Archive for the ‘Cruise & Maritime Voyages’ Category

CMV – 2018 Programme

March 15, 2017

Columbus (Courtesy CMV)

We are delighted to announce the launch of our 2018 programme with a new preview brochure. The preview is on sale now and contains 100 worldwide cruising prospects.

For 2018, we are offering Buy One Get One Free fares on all summer cruises included in the new programme when booked before 31 May 2017. Our new fleet addition Columbus, which joins the fleet this June, will sail from London Tilbury throughout 2018, meanwhile Astoria is set to return due to popular demand. Nine British departure ports are featured with Harwich a new addition. The introduction of Cobh (Cork) will no doubt please Irish passengers. Fares are available from £379pp for a 6 night European Cities cruise.

Chris Coates, Commercial Director at CMV said ‘Our aim is to reward early bookers so we have issued a preview brochure much earlier. Since adding Magellan and Columbus to the fleet we have increased the number of passengers travelling with us. They in turn re-book and recommend the traditional British cruise experience to their relatives and friends. The new programme is predominantly with no flying involved. Many more people are wishing to cruise from closer to home rather than waste a day out and back at crowded airports. The new CMV brochure makes the decision easy with a choice of nine UK departure ports .’

Among the exciting range of new itineraries is a voyage on Marco Polo that includes a journey into the White Sea and a visit to Murmansk. Astoria has an eye-catching cruise that includes the Scottish Lochs and Glens, and Magellan will be sailing the Mediterranean. Details of the Columbus Round the World cruise in January 2018 are highlighted along with CMV’s most popular choices; the Norwegian Fjords, Baltic Cities & St Petersburg, British Isles and Iceland and in the winter time, the Canaries & Madeira, Amazon & West Indies and the Land of the Northern Lights.

In addition to the BOGOF fare deals 150 twin cabins will be set aside on Columbus and Magellan for the benefit of solo travellers with a modest 25% supplement on the twin share price. This year the two multi-generational cruises introduced on Columbus have been well received. In 2018 CMV are offering a choice of eight multi-generational cruises so guests can take their children and the grand-children. Child fares from £99.

(Cruise & Maritime Voyages)

Web site:

Magellan Review: HERE

Marco Polo Review: HERE

Reviews of the rest of  CMV fleet – See menu right.

CMV Ships Get The Special Treatment

December 9, 2016

In late November/early December 2016, Magellan & Marco Polo were in the port of Amsterdam as part of their routine annual docking. This was to prepare the vessels for the new season.

Mike Hall, Head of Marketing at CMV said “Magellan was completed ready for her Christmas Markets cruise on 6 December from Tilbury which has been on waitlist now for sometime”. Meanwhile, Marco Polo sailed back to Bristol in time for her on board Festive Celebration Events and Christmas cruise which is also on waitlist.

Marco Polo in dry-dock (All images CMV)

Marco Polo in dry-dock (All images CMV)

Both these CMV ships have many loyal followers and as a result our overall 2017 programme is now more than 70% sold. So, if you haven’t booked your cruise for next year, now is the time to do so.”

(Text/Images courtesy of CMV)

Malcolm says: These are ‘real ships’ which are being lovingly maintained. Well done CMV.

More images of dry-docking HERE

CMV Offer Itineraries from Wales In 2017

Cruise & Maritime Voyages will offer itineraries departing from Wales for the first time ever in 2017.


The no-fly cruise specialist has revealed that the 800-passenger Marco Polo will offer a series of cruises departing from Cardiff (UK), including Norwegian Fjords and Spain, Portugal & France voyages; plus a special summer Gardens & River Seine cruise from the port.

The 1,400-passenger Magellan will meanwhile offer three sailings from Newport (UK), including a cruise to European Medieval cities, a mini-cruise to Dublin and a Norwegian Fjords voyage.

CMV’s head of marketing, Mike Hall, said: “CMV is delighted to be cruising from Wales in 2017 and would like to thank ABP Ports and Cruise Wales for their support in bringing this about.  Sales have been extremely encouraging and it is our intention to be sailing from Wales again in 2018.”

Marco Polo review HERE, Magellan review HERE.

