MS Marco Polo | Activities, cabins, deck plans, reviews | CruiseBe
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MS Marco Polo

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MS Marco Polo

Capacity
800
Crew
356
Tonnage
22,080 GT
Length
176.28 m
First voyage
1965

MS Marco Polo is a cruise ship owned by the Global Maritime Group under charter to UK-based Cruise & Maritime Voyages, having been previously operated by Transocean Tours, Germany. She was built as an ocean liner in 1965 by Mathias-Thesen Werft, East Germany as Aleksandr Pushkin for the Soviet Union's Baltic Shipping Company. After major alterations and additions, the ship sailed as Marco Polo for Orient Lines from 1993 to 2008.

Design and construction

Aleksandr... Read more

MS Marco Polo

Capacity (DO): 
800
Crew: 
356
Tonnage: 
22,080 GT
Length: 
176.28 m
Beam: 
23.55 m
First voyage: 
1965

MS Marco Polo is a cruise ship owned by the Global Maritime Group under charter to UK-based Cruise & Maritime Voyages, having been previously operated by Transocean Tours, Germany. She was built as an ocean liner in 1965 by Mathias-Thesen Werft, East Germany as Aleksandr Pushkin for the Soviet Union's Baltic Shipping Company. After major alterations and additions, the ship sailed as Marco Polo for Orient Lines from 1993 to 2008.

Design and construction

Aleksandr Pushkin was constructed at VEB Mathias-Thesen Werft in Wismar, East Germany. She was the second ship of the Ivan Franko class (also referred to as "poet" or "writer" class), named after the Russian poet Alexander Pushkin. The construction of this class featured some notable differences from contemporary ships built in the west. Amongst other things they offered cabins for six people and had three taps in the bathrooms - for hot, cold and sea water - Both of these features had long since been abandoned in western liners. The ships also featured certain forward-looking features, such as all outside accommodation for both passengers and the crew, and an indoor/outdoor swimming pool with a sliding glass roof. To enable the ships to navigate through broken ice, they were constructed with greater hull strength and stability than usual in passenger ships of this size. The Ivan Franko-class ships were also built with the use as a troopship in mind. Due to this they had unusually large provision and storage areas, enabling a cruising range of over 10,000 nautical miles (19,000 km). As a more visible sign of potential military use, the ships were equipped with unusually powerful deck lifting gear, apparently to be able to transport armoured vehicles on board. As built, the ship carried between 650-766 passengers in two classes, with different sources providing different figures. Additionally there were provisions for 500 cabinless passengers.

From 1972 onwards the Ivan Franko-class ships were rebuilt. In the first stage the cargo facilities were eliminated and the forward superstructure extended, allowing for additional public spaces. Stabilizers were also installed in this stage. In the second stage the cabins were re-configured to include berths for all passengers. In a refit during the 1970s a discothèque was added on board Aleksandr Pushkin, making her the first Soviet ship to have one.

Service history

Service as Aleksandr Pushkin

Aleksandr Pushkin entered service in 1965 with the Baltic Shipping Company, one of the three principal Soviet passenger shipping companies (the other two being the Black Sea Shipping Company and the Far Eastern Shipping Company). Reports about her service in the Soviet fleet are fragmentary and conflicting. Most sources state she was used to inaugurate the Baltic Shipping Company's regular trans-Atlantic service between Montreal, Quebec, Canada and Leningrad, and later on used for cruising. Other sources give a more detailed, but somewhat conflicting, accounts. Philip Dawson's book The Liner - Retrospective & Renaissance gives the full route as Leningrad—Helsinki—Copenhagen—London (Tilbury)—Quebec City—Montreal, in addition to which the ship was used for cruising from Montreal to Saint Pierre and Miquelon, The Bahamas and Cuba during the summer months. According to the book, the ship carried just 36 passengers on her first transatlantic crossing. According to Cruisepage.com, she spent only the summer months on Leningrad—Montreal service, while the rest of the year she was used either on crossing from Leningrad to Havana, Cuba or cruising under charter to western companies. Fakta om Fartyg offers a somewhat different account, stating that the ship originally entered service as a cruise ship in 1965, only moving to the Leningrad—Montreal route in April 1966, then spending summers from 1967 until 1979 in Leningrad—Bremerhaven—Montreal route and the rest of the year cruising, and from 1979 exclusively on cruise traffic. It does seem likely the ship called in Helsinki and London on her transatlantic crossings, as according to an article in Helsingin Sanomat Alexandr Pushkin was popular amongst Finnish passengers sailing to London and Canada; she was the only ship offering crossings from Finland to Canada and the only liner in Helsinki—London service at the time.

According to Philip Dawson, Aleksandr Pushkin ended transatlantic service in 1980, bearing the legend "Official XXII Olympics Carrier" on her side for her final season. At this point she was one of just three passenger liners in transatlantic service, alongside Cunard Line's RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 and Polish Ocean Lines' Stefan Batory. However, according to Ian Boyle's website Simplon Postcards she was chartered to the West Germany-based Transocean Tours between 1979 and 1985. In addition to the liner and cruise service, two sources mention that Alexandr Pushkin was used in service of the Soviet Navy, particularly in interventions into African countries. The British travel writer Gavin Young travelled from Papeete to Callao on the ship, as described in his book Slow Boats Home (1985).

