CMV Columbus – British Isles – May 2019

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Gill W
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CMV Columbus – British Isles – May 2019

Post by Gill W » 22 May 2019, 12:23

This is not a full review, but just a few comments on my recent cruise.

It was a 10 night cruise and very port intensive, being only one sea day. Columbus had just come back from her World Cruise. We boarded at Tilbury, and called at Amsterdam the next day. At both of these ports they had a large turn around of staff, so nearly all the crew were fresh on board. I think it took a couple of days for them to settle down, particularly in the dining room, but service soon picked up.

Also, in Amsterdam, the last of the world cruise passengers disembarked, and about 200 more passengers joined us, mostly from Germany and Holland. Apart from this slightly international addition, the passengers were what you’d find on P&O, and I’d put the average age at about 70.

We enjoyed the food on this cruise. There’s not so much choice as you might expect on P&O and it might not be quite as well presented, but the quality was fine. Since our last Columbus cruise, they have put in a few more tables for two, mostly replacing tables for 4, so the tables are within inches of each other. We were lucky enough to have had one of the original tables for 2, so didn’t have a very close neighbour.

We tried both of the select dining venues. The Indian restaurant has a limited menu, but it was delicious, and to the same good standard as our last Columbus cruise. We visited The Grill for the first time. We both had steaks, and although not as good as Fred Olsen (my steak benchmark), it was very acceptable.

We had the Premium drinks package at £23pppn, with one night free of charge. £6 is for tips, with the remaining £17 for drinks, plus 25% off select dining. The value of drinks consumed was about £5 more than what we paid, so we at least broke even. On a warm weather cruise with more sea days, we would easily have spent more, as we’d have soft drinks while around the pool.

The buffet was a bit crazy at peak times, mainly due to passengers being unsure about what end to start collecting their food. Also, there were no trays, so it meant people were getting up and down a lot. However, we avoided peaks, and always got a seat, as we sat on some high stools in a quiet area.

Most of the evening entertainment was to our liking. The show team are very busy, as they do the production shows, and then fulfil the roles of entertainment officers, doing things like singing in the lounges, day time quizzes and are also on hand marshalling people for the tenders etc. The cruise director was much more visible that many P & O Entertainment Managers these days, who seem to have more of an office based role. The CD was a young guy and played a full role in the production shows, and was popping up all over the ship. They also put on an amazing party in the atrium on the last formal night. All the entertainment people were there, signing various songs and up dancing with all the passengers. Sailaway activities were limited as most sailaways were quite late. There was only one afternoon sailaway, and they did line dancing on deck, with the team singing and dancing with passengers. Made a nice change from the Great British Sailaway!

There were two guest cabaret acts, both comedy based. One was a one man band, who I think I’ve seen on P&O and was pretty good, the other was an impressionist, who had apparently been on Britain’s Got Talent. This latter act was, without a word of a lie, the worst act I’ve seen on a cruise ship. He was unfunny and, maybe even worse, was completely unlikable. On the night of his second show, the bars were heaving with people – nobody, including us, wanted to see him again.

Apart from that, the entertainment gets a thumbs up.

We picked this cruise as it was calling at Amsterdam and Honfleur, and we were keen to see Keukenhof and Monet’s Garden. Both were excellent attractions although very busy. Keukenhof is massive, so swallowed the crowds well, but Monet’s Garden was heaving with people, all wanting to take selfies. Lovely gardens and an interesting house, but not the most pleasant experience. The other ports were Kirkwall, Portree, Tobermory, Dublin, St Mary’s (Isles of Scilly) and St Peter Port. Four of these were tender ports. Portree and Tobermory were managed very well. There were problems in St Mary’s as they used local boats and the swells meant they were having trouble tying up. We eventually got ashore at about noon, and we were kept informed by announcements. The next day in St Peter Port, the tendering was very protracted, mainly because lots of people were going on tour and being given priority. On this occasion, there were no announcements to update us, so people were getting quite frustrated.

There was a good selection of ports on this cruise, giving us a wide range of experiences, from the noisy Gravity Bar at the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin on Saturday lunchtime, to the peace and quiet of St Marys the next day.

CMV still operate three dress codes. On our 10 night cruise, there were two formal nights, (about right), six smart casuals, and two informals, that seemed to be randomly inserted into the schedule, including one on our last night, which was the last night of about 90% of the passengers. Bearing in mind, the take up of the more formal dress codes runs at about 70%, the informal dress codes seem to be a bit pointless.

