Last week saw Cruise and Maritime Voyages welcome the latest addition to their fleet with a glitzy event by the docks of London Tilbury. The 63,000 tonne Columbus, which has also become the line’s new flagship, recently transferred from P&O Cruises Australia and will now cater primarily for British passengers. Guests on board the vessel at her launch event were treated to a gala dinner and an after party which consisted of dance and musical performances as well a spectacular fireworks display.
As you might have guessed, the name Columbus is in keeping with the lines’ heritage. Two of the lines vessels currently in operation are also named after explorers: Marco Polo and Magellan (Ferdinand Magellan). It is this theme of exploration and discovery that shines through for the line and is what appeals to passengers, with insightful itineraries around the world enabling you to dig beneath the surface of each destination visited.
The acquisition of Columbus has proven to be a very popular move for CMV, with sailings on board the ship thought to be 95% sold out for 2017 and 40% sold out for 2018. It is this level of popularity that has led to speculation of further acquisitions for the line - a notion which is supported by CMV Chief Executive, Christian Verhounig. Speaking in Tilbury at the launch event, he said “We are currently looking for new ships and we’re also looking for strategic acquisitions. An announcement will be made very soon.”
In an interview with Travel Weekly, Verhounig shed some light on this exciting news. “We have found out that this is the size that works well for us. Why? Because it has a maximum capacity of 1,900 passengers but we limit it to 1,350, giving our guest an amazing space ratio – the kind you could get in the six-star sector. We then put 700 crew on, meaning it is not even two guests to one member of crew. That level of service normally doesn’t exist anywhere and our guests really appreciate that.”
It is clear that the line has intentions to grow and expand throughout the world, with markets not only in Europe, but also in Australia. However, when quizzed on the subject, Verhounig said he was not currently interested in positioning ships in China. “China is not for us because they want big and glitzy not small and traditional.”
Cruise and Maritime Voyages shares many similarities with Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, offering cruises on board ships that may have been in operation for several decades but have been restored to their original elegance. While settling in on board traditional vessels, passengers are able to enjoy a more personalised level of service during their cruise.
In the 21st century, many lines have made strides to making large ships filled with contemporary amenities. It is, however, refreshing to have many smaller lines in operation offering personalised service with in-depth experiences on board revitalised vessels.
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