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Columbus Review

2019 Best for Embarkation
2018 Best for Shore Excursions
2018 Best for Value
View More

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Columbus
3.5 / 5.0
216 reviews

Pros
Friendly crew and some surprisingly good speciality dining
Cons
Evening entertainment is lacklustre at times
Bottom Line
A ship offering exactly what it promises

About

Passengers
1,400

Crew
700

Passenger to Crew
2.00:1

Launched
1987 (Refit 2017)

Shore Excursions
628
Sails To
British Isles & Western Europe, Australia & New Zealand, Asia
Cruise & Maritime Voyages Cruise Deals
Sue Bryant
Cruise Critic Contributor

Columbus Overview

Traditional British cruise line Cruise & Maritime Voyages took delivery of its new flagship, the adults-only Columbus, in spring 2017, following an extensive refit that adapted the 63,768-tonne vessel to suit the tastes of the mature Brits that make up the bulk of CMV's market.

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The ship has a long and interesting history. Built in 1987, it's had various incarnations including Star Princess, the old Arcadia for P&O Cruises, then Ocean Village, and then, most recently, Pacific Pearl, sailing for P&O Australia. The biggest change since the CMV acquisition is the conversion of all the former children's clubs into entertainment spaces, as well as the refurbishment of some of the public areas with smart new carpets and decor.

Being an older ship, Columbus has generous public spaces and very good passenger flow. Having three stairwells and three sets of lifts on a ship that's mid-sized in today's terms is a luxury (many newer vessels only have two) and make it much easier to get around. Another bonus of being an older ship is the extensive outdoor space, which includes generously-sized open decks with some solid teak-effect decking, and a wide promenade outside on deck 7. Although this doesn't wrap around the ship in the traditional style, it's a lovely place to sit and take the sea air.

What's impressive -- and more in line with what you'd expect of more expensive mid-sized ships -- is the variety of dining venues, not least two outstanding speciality restaurants, The Grill and Fusion. And partnerships with quality suppliers of meat, ice cream, tea and coffee really raise the standard of the cuisine.

Overall, Columbus has a warm, friendly feel. The newly decorated atrium certainly makes a statement, with a bright purple patterned carpet and a grand piano as a centrepiece, but all the lounges and restaurants are somehow familiar and comforting, rather than garishly themed. You won't find gimmicks here. The emphasis is on friendly service and realistic pricing, from the shore excursions to the spa treatments and bar prices.

Columbus is not a luxury cruise ship and isn't represented as one. It certainly has its flaws -- the evening shows were pretty hit-and-miss, there aren't many balcony cabins, and parts of the ship look a bit dated. Some of the lounges are hidden away so people don't find them and, as a result, lack atmosphere. But the value for money is exceptional, especially if you snag one of the buy-one-get-one-free offers for the world voyage. The happy-to-help crew, quality food and sensible bar prices count for a lot, and this ship should serve its market well.


Top Columbus Itineraries

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Fellow Passengers

The majority of passengers on a regular Columbus cruise are Brits over 60 -- CMV makes it clear in its marketing messages that this is a traditional product, and this demographic are attracted to that. Mini cruises from the ship's home port of Tilbury, meanwhile, attract a much younger audience and a lot of first-timers, seduced by very reasonable offers.

Notably, Columbus is a very singles-friendly ship, with 150 cabins on every cruise offered to solo travellers. Single occupancy savings of up to 50 percent on the equivalent category full fares and a special singles' programme of events make it even more likely that you'll find plenty of solo passengers onboard. On longer cruises, like the world voyage, there may be as many pairs of friends as there are couples, as some very attractive BOGOF deals can be found.

Although usually 'adults-only', Columbus offers a few multigenerational cruises during the school summer holidays, which means there could be a couple of hundred children onboard -- a warning for anybody who isn't keen on kids. Families considering this option should note that there are no specific children's facilities, save a few informal activities that the ship puts on for younger passengers.

The bulk of passengers are from the UK, but as CMV has offices in the USA and Australia, there may be a small percentage from each onboard. On world cruises that visit Australia that can go up to as much as 20 percent, as a lot of Australians board for a section of the voyage.


Columbus Dress Code

Columbus has three dress codes: Casual (but no shorts or vests in the evening); informal (dressier but no need for men to wear ties); and formal (cocktail or evening dress, ties for men), with up to two formal nights on a week's cruise. These were interpreted loosely on my short cruise, perhaps because there were a lot of first timers onboard who weren't aware. Evening outfits varied from jeans to full black tie and, for women, sparkly dresses (although not long gowns). Most people in the main restaurant were smartly dressed, while the dressed-down opted for the buffet.


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Columbus Ratings

CategoryEditorMember
Cabins3.53.9
Dining4.03.5
Entertainment3.03.4
Public Rooms3.03.8
Fitness Recreation4.03.2
Family1.02.8
Enrichment2.03
Service4.03.8
Value For Money5.03.6

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More about Columbus

Where does Columbus sail from?

How much does it cost to go on Columbus?

Cruises on Columbus start from null per person.

Is Columbus a good ship to cruise on?

Columbus won 3 awards over the years, including Best for Embarkation in 2019.

Awards and Recognition

Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice

  • 2019 Best for Embarkation
  • 2018 Best for Shore Excursions
  • 2018 Best for Value

Columbus Member Reviews

KeithyJB
Sail Date: Sep 2019
I can’t fault Columbus, the crew are all lovely, the service is fabulous on all counts. Booking my next cruise with cmv soon.... Read More
lindymaisie29
Sail Date: Mar 2019
Would we sail again with the Columbus, definitely !!... Read More
mumgranann
Sail Date: Nov 2019
Sailing on Astoria next month and as we know she’s moved to that ship we’re eagerly awaiting hearing her again All in all I would sail on Columbus again IF it was a real bargain but wouldn’t choose... Read More
MK_Cruiser1955
Sail Date: Dec 2019
I like Columbus and her size and would certainly sail on her again in future.... Read More

Cruise & Maritime Voyages Fleet

Marco Polo
3.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

433 reviews

What Marco Polo lacks in size, youth and modern fittings, it more than makes up for in intimacy, style and old-world charm.

Cruise & Maritime Voyages Marco Polo Cruises to the British Isles & Western Europe View All Cruise & Maritime Voyages Marco Polo Cruises
Astor

Astor is higher-end than CMV's other two ships -- Marco Polo and mv Discovery -- and gratuities and all dining (including the specialty restaurants) are included.

Astoria
3.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Astoria (nee Azores) is a 550-passenger, adults-only ship originally built as a transatlantic ship named Stockholm in 1948 and later underwent a $150 million restoration.

Magellan
3.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Offering a traditional cruise experience and excellent value for money, Cruise & Maritime Voyages' Magellan remains a popular choice for British cruisers.

Columbus
3.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

The 1,400-passenger Columbus is Cruise & Maritime Voyages' newest ship, with features including 150 new single cabins, a large open-air movie screen and a British-themed pub.

Vasco da Gama (Cruise & Maritime Voyages)
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Currently sailing as P&O Australia's Pacific Eden, the 1,220-passenger Vasco da Gama will join the Cruise & Maritime Voyages fleet in April 2019 after a major refurbishment.

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