1. Home
  2. Cruise Reviews
  3. Columbus
Background We have had around 40 cruises, mainly on the 'ultra' luxury lines but with the occasional exception such as Celebrity and RCL. We have also had many cruises on the 'premium' lines such as Oceania. Our CMV cruise was suggested by friends and 6 of us cruised together. Cruising with friends definitely increases the 'glass half full' mentality and does, admittedly, make you a little less focused on finding fault! The itinerary (around Britain) was an inspired choice - but then the weather was as good as you are ever likely to get on such a routing. Boarding What a joy to have such a short journey to Tilbury and a remarkably efficient and quick boarding process through a terminal that even had its own charm (a bit like Dover). We arrived at our appointed time and queued for no part of the process - and were warmly greeted in the atrium. Impressive start. First impressions We are used to a variety of ship layouts and facilities. We did a quick scoot around and were quickly impressed by a number of things. The rear staircase is huge and eats a massive amount of space. The rear of the ship is entirely clear of cabins so there are extra small seating areas of varying size according to deck. One accommodates two hot tubs and there is even a bar on one level. Seating is comfortable but with fixed rake sun beds with padded cushions. Lounge / bar areas were large and comfortably furnished and in good order - as was the decor, in general, throughout the ship. The overall impression was of a ship that was surprisingly well maintained for its age / price point and one that was far more spacious than the modern equivalent. Cabin We had chosen a standard outside limited view cabin - and by a process of detailed research chose one that appeared to suffer little obstruction to the view. As it turned out the room was spacious, with the equivalent of what is termed 'walk in wardrobe' by some other lines. The view across the prow of a tender was well worth the saving made - although the downside was the commotion when the tenders were lowered and the fact that there is a crew walkway immediately outside the window! Neither downside left us regretting the choice. There was a multitude of drawers and the bed was comfortable. Linens were adequate only. The plastic bathroom was in OK shape with a spacious shower. The worst thing was a basin tap that was distinctly dodgy but working. Hot water was plentiful. Dining Not since a few trips on Cunard have we had traditional dining. Our pre-arranged table for 6, late dining, was waiting for us and we enjoyed the advantage of a consistent wait team who worked hard to look after us well. The dining room is large but unusually split into smaller parts by tall dividers. Consequently a feeling of a dining hall is avoided. The menu choices across a starter, soup, salad, main, dessert, coffee course were many and varied and there were 'always available' options too. I think most people would say that the quality of the ingredients was largely what you might buy at home. But others would say that the ingredient quality definitely reflects the cruise price point. Two extra cost mains were offered - and we had the surf and turf which was extremely good. We never used the buffet for an evening meal but did for breakfast where the choices were extensive, the egg station well managed and, we felt, never too crowded. To illustrate that we used the same table on the outside terrace for every morning of the cruise. Specialty restaurants were used on no less than five occasions - so good were they. The Indian option uses a section of the buffet restaurant in the evening and is attended by suitably uniformed Indian staff. The food is proper Indian food - a bit limited in choice but terrific quality - using, in part, a tandoori cooker on the pool deck. The desserts were little less than extraordinary and not what we have ever seen in any Indian restaurant outside of India! The Grill restaurant is in a separate room on the pool deck and again offers a high quality experience with a decent range of choices. Meat quality compared to our high quality local butcher. Entertainment We focused on the production shows, performed twice for the two dining sittings. There were a dozen singers and dancers and a live band. The quality of the productions far exceeded expectations although not every music genre performed was to our taste. We tried one of the 'guest' performers one night but it was so woeful we missed all others so cannot comment further. Each bar had its own dedicated musician(s) with all but one being, in our view, excellent quality with consistent enthusiastic performances each night. Lectures There was only one sea day so we had no expectation nor need for an extensive enrichment programme. Just as well as the one lecture we did attend was poor quality in the 'death by power point style'. Ports What made the cruise so enjoyable was the terrific range and variety of ports, most of which we had never visited before. It was a real reminder of how much there is to see on your door step! We had a very different sort of day at every stop - mostly pre-arranged self sorted activities but with two ship excursions which were essentially 'transport only' that facilitated visits to Tresco (Scilly Isles) and Sark (Channel Isles). Both wonderful days. Tendering Several ports were tender ports. With the exception of one day they were managed efficiently with no undue waiting around or bun fights around the embarking areas. Return trips never involved more than 10/15 minutes of waiting. Bars / VIP Package We had invested quite a hefty sum in the all inclusive package - that includes gratuities, water and 50% discounts in special restaurants among a few other things. Bar staff were thick on the ground and there were fewer waits for drinks than we have experienced on all inclusive lines! The staff were friendly to a fault and responded well to our warm and friendly approach. Equally we only waited once in the dining room for wine to appear on time. Drink quality was good but then we steered away from cocktails which might have been less good. Wine quality was poor, We found a decent enough red (Malbec) and a sparkling white but the 'by the glass' white wines were dreadful, really dreadful. However, did we get good value? Yes I believe we did..... Staff Exceeded expectations says it all. As a completely random example, there was routinely someone permanently in the key public toilets at busy times, and there was always stair hand rail cleaning going on, bar staff cleaned every singly scrap of surface at the end each evening, room steward was attentive etc etc. Some staff needed slightly better language (English) skills but with patience we always got there in the end. They came across as a happy cohesive bunch of people. Passengers(!) The huge majority were Brits - lovely people who were focused on having a good time. Formal nights saw a real effort to dress up. You got the feeling that staff were generally being treated in a respectful way by the passengers - something we have seen missing sometimes... Disembarkation This was handled in a really low key way. Nothing was mentioned about it until the night before and even then it was possible to select 'self service' and simply walk of the ship as soon as clearance was given. Lessons for others to learn?! Summary We thoroughly enjoyed our trip on a largely well run ship that is being well maintained. No it is not new / modern but the value for money is remarkable and the concessions necessary to achieve the price are entirely bearable. We would certainly cruise CMV again for the right itinerary. ((Obviously others might disagree but this review reflects our PERSONAL views!)

