Like a child waking up to a large pile of presents on Christmas Day – that’s how I felt when I heard the news that one of the UK’s much-loved cruise lines, Cruise & Maritime Voyages, would be expanding their fleet with the large addition of the 63,786 GT Columbus, currently sailing with P&O Cruises Australia as Pacific Pearl. I already can not wait to step onboard the ship for the first time in 2017!
Cruise & Maritime Voyages is known for its traditional British cruising experience. The fleet offers a throwback to the former glory days of ocean cruising, with teak decking, spacious cabins, plus an intimate and social environment where new friends are instantly made. The grand 800-passenger Marco Polo has been with the company since the early days, and has earned a mutual respect and loyalty among guests and crew. Along with the 600-passenger Astor and 550-passenger Astoria, the fleet may not be glitzy, and full of novelty features, but each ship has its own unique character.
In 2015 CMV began operating the 1,250-passenger Magellan, the former Carnival Holiday and still sailing with her distinct ‘whale tail’ funnel. Once the largest cruise ship in the world, now its considered relatively small at 46,052 GT, compared to the current largest cruise ship at 225,282 GT! But for CMV, Magellan is still a huge, bold step-up from previous vessels. Despite the increased size, Magellan still feels intimate, spacious and traditional. The ship perfectly blends the traditional aspects of cruising Cruise & Maritime Voyages passengers love, such as teak decking, open spaces and a connection with the sea, rather than the feeling of being on a floating resort. Magellan introduced new features, that no other CMV ship has ever had, such as three large dining venues, a two-deck high main theatre, and two swimming pools. The new addition helped transform the cruise line, which previously only offered small ship cruising on old ships for…lets face it, older people. But that image has started to change, and Magellan has helped CMV to attract a much younger demographic, accustomed to the larger ships of today.
With the announcement of the latest addition, Columbus, joining the fleet in June 2017, the ship will become the cruise line’s new flagship and the largest in the fleet. Similar to Magellan, the ship will help to attract a younger market, with its modern decor, and new features for the cruise line, but still in-keeping with the traditional British cruise experience. Columbus will feature a magnificent three-deck high main atrium, surrounded by a variety of boutique shops, five dining options, as well as an ice cream parlour and coffee bar, plus an outdoor movie screen.
While CMV’s ships are getting larger and more modern, it certainly doesn’t appear that the cruise line is wanting to change their traditional cruising approach that appeals to so many Brits.