Cruise & Maritime Voyages is eyeing three new vessels to add to its six-ship fleet over the next two years.
Christian Verhounig, the line’s chief executive and chairman, plans to deploy two of the new ships to the UK market and the other to serve German guests.
Speaking on board the line’s newest ship – Vasco da Gama – as it called in Tilbury for the first time, Verhounig said: “We are currently looking for three more vessels.
“Two of the vessels will launch in 2020 – one for the UK and another for the German market, and one will come in in 2021, also for the UK.”
He said the first new UK ship would be ready to start sailing from 15 UK ports from May next year and hinted that an announcement would be made by the end of next month.
Verhounig said the new vessel for the UK would have the same capacity as CMV’s Columbus which has 775 cabins, although he said Columbus never sailed at full capacity to give guests more space.
“This is five-star cruising in terms of the space ratio,” he said.
Verhounig also revealed that the line’s 2019 programme was completely sold out, while 2020 was already 40% full. CMV put the line’s winter 2021 programme on sale this week.
“Over the last 10 years, we have had to launch our new programmes earlier and earlier, due to demand. We need new ships,” he said.
Commenting on why CMV was performing so strongly, Verhounig said: “We are in a very specific niche. We are for the silver cruiser and also for the international market.
“We have smaller ships that can get into smaller ports. We are all about the destination and we run [the business] very efficiently.”
Verhounig also added that the line benefitted from its ships sailing ex-UK itineraries north towards destinations in Greenland and Iceland rather to southern Europe during last summer’s heatwave.
“Other lines had a problem with the fantastic summer,” he said. “People were thinking why should I go on a cruise to the south? All of our cruises go to the north.
“Our passengers were quite happy to get away from the heatwave.”