Unfortunately, due to the economic impact of the COVID crisis, the 2009-founded company and travel brand CMV (Cruise and Maritime Voyages" went bankrupt in 2020 and is now one of the defunct cruise lines.
In late-August 2020, CVI Group Ltd (shipowner and Ambassador's parent company) acquired/purchased most of CMV's assets, including websites, intellectual property, and customer databases.
CMV was founded by the parent company "Cruise and Maritime Services International". CMV's majority shareholder (Global Maritime Group) incorporates Global Maritime, Deep Sea Mooring, Deep Sea Installation, Vryhof Anchors, and Marine Contracting, into an independent company working within maritime and offshore engineering, marine warranty, marine quality assurance, dynamic positioning, mooring and anchors, vessel inspection, as well as installation of offshore structures. Global Maritime Group's staff consists of civil, structural, mechanical and marine engineers, risk analysts and master mariners.
Headquartered in Purfleet (Essex, England), CMV (CruiseAndMaritime.com/now redirected to AmbassadorCruiseLine.com) was a 2009-established passenger shipping company owned by Global Maritime Group Inc (via Global Cruise Lines Ltd) as a majority shareholder.
Cruise & Maritime was part of "CMV Holdings London Travel and Leisure Group", with main offices in the UK (Purfleet-on-Thames, Essex England), Australia (Adelaide SA) and USA (Fort Lauderdale Florida). On the German market, CMV was represented by "TransOcean Kreuzfahrten" (cruise travel company and brand name owned by "South Quay Travel and Leisure Ltd") headquartered in Offenbach am Main (Hessen Germany).
CMV's last CEO and Chairman was Christian Verhounig. The company's Group Commercial Director was Chris Coates.
As a product, CMV offered ocean- and river cruisetours. The travel experience was traditionally British, child-free (16+ years old), with Captain's Welcome and Farewell dinners. Its relatively small ships were capable of navigating to out-of-the-way ports of call, unthinkable to be reached by larger liners. The onboard atmosphere was leisurely and peaceful, the service is friendly and attentive.
Cruise Maritime Voyages was popular among both experienced and first-time cruisers. As more and more travelers choose ex-UK itineraries, CMV brought cruising closer to home with "no-fly" holidays, providing convenient regional departures from eight British homeports - Greenock-Glasgow, Bristol-Avonmouth, Rosyth (Leith-Edinburgh), Liverpool, London-Tilbury, Hull, and Newcastle upon Tyne.
The start of a CMV cruise holiday is a stress-free experience as the ships generally cruise in the early evening, which means a leisurely start to the holiday. The arrival is in the early morning so passengers can complete in good time their homeward travel arrangements. CMV offers entertainment and enrichment programs created specifically for more mature British passengers. Entertainment is in the form of quizzes, revues, and traditional shows. Onboard enrichment includes guest speakers (maritime historians, destination experts) and performers (artists, musicians, magicians, stand-up comedians), and even a retired detective from New Scotland Yard.
After the April 2017 acquisition of Pacific Pearl (Columbus), CMV fleet had all 5 ocean ships plus 1 riverboat, accounting for a total of 4906 lower berths (double occupancy capacity). CMV's predictions for FY2017 were for ~10% UK market share, rising to 12% in 2018. CMV Group's projections for 2018 were for 130,000+ customers and turnover of GBP 200+ million. Company's key source markets are the UK, Germany, USA, and Australia. However, Northern Europe is its top global destination, where all CMV ships operate during the summer months.
In 2017, CMV ships had scheduled a total of 87 itineraries leaving from 14x UK and Ireland homeports, accounting for 1+ million bed nights. In 2018, this number jumped to 92 itineraries from 13 ports and 1,2+ million bed nights.
In June 2017, CMV entered into a partnership with the UK tea brand "Whittard of Chelsea". The brand first was introduced on the new ship (Columbus) and on Marco Polo. The British retailer is well known for its tea and coffee blends. The company supplies CMV cruise ships with tea and chocolate beverages, plus gift collections on sale at onboard shops.