Be realistic - be happy!

Columbus Cruise Review by Noggins

11 people found this helpful
Trip Details
Background

We have had around 40 cruises, mainly on the 'ultra' luxury lines but with the occasional exception such as Celebrity and RCL. We have also had many cruises on the 'premium' lines such as Oceania. Our CMV cruise was suggested by friends and 6 of us cruised together. Cruising with friends definitely increases the 'glass half full' mentality and does, admittedly, make you a little less focused on finding fault! The itinerary (around Britain) was an inspired choice - but then the weather was as good as you are ever likely to get on such a routing.

Boarding

What a joy to have such a short journey to Tilbury and a remarkably efficient and quick boarding process through a terminal that even had its own charm (a bit like Dover). We arrived at our appointed time and queued for no part of the process - and were warmly greeted in the atrium. Impressive start.

First impressions

We are used to a variety of ship layouts and facilities. We did a quick scoot around and were quickly impressed by a number of things. The rear staircase is huge and eats a massive amount of space. The rear of the ship is entirely clear of cabins so there are extra small seating areas of varying size according to deck. One accommodates two hot tubs and there is even a bar on one level. Seating is comfortable but with fixed rake sun beds with padded cushions. Lounge / bar areas were large and comfortably furnished and in good order - as was the decor, in general, throughout the ship. The overall impression was of a ship that was surprisingly well maintained for its age / price point and one that was far more spacious than the modern equivalent.

Cabin

We had chosen a standard outside limited view cabin - and by a process of detailed research chose one that appeared to suffer little obstruction to the view. As it turned out the room was spacious, with the equivalent of what is termed 'walk in wardrobe' by some other lines. The view across the prow of a tender was well worth the saving made - although the downside was the commotion when the tenders were lowered and the fact that there is a crew walkway immediately outside the window! Neither downside left us regretting the choice. There was a multitude of drawers and the bed was comfortable. Linens were adequate only. The plastic bathroom was in OK shape with a spacious shower. The worst thing was a basin tap that was distinctly dodgy but working. Hot water was plentiful.