It’s Not All About Mega-Ships

October 16, 2016

Azores, Liverpool, Aug 2015.

Most of the cruise news these days is about very big new ships. They generate their own publicity. There is an assumption that if they are the biggest, they must be the best!

However some of the worlds best cruise experiences are to be found on considerably smaller cruise ships. However you will not generally find these ships grabbing the maritime headlines.

Contrary to popular misconception, not all small ship offer expensive cruises. Cruise and maritime Voyages (CMV) and Fred Olsen are living proof.

Last year I took a mini-cruise on-board ‘Cruise & Maritime Voyages’ MV Astoria (called ‘Azores’ at the time).

Astoria s was one of the smallest cruise ships operating regularly from UK ports, such as Bristol and Liverpool. She’s certainly the smallest cruise ship that I have ever cruised on.

However Astoria sadly leaves the CMV fleet spring, 2017.

Astoria, is around 16,000 gross tonnes. For comparison this makes ‘Oasis of the Seas’ @ 220,000 gt, fourteen times bigger than Astoria.

Astoria carries just 555 passengers, whereas Oasis carries 6,000+ passengers. In fact each of Oasis’s lifeboats carries 300 passengers.


Astoria top, Oasis below (Courtesy

Astoria also has a very long history, being one of the oldest ocean cruise ships still in operation, in the world. She is currently 68 years old. She’s also in very good condition.

See Full Astoria Review Here

Fred’s small ships:  I have had the pleasure of cruising on-board all of the current Fred Olsen fleet:

Black Watch (1972) review: HERE

Boudicca (1972) review:       HERE

Balmoral (1988) review:       HERE

Braemar (1993) review:        HERE

Astoria To Leave CMV’s Fleet

July 2, 2016
Azores, Liverpool, Aug 2015.

Astoria, Liverpool, Aug 2015.

2017 will be the Farewell Season for Astoria, which will sadly be leaving the CMV fleet.

She will only be offering UK cruises in March and April 2017. These are mainly from Tilbury, but surprisingly there are several departures from Rotterdam and Amsterdam.

To mark her farewell, CMV have introduced a trio of added value offers in addition to their ‘Buy One Get One’ Free deals. Early booking is strongly recommended.

I cruise on her in 2015 when she was called ‘Azores’, yet still operated by CMV. Carrying just 555 passengers, she is CMV’s smallest and oldest ships.

She is  a lovely ship with interiors that are in great condition for her age.

I have heard her called “the world’s oldest ocean-going passenger vessel” although I am not convinced that is true. Never the less, being built in 1948, she’s a lot older than most!

Here is my Astoria REVIEW

CMV cruise dates/fares:  HERE

Malcolm says: CMV will be having a new addition to their fleet in 2017, see below:

CMV To Get Ex-P&O Vessel

(Courtesy CMV)

(Courtesy CMV)

Good news for British small ship lovers:

Under CMV’s explorer theme, Columbus will be dedicated to the British cruise market homeporting year round from London Tilbury and providing a more traditional scenic British cruise experience.

At 63,786grt and with an impressive space ratio, she will carry about 1400 mainly British passengers accommodated in 775 cabins (including 150 singles) and will become the proud new flagship of the CMV ocean fleet operating alongside Magellan (1300pax), Marco Polo (800pax), Astor (600pax) and Astoria (550pax).


The ex-Pacific Pearl will be 28 years old when it joins the CMV fleet . However she is young in comparison to Marco Polo which is 51 years old, this year (2106) and Astoria 68. Columbus and will go into dry dock in May 2017 for up-grading.

Columbus will also be targeted to the adult only (16yrs plus) market although in summer 2017 will be operating two selected August summer holiday sailings for all age groups. The ship was originally launched in 1989 and christened by Hollywood actress Audrey Hepburn on 23rd March.

Christian Verhounig, CEO and Chairman of CMV explained, “The successful introduction of Magellan in 2015 has encouraged our Group to accelerate their mid-term growth plans and the addition of Columbus to the fleet in 2017 is another important milestone in achieving our longer term growth objectives”.

He added, “The strategic development of the Group’s presence in the UK and wider international markets will increase our overall capacity to 125,000 passengers in 2017. We are proud of the CMV brand’s growing international recognition and remain confident in continuing to successfully build our business as a strong value based ‘independent’ alternative.”

