In a move which is sure to have sent shock-waves across the cruising industry, Cruise and Maritime (CMV) have announced that they have acquired P&O Cruises Australia’s Pacific Pearl and will join the fleet in 2017.
The 63,786grt ship, which will carry 1400 passengers (mainly British) in 775 cabins with 150 exclusively for single passengers, will be renamed Columbus in a move which carries on CMV’s Explorer theme.
Columbus will be marketed as an adult only ship, (aged 16 years upwards) but August 2017 will see two special summer holidays cruises for all ages.
Columbus was originally ordered for Sitmar Cruises as Sitmar FairMajesty but nearing completion, she was transferred to Princess whom under the parentship of P&O Cruises had purchased Sitmar. She would become Star Princess and was named in 1989 by legendary Hollywood actress, Audrey Hepburn.
Star Princess would then be transferred over to P&O Cruises in 1997 and renamed as Arcadia. She spent 6 years with P&O before being transferred to now defunct subsidiary Ocean Village in 2003 and was renamed Ocean Village. She then was transferred to current owners P&O Cruises Australia in 2010.
Christian Verhounig, CEO and Chairman of CMV explained how delighted he was to be welcoming Columbus into the Cruise and Maritime fleet:
“The successful introduction of Magellan in 2015 has encouraged our Group to accelerate their mid-term growth plans and the addition of Columbus to the fleet in 2017 is another important milestone in achieving our longer term growth objectives . The strategic development of the Group’s presence in the UK and wider international markets will increase our overall capacity to 125,000 passengers in 2017. We are proud of the CMV brand’s growing international recognition and remain confident in continuing to successfully build our business as a strong value based ‘independent’ alternative.”
Echoing his sentiments and expressing optimism for a bright future of growth, Commercial Director, Chris Coates added:
“We are really pleased to welcome this fine ship to our fleet which we believe will be very well suited to our core British market who appreciate and value the many benefits of cruising on smaller to mid-sized more traditional vessels of this type. The introduction of Columbus and her past association and popularity with the British cruise market spanning 13 years, will increase 2017 UK bed night capacity by 25% to 95,000 passengers. Having already sold over 85% of capacity for 2016 and with 17,000 people turning 50 every week in the UK, we remain confident that Columbus will satisfy the growing demand for our product”.
Columbus will become the fleet’s flagship and will join Magellan, Astoria, Astor and Marco Polo in what is an burgeoning sized fleet.
Itineraries for 2017 for Columbus will go on sale on Thursday 31st March and a special edition brochure will be released in early April.
Rendering image: Cruise and Maritime (CMV)