Although not mentioned in any source, photographic evidence suggests that Aleksandr Pushkin's superstructure was enlarged at some point during her career (probably during her 1972 rebuilding), with the forward superstructure expanded and rear promenade decks built in.

According to most sources, Aleksandr Pushkin was transferred from the Baltic Shipping Company into the fleet of the Far Eastern Shipping Company in 1985, while other sources however claim she stayed under Baltic Shipping Company's ownership throughout her career with the Soviet Union. She was apparently chartered to CTC Cruises in 1985, for cruising from Europe and Australia. In 1990 she was laid up at Singapore. In 1991 the ship was sold to Orient Lines - the brainchild of cruise lines and hotels entrepreneur Gerry Herrod - and renamed Marco Polo.

Service as Marco Polo

Following the purchase by Orient Lines, Marco Polo sailed to Neorion Shipyard, Greece, where her engines were reconditioned by Sulzer Diesels. Following this she was moved to Perama Shipyard, Greece, where a near-total reconstruction of the ship commenced. Externally this resulted in notable extension of the rear superstructure and heightening of the funnel to maintain the proportions of the ship. Internally the ship was almost entirely rebuilt under the guidance of naval architect Knud Hansen and interior designers Michael and Agni Katzourakis. In addition to the more visual changes, the ship was fitted with Denny Brown stabilizers, additional diesel engines and brought up to the latest IMO and SOLAS standards. The refit took 2½ years; various sources estimate the cost as between $US20m and $60m.

In 1993, following completions of the conversion, Marco Polo began a varying itinerary of cruises all over the world, including more unusual destinations such as South-East Asia, Africa, and Antarctica. In 1998, Orient Lines was sold to Norwegian Cruise Lines. Marco Polo's cruises continued as before, but as a result of the NCL deal MS Crown Odyssey joined her in the Orient Lines fleet in 2000, turning the company into a two-ship brand. However, Crown Odyssey left the Orient fleet in 2003, and Marco Polo became again the sole ship of the brand. Since 2005 she has also been the sole surviving Ivan Franko-class vessel, the other sisters having sunk or been scrapped.

On June 4, 2007, Norwegian Cruise Line announced sale of Marco Polo, effective March 23, 2008. The buyer was later revealed to be the Greece-based Global Maritime Group, who chartered the ship to the Germany-based Transocean Tours. Marco Polo replaced MS Arielle in Transocean Tours fleet, operating cruises out of the United Kingdom as well as Germany. The sale of Marco Polo also meant the end of the Orient Lines brand. Transocean Tours said that they planned to operate the ship until 2012 at least.

Despite Transocean Tours' intention of keeping the ship in its fleet until 2012, reports emerged in August 2009 that Marco Polo would be chartered to the newly founded, UK-based Cruise & Maritime Voyages for five years from 2 January 2010. Her planned itineraries included cruises from the UK to South America during the northern hemisphere winter months, and from the UK to Northern Europe and the Mediterranean during the summer months.

Source:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
MS_Marco_Polo

Text is available under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0

Attractions on MS Marco Polo


Pool

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On those sunny tropical days, relax by the pool (or in the pool, of course!) with a good book and perhaps a refreshing cocktail.

Bar

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Lovely bar by the pool - to make your pool day even more exciting and tasty!

Scott's Bar

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Scotts Bar is an ideal spot for evening entertainment and late night dancing for the night owls! Located on Amundsen Deck, Scotts has direct access to the outside and a view of the pool deck below.

Hospital

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There is a physician available on board 24 hours a day while at sea. Please refer to your daily programme for the medical facilities opening hours. Professional service, care and medication are off...

Beauty Salon

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With hairdresser and treatment room for facials and massage, the health and beauty centre has all you need to pamper yourself and indulge your senses.
Photo by Cruise & Maritime Voyages

Waldorf Restaurant

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Our maitre’d and his attentive waiting staff will welcome you to the elegant Waldorf Restaurant where you can opt for a full English breakfast, savour a leisurely five-course lunch and enjoy a deli...

Internet Cafe

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You can stay online even on the cruise ship. Check your emails, share your cruise impressions and photos with your friends or even plan your next sailing aboard the beautiful Marco Polo!
Photo by Cruise & Maritime Voyages

Marco Polo Lounge

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After dinner the show team would enjoy the pleasure of your company in the comfortable theatre-style Marco Polo Lounge as our artists display their talents in a snappily choreographed revue or colo...
Photo by Cruise & Maritime Voyages

Jade Wellness Centre

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Book yourself in for a relaxing massage, thermal suite or beauty treatment in the well-appointed Jade Wellness Centre.

Captain's Club

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The elegant Captain’s Club is a perfect venue for pre-dinner cocktails.