Cruise & Maritime Voyages is being launched as a new cruise brand in the UK by Cruise & Maritime Services (CMS), which has been general sales agents in the UK for Transocean Tours and Louis Cruise Lines.

Cruise & Maritime Voyages will sail the 22,000-ton, 800-passenger Marco Polo, which it previously marketed for Transocean in the UK. Starting Jan. 2, 2010, with the Marco Polo on a five-year charter, the ship will sail a year-round program of cruises, including 24-ex UK “no fly” sailings from Tilbury, according to Chris Coates, director of CMS.

Itineraries will cover the Amazon, Orinoco and West Indies during the winter months, followed by a season of Nordic cruises to Scandinavia and the Baltic, the Mediterranean and Canary Islands.

The Marco Polo will be positioned as an adults-only ship for passengers 16 years and over.

In addition, the 800-passenger, 17,000-ton Ocean Countess will be joining on April 18, 2010 for an initial two-season deck and engine charter agreement with Greece-based Majestic International Cruises Group.

The Ocean Countess will sail 22 ex-UK cruises year-round sailing from Hull, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Greenock, Liverpool and Plymouth.

The Ocean Countess will undergo a 3 million pound refurbishment and upgrade before entering service for the new brand.

The Global Maritime Group of Piraeus has been contracted to provide hotel, marine and entertainment management services for both ships.