Author Topic: MV Marco Polo ex Aleksandr Pushkin  (Read 17239 times)

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Offline Jem

MV Marco Polo ex Aleksandr Pushkin
« on: Apr 14, 2010, 12:19 PM »
Isnt that like Marco Polo too Rob?  They have an ice strengthened hull but are not classified icebreakers.......as she too was built as a liner and spent an lot of her cruising years in Antartica though not necessarily breaking sea ice...as you say there must  be a classification of some sorts for this...
I sailed on the USSR Alexandr Pushkin (now Marco Polo) in September 1965 Tilbury-Montreal. Her full route was Leningrad—Helsinki—Copenhagen—London (Tilbury)—Quebec City—Montreal. You can see why the ice strengthened hull was needed in the winter months. I was only young at the time but crossing the Atlantic feels like yesterday!

Cheers :)
« Last Edit: May 07, 2010, 12:33 PM by Isabelle Prondzynski »

Online Isabelle Prondzynski

MV Marco Polo ex Alexandr Pushkin
« Reply #1 on: Apr 14, 2010, 12:58 PM »
I sailed on the USSR Alexandr Pushkin (now Marco Polo) in September 1965 Tilbury-Montreal. Her full route was Leningrad—Helsinki—Copenhagen—London (Tilbury)—Quebec City—Montreal. You can see why the ice strengthened hull was needed in the winter months. I was only young at the time but crossing the Atlantic feels like yesterday!

You are making me all excited, as I shall have the pleasure of being on board Marco Polo a fortnight from now... albeit on a much less exciting route. It will be great to be on a moving ship again, and a "real" one at that  :D ... have been suffering withdrawal symptoms...

No other ship will ever compare with QE2... but I do miss the open sea, and other ships can take me there too...
« Last Edit: Apr 16, 2010, 11:34 AM by Isabelle Prondzynski »

Cruise_Princess

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MV Marco Polo ex Alexandr Pushkin
« Reply #2 on: Apr 14, 2010, 06:38 PM »
Isabelle I hope you enjoy the little Marco...we sailed on her under the Orient Flag to the Baltics...and enjoyed every minute she still had that old fashioned ship feel with 'proper' portholes ' and lovely promenades albeit on a much smaller scale..she was kept in great condition and her REAL brass fittings gleamed from stern to stern... she wasnt any where near the Qe2 standards but still an enjoyable trip for a real ship buff...my BIG regret is not going to Antartica on her .. we did want to do the northern lights trip in March but left it too late...thats another once in a lifetime experience.....do hope you will do a posting on your return,...will be interesting to see how this new Company operates. 

 the above  was off topic a wee bit...but back to the icebreaker theme...those small 'expedition' ships advertised for the Antartic and Arctic cruises I'm sure must be classed as icebreaker hulls as the brochure shows the ship totally surrounded in sea ice whilst the passengers are enjoying a barbecue 'ashore' on top of the sea ice beside the ship!!!   Has anybody out there experience this?

Offline Jem

MV Marco Polo ex Alexandr Pushkin
« Reply #3 on: Apr 15, 2010, 07:32 AM »
At the risk of veering off topic for a moment... you are making me all excited, as I shall have the pleasure of being on board Marco Polo a fortnight from now... albeit on a much less exciting route. It will be great to be on a moving ship again, and a "real" one at that  :D ... have been suffering withdrawal symptoms...

No other ship will ever compare with QE2... but I do miss the open sea, and other ships can take me there too...
Hello Isabelle, have a great time on the Marco Polo. While we were onboard in 65 the crew could not have been nicer to me. As I'm disabled everyday they came to collect me to give my joints a massage. On my birthday they gave me a cake and my Dad taught me to swim in the pool. I was sea sick once and was given an injection and in all the times I've been on the water since I have never felt sea sick again! Wonderful memories of an Atlantic crossing the way it used to me, happy days....
Here's a link to a clip I've put together of her as the Alexandr Pushkin....

