Astoria to leave CMV

(12.30 p.m. EDT) -- Cruise & Maritime Voyages' Astoria -- the world’s oldest ocean-going passenger vessel -- will leave the British cruise line's fleet in 2017, it was announced today.

The 550-passenger vessel that was built as a transatlantic ship named Stockholm in 1948, will sail its farewell season out of Tilbury between March 9 and April 27, 2017, culminating with a 10-night round-Britain itinerary.

A spokesman for CMV said that following the spring season Astoria would sail under charter with the French cruise line Rivages du Monde.

The news follows the announcement in March that CMV will add P&O Cruises Australia's Pacific Pearl -- renamed Columbus -- to its fleet in June 2017.

Passengers who want to embark on Astoria's farewell cruise season with CMV are being offered the incentive of an extended “buy one get one free offer” that applies to all CMV bookings until the end of July 2016. Additional benefits, subject to availability and for bookings made by August 31, include up to £1,000 onboard credit, free or half-price car parking at Tilbury and complimentary cabin upgrades.

Previously named Azores, and undergoing a $150 million refit in 1994, Astoria joined the CMV fleet in January 2015. The line also operates the Astor -- sister ship to Astoria –- Marco Polo and Magellan.

--By Jeannine Williamson, Cruise Critic contributor