Company's BANKRUPTCY (2020)
On July 20, 2020, CMV's parent company SQTL (South Quay Travel & Leisure Ltd) was placed into administration / filed for bankruptcy. The UK-based company traded as "Cruise and Maritime Voyages" (trademarked brand). As Joint Administrators (evaluating SQTL's financial position.) were appointed Paul Williams, Phil Dakin and Edward Bines of Duff & Phelps Ltd.
- SQTL-CMV's cruisetour packages are protected by ABTA (number V9945). SQTL-CMV's fly-cruise packages are protected by ATOL (number 4619). All CMV cruise bookings (fleetwide/all ships) are effectively cancelled.
- In June, SQTL-CMV entered into emergency talks with potential investors and lenders. Unfortunately, the company's efforts to secure funding and stay afloat during the Coronavirus crisis failed. The future of the CMV ships (some SQTL-owned, some chartered) remained unknown.
(CRUISE SHIPS FOR SALE) All CMV ships were placed on the secondhand market and open for sale. In October the vessels were auctioned via the London UK-based company CW Kellock & Co Ltd (Ship Auctioneers, Brokers and Valuers). Biddings (deadline in brackets) opened for Vasco Da Gama (Oct 8), Columbus (Oct 12), Astor (Oct 15), Magellan (Oct 19) and Marco Polo (Oct 22).
- (October 8) The 27-year-old CMV Vasco Da Gama was sold to Mystic Invest (Portugal) for USD 10,187 million (EUR 8,581 M).
- (October 12) The 31-year-old CMV Columbus was sold to Seajets Ferries Greece for USD 5,321 million (EUR 4,482 M).
- (October 15) The 33-year-old CMV Astor was sold to an undisclosed buyer (sales price USD 1,71 million/EUR 1,44 M) who intends to resell it for scrap metal.
- (October 19) The 35-year-old CMV Magellan was sold to Seajets Ferries Greece for USD 3,431 million (EUR 2,89 M).
- (October 22) The 55-year-old CMV Marco Polo was sold to an undisclosed buyer/private investors (sales price USD 2,77 million) who reportedly offered the vessel for charter (cruiser or hotel ship). Eventually, they sold it for scrap metal.
(2019-2020) CMV's Mexican cruise brand "Cruceros Maritimos Vacacionales"
On December 19, 2017, CMV announced Magellan ship's 2019 winter deployment to Mexican Riviera (Pacific Mexico). The ship started operations on February 3 (2019) under CMV's new brand name "Cruceros Maritimos Vacacionales". The 7-day cruise itinerary program (February through March 2019) offers roundtrips from both Acapulco and Manzanillo. The roundtrip itinerary departs on Sundays and visits Pacific Mexico's ports Cabo San Lucas (Baja California), Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta, Manzanillo, and has 2 sea days.
Sunday departures allow passengers to spend overnight in Acapulco (by booking pre- and post-cruise packages combining up to 5-day land stay (hotels and tours) with the 7-day cruise. The 7-day cruise prices started from USD 700 pp (MXN 14,000 / Mexican pesos).
Maiden 2019 season's total passenger capacity was estimated at 12,000. For 2019, the ship had scheduled 10x 7-day voyages. CMV planned to extend season 2020 to 5 months, eventually deploying the boat in Mexico for year-round operations. CMV opened a sales office in Mexico City in April 2018, expecting 80-85% of the embarking passengers to be Mexican.
In January 2019 were announced CMV's plans to homeport in Puerto Penasco (Sonora Mexico) the 550-passenger Astoria. Shipping operations were scheduled to start on December 7 (2019) with Baja California and Mexican Riviera cruises. The 11-day itinerary (Treasures of the Seas of Cortez) visits as call ports Topolobampo, Mazatlan, Cabo San Lucas, La Paz, Loreto, Santa Rosalia. CMV Astoria prices started from USD 1350 per person. With Astoria's deployment, CMV targets almost exclusively the Arizona USA market.