« Last Edit: May 07, 2010, 12:34 PM by Isabelle Prondzynski »

Cruise_Princess

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MV Marco Polo ex Alexandr Pushkin
« Reply #4 on: Apr 16, 2010, 11:20 AM »
Thanks Jem...what a wonderful video and the haunting melody of the Russian Anthem just makes it...I so enjoyed it...it was another world wasn't it? that's the first time I have seen her as the Pushkin....Russia used to be such a powerful and proud nation too...despite their 'redness'!!  She does look like a true ocean liner...very streamlined....I wonder how much longer she will sail under her new owners ?   

You are so very lucky to have experienced such a wonderful ship, in a wonderful era.

Online Isabelle Prondzynski

Re: MV Marco Polo ex Aleksandr Pushkin
« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2010, 01:01 PM »
Thank you for that video and those memories, Jem. A ship with a real history, and you brought it to life!

She is now under new ownership again, with Cruise & Maritime Voyages, who also own the former Cunard Countess, now Ocean Countess. Both are classic ships, and both are offering cruises at very affordable prices -- quite possibly too much so for their own good. The 3-nighter I took last week-end was finally sold at GBP 129 per person sharing -- I bought my ticket earlier and am glad that I paid more! This is the sort of ship I would like to be around for a good while yet, as I would want to be on board again some time before too long.

She is a very well built ship with a proud history. We met a fellow passenger, British, who had been the ship's photographer for several months while she was the Aleksandr Pushkin, and told us how good the atmosphere on board was at the time, and how safe the ship had always been. That special ice strengthened hull was mentioned by several people on several occasions -- and indeed, it came in useful even on our own cruise, as apparently (I noticed nothing myself...) she had a little collision with the wooden dock in Tilbury, which damaged the dock quite noticeably (I saw the damage on our return) but left Marco Polo with the mere loss of a few square inches of paint.

Wonderful wide teak decks, plenty of them, one above the other; only the top deck is now out of bounds to passengers. And a good voice too! Not as good as that of QE2 (nothing ever will be), but definitely worth listening out for on the few occasions when she used it.

I shall write up some more as I go along, and shall also upload my photos over the next week or so.

There is a start already made at :

https://www.flickr.com/photos/prondis_in_kenya/sets/72157624007520670/

but quite a few more will come!

Offline Clyde Paddler

Re: MV Marco Polo ex Aleksandr Pushkin
« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2010, 03:11 PM »

I was on Marco Polo's 'Iberian Highlights' trip, 12-23 April, which was excellent for the price, though there were a few aspects requiring attention (more the experience, than the vessel herself).  The weather was rubbish for Spain, Portugal and North Africa at this time of year, which was very disappointing, but we did pick up a few stranded air travellers on the way back!

Her literature, etc, does describe her as being an ice-breaker, and the following photo was to be seen on a bulkhead in a corridor approaching the bridge, where I did manage to get a visit.

She was in lovely condition for an older vessel and I would certainly go back at a bargain price like the one I got this time!.

HELEN
Harrogate, UK

Offline Jem

Re: MV Marco Polo ex Aleksandr Pushkin
« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2010, 02:28 AM »
Isabelle, thanks for sharing the photo's. It was like going back in time as it was from Tilbury we sailed for Canada in 65. Your cabin looked nice. In 1965 we had bunk beds with curtains you could pull across and a little light above your head. My most vivid memory was hearing the throb of the engines as I fell asleep, like falling asleep to a lullaby.

Online Lynda Bradford

Re: MV Marco Polo ex Aleksandr Pushkin
« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2010, 10:30 AM »
Jem I just loved your clip of the Alexandr Pushkin it was like going back in time watching the clip and the link to your family history brought the journey alive. 

Isabelle hope you enjoy your trip - looking forward to seeing more photos.     
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Online Isabelle Prondzynski

Re: MV Marco Polo ex Aleksandr Pushkin
« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2010, 10:16 PM »
A couple more Marco Polo voyage notes at last, now that I have managed to upload my photos to Flickr :

https://www.flickr.com/photos/prondis_in_kenya/sets/72157624007520670/detail/

Perhaps my main impression after the very brief 3-night "Bulbfields" mini cruise is that I need more time to give her a proper chance -- a short week-end was simply not enough. If only Tilbury was not so hard to reach... but I can recommend the special "boat coach" from Victoria.

