Cruise & Maritime Voyages – Columbus

She may have been called a few names in her time but Cruise & Maritime Voyages’ latest ship Columbus, christened on 8 June 2017 by Angela Rippon, is still a lovely lady.

Launched in 1987 as Sitmar Fair Majesty, she was re-named Star Princess in 1989 by Audrey Hepburn. She later became the old P&O Arcadia, then Ocean Village and more recently Pacific Pearl.

CMV Columbus - LoungeIt was great to be on a ship with real character rather than an identikit version of so many modern ships. The new Taverners Pub has some lovely old knick-knacks and a collection of different shaped decanters in a central area. In all the public areas the lighting is both unusual and appropriate, once again marking a difference between a ship with its own character and one following the modern trend. There are relaxing bars and lounges, a library, card room, internet cafe, and shops around the three-deck high atrium, all with their own unique character.

Unlike modern long, narrow cabins, our ocean view cabin was square with a dressing area and a large space for hanging clothes. The cabin also boasted an amazing 24 drawers for further storage. The bathroom was efficient, although perhaps a little dated with just a fixed head shower and shower curtain; but with two mirrors that opened up to reveal even more storage space there were no complaints there either.

CMV Columbus - Show LoungeBefore the christening ceremony we were offered drinks and canapes, amongst the best I’ve had. It was hard to turn down more but dinner beckoned in a couple of hours. Then we all popped off to the comfortable and spacious show lounge where, after a few short speeches, the ship’s godmother, Angela Rippon, was introduced. She drew similarities with Columbus and her other, human, god-children in a warm address before naming the ship to much applause.

Angela Rippon - the ship's godmotherThe evening’s dinner consisted of six courses – too many for me, although one friend did try them all, simply in the name of research (well, that was her story!). I had Surf and Turf for my main course and it was great, as were the Prawn Cocktail and Caesar Salad I had from earlier courses, having passed on the soup and sorbet. Previous guests will not be surprised to learn that the main dish for pudding was Baked Alaska, carried in by the waiting staff in traditional parade style. However, other puddings and cheese were also available. Then we all went up on deck to enjoy a firework party.

After a good night’s sleep I headed to breakfast in the Plantation buffet. Again the design and decor has its own individual and charming character and the food was as good as that we had enjoyed the previous day. When it comes to Columbus’s good food I suspect guests will have to be conscious of the old saying, “Embark as passengers, leave as freight!”

Columbus’ itinerary takes it all around the world. See this link for up to date calendar info on where it can be found in the next two years!

Columbus is yet another step up for Cruise & Maritime Voyages and this ship will set its own standard in the UK no-fly cruise market.

Please be advised that Cruise & Maritime Voyages has now ceased trading. For more information, please visit

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Mike Pickup

Award-winning travel writer & photographer

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