In November 2019, CMV announced the launch of a new cruise brand for the French market (Croisieres Maritimes et Voyages) and opened sales office in Marseille. Starting in 2021, MS Astor (renamed Jules Verne) had to be operated by CMV France with year-round homeporting in Marseille-Fos Port and Le Havre-Paris.
Season 2021-2022 (April-May) included 18x itineraries (Mediterranean, Black Sea, Baltic Sea - Northern Europe, Canary Islands) and the 123-day World Cruise leaving from Marseille (January 8, 2022) and ending in Le Havre (May 11, 2022).
CMV France was managed by Clement Mousset (General Director) and Cedric Rivoire-Perrochat (Operations and Marketing Director). The Marseilles office had ~15 employees. CMV Jules Verne was to be operated as an adults-only ship, with ~6% of its staterooms available for booking as no-supplement single cabins (for solo travelers). CMV France's cruise prices were ~EUR 190 (~USD 210) per person per day.
In early March 2016 CMV announced that in 2017 the company will increase its UK capacity by 25% (up to 95,000 passengers) by adding a new cruise vessel to its fleet. This was the P&O Cruises Australia ship Pacific Pearl (later renamed to Columbus). The vessel was launched in 1989, first operated by Princess Cruises, then (since 2010) by P&O Australia. CMV Columbus started operations from Tilbury-London on June 9, 2017, becoming the fleet's flagship.
The 1400-passenger ship has 150 single cabins (from a total of 775 staterooms) and is marketed as "adults-only" vessel. Occasionally, it offers select voyages for all age groups. CMV's 2017 itinerary program (that included the new ship) was released on April 7, 2016. Early booking deals offered reduced prices plus a 25% single supplement promo.
In November 2019, CMV purchased two P&O Australia liners - Pacific Aria (now Celestyal Journey) and Pacific Dawn (now Ambassador Ambience). The ships were planned to start operations for CMV in 2021-Q1, following scheduled drydock refurbishments in Singapore - respectively in May and March (2021). With the two new vessels, CMV's fleet capacity was to be increased to 9000 (lower berths) and the company's passenger capacity by 30%.
- Pacific Dawn (starting for CMV in May 2021) was to be homeported in Tilbury-London.
- Pacific Aria was to be operated by CMV's German brand TransOcean Kreuzfahrten (together with Vasco da Gama) replacing CMV Astor.
- In 2021, Pacific Dawn was to be renamed "CMV Amy Johnson", Pacific Aria - to "CMV Ida Pfeiffer".
- In April 2021, Astor was to be renamed "CMV Jules Verne" and transferred to CMV France.
CMV Fleet Parade 2021 Rotterdam
On August 28, 2021, CMV's 7-ship fleet had to gather in Port Rotterdam (Holland) during the annual (port's 25th) Rotterdam Regatta. In both directions (up and down Maas River), the seven CMV ships had to navigate in convoy for approx 32 mi (52 km).
The fleet parade was to be led by Marco Polo (CMV's 1st vessel), followed by Amy Johnson (Pacific Dawn), Magellan, Columbus (Pacific Pearl), Astor, Vasco da Gama (Pacific Eden) and Ida Pfeiffer (Pacific Aria). The 7 boats were supposed to carry 8000+ tourists, arriving in Port Rotterdam in the morning, staying all day and departing in early-evening.
The port was to provide complimentary shuttle bus services between the boats and downtown. Dockside were planned live entertainment events (folkloric performances).
Before the bankruptcy, CMV's fleet included the following vessels (owned or operated under long-term charter):
- Astor (1987-built) - operated in Australia, South Africa, Caribbean, and also offers World Cruise itineraries
- Astoria /ex Azores (1948-built) British Isles, Iceland, Eastern Mediterranean.
- Columbus / Pacific Pearl (former P&O Australia ship, 1988-built) - joined the fleet in 2017. The new ship operates year-round in Europe leaving from Tilbury-London to Norway Fjords, Scandinavia and Russia, British Isles. The ship also offers Transatlantic round-trips from the UK to the Caribbean.
