Columbus departs Tilbury accompanied by music from a brass band and confetti cannons (Image: Cruise & Maritime Voyages)
London Cruise Terminal in Tilbury hosted the official naming ceremony for Cruise & Maritime Voyages’ (CMV) new flagship Columbus on 8 June 2017.
British TV personality Angela Rippon CBE acted as godmother, christening Columbus during an onboard ceremony held in the ship’s Palladium show lounge. The audience include VIP customers and representatives from the media and travel trade.
“I look forward to offering Columbus the same respect as my own godchildren,” said Rippon.
Formerly sailing as P&O Cruises Australia’s Pacific Pearl, the 1,400-passenger Columbus underwent re-classification and provisioning works at Sembcorp Marine Shipyard in Singapore in April, before embarking on a ballast voyage to Damen’s shipyard in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
During the three-week dry dock, Damen’s team painted Columbus’s hull and superstructure, added CMV’s livery, and converted the existing children’s areas and teenage centre into the Columbus Observation Lounge, the Trumps & Aces Card & Bridge Room, the Ship's Library and a Crafter’s Studio. The existing large casino was also scaled down into a combined Captain’s Club & Casino, while the existing Captain's Lounge was changed into the Taverner’s Pub.
“When we introduced Magellan to our fleet just over two years ago, I suggested that it would be a game changer for us,” said Chris Coates, commercial director at CMV. “Indeed it has been, and now we begin a new chapter as we proudly introduce our new flagship, Columbus, enabling us to respond to growing customer demand for traditional style cruising onboard mid-sized cruise ships. The arrival of Columbus means we are on course to carry 100,000 passengers in 2018 cruising from the UK, which is 10% of the market.”
Columbus embarked on a three-night inaugural cruise to Amsterdam and Antwerp on 11 June. This will be followed by a six-night voyage to the Norwegian fjords on 14 June and then a year-round schedule of sailings from Tilbury to destinations such as the British Isles, the Faroes, Norwegian fjords, Iceland, the Baltic, the Canary Islands and Madeira, Spain, Portugal, France and Gibraltar. The ship will also offer a 46-night voyage to Cuba, Central America and the Caribbean.
“Thanks to the support of our travel trade partners, we have sold over 95% of our 2017 Columbus cruise programme and an incredible 40% of 2018 capacity,” said Coates.