Overall, we really enjoyed our cruise. Sailing from Tilbury is very convenient for us, and we like the CMV offering – it is very good value for the price paid.

The problem we have is that the itineraries are quite limited. They do a few Baltic cruises, and that is a region we haven’t visited since 2007, so I can see us doing one of these itineraries with CMV, but not until about 2022, as we have other plans for the next few years. After that, not so sure what will happen.

However, this cruise experience was nearly all positive.
Gill


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Re: CMV Columbus – British Isles – May 2019

Post by Whynd1 » 22 May 2019, 13:32

Thank you for the report Gill.

Am off on the Oriana in three weeks on their British Isles cruise.

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Re: CMV Columbus – British Isles – May 2019

Post by GillD46 » 22 May 2019, 17:34

A good read thank you. It definitely sounds as though you enjoyed it overall. What are the cabins like?
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Re: CMV Columbus – British Isles – May 2019

Post by Manoverboard » 22 May 2019, 17:43

Thanks for doing the report Gill, always of interest and especially so on an alternate Cruise Line.

ps … The cabins are just like P&O's old Arcadia and subsequently Ocean Village. Fond memories, we had our first suite on OV.

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Re: CMV Columbus – British Isles – May 2019

Post by barney » 22 May 2019, 17:48

Thanks Gill.
Cruise and Maritime were my dear old Mum's favourite.
Partly because she lived in Gravesend and could be on board about half hour after leaving home with the old ferry.

She sailed on the old Marco Polo when it was a Russian line.

She loved them even though she sailed with most others.


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Re: CMV Columbus – British Isles – May 2019

Post by Ranchi » 22 May 2019, 17:55

An enjoyable report, Gill. I remember Columbus as Arcadia and the cabins were very spacious for the day. Could I just ask, what is ‘informal’ dress code - is it lounge suit / jacket & trousers or is it ‘unsmart’ casual?

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Re: CMV Columbus – British Isles – May 2019

Post by GillD46 » 22 May 2019, 18:43

I had completely forgotten it used to be Arcadia. I loved that ship, though the cabins were a good size even if a little basic.
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Re: CMV Columbus – British Isles – May 2019

Post by Whynd1 » 22 May 2019, 18:45

My first ever cruise was on the old Arcadia.

Lindsey

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Re: CMV Columbus – British Isles – May 2019

Post by Kenmo1 » 22 May 2019, 19:25

A very interesting report, Gill, with some unusual ports of call. I always feel you are getting good value when you have a nice lot of ports to visit although it can be exhausting. However, I realise that a lot of people also enjoy a fair amount of sea days.

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Re: CMV Columbus – British Isles – May 2019

Post by Gill W » 22 May 2019, 21:28

Whynd1 wrote:
22 May 2019, 13:32
Thank you for the report Gill.

Am off on the Oriana in three weeks on their British Isles cruise.
Have a great time
GillD46 wrote:
22 May 2019, 17:34
A good read thank you. It definitely sounds as though you enjoyed it overall. What are the cabins like?
We were in a Superior Ocean View cabin on deck 10. It was just like a balcony cabin, (but without the balcony). The brochure says its 188 sq ft, so it' was a decent size. It had a walk in closet like Ventura or Azura, and loads of drawers. No sofa to sit on, though.
Ranchi wrote:
22 May 2019, 17:55
An enjoyable report, Gill. I remember Columbus as Arcadia and the cabins were very spacious for the day. Could I just ask, what is ‘informal’ dress code - is it lounge suit / jacket & trousers or is it ‘unsmart’ casual?
.

Informal was lounge suit/ jacket & trousers, with or without a tie. On the first informal night, the majority made the effort, and jackets were worn. On the second informal night, the majority were smart casual, us included, as it was the last night for most passengers.

On the formal nights and the first of the informal nights, I'd say about 70% observed the dress code of the evening, with about 30% dressing smart casual. Everyone seemed to be quite happy about it. The majority dressed as suggested, whereas those who wanted to be smart casual, for whatever reason, were free to do so, and were allowed in all areas of the ship. As they were a large minority, no body stood out like a sore thumb. It was similar on our last Columbus cruise - I think it's normal for CMV.
Gill

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Re: CMV Columbus – British Isles – May 2019

Post by Gill W » 22 May 2019, 21:34

Kenmo1 wrote:
22 May 2019, 19:25
A very interesting report, Gill, with some unusual ports of call. I always feel you are getting good value when you have a nice lot of ports to visit although it can be exhausting. However, I realise that a lot of people also enjoy a fair amount of sea days.

Maureen
I was pleased to have a lot of ports for this cruise, as I was feeling a bit jaded with sea days. In October, we'd had 6 dull (in all senses of the word) sea days coming back from Canada, so a lot of ports suited me this time.

By the time we'd got as far as far as St Peter Port, I'd have welcomed a sunny sea day to have an opportunity to relax and enjoy the ship, but we did enjoy seeing so many places in such a short time.
Gill

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Re: CMV Columbus – British Isles – May 2019

Post by Happydays » 23 May 2019, 23:39

Thank you for the review I enjoyed reading it. We were on the ship when it was the old Arcadia, we went through the Panama canal on her 😊

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Re: CMV Columbus – British Isles – May 2019

Post by Gill W » 24 May 2019, 13:09

Although old Arcadia was still in the fleet when I started cruising, I never got the chance to sail on her. She seems to have been very popular.

I’m hoping that, one day, Oriana will find her way to CMV
Gill


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Re: CMV Columbus – British Isles – May 2019

Post by cruisin_duo » 24 May 2019, 16:24

Thank you for the review.

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Re: CMV Columbus – British Isles – May 2019

Post by david63 » 25 May 2019, 07:45

Gill W wrote:
24 May 2019, 13:09
I’m hoping that, one day, Oriana will find her way to CMV
I would think that that is highly unlikely as she is going to China to start up Carnival China

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Re: CMV Columbus – British Isles – May 2019

Post by Gill W » 25 May 2019, 10:53

david63 wrote:
25 May 2019, 07:45
Gill W wrote:
24 May 2019, 13:09
I’m hoping that, one day, Oriana will find her way to CMV
I would think that that is highly unlikely as she is going to China to start up Carnival China
I said 'one day', not next year.

In March 2017 I saw Pacific Princess in Tauranga harbour, New Zealand.

The next time I saw her was 6 months later in Tilbury, when I boarded her as Columbus.

Who knows what the long term future holds for the ship currently called Oriana.
Gill

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Re: CMV Columbus – British Isles – May 2019

Post by Mervyn and Trish » 25 May 2019, 18:44

She may not have a long term future! She's pretty dodgy technically these days. Very unreliable. News from the inside says they're always worried what's going to break next.

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Re: CMV Columbus – British Isles – May 2019

Post by Kenmo1 » 25 May 2019, 20:13

Mervyn and Trish wrote:
25 May 2019, 18:44
She may not have a long term future! She's pretty dodgy technically these days. Very unreliable. News from the inside says they're always worried what's going to break next.
It is not just the old ships that have problems. Britannia did not arrive in Southampton today until well after 2pm. due to technical problems Apparently PO sent out emails to people due to embark asking them to arrive 4 hours after the embarkation time on their tickets so the newer ships can be just as unreliable. Evening dining should be pretty chaotic tonight. Southamptonvts cruise ship schedule showing a sailing time tonight of 22.00 hours.

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Re: CMV Columbus – British Isles – May 2019

Post by Mervyn and Trish » 25 May 2019, 22:11

I know Britannia had a problem. But Oriana is far far worse. She has regular issues that are getting harder and harder and more and more expensive to fix. I think Arthur Daley negotiated her sale.
Last edited by Mervyn and Trish on 25 May 2019, 22:13, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: CMV Columbus – British Isles – May 2019

Post by Gill W » 25 May 2019, 22:33

David says Oriana is going to start up Carnival China, so Carnival must think she has some kind of future?

Anyway, at 24 years old Oriana is a spring chicken, compared to the current CMV fleet. Columbus and Magellan were built in the 80’s, Marco Polo is over 50 years old (getting on for 60) and Astoria is over 70 years old.

Oriana will be around in some form for many years to come.
Gill

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Re: CMV Columbus – British Isles – May 2019

Post by towny44 » 25 May 2019, 22:43

Gill W wrote:
25 May 2019, 22:33
David says Oriana is going to start up Carnival China, so Carnival must think she has some kind of future?

Anyway, at 24 years old Oriana is a spring chicken, compared to the current CMV fleet. Columbus and Magellan were built in the 80’s, Marco Polo is over 50 years old (getting on for 60) and Astoria is over 70 years old.

Oriana will be around in some form for many years to come.
Carnival China is already well represented by its Princess brand as well as its own Carnival Spirit, last I heard Oriana was due to become a short cruise casino but not sure it will remain linked to Carnival.
John

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