History of cruises: Behind the Iron Curtain, USSR. Berlin - Admiral Nakhimov | CruiseBe
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History of cruises: Behind the Iron Curtain, USSR. Berlin - Admiral Nakhimov

5 minutes read • February 13th, 2018
We continue the story about the

history of cruises

in the USSR. As we've already found out in the previous parts, the Iron Curtain was not an obstacle to cruises, and cruises in the USSR existed. Moreover, several well-known German liners were transferred under the USSR flag after the Second World War. Besides, the USSR became an owner of many German and Polish shipyards. Although these shipyards are not considered the Soviet ones in literature, de facto, you can see everything for yourself.
We'd like to begin this story about the history of cruise ships with a beautiful liner SS Berlin III.
history of cruises

This beautiful 17,000-ton liner was built in Germany in 1925. Initially, she operated Transatlantic sailings, and New York was her first destination. The 4-deck liner departed from Bremen and made a transatlantic crossing to New York City with calls at the ports of Southampton and Cherbourg. It was a great itinerary, wasn't it?
By the way, the ship became known for the fact that on November 13, 1928, she rescued 23 people from the SS Vestris ship that sunk off the American coast.
history of cruises

In 1938, the liner switched to European itineraries. With the outbreak of World War II, SS Berlin was requisitioned by the authorities of the Third Reich. The ship was planned to be used as a floating hospital.
history of cruises

In January 1945, the liner hit mines near the Polish port of Świnoujście. The ship got two holes and partially sank (she sank to a depth of 13 meters, with a draught of 9 meters). All equipment was taken away, and the liner was abandoned.
history of cruises

The Soviet Union decided to lift the ship. In early 1947, there was an explosion on the ship during her first lifting. In September 1947, after the second attempt, the ship was lifted and towed to Kronstadt. After a partial repair, the liner went to East Germany for an extensive repair. The repair lasted 8 (!) years.
In 1957, the Soviet liner Admiral Nakhimov joined the fleet.
history of cruises
© V.I.Cherksarshin \ В.И. Черкашин/Wiki/CC BY-SA 3.0

Problems occurred from the ship's first cruises. Perhaps, because of the lack of experience in construction of cruise liners. From the very beginning, the ship had problems with ventilation and air conditioning. And the problem was serious! Passengers had to open the windows, and the waves got into the cabins during a big storm!
Besides, the liner's big draught did not allow her to dock at the pier in many ports. Therefore, the passengers were carried ashore by tenders.
history of cruises
© V.I.Cherksarshin \ В.И. Черкашин/Wiki/CC BY-SA 3.0

We should note that a skilled captain solved almost all these problems!
Admiral Nakhimov became one of the most famous cruise liners of the Soviet Union!
However, she had not been spared by the sad military fate. In 1962, the liner was requisitioned for the transfer of Soviet troops to Cuba.
However, in general, she was an ordinary Soviet liner with a different exterior.
history of cruises
© V.I.Cherksarshin \ В.И. Черкашин/Wiki/CC BY-SA 3.0

The ship's fate was extremely sad.
On August 31, 1986, Admiral Nakhimov was in the port of Novorossiysk.
history of cruises
Last day of steamship Admiral Nakhimov in Port of Novorossiysk before the disaster. 31 August 1986

In the evening, around 10.30 pm, the liner went to the next port of call - Sochi. 1243 passengers were on the ship at the time of her departure (official version: 897 passengers and 346 crew members).
At 11.20 pm, liner collided with the Soviet dry bulk carrier "Pyotr Vasev" at the exit from the bay.
history of cruises
© пароход "Адмирал Нахимов" 

We won't discuss this tragedy's causes: both captains, dispatchers, the system...*
As a result of the disaster, 423 people died, and the ship still lies at a depth of 47 meters 15 km away from Novorossiysk.

* A small remark: Admiral Nakhimov's departure was postponed for 10 minutes due to the late arrival of the head of the KGB department in the Odessa region, KGB Major-General A. Krikunov. The general and his family died...

To be continued...

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