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Tomorrow, we will once again be heading South to join CMV’s flagship MV Columbus on Monday, for a 50-day voyage to Sydney, Australia.

This is the first leg of the Columbus’s World Tour, and I’m very pleased to have been invited to run watercolour painting classes along the way.

Having been on the Columbus for the very first time only a couple of months ago, I’m happy to confirm that she is a fine ship – quite luxurious in fact. Having worked many times on the Marco Polo and much smaller ships over the years (Minerva… Voyager…), I have to say that it feels like we’re being slowly weaned off small, compact vessels, onto something much larger; a sign of the times, maybe. This comes at a price, of course, but there is no denying the fact that it feels far more spacious, both in terms of cabin sizes, and in general.

Here’s a brief, potted history…

She was built in France and launched in 1988 as Sitmar FairMajesty. In 1989, she became Star Princess (Princess Cruises), and then from 1997 to 2003 she was P&O’s MV Arcadia (named after an earlier P&O ship of the same name). Renamed Ocean Village in 2003 and Pacific Pearl in 2010, she remained in P&O Cruises Australia fleet up until 2017, when she became the property of Cruise and Maritime Voyages, and was renamed MV Columbus.

Once we’ve departed from London Tilbury, and picked up a contingency of passengers from Rotterdam, the Columbus will cross the Atlantic, pausing briefly to visit the Azores before cruising on to Willemstad, in the Caribbean. We’ll be passing through the Panama Canal into the Pacific Ocean, crossing the equator, and stopping off at five tropical islands in the South Sea before pressing on to the New Zealand and, finally, Sydney, Australia.

There are a large number of sea-days, which means lots of painting classes.

Bring it on…

Peter Woolley

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