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This was our third time with CMV and the first time on Columbus. Previously we had been to Iceland on Marco Polo and Scandinavia on Magellan. We have also cruised with Royal Caribbean and Celebrity. Tilbury is convenient for us to drive and park. We chose the British Isles cruise because we liked the idea of seeing lots of places that we might not otherwise visit. Embarkation: fast and efficient. We were in our cabin with most of our luggage within 35 minutes of parking the car, most of that time being spent waiting for the car park shuttle bus to fill up. Cabin: we had a large junior suite cabin. Masses of storage space. Fridge, safe, tea and coffee making stuff, very comfortable bed, sofa, armchair and balcony. Powerful shower in bathroom. A small TV but we only turned it on once. There were five or six movies showing each day but we never watched any. The cabin was kept very clean, as was the rest of the ship. Perks with the junior suite: daily plate of fruit and canapes, free laundry (wash only, not ironing), and priority tender tickets – these were very useful, see below. Food: Waterside restaurant was very good. We had breakfast and dinner there every day except two mornings. We had second sitting for dinner at a table for eight. Excellent choice over five courses every evening, quality was often excellent and never less than delicious. Only niggle was that staff were over-zealous in clearing the table before everyone had finished eating. We never felt the need to try the speciality restaurants. The Plantation Bistro was always very busy. We had one lunch and two breakfasts there. Plenty of choice, reasonable quality, just very busy. Never had time to try the afternoon tea. Drinks: we did not buy a drinks package. Prices for a glass of house wine or a cocktail seemed reasonable to us. Quality of the drinks was ok, nothing stunning, though they did do a decent Margarita. Service in the bars was usually prompt and cheerful. Hemmingway’s did reasonable coffee. Entertainment: live entertainment is not one of CMV’s strong points, but it is not a high priority for us. We made one trip to the evening show in the Palladium, for an ABBA tribute which was done well, but there was nothing else on that merited attendance, though our dinner companions went most evenings and seemed to enjoy it. The classical guitar in Taverners bar, and the piano/violin in the Atrium were good. The duo in Connexions had more enthusiasm than singing talent. Activities: there were various things going on during the day, but as we were usually in port we did not participate. We did make good use of the card room for the little spare time we did have, because there was usually someone else there who wanted a game of bridge. Other people were using it for chess and jigsaw puzzles. I also used the gym a few times. It was well-equipped with cardio machines, weight machines and free weights, and kept very clean. Rest of ship: there are three sets of lifts and three easy-to-climb stairwells, so quick and easy to get around. The pool deck was heavily used on sunny days, but we sat on our balcony rather than on deck. Deck 14 was nice to walk around in the evenings. We did not visit the shops or the casino. Crew: everyone was very polite and friendly, and said hello. After reading other reviews, I suspect they have all had intensive training since last year. The standard of English in some areas was lower than our experience on the other CMV ships, but there were no serious communication problems. Itinerary: the ship called at all the expected places. Overall we were very happy with every port visit. The main factor that upset a lot of people was the time spent tendering at five of the ten destinations. At tendered ports priority in the mornings was given to people on excursions. If you were not on an excursion you had to collect a ticket and wait for your ticket group to see be called. Some people waited two hours or more to get on a tender. This did not affect us because we had priority tender tickets that allowed us to get on any time. Once on a tender there were often delays getting ashore due to limited space at dockside. We went round in circles in a tender for half an hour at one place before eventually being able to get ashore. Some of the delays were due to sea and tide conditions, which were unavoidable. On top of the also unavoidable slowness of single file exit from the tenders at each end, it proved a time consuming process. However, we were impressed with the diligent assistance given by the tender crews to ensure everyone, including those with some mobility restrictions, got ashore and back again safely. And once ashore, we enjoyed ourselves immensely. So our advice is to be aware of the implications of tendering and be patient. Excursions: we booked excursion as the first four stops, and did our own thing at the others. We'd been to Kirkwall before so we took the trip to Skara Brae this time, but we would recommend walking round Kirkwall on a first visit. We went to Inverness from Invergordon, which was nice in the sunshine (not sure how good it would have been in the rain), Invergordon itself has a good local museum. We did walking tours in Portree and Tobermory, both worthwhile. Tobermory has an excellent little local museum. Generally it was cheaper, and more enjoyable, to use the free shuttle buses and/or public transport and/or hop-on-hop-off buses where available. There were free shuttle buses in Belfast, Dublin and Ringaskiddy (Cork). Hop-on-hop-off buses in Belfast and Dublin were good for seeing the main sites. St Mary's had an old red bus tour for ten pounds per person. Guernsey has a great public bus network, one pound per trip - easy to get to main tourist sites, or just to get a look at the countryside. Disembarkation: we had to leave our cabins at 7.30am. They have to get the ship ready to sail again the same day. It was, as always, crowded in the waiting areas while we waited for our group to be called. They could have provided extra seating to avoid some having to sit on the floor. In the end we got off the ship 20 minutes early and getting back to the car park and on the road to home was very smooth. We were very happy with our cruise because we saw the places we wanted to see, our cabin was excellent, the food very good, and the overall experience was good value for us. Whilst on board we booked up for the Baltic cities and St Petersburg cruise next year. CMV may not be for everyone, but it suits us (though we will avoid the multi-generational cruises!).

