MV Marco Polo – Past and Present

MV Marco Polo

ex Aleksandr Pushkin

© Brian Fisher

© 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

Technical Data

  • 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

Current Location

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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

Courtesy of Gina Amfimov

1967: During the summer time, she serviced the Leningrad-Bremerhaven-Montreal route.

© Brian Fisher

© 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.

  Courtesy of Chris Howell

© 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  © Tony Martin

© Tony Martin  © Tony Martin

© Tony Martin

© 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.

© Brian Fisher  © Brian Fisher

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  

© John Mavin (Dover 2007)

© Nigel Thornton  © Nigel Thornton

© Nigel Thornton  © Nigel Thornton

© 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  © Ken Smith

© Ken Smith

© Ken Smith (Tilbury, 22/04/2009)

© John Mavin  © John Mavin

© John Mavin (Dover, 2009)

January 2nd 2010: Sub-charter to Cruise and Maritime Voyages.


© Aleksi Lindström (Helsinki, 06/08/2010)


© Marc Piché

© Erwin Willemse  © Erwin Willemse

© Erwin Willemse

© Erwin Willemse

November 2nd 2016: Arrived in Dover, before sailing to Amsterdam (05/11/2016)

© Nigel Scutt ( Dover  © Nigel Scutt ( Dover

© Nigel Scutt ( Dover  © Nigel Scutt ( Dover

© Nigel Scutt (Dover Strait Shipping)

February 2020: New livery on funnel continued charter to Cruise and Maritime Voyages (CMV).

© Ken Malcolm  © Ken Malcolm

© Ken Malcolm (Durban, 01/02/2020)

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.

Article © Nigel Thornton and Ray Goodfellow (Dover Ferry Photos Group)

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