Embarkation was wonderfully easy, and the fact that I did not have a ticket to show (thanks to the ash clouds... but that is a different story!) made no difference -- the ticket requested by e-mail was ready and waiting at the terminal and handed to me with a smile. No hanging around at all -- it was straight up the gangway, a brief stop at the photographer's, and into the ship.

The ship as such was lovely -- wonderful teak decks, a fine shape, that impressive ice-strengthened hull, amazing history and all that.

The interiors are all mid-1990s. Nothing of Aleksandr Pushkin is left at all. I found them neither excitingly beautiful (like Rotterdam), nor in any way offputting. The ship was comfortable, and I would be perfectly happy to live with these interiors for a longer cruise. The cabin was homely and cozy, and the cabin stewardess provided good service.

The safety drill was the most elaborate I have ever experienced! We were taken to our lifeboats (mine was right outside my cabin, a minuscule walk to get there!), introduced to the crew member who would be helping us there if need be, and told more about how to board the lifeboat if the case arose. I am sure I would not like this level of detail every week, but I did enjoy it on this occasion, as it was quite different from what I have had on other ships.

The crew were clearly overworked. There was none of the usual greeting of people in the alleyways or having a wee chat with them here and there. But as they got used to us, they relaxed and smiled and the atmosphere got much more friendly. One or two of them, when they had a moment, told us that they liked the ship and enjoyed working there. Rehearsed talk? Perhaps, but probably genuine. A high proportion of the crew were Ukrainians, which may explain why they were slow to thaw and make contact with the passengers. But certainly, in the restaurants, there was also the pressure of looking after many tables and passengers.

Almost all the passengers were British, most of them living close to Tilbury. The age mix was not bad -- there were quite a few having a great time dancing the night away in a rather attractive public room.

Many of them had booked the cruise because it was cheap -- only a few had an idea that they were on a special ship. The cruise was booked out, and the last few cabins were sold off at GBP 120 or so per person, so every space was taken. And as the weather was cold and wet, everyone stayed inside rather than enjoying the lovely decks, which made for a bit of crowding in the public spaces.

The dinner arrangements, very sadly, went wrong -- we could not all sit together at one table as we had hoped. But I enjoyed the breakfast, probably the best meal of the day, with a good choice and all fresh. But breakfast was single seating in the main restaurant, and therefore a queue formed, and you sat with the people before and / or after you in the queue. This system was well organised, and I got to meet a few interesting people as a result!

A couple with whom I got chatting over breakfast turned out to have quite an interesting story. The husband had worked aboard Aleksandr Pushkin for the best part of a year as a ship photographer, and he had returned for the first time since then. As expected, he found the interior entirely changed. A couple of us were invited to have a look at his cabin, on the lowest deck of the ship, just above sea level. Looking out of that porthole will remain an abiding memory -- how the sea sped past, right in front of your eyes! Something to remember for next time...

We were very lucky (or so we thought) to have two very different public holidays in the two ports we visited. They were both fun -- Queens' Day in Amsterdam even more so than Labour Day in Antwerp. Wonderful scenes of the Dutch letting go and enjoying themselves, and then of the Belgian trade unionists and their families and pets and musicians having a good parade.

So, all in all, I am so glad I was there -- and I definitely want to go again, for a longer cruise next time, to get to know the ship properly.

Offline Jem

Re: MV Marco Polo ex Aleksandr Pushkin
« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2010, 10:49 PM »

The ship as such was lovely -- wonderful teak decks, a fine shape, that impressive ice-strengthened hull, amazing history and all that.
 A couple of us were invited to have a look at his cabin, on the lowest deck of the ship, just above sea level. Looking out of that porthole will remain an abiding memory -- how the sea sped past, right in front of your eyes! Something to remember for next time...
Isabelle, thank you so much for sharing your photo's and recalling your voyage. I remember the cabin we had on our atlantic crossing in 1965 was very close to the water line and I'd watch transfixed as the huge atlantic sped past my port hole. I was amazed some thing so large could physcially carve her way through the waves.
Here's a photo of a painting I had commissioned of her 2 years ago as she looked back in 65 crossing the atlantic in September.

Online Peter Mugridge

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Re: MV Marco Polo ex Aleksandr Pushkin
« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2010, 11:42 PM »
That's a very nice painting; who was the artist?