Chris Coates, Commercial Director commented, “We are really pleased to welcome this fine ship to our fleet which we believe will be very well suited to our core British market who appreciate and value the many benefits of cruising on smaller to mid-sized more traditional vessels of this type. The introduction of Columbus and her past association and popularity with the British cruise market spanning 13 years, will increase 2017 UK bed night capacity by 25% to 95,000 passengers. Having already sold over 85% of capacity for 2016 and with 17,000 people turning 50 every week in the UK, we remain confident that Columbus will satisfy the growing demand for our product”.

(Cruise & Maritime Voyages)

Ship Tour HERE

Malcolm says: ‘Columbus’ is the former P&O Cruises Australia ship ‘Pacific Pearl’. She has been part of the P&O Cruises Australia fleet since 2010. However she has had a number of reincarnations: Ocean Village (2003-2010), P&O: Arcadia (1997-2003), Princess Cruises: Star Princess (1989-1997) and built as Sitmar: Fair Majesty (1988). Arcadia and Ocean Village were particularly popular wit Brits.

I was not expecting more CMV expansion. The addition of Columbus will make a fleet of five ships – bigger than Fred Olsen’s fleet. CMV must be doing something right. They are NOT five star, but I’d suggest the key to their success it due to the combination of smaller-friendly ships, regional ports and some good fares.

At nearly 64,000 gross tonnes Columbus will be CMV’s biggest ship, eclipsing Magellan at around 46,000 gt. In fact when she was built in 1988 she would have been regarded as a mega-ship. However Columbus will not carry so many more passenger than Magellan, so is a little more spacious.

Magellan Review: HERE

Marco Polo Review: HERE

Astor Review: HERE


Meet Columbus

April 1, 2016

An alternative to todays many mega-ships:

A slide-show of the new addition to Cruise & Maritime Voyages fleet, formerly ‘Pacific Pearl’ for P&O Cruises Australia and before that P&O (UK) ‘Arcadia’.

Her 2017 itineraries have now been published: HERE

I hope to cruise on this ship and write a review  ASAP. If CMV are reading a free cruise would speed the whole process up!


(Reviews of CMV’s Marco Polo, Magellan and Astoria can be found, menu right)

Marco Polo Meets Britannia

June 10, 2015
(Image Courtesy of Karen Bradbury – click to enlarge )

(Image Courtesy of Karen Bradbury – click to enlarge )

In Marco Polo’s 50th years she has seen many different ships but this is the first time she has met P&O’s newest addition to their fleet, Britannia (left of image).

These two ships met in the beautiful Norwegian town of Flam, which gave their meeting a spectacular backdrop.

(S.Law, CMV)

Malcolm says: See, NOT all ships are the same. That’s what 143,000 gross tonnes (4,324 passengers) looks like compared to 22,000 gt (900 passengers).

Marco Polo review HERE

Magellan & Marco Polo @ Tilbury

April 5, 2015
(Magellan Left, Marco Polo Right - Tilbury 03/15. Click to enlarge))

Magellan Left, Marco Polo Right – Tilbury 03/15. Click to enlarge

The Tilbury cruise Terminal (AKA The London Cruise Terminal) is located on the Thames, in Essex, England.

These days it is a sleepy place, with maybe a few dozen ship arrivals and departures per year. Many of those are ‘Cruise and Maritime Voyages’ (CMV) ‘Marco Polo’, which homeports there. Fred Olsen has occasionally offered some departures, too.

There was a time that the Tilbury landing stage was a very busy place. It had it’s own railway station at the terminal, a Hotel next door and many Ocean Liners arriving and departing for Europe, America, Asia and Australia.

However, Friday 27th March 2015 was a very busy day for Tilbury, by modern standards. There were two cruise ships in – CMV’s ‘Marco’ Polo and their new flagship ‘Magellan’, which will also homeport at Tilbury.

Marco Polo from the deck of Magellan - Click to enlarge

Marco Polo from the deck of Magellan – Click to enlarge

Magellan at 45,052 gross tonnes and 1,452 passengers is twice as big (by volume) as Marco Polo at 22,080 and 915 passengers. The Marco Polo is 50 years old this year (2015) but Magellan is a mere 30 years old.

I undertook a short cruise on Magellan and have written a review:

New: Magellan Ship review:

Marco Polo Ship Review:


MV Discovery Broken-Up

February 1, 2015
(Source unknown)

(Source unknown)

Although there was never an official announcement that MV Discovery was scrapped, she was tracked by cruiseblog contributors (John, Edwin, Bill, Mikep et al) to Alang, India. Here she was broken-up, on the beach.

Owners, the ‘All Leisure Group’ sold the loss-making cruise ship mv Discovery for $5 million, less than half her value.

Discovery (20,186 gt, 698 passengers) was originally the ‘Island Princess’, built in 1971, was one of the ships used to film the classic American TV series, the ‘Love Boat’. For the past few years Cruise & Maritime Voyages have been chartering her.

Discovery departed Bristol, Avonmouth, for the final time on October 9th bound to anchor off Falmouth for a few hours the day after.

Following her brief anchorage off Falmouth she sailed south to the Strait of Gibraltar and upon entering the Mediterranean she was reported to be renamed “AMEN” and flagged in St. Kitts and Nevis. She sailed directly towards Port Said and days later transited the Suez Canal. Like her sister Pacific, she has been broken up.

Peter Knego, ship expert (of Maritime Matters/MidShipCentury) has very close links with Alang. He imports, collects and sells memorabilia from classic ships, that have been broken up. It is his way of preserving their memory. His facebook page currently shows an image featuring ‘Discovery’ on the beach at Alang.


(Thanks to Edwin Todd for information)

Malcolm Say’s: Unfortunately, I never cruised on Discovery, but did visit her in October this year, shortly before she made her final cruise. I was amazed how spacious she was for a small ship and how many public rooms she had. Her interiors reminded me of aspects of the SS France, QE2 and SS Rotterdam. How’s that for a pedigree! My mediocre images do not begin to do her justice.

Please see my slide show below:

MV Discovery

September 14, 2014

Sept. 2014

I recently visited ‘Discovery’ at Bristol’s Avonmouth Docks, and was amazed how many spacious public rooms the ship offered, for her relatively small size (20,186 gt, 698 passengers). Although some of her carpets were a little worn, I was generally very impressed with the overall operation.

She is a real ‘classic’ ship with aspects that reminded me of SS Norway, QE2 and even the SS Rotterdam. My slide show below hardly does her justice – you really need to see her in the flesh.

Discovery was originally the ‘Island Princess’, built in 1971, was one of the ships used to film the classic American TV series, the ‘Love Boat’.

For the past few years Cruise & Maritime Voyages have been chartering her.  However the owners, ‘All Leisure Group’, have gone into the red so are keen to sell her.  CMV will be replacing ‘Discovery’ with ‘Azores’, which they will charter from Portuguese operator Portuscale.

Regular readers will know that I am quite a fan of CMV’s Marco Polo.  MV Discovery is about the same size, carries less passengers and has so many more public lounges and bars. She even has a cinema. (Although internally MP seems to have benefitted form a more recent refit).




Stop press: MV Discover Scrapped?

CMV Loses The Love Boat

September 7, 2014

Cruise & Maritime Voyages are about to lose their ship, ‘Discovery’ which they charter.


Just two cruises remain under the CMV banner. The owners, ‘All Leisure Group’, have gone into the red so are keen to sell her.

Discovery was originally the ‘Island Princess’, built in 1971, was one of the ships used to film the classic American TV series, the ‘Love Boat’.

However Cruise & Maritime Voyages will be replacing ‘Discovery’ with ‘Azores’, which they will charter from Portuguese operator Portuscale. The ship’s first cruise for CMV leaves Bristol on January 26th and is a 30-night voyage to the Caribbean.

Azores, first entered service in 1948 but was extensively in 1994.

Malcolm says: I  visited ‘Discovery’ at Bristol, Avonmouth Docks, on 6th September 14.  I was amazed how many spacious public rooms the ship offered, for her relatively small size. Although some of her soft furnishings were a little worn, I was generally very impressed with the overall operation. She will be quite a loss to CMV.