Dining

Not since a few trips on Cunard have we had traditional dining. Our pre-arranged table for 6, late dining, was waiting for us and we enjoyed the advantage of a consistent wait team who worked hard to look after us well. The dining room is large but unusually split into smaller parts by tall dividers. Consequently a feeling of a dining hall is avoided. The menu choices across a starter, soup, salad, main, dessert, coffee course were many and varied and there were 'always available' options too. I think most people would say that the quality of the ingredients was largely what you might buy at home. But others would say that the ingredient quality definitely reflects the cruise price point. Two extra cost mains were offered - and we had the surf and turf which was extremely good. We never used the buffet for an evening meal but did for breakfast where the choices were extensive, the egg station well managed and, we felt, never too crowded. To illustrate that we used the same table on the outside terrace for every morning of the cruise.

Specialty restaurants were used on no less than five occasions - so good were they. The Indian option uses a section of the buffet restaurant in the evening and is attended by suitably uniformed Indian staff. The food is proper Indian food - a bit limited in choice but terrific quality - using, in part, a tandoori cooker on the pool deck. The desserts were little less than extraordinary and not what we have ever seen in any Indian restaurant outside of India! The Grill restaurant is in a separate room on the pool deck and again offers a high quality experience with a decent range of choices. Meat quality compared to our high quality local butcher.

Entertainment

We focused on the production shows, performed twice for the two dining sittings. There were a dozen singers and dancers and a live band. The quality of the productions far exceeded expectations although not every music genre performed was to our taste. We tried one of the 'guest' performers one night but it was so woeful we missed all others so cannot comment further.

Each bar had its own dedicated musician(s) with all but one being, in our view, excellent quality with consistent enthusiastic performances each night.

Lectures

There was only one sea day so we had no expectation nor need for an extensive enrichment programme. Just as well as the one lecture we did attend was poor quality in the 'death by power point style'.

Ports

What made the cruise so enjoyable was the terrific range and variety of ports, most of which we had never visited before. It was a real reminder of how much there is to see on your door step! We had a very different sort of day at every stop - mostly pre-arranged self sorted activities but with two ship excursions which were essentially 'transport only' that facilitated visits to Tresco (Scilly Isles) and Sark (Channel Isles). Both wonderful days.

Tendering

Several ports were tender ports. With the exception of one day they were managed efficiently with no undue waiting around or bun fights around the embarking areas. Return trips never involved more than 10/15 minutes of waiting.

Bars / VIP Package

We had invested quite a hefty sum in the all inclusive package - that includes gratuities, water and 50% discounts in special restaurants among a few other things. Bar staff were thick on the ground and there were fewer waits for drinks than we have experienced on all inclusive lines! The staff were friendly to a fault and responded well to our warm and friendly approach. Equally we only waited once in the dining room for wine to appear on time. Drink quality was good but then we steered away from cocktails which might have been less good. Wine quality was poor, We found a decent enough red (Malbec) and a sparkling white but the 'by the glass' white wines were dreadful, really dreadful. However, did we get good value? Yes I believe we did.....

Staff

Exceeded expectations says it all. As a completely random example, there was routinely someone permanently in the key public toilets at busy times, and there was always stair hand rail cleaning going on, bar staff cleaned every singly scrap of surface at the end each evening, room steward was attentive etc etc. Some staff needed slightly better language (English) skills but with patience we always got there in the end. They came across as a happy cohesive bunch of people.

Passengers(!)

The huge majority were Brits - lovely people who were focused on having a good time. Formal nights saw a real effort to dress up. You got the feeling that staff were generally being treated in a respectful way by the passengers - something we have seen missing sometimes...

Disembarkation

This was handled in a really low key way. Nothing was mentioned about it until the night before and even then it was possible to select 'self service' and simply walk of the ship as soon as clearance was given. Lessons for others to learn?!

Summary

We thoroughly enjoyed our trip on a largely well run ship that is being well maintained. No it is not new / modern but the value for money is remarkable and the concessions necessary to achieve the price are entirely bearable.

We would certainly cruise CMV again for the right itinerary.

((Obviously others might disagree but this review reflects our PERSONAL views!)
Noggins’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
Onboard Experience
Free Price Drop Alerts
Get Columbus price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email

Cabin Review

Cabin 9142
spacious and a 'sideways' on layout. extensive storage and very accessible 'walk-in' wardrobe. bathroom a bit plastic but serviceable. towels a bit thin and a dispenser for shower gel / shampoo

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews