bathroom.
Discovery had a reputation for being affordable and decidedly non-luxuriousness (and obviously the two are not unrelated). Some people used the cruise as transportation for a longer vacation, but it mainly functioned for day trips to the Bahamas (although this didn’t leave much time for activities on Grand Bahama Island, a frequent complaint). Being a ferry, many passengers also used it merely as a water taxi between the two ports.
Whatever it was formerly used for, Discovery Cruise Line is used no more. There are, however, many other cruises from Florida to the Bahamas, so the basic trip is still possible, but in different forms.