British company, All Leisure Group plc, today welcomes a new chapter in its history with the arrival of the extensively refurbished ship mv Voyager ahead of its naming celebrations in the maritime city of Portsmouth.
The refurbished Mv Voyager officially joins the travel company’s cruise ship fleet on Tuesday 4 December under the Voyages of Discovery brand. The ship will enjoy a four-day showcase in the city, before sailing to the West Indies, and will return in summer 2013 offering four different discovery cruises from Portsmouth.
All Leisure Group plc first purchased the ship in 2009 and invested in a multi-million pound refit of the vessel using predominantly British design and manufacturing companies. The technical upgrades and the redesign took place in the Dorset port of Portland delivering a boost to the shipping-based economy in the area.
Passengers will board the ship in Portsmouth (UK) following its official naming ceremony to enjoy a circumnavigation of South America and the Caribbean on a remarkable five-month voyage taking in destinations such as Margarita Island in Venezuela, Puerto Cortes in Honduras, Manta in Ecuador, Callao in Peru, around Cape Horn, cruising the Amazon River in Brazil, the Cuban capital of Havana and back to Portsmouth via the Azores.
Fitting the adventure theme of the ship, mv Voyager will be named and christened in Portsmouth on 4 December 2012 by natural history, marine conservation, archaeology and wildlife TV presenter Miranda Krestovnikoff.
Key new additions to the 540-passenger vessel includes the introduction of an ‘explorer theme’ to the entire ship reinforcing the destination-led offering that the brand is known for, the new Scott’s Lounge – a classic piano bar serving cocktails into the evening and speciality restaurant, The Explorer Club. A new ‘Lookout Lounge’ also provides panoramic views from the front of the ship and a new terrace with all-weather awning has been added to the Veranda restaurant for al fresco dining. Mv Voyager will offer a choice of 270 cabins, 87% of which are outside cabins and 30 of which have balconies.
Voyages of Discovery managing director, Alan Murray explains:
“Our investment in revamping the ship comes at a time when the UK cruise market, especially for cruises departing from UK ports of call, is outperforming the broader British cruise market. Ensuring that the bulk of our spend in the refurbishment and technical upgrade was made in the UK, and in UK businesses, makes us especially proud of the ship, and the high standards of workmanship are a fitting tribute to the nation’s great shipping and exploration traditions.”
Figures released by the Passenger Shipping Association in their annual report show that an additional 100,000 passengers in 2011 joined their cruise at a UK port, a 5% growth in ex-UK cruising compared to 2010.