- Magellan (1985-built) - operated in Europe (Baltic, Norwegian Fjords, British Islands, Iceland), Transatlantic, Caribbean. In 2019, the ship starts Mexican Riviera cruises (on February 3) under a new company brand name - "Cruceros Marítimos Vacacionales". The 7-day itinerary program (February through March 2019) offers roundtrips from both Acapulco and Manzanillo, with ports of call Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas (Baja California), plus 2 sea days. Maiden season's total passenger capacity was estimated at 12,000.
- Marco Polo (1965-built) - operated in Northern Europe (Baltic, Norway Fjords, British Isles). The ship also offers Transatlantic roundtrips from the UK to Canada New England.
- Vasco da Gama / Pacific Eden (1993-built, joined CMV in 2019) - on October 9 (2019) from London-Tilbury started the 53-day repositioning cruise to Sydney NSW (arriving December 1st). In Australia, the liner was to be homeported in Adelaide, Fremantle, Sydney, as well as in Auckland NZ. The 71-day World Cruise (Fremantle to London) was scheduled to depart on February 12, 2020.
- Ida Pfeiffer/Pacific Aria (1994-built)) - scheduled last cruise for P&O Australia on April 9, 2021 (Melbourne-Fremantle-Singapore)
- Amy Johnson/Pacific Dawn (1991-built) - scheduled last cruise for P&O Australia on February 8, 2021 (Melbourne-Brisbane-Singapore).
In 2017, CMV started departures from Wales - for the first time in the company's history. The roundtrips were out of Cardiff and Newport, to popular destinations like Norway/Norwegian Fjords, Iberia (Portugal and Spain), France, Seine River. The liners Marco Polo and Magellan offered roundtrips from Wales also during season 2019.
CMV Itineraries 2021
Next are provided details on new voyages, itineraries and fleet deployment changes planned by CMV for 2021 but never implemented due to the company's bankruptcy in 2020.
- (Columbus) 120-night "Grand Round the World Cruise 2021" departs from London Tilbury on January 6, 2021, sailing via the West Indies, Panama Canal, South Pacific, Antipodes, South-East Asia, Indian Ocean, South Africa, Brazil, and North Africa, and arriving back on May 6, 2021.
- (Marco Polo) 110-night "Marco Polo's Grand Oriental Odyssey" departs from Bristol Avonmouth on January 5, 2021, sailing through the Mediterranean and Holy Land, Suez Canal, Egypt, the Red Sea, the Indian sub-continent, South East Asia, Indo China, the Far East, and Russian Siberia, and arriving back on April 25, 2021.
- (Magellan) 84-night "Grand Round South America and Amazon Discovery" departs from Tilbury on January 7, 2021 sailing via Cape Verde, the Amazon, Brazil, the Falkland Islands, Tierra del Fuego, Chilean Fjords, Peru, Panama, and Central America, and arriving back on April 1, 2021.
- (Vasco da Gama) 52-night "Australia and New Zealand Southbound Voyage" departs from Tilbury on October 9, 2020 sailing via the West Indies, Panama Canal, South Pacific, and French Polynesia, and arriving in Auckland on November 26, and Sydney on November 30, 2020.
- (Vasco da Gama) 74-night "Grand Northbound Voyage to the British Isles" departs from Fremantle-Perth on February 1, 2021, sailing via South East Asia, the Indian sub-continent, the Red Sea, Egypt, Suez Canal, Holy Land, the Mediterranean, and arriving in London Tilbury on April 16, 2021.
After drydock refurbishment and delivery, Amy Johnson (P&O Pacific Dawn) was scheduled to depart Singapore on April 15, 2021, on a 43-night sailing through the Middle East and Asia, transiting the Suez Canal, prior to visiting exciting ports in Europe on her way to Tilbury-London. The ship was marketed as adult-only. Fares started at GBP 3400 pp.
