The Cruise and Maritime Voyages (CMV) fleet currently sits laid up in the UK with an unknown future following the demise of the niche cruise brand, that featured longer well-priced itineraries on classic cruise ships.
According to sources familiar with the matter, the ships are actively for sale on the secondhand market, while Administrators now overseeing the company are said to be struggling with crew repatriation.
Built in 1988, the Columbus was originally ordered by Sitmar Cruises as the Fair Majesty. While still under construction, the company was sold to Princess Cruises, who took over its operation, and the ship then became the Star Princess.
After nearly a decade sailing for Princess, the vessel was transferred to P&O Cruises UK as the Arcadia in 1997. She then spent time with both Ocean Village and P&O Australia before joining CMV in 2017.
The ship was most recently growing into a pathfinder-style role for CMV, and was scheduled to sail a world cruise in 2020 that was ultimately cut short.
Port calls were set to include London, United Kingdom; Amsterdam, Netherlands; Ponta Delgada, Portugal; Willemstad, Curacao; Cartagena, Colombia; Colon, Panama; Nuku Hiva, Papeete and Bora Bora, French Polynesia; Nuku’alofa, Tonga; Tauranga, Auckland and Wellington, New Zealand; Sydney, Hamilton Island and Yorkeys, Australia; Madang, Papua New Guinea; Yokohama and Kagoshima, Japan; Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong, China; Halong Bay, Vietnam; Penang, Malaysia; plus ports in Sri Lanka, India, Egypt, Jordan, Israel and Greece
Vasco Da Gama
The newest ship in the CMV fleet, the Vasco da Gama was introduced by CMV in 2019. Originally operated by Holland America, it was built in 1992.
The original S-Class ship, it sailed as the Statendam until 2015, when Carnival Corp. transferred it to P&O Australia where it sailed as the Pacific Eden, along with its sister ship, the Pacific Aria, the former Ryndam.
Moving under the CMV umbrella in 2019, the Vasco da Gama operated for the TransOcean brand in the German-speaking market.
In service since 1987, the Astor was built in Germany to offer a five-star luxury soft adventure product in the British market. A year later, the vessel was sold to Soviet owners, becoming the FedorDostoyevskiy.
After years sailing chartered to European tour operators, the vessel got its original name back and in 1996 was acquired by TransOcean Tours. In 2013, it was chartered to CMV for a new operation in Australia. The British cruise line later acquired TransOcean Tours to focus on the German market.
There were big plans for the Astor in 2021 as CMV was going to launch a French brand targeting 10,000 guests per year aboard the ship, which was going to be renamed the Jules Verne.
One of the oldest ships still in service, the Astoria was originally the ocean liner Stockholm. Built in 1948, it became famous in 1956 when it collided with the Andrea Doria in the North Atlantic. As a result, the Italian liner sunk, and the Stockholm’s bow was destroyed.
The vessel was later converted for cruising in the early 1990s, with public areas and cabins totally rebuilt for the new purpose. With the name Azores, it joined the CMV fleet in 2015, after several years sailing as the Athena for Classic International Cruises. In 2016, the name was changed to the Astoria.
In service since 1985, the Magellan was built for Carnival Cruise Line as the Holiday.
Following a major refit in 2009, the ship was transferred to IberoCruceros to begin operating in the Spanish market as the Grand Holiday.
With the demise of the Ibero brand in 2014 the ship was sold to CMV.
The Marco Polo was CMV’s original ship, sailing for the cruise line when it launched operations in 2010.
A former ocean liner, it was built in 1965 as the Aleksandr Pushkin for the Leningrad/Montreal route.
After serving its original purpose until the 1970s, the vessel started to sail as a cruise ship under charter agreements.
In 1991, it was sold to Orient Lines and renamed Marco Polo. In Greece, the vessel was rebuilt as a true cruise ship, also receiving new engines.