Maiden calls always guarantee a bit of a media ‘splash’ for a new arrival, and this was definitely the case for the new Cruise and Maritime flagship, Magellan, when she inaugurated the cruising season from Port of Tyne on March 27th.
The 46,052 ton ship- built in 1985 as Carnival’s Holiday- arrived to embark some six hundred passengers for a Norwegian Fjords cruise after an overnight voyage from Tilbury.
While she was here, the company hosted a group of writers to a drinks reception and lunch. Boarding something like an hour earlier gave me time to wander round and run an eye over the ‘new’ flagship.
The first impression you get is of how much more spacious she is compared to, say, her fleet mate, the veteran Marco Polo. Magellan is wider by quite a way, and this allowed the creation of a string of open public spaces, both inside and out.
A long, finely styled interior boulevard with a Scandinavian accent contains many of the main public rooms. Lit by a long expanse of floor to ceiling windows, this space is a delight to stroll in it’s own right. Many of the main public rooms debouch from this walkway, and extend right out to the port side of the ship.
Nicely done is Sinatras, an evocative jazz bar that forms an elegant, expansive focal point for after dinner mood music and cocktails. I should imagine it will prove very popular with regular passengers.
All of the public rooms have been toned down in terms of decor from the Carnival days, though the casino is still bigger than on any of the other ships in the fleet. Overall, this is a ship where strolling from bar to bar after dinner is an indulgent affair, with music to suit every mood and whim.
Outside, the Magellan benefits from having a central pool located in a vast, teak lined well deck, thus shading it from the wind all around. Another pool overlooking the stern has a pair of Jacuzzis just behind it, while another, oval shaped Jacuzzi is located right forward, on the highest deck.
The two main restaurants- Kensington and Waldorf- are both located on one of the lower decks. Each serves the same menu and spans the full width of the ship. They are done in a slighly more vibrant, but not over the top, shade of green that gives them a fresh, warm feeling when sunlight floods in through the big windows on either side.
It is worth noting that the Magellan is an adults-only ship. Twice the tonnage of Marco Polo, and with a maximum capacity of 1,250 passengers, she offers roughly half as much space again per person as the smaller ship. And, because of her later, mid eighties design, many cabins are of a uniform size and layout. In fact, they are the largest standard cabins on any ship of this size in the UK market.
CMV has been smart in selling quite a large number of these- both inside and outside- as dedicated singles, at a smile inducing 25 per cent supplement on the normal fares. They represent some of the best buys available anywhere in the UK cruisng scene today.
In short, Magellan looks like a smart acquisition. Sure, she is bigger than Marco Polo, but the level of intimacy is still there. There are more lifts, a good passenger flow, and more spaces in which to pause and play in. There’s an aft facing spa and wellness centre on this ship that looks particularly alluring as well.
The renovation of the ship has been quite sympathetic, keeping the open, breezy largesse of the former ‘Fun Ship’ while, at the same time, enhancing and expanding her appeal for the British cruising passenger. Offering everything from overnight cruises to grand, thirty plus day round trip sailings to the Caribbean, the Magellan will have some cruises on offer to suit eveybody’s budget and timescale.
Definitely an experience worthy of consideration. I hope to do a short cruise on her later this year, and I’ll have a fuller, more comprehensive report on the ship then.
As ever, stay tuned.