An Introduction To: Cruise and Maritime Voyages
May 13, 2015
If you’ve ever wanted to cruise with style, heritage and comfort, then traditional cruising is probably for you. If that’s the case, then you should also consider Cruise and Maritime Voyages – as they may be what you’re looking for! But who are they and what are their ships like?
Well, they are the new kids on the block, having only started in 2010 – but they know a thing or two about giving their guests a perfect voyage. They achieve this with tailor-made on-board activities, home comforts and great destinations.
They are a British line who focuses on giving their customers a traditional cruising experience in comfort and style. They pride themselves on the fact that their small, intimate ships provide passengers with a real home-away-from home, with comfortable lounges and cosy rooms. This is helped by the fact that they sail from 8 ports in the UK!
The smaller ship size also means that they can reach many ports that mega liners can’t, getting you to the heart of the destination, not hours outside of it!
Did you know? CMV began as a sales company selling cruises before they began to charter their own ships! This experience means that they really know what British passengers want from a cruise.
Meet the Fleet
Cruise and Maritime have four small ships which are:
The Azores – carrying only 550 passengers, this ship was rebuilt and restored as an ocean cruise ship after starting life as an ocean liner.
The Astor – did you ever sail on a cruise in the 60s from the UK to Australia? You can recreate this iconic journey on the Astor and enjoy Australia without the long flights! The small boat (which holds just 600 passengers) harks back to an era of cruising long gone till now; cruising back and forth to Australia.
Whilst the ships are older than others and don’t have the wacky features you may find on the new American ships, they have a lot of character, heritage and tradition whilst still being comfortable so you can sit back, relax, and enjoy your holiday! They have all been refurbished, to allow you to sail on board a ship with history, whilst also having the modern comforts that you would want.
Did you know? Over its long history the Marco Polo has sailed in every Ocean! You can take a look at some of her itineraries here!
Our cruise consultant Dawn travelled on Marco Polo, and told us a bit about her trip: “I liked the intimacy of the ship, the staff were excellent, as was the food.” You can learn more about Dawn and her trip on the Marco Polo here.
Is there a “typical” Cruise and Maritime Voyages traveller?
CMV are great for those who want a smaller ship where you won’t need a map to find you room again! They also typically appeal to people that want a “real” cruising experience, with features like real wooden decking, real balconies (not flashy, virtual balconies!) and those that want their ship to be uncomplicated. In short – guests that want substance – not flash or pretence! You can read more about this in our guide to traditional cruising here.
Cruise and Maritime suits couples, solo travellers or groups of friends. Three out of the four ships (the Magellan, Marco Polo and the Azores) are all adult only, meaning you can enjoy a peaceful holiday without screaming children around the pool- even in school holidays! The Astor does accept children on-board but has no children’s facilities.
Rooms are cosy and comfortable and the décor generally has a sense of heritage which is very reminiscent of cruise lines past. Take a look at look at what we mean below!
Did you know? The Azores was originally built as a trans-Atlantic ocean liner and in 1994 the vessel was all but stripped to her hull, rebuilt and restored as new. This cost a whopping $150 million!
Our cruise consultant Liam visited the Magellan and told us: “The interior refurbishment was excellent, and for the size of ship everything was just perfect. No area too big that your got lost in, and not area too small you felt cramped. I think she will make excellent addition to the fleet!” You can read more about his adventures on Magellan here.
The entertainment on CMV is very laid back. No one will expect you to go and abseil rock climbing walls or throw yourself into sky diving simulators! Instead you can relax and enjoy the traditional cruise entertainment.
As you’d probably expect on any cruise, there are pools and hot tubs to enjoy! If you’re feeling more active you can visit the fitness centre or jogging track, or if you want to relax even further then hit the spa and salon!
One of our consultants Michaela said: “The Spa services on board were good offering a wide range of treatments with some great offers available.” You can learn more about Michaela here.
On-board facilities include plenty of lounges for you to relax in, a disco with a DJ and a library for you to browse.
CMV’s “additions programme” is a chance to learn something, with arts and crafts sessions (teaching anything from calligraphy to jewellery making), “an audience with” (which includes a celebrity detailing their life story), other guest speakers (who have included former bond girls), pub quizzes and “a laugh on the ocean waves” with performances from comedians.
Cruise and Maritime also have something called CMV Club Class, which is a series of organised game sessions. You can enjoy a game of bridge, backgammon, chess or another activity with your fellow passengers, just ask a librarian to arrange it for you!
These activities also give you a chance to engage with your fellow passengers and make lots of friends!
Performances are held in the theatre, and there will be a cabaret – of course!
Feeling lucky? Then try your hand in a casino, or if you would rather relax with a cocktail, do so in one of the many bars available. The Captains Cocktail party when you arrive is also something you shouldn’t miss.
We asked our cruise consultant Alison what she thought of the entertainment on CMV and she said: “There is something for everyone with traditional ship entertainment that has dancers and singers. There are also live singers in bar areas and dance floors to enjoy!” You can learn more about Alison here.
Themed cruises are available and include comedy (with guests such as John Challis, Jeffrey Holland and Sue Hodge) or Gardening and Wildlife (with experts from the BBC including Andy Hamilton and Chris Baines.)
If you’d rather just sit with your feet up and watch the world sail by your cabin, then go for it!
Did you know? They are also one of the few lines to do overnight events and lunch events. This means you can get on-board and try the food, see the rooms and browse the facilities before committing yourself to a 14 night holiday aboard!
We asked our cruise consultant lauren about the entertainment on board and she said: “ the ship does feature facilities that you would come to expect such as card rooms, casino and show lounge – just on a smaller scale! There is even an on board Spa for those long sea days!” You can read more about her adventures here.
Each ship has at least two restaurants which includes The Waldorf Restaurant or the Kensington, as well as a buffet. One of the best things about the buffet room is its ocean view!
Food is served in two sittings, as you might expect on a traditional cruise, or you can visit the buffet whenever you want. These sittings give you the chance to get to know your table mates, and make some real friends during the cruise!
Did you know? www.CRUISE.co.uk would recommend CMV’s full English breakfast, which is available all day from the buffet! We might have had it a few times when we were on-board…
Afternoon tea is also available, and comes with a fine selection of sandwiches, cakes and teas.
We asked our consultant Donald what he thought of the dining experience on CMV’s Magellan and here’s what he had to say:“We ate in main restaurant I found it to be very smart. It has a good lay out with a good choice on the menu – you would think you were on one off the bigger ships with the choice available!” You can read more from Donald here.
The currency on-board Azores, Magellan and Marco Polo is £ sterling, whilst on Astor it is Australian dollars.
If you can’t bear to be disconnected from home then don’t worry, as ships have WiFi and rooms have a phone and satellite TV.
Rooms also come equipped with dedicated steward service, music channels and console, safe, hair dryer and air con.
If you upgrade to a deluxe cabin you will also receive bathrobes, slippers, a fresh fruit bowl, wine and mineral water, an atlas, umbrella and complimentary CMV tote bag.
Room service is from 10am to midnight, and a laundry and ironing service is also available.
If having a cuppa in hand is important to you then rest assured that self-service tea and coffee is open 6am to 10pm.
You will also have a Daily Programme delivered to you to let you know what is going on each day.
Did you know? If you have friends or family that are travelling with Cruise and Maritime then you can surprise them with flowers or wine delivered to their room, or even a spa treatment!
Dress codes are an important part of traditional cruising – and equally so on CMV. So if you don’t like dressing up like a movie star- they probably aren’t the line for you!
Formal nights ask for a bow tie and dark suit for men, whilst women don cocktail dresses or smart separates. Some nights will be smart casual – but don’t be surprised if other guests still dress very smartly! Smart casual means a shirt without tie for men and dresses or trousers and blouses for women.
During the day dress code is casual – but pool wear should stay by the pool!
You may be required to cover up at religious sites during excursions but you’ll be made aware of this in your daily planner.
Staff and Gratuities
Because of the small size of their ships, there is a good staff to passenger ratio. You can also really get to know staff – as it’s likely your waiter will know your name by the end of the trip! With plenty of bar staff there also won’t be huge queues at bars – so get that extra round of drinks in!
The gratuities are £5 per person per day, which changes to £4 per person per day if you are sailing for more than 16 nights. However, the exception to this is on-board Astor, as your gratuities are already included in the price.
Like on any other cruise, if you aren’t happy with paying gratuities, you can simply have them removed!
Our consultant Gina said that: “The service from check in (which by the way was very quick) to being greeted upon arrival on board and escorted to our cabin by a steward was first class. I was impressed with the décor throughout the ship. The public areas were very nicely decorated -they have a bright modern & contemporary feel.” You can learn more about Gina here.
Something that Cruise and Maritime Voyages do, that no one else does, is charter their own river cruises! This means that if you love CMV and want to try river cruises you don’t have to decide on a new brand.
CMV bring their traditional style and premium experience to their river boats, which carry between 150-180 guests. They own three ships, called the Bellefleur (which sails the Rhone and the Saone) the Bellejour (which sails the Rhine and the Moselle) and the Belvedere (which sails the Danube.)
The ships have lounges, fitness areas, dining rooms with panoramic views and even hot tubs. Gratuities are typically 8 euros per person per day.
So there you have it – get ready to live a life of luxury with CMV – whether at sea or on river!
Interested in CMV deals? Take a look here.
Will you be sailing with CMV any time soon? Have you before? What did you think of them?
Let us know in the comments below…
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