A couple of weeks ago I embarked the newest Cruise and Maritime ship the Columbus! Myself and fellow cruise agents were given a week on-board to experience and learn about sailing with Cruise and Maritime (it’s a hard job but someone’s got to do it!) The Columbus will mainly be departing from London Tilbury Cruise Terminal as it did with this cruise and boarding proved to be a very stress free, quick affair. Being a smaller cruise terminal it was much easier than I’d previously experienced so I was on-board by 12!
Here’s a low down on everything Columbus based on my experience in the week:
Let’s start with one of the main draws to cruising.. the food on offer!
This is the buffet restaurant which also offers outside seating at the back of the ship. There is plenty of choice for nearly every hour of the day for breakfast, lunch, dinner, afternoon tea or late-night snacks! A good variety of hot and cold dishes and desserts and would suit those in the evening who do not want to be wearing formal attire or eating at a set time.
This is the main dining room which offers 2 set dining times of 6:30 and 8:30 with guests sitting on the same tables and with the same waiters each night. Our waiter Joe was especially friendly and attentive and entertained us all with his dancing in the waiters baked Alaska parade on the last formal night! Each night there is a different and varied menu of starters, salads, soups, main courses, desserts, crackers and cheese and coffee. You can choose as many dishes as you wish so we made great use of this! The food was outstanding and I don’t remember hearing a single person on my table complaining about any of the food.
This is the speciality Indian restaurant set next to the Plantation Bistro. This is an extra cost but offers great food and service with a good choice of starters, selection or main dishes and desserts. I chose the Indian selection so had many dishes to sample.
This really is well worth the extra cost of the speciality dining! The service was brilliant with us all being served our courses at the same time with one waiter per person. The scallops I had for starter were mouth-watering and I followed this with the surf and turf which consisted of a rump steak with mushroom sauce topped with a lobster! I must admit this was so large that it defeated me and I can’t comment on the dessert as I had no room. These did look delicious though.
We had this for breakfast and a selection of continental breakfast options were included free of charge. This is a great option when you need to be up early for an excursion.
Other dining options were available in the atrium for a small supplement for cakes and pastries with speciality hot drinks and the grill on deck by the pool.
Cruise and Maritime drinks prices are the most reasonable I have come across at sea. Firstly there are the packages. The All-inclusive drinks package is just £17 per person per day! This includes selected wines, beers, cocktails, spirits and soft drinks so is well worth considering. I purchased a cocktail package on-board which included 10 cocktails to purchase at the bars for only £29. Based on normal prices the cocktails range from £3.30-£4, about £5 for a large glass of wine and beer was around £3.50 so excellent value for money.
There are 2 shows each night in the show lounge for 1st and 2nd sitting guests. The quality would be easily comparable with some of the best I’ve seen on a cruise. We enjoyed a Show tunes show, comedy shows, We will rock you and an amazing classical show on the last formal night. After dinner on the last formal evening we all spilled out into the atrium for the farewell show which had it all from opera singing, to show tunes, to cheesy singing and dancing and a parade of the staff who had made our cruise so special including the captain! We particularly enjoyed this and there was a great atmosphere!
In the dome night-club on the top deck every late evening they had a musical theme (except for one night when we had a late-night comedy show and singing) with singers and dancers. This was followed by tunes with DJ Alfie into the early hours of the morning. The mo-town night was especially popular!
In the Taverners bar and Connexions there were singers, musicians and pub quizzes so lots to keep everyone entertained through the evening!
There are 2 pools on deck and a swim up bar with plenty of sun loungers and table and chairs surrounding them. Over one of the pools there is a big screen which was playing music but I would think on warmer cruises this would be used more. My favourite outside space was at the back of the ship. You can walk down the stairs between decks and find cosy sofas and loungers to relax in whilst enjoying great sea views! One on the decks at the back of the ship also has 2 hot tubs and a bar.
There is a spa area at the bottom of the ship. This never seemed to get too crowded and consists of a beauty area for hair dressing and beauty treatments (all at very reasonable prices). One of the ladies who travelled with us can recommend the massage services she enjoyed one after with 3 different treatments included for just about £60!. There is a well-equipped gym and a spa area with a steam room, sauna and heated beds. This spa and gym area are inclusive in the price of the cruise.
There is a library which has a wide selection of books which can be borrowed during the cruise. It also had games and jigsaws. There is also a table tennis table and on deck games.
There are a wide range of activities to partake in, especially on sea-days. Cruise and Maritime offer talks from guest speakers. Our cruise being a antiques themed one meant we had speakers from shows such as the antiques roadshow doing talks and valuing passengers antiques. There are exercise classes, dance classes such as line dancing and Zumba on deck, craft making, etc. Our group were lucky enough to take part in a towel folding demonstration, cocktail making and a Bridge Tour as well!
The Columbus offers 120 twin cabins for singles at excellent rates so rest assured you’ll be in great company and not be penalised for travelling as a single passenger anywhere near as much as with other cruise
I had a 11 category outside plus superior cabin. This was very well decorated and appointed with convertible twin beds into king size, A TV with quite a few options for English passengers including E4, ITV 2 and BBC news channels, en-suite bathroom with shower and WC and toiletries included, a picture window. It even had a tea and coffee making facilities and plenty of storage. You can book inside, outside and balcony cabins (although balcony cabins are limited). There are limited accessible cabins so these would be worth booking early to get for your chosen cruise.
I will write about the excursions and destinations we visited on a future blog. I can conclude however that I was very impressed by Cruise and Maritime. The service was fantastic! Food was very tasty and varied and the ship offered lots of options for all and was very well decorated. It offered great value for money as well from the booking price, through to drinks prices, gratuities and excursions on offer! If you have any enquiries about Cruise and Maritime or would like any quotes please contact me on 03333002638 or email at email@example.com.
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