Cruise & Maritime Voyages’ (CMV) newest ship has started her long journey to her new home. Today Pacific Pearl left Sydney for the last time on a farewell 16 night cruise to Singapore via Queensland and Indonesia. Her arrival in the UK signals something different for the British cruising family.
Cruise & Maritime are not known for family cruising; in fact their fleet of ships is ordinarily reserved specially for adults. However, responding to passenger sentiment – CMV have allocated two cruises this year as ‘Multi-Generational’ cruises (there are 11 more planned for 2018 on both Columbus and current flagship Magellan).
Despite coming from the land down under – Columbus is no stranger to the UK. She sailed for P&O Cruises from 1997 as Arcadia before transferring to Ocean Village in 2003 where she stayed until 2010 before heading to the Southern Hemisphere where she’s been since.
After the keys are handed over to CMV, she’ll undertake an upgrade in Singapore and on her way to her new homeport of Tilbury. Amongst other things, the upgrade will see the former kids’ areas refurbished to create a new library and card room which will satisfy the needs of the CMV passenger.
Despite these changes, the Multi-Generational cruises being offered by Cruise & Maritime are set to herald an alternative choice for the British cruising family – but what will Columbus offer families?
- A mid-sized ship. Despite being the largest CMV ship at around 63,000 tonnes, she’s less than half the size of P&O Cruises’ Britannia and that provides a more manageable size of ship for all generations to find their way around.
- An outdoor cinema. Added in 2010, this 7x4m TV screen will show movies and sporting events.
- Two pool areas. Both located on Lido deck, with two good sized swimming pools. One will have an adjoining gelato stand and a wade-in sit-up bar with waterfall.
- Reasonable drinks prices. All inclusive options start at £17 per person per day (for adults), which is unrivaled for value.
- British Pound onboard. All CMV ships use the Pound onboard, which means that in these times where your money doesn’t go as far against the Euro or Dollar; you know exactly where you are.
- Family friendly itineraries. The 14 night cruise leaving in August visits the family favourite destination of the Canary Islands.
- Great fares. For cruises where the lower age limit is lifted – child fares start at £99 (for 7n, £199 for 14n)
In terms of cabins, CMV’s newest ship offers:
- Large cabins. A real plus if you’re all sharing together. At around 186 square feet, these cabins are around a third larger than some lines (Royal Caribbean’s Vision of the Seas inside staterooms start at 135 sq ft)
- Family friendly cabins. Out of 775 cabins, more than 180 will accommodate four people (and an additional 45 will accommodate up to 3). These cabins are available in most categories and on all decks.
- Interconnecting cabins. There are 6 pairs of outside cabins and 2 pairs of inside cabins connected by an integral door, providing space for up to 6 or 8 people.
There aren’t going to be rock climbing walls, water chutes, ice rinks or dodgems – Cruise & Maritime offer a traditional British cruise experience. Even for Multi Generational cruises, CMV are clear to point out that there will be no specific activities onboard for children. Maybe that’s a good thing for you and your tribe or maybe it isn’t. Your children might not like kids clubs, or you might you want to spend all of your long-awaited down-time together as a family.
But, what Columbus will definitely offer you is the chance for all generations to make memories together and that’s probably all that matters.
Mini Anchor Man says: “I want to watch Planes and Planes 2 on there and I am going to sunbathe here” (whilst looking at the picture of the outdoor cinema). “Do these beds have ladders?” When told yes, he said “Right. I’m going to pack my bags, I want to leave on Sunday.”
(All pictures: Cruise & Maritime Voyages)