The style of the waves reminds me of Harold Webb, but I very much doubt he would have still been around two years ago?
"It is a capital mistake to allow any mechanical object to realise that you are in a hurry!"

Offline Jem

Re: MV Marco Polo ex Aleksandr Pushkin
« Reply #12 on: May 19, 2010, 11:18 AM »
That's a very nice painting; who was the artist?

The style of the waves reminds me of Harold Webb, but I very much doubt he would have still been around two years ago?
The artist is called Jim Tait here's the link to his website where you can see more of his seascapes:
http://www.tait-gallery.co.uk/Home.aspx

Offline Tyne Turbine

Re: MV Marco Polo ex Aleksandr Pushkin
« Reply #13 on: May 15, 2012, 12:20 AM »
Marco Polo making her first ecer departure from the Tyne on 6th. May, 2013.

Online Isabelle Prondzynski

Re: MV Marco Polo ex Aleksandr Pushkin
« Reply #14 on: Jun 12, 2012, 06:29 PM »
Plenty of pictures here, bringing back nice memories for me :

http://mediagallery.usatoday.com/Cruise+Ship+Tours/Marco+Polo/G1773,A12271

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Re: MV Marco Polo ex Aleksandr Pushkin
« Reply #15 on: Feb 14, 2014, 11:06 PM »
Unfortunately the Marco Polo has this evening been struck by a large wave in the Channel with the loss of one passenger:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-26194897
"It is a capital mistake to allow any mechanical object to realise that you are in a hurry!"

Offline tdickson

Re: MV Marco Polo ex Aleksandr Pushkin
« Reply #16 on: Feb 15, 2014, 12:10 AM »
Quote
The Marco Polo ship
The 22,000-tonne Marco Polo cruise ship was headed for Tilbury, Esssex
A passenger has died and another has been airlifted to shore after a cruise ship was hit by a freak wave in the English Channel.

The wave battered the British cruise ship Marco Polo, operated by Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV) as it headed for its home port of Tilbury in Essex at the end of a 42-night voyage.

Water crashed through a window injuring a number of the 735 passengers, who were mainly British.

An 85-year-old male passenger and a woman passenger in her 70s were airlifted off the ship. The male passenger later died.

A number of other passengers received minor injuries and were treated on board.

The vessel, which has been to the Amazon in South America and to the West Indies, is due to dock at Tilbury in the early hours of Sunday.

The company said: "CMV regrets to advise that earlier today their cruise ship m/s Marco Polo, en-route to her home port of Tilbury from the Azores, was hit by a freak wave during adverse sea conditions in the south western approaches of the English Channel.

"One elderly passenger has died and a further passenger has been airlifted for further shore-side medical assistance. The vessel sailed from Tilbury on January 5 and is carrying 735 mainly British passengers and 349 crew.

"Our thoughts are very much with these passengers and their families during this difficult time."

http://news.sky.com/story/1211924/freak-wave-kills-man-on-storm-hit-cruise-ship

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/uk-weather-man-killed-after-huge-wave-batters-cruise-ship-marco-polo-in-english-channel-as-storms-set-to-continue-9129944.html

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/uk-weather-marco-polo-passenger-3147191
« Last Edit: Feb 15, 2014, 12:46 AM by Isabelle Prondzynski »

Offline Helen Brocklesby

Re: MV Marco Polo ex Aleksandr Pushkin
« Reply #17 on: Feb 15, 2014, 01:51 AM »
I travelled on the Marco Polo, for the Titanic cruise back in April 2012, with 6 people who were my passengers when I served on the QE2. I found her a fascinating ship, having only travelled on Cunard  ships previously . It is sad news to hear of the tragedy that has now struck her. If I can find some pictures I will post them on here.

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Helen Brocklesby
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Online Rob Lightbody

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Re: MV Marco Polo ex Aleksandr Pushkin
« Reply #18 on: Feb 16, 2014, 04:46 PM »
The woman who's husband was killed is  criticising maintenance on the ship. The owners are vigorously  defending themselves.

Widow hits out over ship wave death http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-26216192
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Online Isabelle Prondzynski

Re: MV Marco Polo ex Aleksandr Pushkin
« