Cruise & Maritime Voyages is Britain’s leading independent cruise line and this year is celebrating its tenth anniversary. The company specialises in great value for money, traditional, no fly cruise holidays.
We invited Mike Hall, the Head of Marketing for Cruise & Maritime Voyages to take part in this CRUISE Q&A interview to talk more about CMV, including the arrival of the cruise line's sixth ship Vasco da Gama and what the future plans are for the cruise line.
Can you give us a brief history of Cruise & Maritime Voyages?
Cruise & Maritime Voyages was originally formed in 2009 by Cruise & Maritime Services International with a cruise programme featuring Marco Polo sailing from London Tilbury and Ocean Countess serving six regional UK ports. The maiden CMV cruise on board Marco Polo was to the West Indies in January 2010.
Ocean Countess was replaced by Discovery in 2013. In November of that year, we introduced our traditional voyage service to Australia and season of local Australian cruises on board Astor. In April 2014, Astor returned to Europe to operate a programme of summer cruises for TransOcean Kreuzefahrten, our German brand.
For summer 2015, Astoria (previously Azores) replaced Discovery and in March, Magellan joined the fleet. This mid-sized, more contemporary cruise ship marked a significant turning point for CMV broadening the appeal of our cruises to a much larger audience.
Enjoying a fine reputation on the British cruise market, Columbus became the proud flagship of the Cruise & Maritime Voyages fleet in June 2017. She has already become a firm favourite.
In April 2019, Vasco da Gama will be the sixth ship to join the CMV fleet. She will assume the split season, between Australia and Germany, previously operated by Astor. And Astor will operate year round for TransOcean Kreuzefahrten.
How many ships are in the fleet?
The CMV fleet is made up of six ships:
Columbus, Magellan, Marco Polo, Vasco da Gama, Astor and Astoria.
Can you tell us about your new ship, Vasco da Gama?
Vasco de Gama will carry about 1,220 guests and is a small to mid-sized premium cruise liner. Following a multi-million dollar refurbishment in 2015, she is truly impressive. Previously respected and very popular on the international cruise market, with a rich heritage and maritime pedigree, Vasco da Gama is well suited to those who prefer smaller ship benefits and a more traditional cruise experience.
Vasco da Gama’s CMV programme will commences in April 2019 with a spectacular 44 night Maiden Voyage from Singapore to London Tilbury via the Suez Canal, encompassing 20 ports of call in 14 countries. She will then sail to Amsterdam and Bremerhaven, where Vasco da Gama will commence her maiden summer season under CMV’s German brand, Transocean Kreuzfahrten, sailing from Bremerhaven and Kiel. We are offering this voyage as a 45 night holiday arrangement including flights from London & Manchester to Singapore.
In October 2019, Vasco da Gama will reposition to the Antipodes with a wonderful 53 night Southbound Voyage from London Tilbury to Sydney (49 nights to Auckland), via the Panama Canal, arriving on 1st December and offering the chance to spend Christmas with relatives or friends Down Under.
What facilities do the CMV ships offer?
At Cruise & Maritime Voyages, we aim to offer a more traditional and leisurely style of cruising and maritime experience aboard our classic-style cruise ships, where the emphasis is very much on providing attentive service within a friendly ‘home from home’ atmosphere. These small to mid-size ships are accessible to more ports of call than the larger resort ships, enabling us to offer some truly innovative itineraries.
Nothing whets the appetite like sea air. You’ll therefore have even more reason to anticipate the feast of delights freshly prepared by expert chefs and served by attentive restaurant staff. Opt for a full English breakfast, savour a leisurely lunch and enjoy a sumptuous five-course dinner each and every day of your cruise.
As a casual alternative to our formal restaurants, enjoy a more relaxed buffet-style meal served up with a complimentary ocean view, or treat yourself to dinner at one of our speciality restaurants or the Chef’s Table (supplement applies). Add in the afternoon teas, late night snacks and traditional shipboard occasions such as the Captain’s Gala Dinners, and the pleasures of the table will surely tempt you from the moment you sit down to dinner on your first night aboard until that final breakfast as you prepare to disembark.
During days at sea, you may choose from a work-out in the gym; a spa treatment in the Wellness Centre; a swim in the pool or something a little less energetic in the form of curling up with a good book. Perhaps listen to a guest speaker or learn a new skill from one of our arts and crafts specialists. The choice is yours!
And in the evening, a high standard of entertainment is brought to you by our experienced Cruise Directors and entertainment hosts. It is their aim to ensure that you have an unforgettable cruise holiday and present a truly wonderful and varied entertainment programme. With stylish production shows, guest acts, cabarets, classical interludes and the late-night disco, there’s something for everyone.
For singles travelling on cruises of six nights or more, we offer a special programme of events including a welcome cocktail party and get-togethers with the opportunity to meet like-minded travellers.
Where does the CMV fleet cruise to?
The summer programme includes a wide and varied selection of cruising holidays to the breathtaking Norwegian fjords, the glorious Baltic & Russia, Iceland, the Canary Islands & Madeira, European cities and the River Seine and closer to home, our ever popular series of British Isles cruises. Then there’s the spectacular Land of the Northern Lights, Arctic Greenland and Canada in the fall.
The winter 2019/20 season commences with a choice of short festive breaks. Spoil yourself on a wonderful Christmas & New Year celebration to the Canary Islands & Madeira. There are two cruises to Norway and Iceland in search of the spectacular Northern Lights and Magellan will embark on a CMV classic voyage to the Amazon and West Indies.
Marco Polo will sail on a 78 night Grand Africa & Indian Ocean Voyage and Columbus on her 120 night Grand Round the World Cruise which will surely be the travel experience of a lifetime. And, Vasco da Gama offers the chance to experience a spectacular voyage between the UK and Australasia.
Can you describe the types of cruisers who would sail on your ships?
The majority of our guests (85%) are over 55 years old, with 58% female and 42% male. They are mainly couples although there is an increasing demand for single accommodation.
Our customers prefer to cruise from/to a British port. They live throughout the UK, with 32% being from the Home Counties. CMV appeals to both new and seasoned cruisers with 55% of our guests having been on more than five cruises.
Although press adverts are still an important medium for us, 21% found their cruise through the internet. More CMV customers view our website on a mobile device than on a desktop computer.
What is included in the CMV cruise fare?
What advice would you give to someone thinking of cruising with CMV for the first time?
Take a look at our itineraries. You will find that our small to mid-sized ships are accessible to more remote ports of call than the larger resort ships built today, enabling us to offer some truly innovative itineraries.
Compare our fares together with what’s included and you’ll appreciate what outstanding value our cruises represent. Cabin accommodation, full board cuisine, afternoon teas, daytime activities, evening entertainment and full use of the on board leisure facilities are all included in the fare.
What makes CMV unique from other cruise lines?
Cruise & Maritime Voyages is Britain’s leading independent cruise line, specialising in great value, more traditional style, no fly cruising holidays.
We realise that many British cruisers still prefer a more traditional cruise experience on board smaller more classic-style ships as opposed to sailing on the vast mega resort style ships built today.
We aim to bring cruising closer to home by offering sailings from a wide choice of convenient regional departure ports. CMV sails from more UK and Irish ports than any other cruise line.
Our goal is to offer outstanding value for money with attractive offers and promotional campaigns that benefit those who book early.
What are the long term plans for CMV?
CMV plans to continue to grow the brand on an international basis. Watch this space!