The ship began operation in 1972 with Flagship Cruises, under the name Island Venture. In 1974 she was sold to P&O's Princess Cruises along with sister ship Sea Venture. The pair were renamed Island Princess and Pacific Princess, the latter now operating as the Pacific. Both appeared in the 1970's television sitcom The Love Boat, although the Pacific Princess was the main feature of the show. The Island Princess operated as part of the Princess fleet until 1999, when she was sold on to Hyundai Merchant Marine of South Korea. Renamed Hyundai Pungak her role was to transport South Korean pilgrims to religious sites in North Korea
After a brief stint as the Platinum the ship went through a major refit between 2001–-2003. Since 2003 the vessel has been sailing as Discovery under the care of the cruise company Voyages of Discovery (part of the All Leisure Group Plc) cruising out of Harwich, England. Voyages of Discovery sells these cruises predominately to the British, American, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand and South African markets.
For the most part Discovery can be found in the Baltic, Scandinavia, the Mediterranean and Aegean Sea, and North Africa, in the months April–September (Spring and Summer in the Northern Hemisphere), and in South America, Antarctica, the Indian Ocean, India, and the Mediterranean, in the months October–March (Spring and Summer in the Southern Hemisphere).
The ship is 168.8 m (554 ft) long and 24.7 m (81 ft) beam, originally measured 19,910 GRT and was built at Nordseewerke, Germany. She could carry 646 passengers, and had a top speed of 21.5 knots (39.8 km/h). The Discovery Cruises web site lists her current gross tonnage as 20,186, top speed as 18 knots (33 km/h) and passenger capacity as 698. Propulsion is by four Fiat medium speed diesel engines with a combined power output of 18,000 shaft horsepower. The engines are individually clutched and geared in pairs to each of the two shafts which drive controllable pitch propellers. This arrangement enables one or more engines to be shut down and declutched as required. Current registry is under the Bermudan flag.
On board eight decks are open to the public; Sky Deck, Sun Deck, Bridge Deck, Promenade Deck, Riviera Deck, Pacific Deck, Bali Deck and Coral Deck.
- UK Voyages of Discovery site website
- US Voyages of Discovery Cruises site website
- OZ Voyages of Discovery site website
- NZ Voyages of Discovery site website
- Antarctica Discovery site website
- "P&O- Port Out, Starboard Home", David L. Williams, Ian Allen Publishing, 2002
- Discovery Cruises Australia site website
- mv Discovery Photo Review website