With her Maiden voyage for Cruise & Maritime Voyages departing on 15th March 2015, as the new flagship of the fleet, we were lucky enough to be invited to the re-naming of Magellan on 13th March at the London Cruise Terminal in Tilbury. We also had the opportunity to spend a night onboard and experience the food and entertainment.
I made this video while onboard, and you can click on the following link to see my photos of Magellan on Facebook.
After a short delay at check-in we were onboard by 1.30pm, and went and dropped our luggage in our cabin. We had a Category 9 Superior Twin cabin, but they are also sold as a Category 10 Superior Single, for just a 25% supplement. Even as a double there was plenty of room to move around the cabin.
Next stop was the Raffles Bistro for a buffet lunch, and there was an excellent choice of both hot and cold food to choose from. There is also a section of seating out on deck for those warmer destinations as, although the sun was shining in Tilbury, it was still a bit chilly for dining Al Fresco. There is the option to dine in Raffles Bistro at night, as opposed to going to the main restaurants, and the tables would then be set up with linen table cloths, napkins, and cutlery.
I then toured the ship getting photos and video as I went, and visited the majority of the public rooms, as well as a number of different cabin grades. Despite the fact that Magellan is 30 years old, you wouldn’t guess it as you walk around inside the ship. There are some areas on the open decks which are showing their age a bit more, but that all adds to the character. It is good to see wooden decks, and plenty of space for chairs and sunbeds. After all, this is a traditional ship, offering traditional British style cruising.
It was then back to my cabin for a quick shower and change, so that we could take our seats in the Magellan Main Show Lounge for the renaming ceremony at 4pm. The godmother was to be Gloria Hunniford and she seemed genuinely pleased to have been offered the opportunity. After we had been introduced to members of the senior management at CMV, and Gloria had renamed the ship, there was some entertainment put on for us.
The Renaming Ceremony
There was then just enough time for a relaxing drink in the bar, before heading off to the restaurant for dinner. We were in the Waldorf Restaurant, and had a really enjoyable meal. There were a few slight delays in the service, but today was probably the first real test for the newly assembled crew. That is one of the reasons these events are held for agents and the press when a ship is new to the fleet, as it gives the crew the opportunity to iron out any problems before the paying passengers set off on the maiden cruise. It also gives agents like me the benefit that I can tell my customers what the ship is like, and you can look around the ship by way of my video and photos. As you will see, I am not a professional photographer or videographer, but I show things as they are, which is what many people prefer.
After dinner we headed out on deck, as there was a fireworks display as part of the renaming celebrations. The river was closed for 30 minutes to shipping, as the fireworks were set off from a barge in the middle of the Thames. Then it was back to the bar for a few drinks with friends and colleagues, before heading for the Magellan Main Show Lounge for the show. This was a compilation of songs from musicals and films spanning a number of years. It is worth noting that they have Richard Sykes onboard as the Cruise Director for a period of time. I have cruised before when he was onboard, and I have to say that he was excellent. I would add that I always make a point of speaking to every one of my customers when they return from a cruise, regardless of which cruise line it is. As you can imagine, I get feedback of all sorts, both good and sometimes bad, about the ship, the food, the entertainment etc. However, over the years I can only recall one Cruise Director ever being mentioned to me by name, and it has always been Richard Sykes, and it is always excellent feedback. That really does say something to me.
Back to the bar for a couple of drinks, and enjoy the music. The casino was open where you could play ‘for fun’, as we were in port. To add to the entertainment for this special occasion, there were a number of Celebrity ‘look-a-likes’ in the bar and around the ship, posing for photos with people. These included Gordon Ramsay, Dame Edna Everage, David Jason as Del Boy, Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow, and The Queen.
After a very enjoyable evening it was time for a few hours’ sleep before, an early breakfast and the drive back to Leicestershire.
Magellan is smaller and more traditional than many of the newer ships being built for the cruise market, but I like the traditional ships. I went to sea as a 16 year old, and spent 1972 travelling backwards and forwards between Southampton and South Africa on Union Castle’s Pendennis Castle. In addition to that, in early 1973 I sailed from Tilbury to Australia and back, working in the galley of a container ship, OCL’s Flinders Bay.
If you like smaller ships, with a more traditional style of British cruising, then Magellan should be right for you. If you would like more details about Magellan, or Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV) cruises in general, just call GoCruise with Ian on 01455821770 or 08002922850.
