Cruise & Maritime Voyages christened the latest addition to its fleet, Columbus, at a ceremony on board the ship at her year-round home port of Tilbury on 8 June 2017.

The company introduced the vessel as ‘a new cruise ship for Britain’, with the christening being undertaken by veteran broadcaster Angela Rippon in the ship’s theatre, where 700 suppliers and service providers, passengers, travel agents, media and staff were in attendance.

During the ceremony around 50 members of the company’s onboard and shoreside staff from the UK and international offices were also invited onto the stage, as an acknowledgement of their hard work and efforts, as the company promotes its image as a family-friendly independent operator.

CMV is an impressive success story, and now boasts five ships in its fleet, with the company specialising in no-fly ex-UK cruising, aimed on the whole at the UK market. Next year the company’s ships will sail from no fewer than 16 UK ports, and is expecting to carry 130,000 passengers in 2018 from its main target markets of the UK, Australia, Germany and the US.

The introduction of Columbus, the fifth and largest ship in the fleet, indicates how the company is looking to expand. The brand now has just under 5,000 beds, employs 4,000 staff and will visit 65 countries next year.

The 1989-built Columbus completed a three-week refurbishment at Damen Shipyards in Rotterdam prior to coming to Tilbury for her inauguration and entry into service.

At 63,786gt, she will carry about 1,400 mainly British passengers accommodated in 775 cabins (including 150 singles) operating alongside Magellan (1,300 passengers), Marco Polo (800), Astor (600) and Astoria (550).

CMV carried 30,000 passengers in 2010 when it started sailings from Tilbury and last year that reached 100,000 passengers from UK and Ireland.