Cruise & Maritime Voyages has entered the Australian cruise market with introduction of Astor to the fleet featuring voyages to Australia & South Africa.

Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV) is pleased to announce the unveiling of plans to enter the Australian cruise market with the opening of a dedicated sales office in Sydney, the three year seasonal charter of the 600 passenger Astor to operate twice yearly ocean voyages between the UK, Australia and South Africa and the launch of a summer season of cruises from Fremantle, Perth commencing 12th December 2013.

The 20,606 gross ton Astor joins the CMV fleet in November 2013 and will operate alongside the 800 passenger flagship Marco Polo and 700 passenger Discovery, both operating sailings from eight British ports. Discovery also operates an autumn Mediterranean fly cruise program. Astor’s inaugural 10,000 capacity programme will increase CMV’s overall 2014 global capacity to almost 62,000 passengers.

Astor has a fine pedigree and excellent reputation currently operating European summer cruises on the German market. She is managed and marketed by the Munich based Premicon Group that also overlooks a fleet of 22 premium river vessels operating on the Rhine, Main, Moselle and Danube also presenting new marketing opportunities between Premicon and CMV.   

The Astor was originally launched on the British market back in 1987 as a five star luxury ‘soft adventure’ product and since her inception has undergone a number of refits including a recent $22 million upgrade in 2010.

She will be positioned as a premium four star product and has 289 cabins including 42 suites with 70% of accommodation comprising an ocean view. There are a wide range of beautifully appointed lounges, seven passenger decks, traditional wooden decks and also an extensive sports deck with a wrap around jogging track and attractive wellness centre with a heated internal pool.

In announcing the introduction of Astor to the CMV fleet and the launch of a new voyage service to Australia, Chris Coates, Commercial Director commented, “Astor is indeed a beautiful ocean going vessel with a proud heritage and we are delighted that Astor will be part of our international development plans as we establish a strong presence on the Australasian cruise market.

We believe that Astor will become a firm favourite alongside Marco Polo and Discovery and a perfect match for the mid-sized more traditional business model we have developed since CMV’s launch in 2009. Despite the continued growth of mega resort style mass market vessels, the success and growing interest in the CMV product demonstrates that this niche sector has a significant role to play not only in the UK but also in the wider international English speaking markets and global arena. This new initiative also offers the travel industry an exciting new niche premium cruise product that lends itself to packaging opportunities”.

The opening of a sales office in Sydney follows the establishment in 2011 of a dedicated North American sales office in Fort Lauderdale.

John Dennis, VP Sales and Marketing CMV North America added, “Australia is a unique destination that is very appealing to both our US and Canadian guests.  We look forward to offering an array of cruise options within Australia and Asia, which can be combined with land package extensions to explore the beauty of the continent.  In addition the Europe to Australia and reverse repositioning itineraries offer exceptional global ports of call.”

A new brochure including CMV Astor Voyages will be released later this month featuring the full program of southbound & northbound voyages through 2015, plus a selection of sailings from Fremantle including a splendid 35 night Circumnavigation of Australia and a 24 night Far East sailing.