Great cruise around the British Isles

Columbus Cruise Review by Daffodil1

8 people found this helpful
Trip Details
This was our third time with CMV and the first time on Columbus. Previously we had been to Iceland on Marco Polo and Scandinavia on Magellan. We have also cruised with Royal Caribbean and Celebrity. Tilbury is convenient for us to drive and park. We chose the British Isles cruise because we liked the idea of seeing lots of places that we might not otherwise visit.

Embarkation: fast and efficient. We were in our cabin with most of our luggage within 35 minutes of parking the car, most of that time being spent waiting for the car park shuttle bus to fill up.

Cabin: we had a large junior suite cabin. Masses of storage space. Fridge, safe, tea and coffee making stuff, very comfortable bed, sofa, armchair and balcony. Powerful shower in bathroom. A small TV but we only turned it on once. There were five or six movies showing each day but we never watched any. The cabin was kept very clean, as was the rest of the ship. Perks with the junior suite: daily plate of fruit and canapes, free laundry (wash only, not ironing), and priority tender tickets – these were very useful, see below.

Food: Waterside restaurant was very good. We had breakfast and dinner there every day except two mornings. We had second sitting for dinner at a table for eight. Excellent choice over five courses every evening, quality was often excellent and never less than delicious. Only niggle was that staff were over-zealous in clearing the table before everyone had finished eating. We never felt the need to try the speciality restaurants. The Plantation Bistro was always very busy. We had one lunch and two breakfasts there. Plenty of choice, reasonable quality, just very busy. Never had time to try the afternoon tea.

Drinks: we did not buy a drinks package. Prices for a glass of house wine or a cocktail seemed reasonable to us. Quality of the drinks was ok, nothing stunning, though they did do a decent Margarita. Service in the bars was usually prompt and cheerful. Hemmingway’s did reasonable coffee.

Entertainment: live entertainment is not one of CMV’s strong points, but it is not a high priority for us. We made one trip to the evening show in the Palladium, for an ABBA tribute which was done well, but there was nothing else on that merited attendance, though our dinner companions went most evenings and seemed to enjoy it. The classical guitar in Taverners bar, and the piano/violin in the Atrium were good. The duo in Connexions had more enthusiasm than singing talent.

Activities: there were various things going on during the day, but as we were usually in port we did not participate. We did make good use of the card room for the little spare time we did have, because there was usually someone else there who wanted a game of bridge. Other people were using it for chess and jigsaw puzzles. I also used the gym a few times. It was well-equipped with cardio machines, weight machines and free weights, and kept very clean.

Rest of ship: there are three sets of lifts and three easy-to-climb stairwells, so quick and easy to get around. The pool deck was heavily used on sunny days, but we sat on our balcony rather than on deck. Deck 14 was nice to walk around in the evenings. We did not visit the shops or the casino.

Crew: everyone was very polite and friendly, and said hello. After reading other reviews, I suspect they have all had intensive training since last year. The standard of English in some areas was lower than our experience on the other CMV ships, but there were no serious communication problems.

Itinerary: the ship called at all the expected places. Overall we were very happy with every port visit. The main factor that upset a lot of people was the time spent tendering at five of the ten destinations. At tendered ports priority in the mornings was given to people on excursions. If you were not on an excursion you had to collect a ticket and wait for your ticket group to see be called. Some people waited two hours or more to get on a tender. This did not affect us because we had priority tender tickets that allowed us to get on any time. Once on a tender there were often delays getting ashore due to limited space at dockside. We went round in circles in a tender for half an hour at one place before eventually being able to get ashore. Some of the delays were due to sea and tide conditions, which were unavoidable. On top of the also unavoidable slowness of single file exit from the tenders at each end, it proved a time consuming process. However, we were impressed with the diligent assistance given by the tender crews to ensure everyone, including those with some mobility restrictions, got ashore and back again safely. And once ashore, we enjoyed ourselves immensely. So our advice is to be aware of the implications of tendering and be patient.

Excursions: we booked excursion as the first four stops, and did our own thing at the others. We'd been to Kirkwall before so we took the trip to Skara Brae this time, but we would recommend walking round Kirkwall on a first visit. We went to Inverness from Invergordon, which was nice in the sunshine (not sure how good it would have been in the rain), Invergordon itself has a good local museum. We did walking tours in Portree and Tobermory, both worthwhile. Tobermory has an excellent little local museum. Generally it was cheaper, and more enjoyable, to use the free shuttle buses and/or public transport and/or hop-on-hop-off buses where available. There were free shuttle buses in Belfast, Dublin and Ringaskiddy (Cork). Hop-on-hop-off buses in Belfast and Dublin were good for seeing the main sites. St Mary's had an old red bus tour for ten pounds per person. Guernsey has a great public bus network, one pound per trip - easy to get to main tourist sites, or just to get a look at the countryside.

Disembarkation: we had to leave our cabins at 7.30am. They have to get the ship ready to sail again the same day. It was, as always, crowded in the waiting areas while we waited for our group to be called. They could have provided extra seating to avoid some having to sit on the floor. In the end we got off the ship 20 minutes early and getting back to the car park and on the road to home was very smooth.

We were very happy with our cruise because we saw the places we wanted to see, our cabin was excellent, the food very good, and the overall experience was good value for us. Whilst on board we booked up for the Baltic cities and St Petersburg cruise next year. CMV may not be for everyone, but it suits us (though we will avoid the multi-generational cruises!).
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Cabin Review

Cabin 11151
Large and well-equipped. Comfortable bed, plenty storage, good balcony

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews