The Cruise and Maritime Voyages’ offering is mainly straightforward comfort, pleasant surroundings, good value and the chance to sail to a great range of destinations from a variety of UK ports. Elegance is found here and there, it’s not the very first word that comes to mind – but there’s a touch more elegance in the fleet with the arrival of Columbus.
For details of the sailing itineraries and current fares across the Cruise and Maritime Voyages’ fleet visit our main website at gocruise.co.uk/sarah-and-bjarne
This ship has a bit of history, built in 1988 sailing first as Princess Cruises’ Star Princess, then around the millennium as P&O’s Arcadia, then Ocean Village, and P&O Australia’s Pacific Pearl before joining CMV as Columbus from June 2017.
Because Columbus is an older ship, and as with CMV’s other ships, there are few balcony cabins (64) – and most of these are classed as Junior Suites. Much of the accommodation is in Ocean View staterooms, though a range of Inside cabins are also available. The cabins we viewed were smart, reasonably spacious and well equipped, including a UK style plug, and coffee making facilities. 150 of the 775 passenger cabins are allocated for solo travelers, which potentially makes Columbus one of the most single-friendly ships.
Most of the refurb work that has been carried out has been technical, so as she set sail for the first time as Columbus there would be smaller cosmetic changes vs her most recent life as P&O Australia’s Pacific Pearl.
The Atrium provides a spacious and pleasant welcome to the ship, and over 3 decks a wide expanse of public space, which can be used effectively for gatherings, music, entertainment, even a bit of acrobatics! Here you’ll also find a range of shopping, Raffles bar, Hemingway’s cafe, as well as the Reception and Guest Services. A pleasant hub for the ship’s passengers.
We started the main part of our tour in the impressive Dome Observatory and Nightclub – the highest place on the ship on Deck 14. There’s a large circular dancefloor and wide spaces around in an outer circle – with views out of the windows all around. During the day this will be a lovely location to settle down with a book and a drink from the bar and watch the world go by. At night, a whole lot more noisy and lively no doubt.
There’s ample outside deck space on CMV’s Columbus – with a couple of large pools and the Oval Pool Bar so you don’t even need to dry off to get a bit of refreshment. Columbus has an outdoor screen, so on-deck movies will surely be a thing on some voyages.
The Plantation Bistro and the Alfresco Grill provide daytime eating options aboard Columbus on the Lido Deck, meaning sun worshippers don’t need to stray too far from their sunbeds to eat well.
CMV are an adult-only line so the children’s’ facilities have been removed and something more grown-up put in instead – such as the Columbus Lounge and Library on Deck 13. In August, children will however be allowed onboard Columbus for school summer-holiday time cruises. Therefore multi-generational holidays with parents and grandparents become possible in that month. However, kids will need to have a talent for self-entertainment or a satisfaction with the pool, sightseeing, and the general entertainment. Children’s prices on these cruises are incredibly attractive though.
A Captain’s Club and Casino area is located to the rear of Deck 5 – a bit of an underwhelming space currently – perhaps there’ll be some CMV style changes to come here. Trumps & Aces is a 100 seat bridge and card room at the aft of Deck 11. The surprisingly well-equipped main gym and spa is on Deck 2 – and the spa prices were attractive, especially some of the packages of treatments.
Most of the other public areas run the full length of the Promenade Deck with a large restaurant ‘Waterfront’ at the aft of the ship – this has good separation of segments meaning the true size of the restaurant is not evident, and something a bit more intimate is experienced (especially in the alcove areas). The food we tasted left a number of larger lines with something to aspire to.
The Taverner’s Pub onboard Columbus has some quirky decorative touches, a fun approach to lighting (look out for the clusters of old drinks decanters as lightshades), and the likelihood of some lively evenings of song with your drinks – there are 2 pianos ready and waiting.
The Connexions Lounge is a lighter, brighter place – again with some quirky touches making it an interesting and pleasant environment in which to spend time. Lots of comfy sofas and chairs here. There’s a small stage for some low-key entertainment.
The main Palladium Show Lounge is an impressive entertainment space streching far and wide and with a huge open stage area.
Speciality restaurants Fusion and The Grill provide some different eating options – but a not insignificant cover charge will apply. The Grill is most expensive, and specialises in cut of meat and steaks. It gives the impression of being genuinely special though.
All in all, we got the impression that Columbus takes CMV’s general proposition up a notch, and adds several strings to the bow. The range of itineraries is impressive, and Columbus will mainly homeport at London Add to dictionary.
To see where Cruise and Maritime Voyages’ Columbus will be sailing visit our main website at gocruise.co.uk/sarah-and-bjarne