Cruise & Maritime Voyages will raise UK capacity by 25% to 95,000 passengers in 2017 with the addition of P&O Cruises Australia vessel Pacific Pearl. The former Ocean Village cruise ship was launched in 1989 and since then operated by Princess Cruises.
The ship, which has been part of P&O Cruises Australia since 2010, will start year round operations from Tilbury from 9 June 2017 under the name Columbus.
The 1,400-passenger vessel has 150 single cabins. Columbus will become the flagship of CMV fleet alongside 550-passenger Astoria, 600-passenger Astor, 800-passenger Marco Polo and 1,300-passenger Magellan.
Adult-only mv Columbus will run 2 sailings in August 2017 for all age groups.
The CMV 2017 summer programme goes on sale online on March 31. A preview brochure will be released on April 7.
Special introductory prices with early booking deals will be offered plus a 25% single supplement promotion for the 150 single cabins. Group deals providing free places, further savings and other benefits, will also be available.
Christian Verhounig, CMV chief executive and chairman, said:
“The successful introduction of Magellan in 2015 has encouraged our group to accelerate their mid-term growth plans and the addition of Columbus to the fleet in 2017 is another important milestone in achieving our longer term growth objectives.
“The strategic development of the group’s presence in the UK and wider international markets will increase our overall capacity to 125,000 passengers in 2017.
“We are proud of the CMV brand’s growing international recognition and remain confident in continuing to successfully build our business as a strong value based ‘independent’ alternative and deliver profitable returns for both our trading partners and stakeholders.”
Chris Coates, commercial director, added:
“We are really pleased to welcome this fine ship to our fleet which we believe will be very well suited to our core British market who appreciate and value the many benefits of cruising on smaller to mid-sized more traditional vessels of this type.
“The introduction of Columbus and her past association and popularity with the British cruise market spanning 13 years, will increase 2017 UK bed night capacity by 25% to 95,000 passengers.
“Having already sold over 85% of capacity for 2016 and with 17,000 people turning 50 every week in the UK, we remain confident that Columbus will satisfy the growing demand for our product.”