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Cruise ship Columbus sets sail after more than 200 days moored up opposite Gravesend

A cruise ship which has become a familiar sight on the Thames at Gravesend has set sail for a new home.

After spending 218 days at Tilbury landing stage opposite Gravesend, Columbus finally set sail for Gibraltar after taking on a PLA Pilot at 10pm on Wednesday.

Cruise ship Columbus sets sail from Tilbury. Picture: Fraser Gray
Cruise ship Columbus sets sail from Tilbury. Picture: Fraser Gray

The cruise ship was formerly operated by Cruise & Maritime Voyages and Tilbury was a regular port of call.

She returned to Tilbury with three other vessels – Astoria, Astor and Vasco Da Gama – to moor up once the Covid-19 pandemic took grip and has been there ever since.

CMV went into administration in July. Three of CMV’s ships detained in Tilbury docks were sold at auction. Columbus and Vasco Da Gama were purchased by Marios IIliopoulos, the owner of the Greek ferry company Seajet.

Former passengers of the Columbus gathered at Tilbury landing Stage to wave goodbye on Wednesday.

Columbus was originally launched in 1988 as Sitmar Fair Majesty, then later served in the P&O Cruises fleet as MV Arcadia and then Ocean Village in 2003. In 2010 she was transferred to P&O Cruises Australia and renamed Pacific Pearl until 2017 when she was sold to CMV and renamed MV Columbus.

Read more: All the latest news from Gravesend

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