Columbus, no not the explorer, Cruise and Maritime Voyages new flagship recently re-named by Angela Ripon as MV Columbus, looking resplendent berthed at its new home port, the London Cruise Terminal, Tilbury. Newly refurbished in Germany and transferred into the new owner’s colours of blue and white Columbus looked what it is, a traditional cruise ship. Weighing in at just under 64,000grt the ship fits perfectly into that size so much loved by many British cruisers who bemoan the advent of mega ships. Carrying just 1400 passengers in 775 cabins this ship will not feel crowded even when full with its 11 passenger decks providing a space ratio that is superior to many of the competition.
Columbus boasts 20 grades of well-appointed inner and ocean view cabins plus 28 De Luxe Balcony cabins and 36 Junior Balcony suites ensuring there is something to suit everyone’s pocket. 597 have ocean views with an average size of almost 190 sq. ft. so no one will complain of lack of room. Cruise and Maritime recognising the needs of solo passengers have allocated 150 cabins for solo use. All cabins are tastefully furnished and come equipped with air conditioning, private en-suite facilities with shower plus ample hanging and storage space, flat-screen television, fridge, personal safe and that all important item, a hairdryer. Electrical sockets are of the type used in the USA and Australia so an adapter will be needed for English style 3 pin plugs.
The main dining room, the Waterfront Restaurant on Deck 7 has windows on three sides affording spectacular sea views for many of the diners who occupy tables of 4, 6 and 8. Dinner is served in the classic two seating system that is much favoured by the British traveller whilst breakfast and lunch are dealt with on an open seating basis. For those wanting something different why not try one of the speciality restaurants, The Grill with mouth watering steaks or the Fusion Restaurant on Deck 12, something more casual, try the Plantation Bistro also on Deck 12 with its al fresco area, imagine breakfast in the sunshine whilst surrounded by a calm blue sea. For that special occasion book Chef’s Table on Deck 7 for an evening to remember.
Having eaten it’s time to relax in one of the 7 different lounges and bars or for non-alcoholic drinks there are two speciality tea and coffee venues.
Fed and watered time to take in some of the entertainment provided at one of the six entertainment venues. For shows by the resident song and dance group accompanied by the Columbus Orchestra visit the two deck, tiered, Palladium Theatre with its retractable stage providing a large area for those wishing to trip the light fantastic. For something more gentile try The Atrium, Dome Observatory or to be really British relax in one of the comfortable chairs at Taverners Pub with its large traditional wooden bar and sing along with piano player. For the more energetic, or those who are just young at heart there’s the Night Club where you can enjoy the sounds until the wee hours.
For sunny days at sea you have a choice of 2 heated swimming pools surrounded by vast sunbathing areas adorned with comfortable blue and white sun loungers and large cinema screen for showing films and sporting events. Other areas of the ship sport sculptured sun beds.
When it gets too hot, visit the Oval Pool Bar for something cool or Gelato’s Ice Cream Shop on deck 12. If it’s a coffee, visit the Piazza Doro coffee shop and have a coffee made to order.
This ship boasts a proper library, something many modern ships seem to have forgotten. Large internally lit glass fronted book cases set in a quiet area elegantly furnished with Chesterfield style settees and arm chairs, a wonderful setting for you to enjoy that quiet time with a book away from the hustle and bustle of the every day world.
To treat yourself browse the shops surrounding level 3 of the atrium, the Jewellery Store, Clothing Shop, Perfume Store or just to relax and chill out visit the Jade Wellness Centre on Deck 2 for that special pampering.
This is a ship that will appeal very much to the British market. It was a favourite when sailing as Arcadia for P&O and again as Ocean Village 1 which is still fondly spoken of by many older cruisers. A traditional ship of classic design with teak decking has much to offer and will be operating some interesting itineraries, Iceland, the Fjords, Baltic and other popular destinations. However the jewel in the crown will be on the 5th January 2018 when Columbus sets sail on a 121 night world cruise. What better way to escape winter and visit those places you have until now only dreamed of.