In 1967, two well known Oslo firms, Messrs. Fearnley & Eger and Øivind Lorentzen commenced talking about a joint cruise venture. A large number of tenders were received from European shipyards and it was Rheinstahl Nordseewerke GmbH of Emden, Germany, who finally got the bid. They had no previous experience in the building of passenger ships, and consequently joined forces with the well known consultants and naval architect firm, Knud E. Hansen of Copenhagen. On 10th October 1968, Norwegian Cruiseships A/S was formed to manage the two cruise vessels. For various reasons the two vessels were allotted separate legal entities. The first vessel, MS Sea Venture, was owned by Kommandittselskapet Sea Venture A/S & Co., constituted 19th August, 1970. The other vessel, christened 14th December 1971 and called MS Island Venture belonged to Kommandittselskapet Cruise Venture A/S & Co. Both ships were initially based out of New York, with the Island Venture operating for most of the year on fortnightly schedules to the Caribbean. Her Royal Highness, Crown Princess Sonja of Norway, sponsored MS Sea Venture and Mrs Rut Brandt, wife of the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, named MS Island Venture. By the end of 1971, Fearnley & Eger and Øivind Lorentzen had gone their separate ways, with the former keeping the Island Venture and re-naming her the Island Princess, having purchased Princess Cruises. In 1974, P&O (Peninsular and Orient Steam Navigation Company), a British firm and one of the world’s oldest and largest steamship companies, bought Princess Cruises, which had been a separate American company, and thus acquired the Island Princess. The following year, P&O bought Island Princess’s twin sister, Sea Venture, and renamed her Pacific Princess, better known to one and all as “The Love Boat” (she was the set for the television series). In the autumn of 1999, Island Princess was sold to the Hyundai Corporation and renamed Hyundai Pungak. Hyundai’s North Korean chairman chartered two other ships and set up an operation allowing South Koreans to “pilgrimage” to their holy Shrine - Mount Kumgang, in North Korea. He even commissioned the building of a North Korean sea port to realise this dream. Sadly, Hyundai died in the summer of 2001 and the whole “loss-making” operation collapsed. None of his seven sons were interested in continuing the venture and the ship was “laid-up”. On 31 August 2001, the ship was bought by Gerry Herrod, a British entrepreneur and tour and cruise line veteran who had established Orient Lines in 1991. Back then, Gerry had transformed the former Russian liner, Alexandr Pushkin into the luxury liner Marco Polo. (Orient Lines was sold to NCL - Norwegian Cruise Lines - at the end of 2000). On the morning of 11 September 2001, the former Island Princess (now mv Platinum) exited the Suez Canal at Port Said, destined for Europe and a $15 million refurbishment. Talks were also continuing at this time between the owner and Voyages of Discovery, and agreement was eventually reached for the ship to be chartered by the latter, with a view to focusing on a wider choice of destinations and unusual itineraries. The ship was re-christened Discovery on 7th May 2003 by Mrs Jenny Smith, in Harwich. On 10 May 2005 mv Discovery was purchased from Mr Herrod by the parent company of Voyages of Discovery, All Leisure Group PLC nd will continue to operate a year round programme of cruises. This winter, mv Discovery will cruise to South America & the Caribbean Sea before returning to Britain for another summer programme of cruises.

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