General Information about Magellan
Until recently she was called the Grand Holiday, and was in service with Ibero Cruises from 2009. Before that she was a Carnival ship called Holiday, having been launched in 1985. She is 46,052 gross tons and has 726 cabins on 9 passenger decks, served by 8 lifts. While she could carry almost 1,800 passengers, she is expected to operate with about 1,250 passengers or so. This is due in part to the fact that they have decided to sell 150 double cabins for single occupancy, with just a 25% supplement. These 150 cabins include 42 x category 5 inside, and 44 x category 10 outsides.
Magellan is an ‘adult only’ ship, and there is a feeling of space onboard, with her wide corridors and stairways, and there are a number of lounges and panoramic seating areas.
There are 15 grades of accommodation, ranging from a category 1 standard twin inside cabin, up to a category RS Royal Suite. There are 6 Royal Suites, 4 Deluxe Suites and 4 Junior Suites, and these 14 all have balconies. As mentioned already, there are a good number of single cabins available on Magellan. One good point is that, unlike Marco Polo, a good percentage of the cabins can be converted to a double bed, as opposed to being fixed twin beds.
Category 9 Superior Twin Cabin (also sold as a Category 10 Superior Single)
All cabins have a flat screen television, music channel / console, direct-dial telephone, hair dryer, personal safe and bathroom amenity packs, comprising soaps, shampoo, body lotions, shower caps and sewing kit.
The Show Lounge is on two tiers, situated forward on decks 8 & 9, and will be the main venue for your evening entertainment, with floor shows, singers and a host of other shows. Other venues around the ship include Hamptons Lounge Bar, the Columbus Club, and Scott’s for those who like to dance into the night.
During the daytime, as well as evening, there will be activities going on around the ship, which include ‘Arts & Crafts’ on all cruises of 5 nights or longer. Look out for visiting comedians, and ‘An Audience With’, where a guest speaker or performer will speak about their life. There will also be guest speakers talking on all sorts of subjects.
Food & Drink
There are two main restaurants, Waldorf and Kensington, which offer open-seating breakfast and lunch, and traditional first and second sitting for dinner. For those who like more casual dining, the self-service Raffles Bistro is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Weather permitting, you can get your meal from here and take it out onto the pool deck for an alfresco dining experience.
Kensington Restaurant Waldorf Restaurant
There are a number of bars around the ship, besides those already mentioned, including the Lido Bar and Eros Bar on the pool deck.
Magellan boasts a Jade Wellness Centre, a gym, 2 swimming pools, 3 Jacuzzis, a library, card & bridge room, Casino, and a selection of shops and boutiques.
Jade Wellness Centre
During her first season Magellan will be offering a range of itineraries, ranging from 1 to 42 nights. The destinations visited will include the Norwegian Fjords, British Isles, Iceland, Scottish Isles & the Faroes, the Baltic, Scandinavia, the Land of the Northern Lights, the Amazon, West Indies & Azores, as well as some 2 and 3 night Christmas Markets mini cruises. The majority of her cruises will depart from Tilbury, but there are a few from Newcastle and Dundee.
General Information about Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV)
The other 3 ships in the ocean cruise fleet are as follows: –
- Marco Polo – at 22,080 gross tons, she carries around 800 passengers, and is an adult only ship. Most of her cruises depart from Tilbury, but a number are offered from Newcastle, Leith and Bristol Avonmouth
- Azores (to be renamed Astoria for the 2016 season) – she is just 16,144 gross tons and carries about 550 passengers, again all adult. The majority of departures are from Bristol Avonmouth, Liverpool and Hull, although there are a few fly-cruises which start in Livorno or Venice
- Astor – carrying around 600 passengers, the 21,000 gross tons Astor is based in Freemantle, Australia, for much of the year, with a northbound passage back to Tilbury in March, and a long southbound passage from Tilbury in April
They operate some river cruises during the summer, under the name CMV Signature River Cruises, using the following ships: –
- Bellejour, which carries 180 passengers
- Belvedere, which carries 176 passengers
- Bellefleur, which carries 150 passengers
Their 2015 river cruise season will run from April until October, and there will be a number of itineraries to choose from, covering the Rhine, Danube, Rhone, Saone and Moselle rivers. For more information on these follow the link to CMV Signature River Cruises.