CMV announces charter of 600-passenger ship

CMV announces charter of 600-passenger ship

A three-year season charter of the 600-passeneger ship Astor has been unveiled by ex-UK cruise specialist Cruise & Maritime Voyages.

The company is to open a sales office in Sydney to support the vessel’s twice yearly sailings between the UK, South Africa and Australia and cruises from Fremantle from December 13.

The vessel, which originally entered service in 1987, joins the CMV fleet in November alongside the 800-passenger Marco Polo and the 700-passenger Discovery.

Fares start at £2,399 for the inaugural 36-night southbound voyage to Australia departing on November 5.

Astor’s inaugural 10,000 capacity programme will increase CMV’s overall 2014 global capacity to almost 62,000 passengers. A £14 million upgrade to the ship was carried out in 2010.

Astor has been operating summer cruises in Europe for German passengers. The ship is managed and marketed by the Munich-based Premicon Group that also oversees a fleet of 22 river vessels on the Rhine, Main, Moselle and Danube.

The river cruise operations also present new marketing opportunities between Premicon and CMV, according to the UK company.

A dedicated CMV Astor Voyages brochure will be released later this month featuring voyages until 2015 including a 35-night circumnavigation of Australia and a 24-night Far East sailing.

The opening of a sales office in Sydney follows the creation of a dedicated North American sales office in Fort Lauderdale in 2011.

Commercial director Chris Coates said: “Astor is indeed a beautiful ocean going vessel with a proud heritage and we are delighted that Astor will be part of our international development plans as we establish a strong presence on the Australasian cruise market.

“We believe that Astor will become a firm favourite alongside Marco Polo and Discovery and a perfect match for the mid-sized more traditional business model we have developed since CMV’s launch in 2009.

“Despite the continued growth of mega resort-style mass market vessels, the success and growing interest in the CMV product demonstrates that this niche sector has a significant role to play not only in the UK but also in the wider international English speaking markets and global arena.

“This new initiative also offers the travel industry an exciting new niche premium cruise product that lends itself to packaging opportunities”.

He added: “Britain’s historic and cultural ties with both Australia and South Africa and the feedback received and research undertaken has inspired us to introduce interesting voyages between the UK via the Cape to the Antipodes recreating the bygone halcyon days of long distance sea travel as a serious alternative to the aviation option.”


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