Ex-UK specialists Cruise & Maritime Voyages is to add a new ship to its fleet after the departure of All Leisure Group’s Discovery.
The 550-passenger Azores, will join CMV’s Marco Polo with sailings from Bristol, Tilbury and Hull for what the company describes as an English speaking, adult market.
It’s first sailing will be a 30-night voyage to the West Indies from Bristol Avonmouth.
The ship has been chartered from Portugal-based Portuscale on a long-term contract.
Chris Coates, commercial director of CMV commented: “Azores is an excellent, upgraded addition to our cruise fleet and has been affectionately and very well maintained by her owners.
“We are confident that Azores will prove to be a real winner with our dedicated growing number of loyal customers and will also attract new clients seeking smaller ship alternatives and regional ex-UK no fly cruise options.”
The vessel underwent a $150mn renovation in 1994 and now has nine balcony suites and 85% ocean view cabins. Twenty percent of the 277 cabins are deluxe.
Rui Alegre chief executive officer of Portuscale Cruises added: “I’m a strong believer in developing close and long-term business partnerships.
“I’m very pleased to have concluded a charter with CMV and look forward to working closely with their team in successfully establishing Azores on to the British market.
“Azores is a beautiful ship and has been operating very well in achieving high levels of customer satisfaction. I am proud that she will be carrying CMV passengers next year and for many years to come.”
Cruise & Maritime is currently 95% booked up for its 2014 programme.