Cruise & Maritime Voyages’ newest ship, the Vasco da Gama arrived in Sydney on Sunday to begin her first Australasian season.
She will sail Adelaide and Fremantle with new itineraries and prices that could prove hard to beat – part of the “traditional cruising” model that this week saw the CMV fleet expand to eight ships.
“We are thrilled to have Vasco da Gama joining us in Sydney this weekend for the first time,” said Managing Director of Cruise & Maritime Voyages Australia, Dean Brazier. “Cruise & Maritime Voyages has a high level of repeat patronage and Vasco da Gama offers a range of new options to our guests, accommodating the increased demand for the traditional, small ship cruising that we are known for.”
The 1,220-passenger vessels replaces the Astor and will be making key domestic regions like Tasmania, the North West of Australia, and the Yorke Peninsula more accessible and more affordable for guests.
Vasco da Gama has kept many of the interior highlights from her days as P&O Cruises’ Pacific Eden, where she frequented Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Tasmania. But the line has managed to change the heart of the ship with just a few tweaks and a delightful addition for Fremantle cruisers.
The ship creates a cozy atmosphere starting from the atrium dressed in plush blue carpet and curtains. It extends throughout the ship with five inviting bars and lounges, each with its own charm and character.
The Captain’s Club is a classic, the Ocean Bar adds tropical flavour with its lively green, relax with jazz tunes in the Blue Room or enjoy a good book at The Study which is bright with rich colour accents.
These intimate nooks are a delight to explore, and are an important feature for the ship’s longer transocean sailings when she alternates between the Australian and European summer.
Another highlight of the ship is the spacious two level theatre Hollywood’s with generous emerald green couches, paired with gold, black and white accents, plenty of leg room and tables to rest your drinks. The ship also comes alive at night at The Dome & Nightclub and the auditorium which also doubles up as a movie theatre.
Hollywood’s TheatreThe ship has four included dining venues, and will also feature local produce, wines and even Coopers beer from Adelaide. The Waterfront Restaurant serves classic favourites like mushroom soup and caesar salad to start.
The main course features dishes like Beef Fillet Mignon with Pepper Sauce and Seared Norwegian Salmon Fillet with Dill Mousseline Sauce, both mains were served with potatoes and vegetables. And the meal is finished with desserts like crème brulee and chocolate lava cake with vanilla bean ice cream.
For different dining experiences, guests can visit Waterfront Mediterranean or try Thai, Japanese and Chinese cuisine enveloped in the swanky blue glow of Waterfront Eurasia. The ship also features specialty restaurants like American steakhouse The Grill, where the signature surf and turf is available at $49pp.
The Vasco da Gama is also the line’s first ship to have a dedicated space for their nine-course Chef’s table experience that is exclusive to 15-guests each seating. The $109pp charge with wine even includes a chance to tour the galley with the chef.
The ship has two pools, the Lido pool has a retractable roof and is open to everyone and adults-only area The Oasis also has another. The Jade Wellness Centre also has an inviting light mint green Thermal Pool area that is open for all to enjoy.
“Vasco da Gama is expected to carry an extra 5,900 guests throughout the 2019/20 season compared with CMV’s previous Australasian season, though the ship will still have the intimate, country-club-like atmosphere on board that CMV is known for,” says Mr Brazier.
“Offering exceptional value has always been and will continue to be one of the key feature of what CMV offers,” says marketing manager Tom Benson.
The line revealed that the best prices come are available with the ‘buy one get one’ offer when they first release their itineraries, usually a year ahead.
And the line is seeing ‘phenomenal response’ in the Australian market so far. The line’s biggest themed cruise season has also proved to be popular.
Vasco kicks off the season with a Military History themed cruise and will also have a much anticipated Boutique Gin and Culinary Cruise and Fringe on the Water.
Vasco da Gama also aims to give travellers a chance to experience parts of Australia that they may not have considered before.
“This season, Vasco da Gama will be the world’s first dedicated passenger cruise line to visit South Australian port Wallaroo and is also the first cruise line to visit four South Australian ports in one voyage,” says Mr Brazier.
The ship only visits Australia for about three months now but Mr Brazier has said that by 2021/22 they have plans for the ship to sail locally for up to five months.
CMV’s Vasco da Gama will be sailing eight itineraries from Adelaide and she will be the first cruise ship to visit South Australia’s Wallaroo, southern Yorke Peninsula and the wineries of Clare Valley. She starts sailing from December 2019 and proceeds to homeport in Fremantle in mid January.
The new ship will be increasing the line’s capacity by 5,900 in the coming season. The Vasco da Gama will be sailing nine itineraries from Fremantle in January and February 2020, covering the western coast such as Esparance, Albany, Broome and Geraldton.
She also heads north to explore Southeast Asia in Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. Her itineraries are around one to weeks and she is also offering an Australia Day weekend cruise.
For her last sailing in the region during the season, she makes a 71-night grand voyage to Britain, making stops at 36 ports.