Our small ocean cruise ship is named Vasco da Gama, after the famous Portuguese explorer and for good reason. She too embarks on voyages that open doors to new lands and ultimately, new discoveries, but do you know the rich history behind her name and the life of the man himself? And, do you know the history of the ship? Let us bring you up to speed.

Vasco da Gama – The Portuguese Explorer

Vasco da Gama was a Portuguese explorer who played a significant role in the Age of Discovery and the European exploration of the world in the 15th and 16th centuries. He was born in Sines, Portugal, in 1469 and died in Cochin, India, in 1524.

Vasco da Gama is best known for his successful maritime expedition to find a direct sea route from Europe to India. At that time, the overland routes were controlled by Islamic powers, making trade with India difficult for European merchants. In 1497, Vasco da Gama set sail from Portugal with a fleet of four ships, and after a long and perilous journey, he arrived in Calicut (now Kozhikode), India, in 1498. This marked the first direct oceanic route from Europe to Asia, bypassing the need for intermediaries.

Vasco Da Gama’s voyage opened-up new trade routes and established Portuguese dominance in the lucrative spice trade with India. It also laid the foundation for future Portuguese colonial expansion and the establishment of maritime trade networks in the Indian Ocean.

Vasco da Gama made subsequent voyages to India and played a crucial role in the consolidation of Portuguese control over strategic ports and trade centres along the Indian Ocean coastline. His expeditions paved the way for Portuguese colonial rule in Goa, Malacca (Malaysia), and other territories in the region.

His accomplishments as an explorer and navigator significantly impacted world history, marking a turning point in European expansion, and establishing Portugal as a major maritime power during the Age of Discovery. His expeditions and discoveries created new possibilities for global trade and laid the groundwork for future European exploration and colonisation of other parts of the world.

Vasco da Gama – The Ship

Construction was completed on hull number 5881 in 1993 and she entered service as MS Statendam for Holland America Line. She sailed as MS Statendam until 2015 before entering service as Pacific Eden for P&O Cruises Australia. In March 2018 Pacific Eden was sold to Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV), with delivery in March 2019. Following the purchase, members of CMV’s Columbus Club were asked to choose between four names that honoured famous explorers: Vasco da Gama, Pytheas, Henry Hudson, and Amerigo Vespucci; Vasco da Gama was chosen. Following a refit in Singapore, Vasco da Gama sailed on 23 April 2019 for Tilbury on her inaugural cruise, with calls in Malaysia, Thailand, India, Egypt, Jordan and Morocco, celebrating her namesake’s travels. And, in 2020 she retained her name and joined the nicko cruises fleet, where she has become a much-loved member of the larger fleet, mostly consisting of river cruise vessels.

On board, you’ll find a range of equipment for spa, fitness and other leisure activities, including indoor and outdoor pools, plus comfortable and stylish cabins in sixteen different categories. Enjoy low single supplements and childcare facilities, with children under sixteen travelling for free when accompanied by two full-paying guests.

Be dazzled by an incredible programme of entertainment as we offer tailor-made in-house shows to rival the highest Broadway calibre productions, performed twice per evening, in a theatre extending over two decks, at the artistic heart of your ship

With five restaurants and seven bars available, prepare to be spoiled by a wide range of first-class culinary delights, freshly prepared by our kitchen crew. The Club Bistro presents buffets showcasing a variety of themes, while in our three Waterfront Restaurants we will serve you at your table.

The same goes for our fine dining restaurant, The Grill, where we offer excellent menus for a small surcharge. In all restaurants you can dine at extended, flexible mealtimes, with a free choice of seats, while the Alfresco Grill offers light dishes to satisfy those little pangs outside of mealtimes.

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