MV Marco Polo
ex Aleksandr Pushkin
© Brian Fisher
Steel twin screw motor vessel, “Poet”/”Writer” class built by Mathias-Thesen-Werft, Wismar, Germany in 1965 (Yard No 126) for Baltic Shipping Co, Leningrad
- Length: 176.28 m (overall) 155 m (between perpendiculars)
- Breadth: 23.63 m
- Depth: 13.49 m
- Draught: 8.6 m
- Tonnage: 19,860 (1965) – 20,502 (1991) 22,080 gross/11,005 – 9,081 net/5180 deadweight
- Engines: (2) 2SA 7-cylinder Sulzer – H. Cegielski 7RND76 diesels
- Power: 15447 – 14,444 kW/1320 HP
- Speed: 20.5 knots
- Decks: 8
- Capacity: 650 passenger (1965), 850 (1991)
- Crew: 356
- Call Sign: UERU, C6JZ7
- IMO Number: 6417097
- Official Number: M-27630/716438
- MMSI Number: 308693000
- Port of Registry: Leningrad/USSR, Vladivostok/Soviet Union, Nassau/Bahamas
- Sister-Ships: Ivan Franko, Shotas Rustaveli, Taras Shevchenko, Mikhail Lermontov
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April 26th 1964: Launched. This ship was built as on of five almost identical sister ship for the Russian/Ukrainian fleet with the use of a troopship in mind (it was originally constructed to re-open the Leningrad to Montreal transatlantic route in 1966, after a long absence since 1949).
August 14th 1965: Completed and delivered to Baltic Shipping Co., Leningrad, USSR.
August 1965: International cruising.
April 13th 1966: Maiden voyage Leningrad – Montreal.
Courtesy of Gina Amfimov
1967: During the summer time, she serviced the Leningrad-Bremerhaven-Montreal route.
© Brian Fisher
1972 (onward): Class rebuilt, “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”
1979 – 1984: Cruising.
1980: Ended transatlantic service bearing the legend “Official XXII Olympics Carrier” on her side for her final season.
© Marc Piché (left) and Courtesy of Chris Howell (right)
1985: Registered to Far Eastern Shipping Co,. Vladivostok, Soviet Union and chartered to CTC Cruises.
© Tony Martin
February 6th 1990: Laid-up in Singapore.
1991: Sold to Shipping & General (Orient Lines), Nassau, Bahamas, and renamed MARCO POLO.
June 1991: Arrived at Neorion Yard, Syro, Greece for re-building. After being completely refitted (from hull and engines up) and refurbished.
November 1993: Mediterranean cruising.
Marco Polo © Brian Fisher
July 1998: Orient Lines was bought by Norwegian Cruise Line (and then by Star Cruises in 2000), but continues to operate under the growing Orient Lines (Nassau, Bahamas) brand name. She continued cruising Europe, Baltic and Mediterranean, with port of call Dover.
© John Mavin (Dover 2007)
© Nigel Thornton
February 23 2003: It was reported February 19 that she had to make a hasty return to Ushuaia with 538 passengers and a crew of 320 after three cracks developed in the hull while sailing in the South Shetland Islands. The Argentine Coast Guard said the incident occurred over the weekend when the cruise ship was weighing anchor, preparing to sail from Livingston Island in the McFarlane Strait and the wind pushed her into shallow waters where she suffered the damage. In Ushuaia, divers confirmed the hull had three cracks (one and a half, three, and four meters long). They were rapidly covered by welding eight millimetre plates on to the hull. The Coast Guard station in Ushuaia reported that the vessel was never at risk and after the repairs she headed to Valparaiso to pick up more cruise passengers.
July 2004: Sold to Ocean World Ltd., Nassau, Bahamas.
July 23rd 2007: Sold to Story Cruise Ltd, Nassau, Bahamas. Manager; Global Cruise Lines Ltd.
March 23rd 2008: Chartered to Transocean Tours.
2009: £3 million refit-refurbishment.
© Ken Smith (Tilbury, 22/04/2009)
© John Mavin (Dover, 2009)
January 2nd 2010: Sub-charter to Cruise and Maritime Voyages.
© Aleksi Lindström (Helsinki, 06/08/2010)
© Marc Piché
© Erwin Willemse
November 2nd 2016: Arrived in Dover, before sailing to Amsterdam (05/11/2016)
© Nigel Scutt (Dover Strait Shipping)
February 2020: New livery on funnel continued charter to Cruise and Maritime Voyages (CMV).
© Ken Malcolm (Durban, 01/02/2020)
March 22nd 2020: Arrived at Avonmouth and laid up due to the suspension of sailings owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.
June 19th 2020: Detained by UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) at Avonmouth, after having been found with six deficiencies with one ground for detention.
July 20th 2020: It was announced that Duff & Phelps Ltd. had been appointed Joint Administrators of CMV Holdings London Limited, Cruise & Maritime Voyages Limited, South Quay Travel & Leisure Limited, South Quay Transport Services Limited, Independent Coach Travel (Wholesaling) Limited and Viceroy Limited and that all companies had ceased trading with immediate effect.
September 9th 2020: It was announced that the ships of the now defunct Cruise & Maritime Voyages would be sold at auction.
Five former Cruise & Maritime Voyages ships have been put up for sale at auction following the demise of Britain’s largest independent cruise line in July.
The ships put up for auction are VASCO DA GAMA, COLUMBUS, ASTOR, MAGELLAN and MARCO POLO. The ships are currently laid up in London Tilbury and Bristol Avonmouth. ASTORIA is not part of the auction as plans were already in place for when she was due to leave the fleet in October 2020.
Deadlines of between October 8 and 22 have been set for bids to be lodged with the broker CW Kellock & Co. Each vessel will be sold separate, although no indication of values have been disclosed.
VASCO DA GAMA – Bid deadline: Midday Thursday 8th October 2020
COLUMBUS – Bid deadline: Midday Monday 12th October 2020
MAGELLAN – Bid deadline: Midday Monday 19th October 2020
ASTOR – Bid deadline: Midday Thursday 15th October 2020
MARCO POLO – Bid deadline: Midday Thursday 22nd October 2020
Source: Cruise Capital
November 2020: Reportedly sold for approx $2.7 million.
November 19th 2020: Sailed from Avonmouth, destination showing as Falmouth.
All information is believed to be correct and no responsibility is accepted for any errors or omissions. All items included in this article are subject to © copyright. We would like to take this opportunity of thanking: Gena Amfimov, Brian Fisher, Chris Howell, Ken Malcolm, Tony Martin, John Mavin, Marc Piché, Nigel Scutt (Dover Strait Shipping), Ken Smith, Erwin Willemse and Andreas Wörteler for their assistance in producing this feature.