A new British cruise line will be sailing from the UK next year. Cruise and Maritime Voyages has chartered two ships, Marco Polo and Ocean Countess, to offer a traditional product to compete with established companies such as Voyages of Discovery, Fred Olsen and Saga.
The 22,000-ton, 850-passenger Marco Polo, which was built in 1966 and is currently on charter to German company Transocean Tours, sets out on her first voyage in new livery from Tilbury on January 2 and during the winter will operate to South America and the Caribbean followed by a summer of cruises to Scandinavia, the Baltic, the Mediterranean and the Canaries.
In April, the 17,000-ton, 800-passenger Ocean Countess – built in 1975 as the Cunard Countess – joins the fleet after a £3 million refit. She will be sailing to a wide range of European destinations, setting out from Newcastle, Edinburgh, Greenock, Liverpool, Hull and Plymouth
CMV director Chris Coates said: “While our core market will predominantly be the British sector, the programme will also appeal to the North American, Australasian and South African markets.
“We believe that despite the significant increase in larger resort style vessels, the reducing number of smaller, traditional and lower-capacity vessels generally operated by the independent and privately-owned shipping companies still have a huge following on the British market.
“This potentially enables us to deliver a more personal and friendly standard of service and our vessels can also visit more remote ports of call and places not always accessible to the larger resort ships.”
CMV cruises go on sale at the end of August, with fares starting at £199 for a three-night weekender to Amsterdam and Antwerp next spring bank holiday.