Amy Johnson is due to be the flagship of CMV's fleet. Inaugural passengers fly from London overnight and join the vessel in Singapore. The Maiden Voyage features ports in Malaysia, India, Egypt and an opportunity to see Jordan and Luxor. From the Suez Canal, there is the chance to explore Cairo followed by ancient sites in Italy and Greece. Southern Spain, the South of France, and Portugal's Oporto and Lisbon are towards the end of the journey with Amsterdam and La Coruna the final calls on the way to Tilbury.
Cruises in the inaugural season of Amy Johnson include a cultural odyssey from London Tilbury on Saturday, October 9, 2021, sailing the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. The itinerary features Odessa, Constanta, Bulgaria, Istanbul, Athens and then calls at Israel, Egypt, Malta, Sicily, Gibraltar, Vigo and sails back to London. Fares for the 32-night Grand Black Sea and Mediterranean start at GBP 2239 pp.
Amy Johnson is setting sail from London Tilbury on June 20, 2021, on a 22-night adventure to the magnificent landscape of Greenland visiting 6 separate ports and spending an overnight in Ilulissat. That call is to the 3rd-largest town in Greenland, where there are more sled-dogs than people. Add to these visits to other towns on the largest island in the world, guests can expect icebergs, glaciers, and snow-capped mountains. Amy Johnson is scheduled to visit Reykjavik on the way and the Orkney Islands on the return trip. A similar itinerary is offered, departing on August 7, 2021. Fares are available from GBP 1,779 per person for both departures.
Later in 2021, the ship sails again from London Tilbury on September 4 on a 35-night cruise of discovery to the New World visiting Greenland, Canada, and Newfoundland. There is an opportunity to see the spectacular scenery of the coastlines and sail down the Saint Lawrence River. The itinerary includes the Shetland Islands, the Faroes, and Reykjavik where the cruise ship stays overnight offering the chance to see the Aurora Borealis-Northern Lights on their natural show. Fares are available from GBP 2580 pp.
In 2021, CMV launches the company's ever-largest ex-UK program "Summer 2021 Cruise Collection". Program's highlights include the new flagship - Amy Johnson (fka Pacific Dawn), roundtrips from England (Harwich and Plymouth), the CMV Fleet Parade (Rotterdam), and the "Flotel" (hotel ship Magellan) in Liverpool for Grand National 2021 (April). CMV's Summer 2021 Cruise Collection offers a "buy one - get one free" promo sale on all 166 itineraries if booked prior to May 31, 2020.
CMV Amy Johnson departs roundtrip from London-Tilbury (November 10, 2021) on a 36-night itinerary to the Caribbean's West Indies (priced from GBP 2200 pp) and on a 14-night Baltic cruise (Harwich roundtrip, September 13) to Scandinavia and Russia (Saint Petersburg/overnight), with prices from GBP 1120 pp. A total of 5 roundtrips from Plymouth include the "European Waterways and Rotterdam Regatta" cruise (August 25, 2021). The 7-night voyage is priced from GBP 570 pp.
In 2021, CMV Magellan becomes the company's first hotel ship (Flotel / floating hotel) as the vessel will be docked in Liverpool during the UK's most famous horse race (Grand National 2021) to provide hotel accommodations during the festivities.
(Coronavirus crisis) passenger shipping pause 2020-2021
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, CMV suspended its entire fleet's passenger shipping operations (all vessels) by canceling all voyages with pre-scheduled departures between March 13 and August 25, 2020. Operations were planned to resume on August 26 (with CMV Magellan). Previously, the restart was planned for July 1. All affected bookings received full refunds (processed within 60-90 days), including on prepurchased through CMV packages and services.
With rebooking was offered a 125% refund as FCC (Future Cruise Credit). The FCC was also used for booking promo deals (including Buy-One-Get-One-Free and "last minute" offers) for all itineraries 2020-2021. All rebookings (made by March 31 2021) additionally received a 20% discount on beverage packages plus a 10% discount on shore excursion plus free cabin upgrade (1 category up, subject to availability).