I recently enjoyed a fantastic cruise on board the impressive Columbus, the new flagship for Cruise & Maritime Voyages. Having joined the fleet in June 2017, she previously had been Pacific Pearl (2010-2017), Ocean Village (2003-2010), Arcadia (1997-2003), Star Princess (1989-1997) & Fair Majesty (1988) with many people enjoying happy times on board all around the globe. Godmother to the ship is Angela Rippon CBE who officially renamed the ship on Thursday 8th June 2017 as she joined the CMV fleet.
On board this great ship you will find 13 passenger decks to explore with 9 lifts making it easy to get around. Although not all lifts serve all floors so do check before you get in them! Carrying around 1,400 passengers when she is full, there is still plenty of room on board to enjoy a quiet spot just for you. Classed as a medium sized cruise ship she is a popular choice for British holiday makers offering cruises to Baltics, Fjords, Canaries, Mediterranean and World Voyages from her home port in London Tilbury.
Starting at the bottom of the ship on deck 2 (Caribbean Deck) you will find the well-appointed Jade Wellness Spa, Hair Salon and Gymnasium. Only accessible via mid ship lifts the Jade Spa offers pampering treatments, massage and relaxation rooms and a wet room with sauna and steam room. The gymnasium is well stocked with a variety of equipment.
When it comes to accommodation Columbus offers 20 different types of cabin categories, starting from inner cabins all the way to junior suite. Each cabin comes with ensuite, plenty of wardrobe space, safe and is full air condition. I had a cabin on deck 10 (upper deck) which had access to fridge/mini bar and also had tea and coffee making facilities with sea views from a picture window. Passenger cabins are location on decks 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10 and 11.
The stunning centre piece of Columbus is the atrium. Spanning over 3 decks, this warm and welcoming venue is the first thing you see when you step on board the ship. On deck 5 you have reception, future cruise sales and shore excursions plus Hemmingway’s coffee shop. On deck 6 there is duty free shopping with clothing, alcohol and branded souvenirs and opposite is Raffles bar with its live piano and violin music every evening. Deck 7 is the top of the atrium with a jewellery shop, tech store, perfume shop and the photo gallery – yes see your photo in the hall of fame from those formal nights or embarkation day. All three decks are linked by staircases and offer great photo opportunities. The Gala Magnifique Buffet is held in the atrium towards the end of your cruise when all the executive chefs cook some great treats and carvings and everyone gets to eat it! On my cruise the Farewell party was held here too when the cruise staff paraded through the ship for a chance for everyone to say goodbye to each other.
Deck 7 is the interior hub of the ship with most of the entertainment and leisure facilities. The showpiece is the Palladium show lounge which offers a new show every evening over two decks. On board is the resident Columbus Show Team with broadway style shows plus guest entertainers come on board to provide a show too. Connexions Bar is the place to head if you want live music in the evening or to enjoy the daily quiz or bingo and Taverner’s Pub is like your local at sea, a great meeting place and again live music every evening. The Waterfront Restaurant is at the rear of the ship and comfortably seats everyone over two evening sittings providing a 5 or 7 course menu. Do look out for the Galley Tour on board, I did this on a sea day and it is great to see behind the scenes – the kitchens are huge!
If you need to spruce up your garments, there are two self-service laundrettes on board. Located on decks 6 and 10, they have washers, driers and ironing facilities. Washes and driers are chargeable and tokens are available form reception (around $2/$3 each) and the ironing facilities are free. Look out for the magic bag towards the end of the cruise – that’s all I’m saying!
If you want to escape the hustle and bustle head to the rear of the ship and explore Oasis and Ocean Terrace. These are the tiered decks spanning decks 8-12 and offer cabanas, sun loungers and chairs and tables. A relaxing place to watch the wake of the sea behind you as we set sail for another port of call.
Deck 11 (Navigators Deck) comprises of mainly cabin accommodation but also has Trump’s & Aces, the Library and the Crafters Studio. Trump’s & Aces is the games and card room, I have never seen such an impressive selection of board games that you can play here with plenty of tables. The library is open daily, longer on a sea day and also offers a swap service if you have finished with your book. The Crafters Studio offers classes throughout the voyage where you can make items to take home with you, on board my cruise you could make keyrings and Christmas decorations but items vary depending on the cruise.
Deck 12 (Lido Deck) is the main outdoor deck great for exploring on a nice hot day. There are two swimming pools, one with a bar with seats in the pool! There is Gelato’s ice cream parlour which offers freshly made ice creams and cones, Cappuccino’s coffee shop, the Plantation Bistro (buffet) and two speciality dining options Fusion and Grill in addition to the Alfresco Grill. Plantation Bistro is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and offers tea and coffee making facilities from 6am- midnight. The buffet has a daily live cooking station offering freshly prepared options. The Alfresco Grill is open during the afternoon for freshly cooked burgers and hotdogs prepared to order. The Grill and Fusion are speciality dining options which are available for a cover charge, do look out for the staff on board to book your table for the evening.
The final passenger deck is the Sun Deck (deck 14) which features the large video screen, the Dome Observatory and Nightclub and the Columbus Observation Lounge. The Dome Observatory is a nice relaxing venue in the day offering sea views and daytime activities like line dancing, in the evening it becomes a nightclub. One of my favourite hideaways on the ship was the Columbus Observation Lounge, located at the back of the ship it is always quiet with tea/coffee making station, seating area and table tennis if you fancy a game. Sail-away parties are best enjoyed from decks 12 and 14 as the resident show company all gather on deck and sing whilst the sun shines and the drinks flow!
If you are booking a cruise of three nights or more, Cruise & Maritime Voyages offer an all-inclusive drinks package for just £17 per person per day. This allows you to budget for your drinks and avoids any surprise bar bills at the end of the cruise. The package includes House Wine, draught beer, cocktails, spirits and soft drinks in the bars. Other drinks off the bar menu are available for a discount. The package can be bought within the first 24 hours of being on board.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time on board Columbus, I met some really nice people and some very friendly staff who remember your name, what you like to drink and will always stop to chat to you around the ship and even in port too. It’s a great choice for all whether you are a solo traveller, couple, group of friends or even families as Columbus now offer family cruises on selected voyages. A cruise on board Columbus will let you unwind, get away from everything, enjoy some great shows and meet new friends that you will keep for a lifetime.
I was delighted to be invited by Cruise & Maritime Voyages to the naming ceremony of their latest addition to the fleet – the Magellan, in Tilbury earlier this month.
The ceremony took place in the tiered Magellan Show Lounge, hosted by passengers favourite cruise director Richard Sykes, with a selection of typical entertainment including dancing and vocalists. The godmother of the ship was Gloria Hunniford who delightfully christened the ship and welcomed her to the Cruise & Maritime fleet.
After dinner, most guests tend to head to deck 9, this houses the Magellan Show Theatre (also spans to deck 8 as well), which is a magnificent venue in itself. There’s Captains Club which also offers entertainment, a casino with tables and slot machines, an internet café to keep in touch with people back home, Sinatra’s bar a themed bar with further entertainment and also Scott’s Nightclub where you can grove on the dancefloor into the early hours with a live DJ.
Deck 9 also houses the salon and the Jade Wellness Centre, which is well appointed with Thermal Suites, Sauna and Treatment rooms for massages. The Magellan operates as an adult friendly ship, you won’t find rock climbing walls and wave machines, but she is ideal for individuals, groups or couples who prefer a relaxing cruise holiday. She is a real beauty and a rare find, do try a cruise on board the Magellan.