Cruise & Maritime Voyages has a fleet of six much-loved ships which might be quietly comfy somewhat than frantically fashionable, with most of them designed to please their primarily British passengers.
Flagship Columbus is predicated at Tilbury with Marco Polo providing departures from different British ports corresponding to Bristol, Cardiff, Portsmouth, Newcastle and Rosyth – in addition to Tilbury – and Astoria departing from Poole, Portsmouth and Hull.
Magellan might be based mostly in Mexico from January to April 2019, then returning to Britain and a bunch of regional departures together with Newcastle, Dundee, Liverpool and Dublin, whereas Astor will make its now conventional journey from Australia to the UK in spring 2019, having sailed from Tilbury to Australia in autumn 2018. In the meantime the corporate’s new ship, Vasco de Gama, will depart Singapore for Amsterdam on its maiden voyage for CMV earlier than concentrating on the German market.
Marco Polo and Astoria are child-free ships, though youngsters 16 and above can journey with adults, whereas Columbus and Magellan function on related traces besides throughout faculty holidays when some multi-generational cruises are on supply. There are additionally particular programmes of occasions for solo passengers on cruises of six nights or extra, in order that they will meet different single individuals and get collectively in teams.
THE WOW FACTOR
This needs to be the worth for cash that every one CMV cruises supply. There aren’t any whizz bang options on Columbus though it has a beautiful structure, due to its earlier life as a Princess Cruises ship amongst different cruise traces, however there’s an actual feelgood feeling onboard.
That is partly due to the costs, with particular reductions and purchase one get one half value affords making certain the ship is at all times fairly full and fairly full of life.
There are additionally restricted numbers of half-price fares for solo travellers, so that they don’t should pay for double occupancy, and kids’s fares are from £99 when sharing with two adults through the multi-generational cruises. Very affordable bar costs add to the overall good worth vibe – a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot pink wine prices £15 – and there aren’t any service fees within the bars, retailers or spa.
Better of all, for the British market not less than, there aren’t any obligatory gratuities to pay, though you’re inspired to tip employees for good service.
Relaxed and simple going sums up life onboard Columbus, the place the costume code is fairly informal through the day and good informal within the night with only one formal night time on a week-long cruise.
Though most passengers leap ship for excursions when in port, there are at all times actions on supply corresponding to energy strolling on deck within the morning or a quiz within the Connexions Bar – typically morning and afternoon.
Different actions embody Darts Get-Togethers within the Remark Lounge and even Bean Bag Bowls and Chairobics – nothing too tough so it’s very inclusive. That is partly as a result of typically days in port could be restricted to an extended half a day, though there may additionally be late departures to offer you time for a drink in native bars.
On sea days there’s a full programme of primarily conventional cruise actions corresponding to bridge, quoits, shuffleboard and bingo – largely free. Columbus doesn’t declare to be subtle or bang updated however passengers appear to be pleased with that – there’s little or no moaning onboard.
Columbus has a number of classes of cabins, because it nonetheless calls them, with 4 sorts of Inside cabins, 9 of Ocean View cabins (outdoors, with home windows), two kinds of Balcony cabins and a selection of 5 cabin classes accessible to singles.
Most are 188sq ft (17.50sq m) with simply the Commonplace Single Ocean View smaller at 146sq ft (13.50sq m) and the Junior Balcony Suite bigger at 372sq ft (34.50sq m), so there’s loads of house.
All have ensuite bathe rooms (there’s additionally a shower within the suites) with a walk-in wardrobe that features loads of drawers. Air-con, flat-screen TVs, fridge, hairdryers and a secure are commonplace to all classes and a few cabins have third and even fourth berths.
All are comfy, with new carpets and fabric put in throughout its June 2017 refit, when the ship joined CMV. Nonetheless, the loos are small and fundamental, with some in want of an improve, and the toiletries on supply are fundamental – so you could desire to take your individual.
However this can be a good ship for singles due to its good selection of solo cabins, it additionally has cabins tailored for wheelchair customers and there are some inter-connecting cabins for households or teams.
The Waterfront is the primary eating room with an inside that manages to really feel glamourous however not glitzy and there aren’t any fastened locations so you may sit by the window for lunch and in an alcove-like space for dinner if you happen to like. This restaurant additionally has a paid-for Chef’s Desk, which seats 14 for an eight-course degustation menu that prices £49 every.
The Plantation buffet restaurant has a contemporary inside design fashion with dividers between the meals stations and seating areas stuffed with good however faux potted vegetation and different knick-knacks, to offer it a homely feeling, and diner-like counters and tall stools in addition to conventional seating.
There are additionally two speciality eating places with cowl fees: The Grill serves steak, rack of lamb, Scottish salmon or free-range rooster, with a selection of starters, for £14.90.
But it surely’s Fusion, the Indian restaurant, that’s stand-out excellent. Sure, you will get good curry within the buffet or predominant eating room any day of the week however Fusion takes issues to a different stage.
At £14.90 per particular person, this small restaurant connected to the buffet is nearly as good as something you’ll get on any of the luxurious traces. The menu begins with a number of appetisers corresponding to samosas, then you definitely select your individual predominant course – classics corresponding to Lamb Rogan Josh or Tamarind and Chili Glazed Prawns – adopted by a plate of sweets corresponding to dates filled with Baileys and white chocolate. All of the spices are from India, not a Western grocery store, and you’ll actually style the distinction: it’s excellent.
Different eating choices embody afternoon tea – arduous to catch if you happen to’re off the ship – burgers and the like from the Pool Grill, room service (largely paid-for) and the espresso store Hemingways the place you should purchase premium tea, espresso and cake.
There aren’t any West Finish-style exhibits however there are cabarets, comedians and evaluations and, better of all, themed cruises that includes retired sports activities stars, veteran pop stars or British actors from tv’s 1970s glory days.
Significantly good are the Cricketing Legends themed cruises hosted by Nick Hancock of They Suppose It’s All Over. Former England captain Mike Gatting is usually among the many cricketers becoming a member of in quiz exhibits in addition to collaborating in severe on-stage interviews and assembly followers for images and autographs within the bar.
Different themed cruises for 2019 embody the 75th D-Day Anniversary cruise, Rouen Armada & River Seine cruise and Christmas & New 12 months cruises.
Columbus sails from London Tilbury on its Grand Around the World Cruise in January 2019, coming back from Auckland in February and is again at Tilbury in Might for round-Britain and northern Europe cruises plus a few Canary Islands journeys.
Cruises with the celebs embody a seven-night Fjordland Splendour return-trip from Tilbury on September 29 that includes The Three Levels in addition to calls at Amsterdam then on to Norway’s Eidfjord, Flam and Bergen with scenic cruising in Hardangerfjord and Sognefjord.
Twin internal cabins can be found from £929 for the primary particular person and £464 for the second particular person, two sharing (0844 998 9530; cruiseandmaritime.com).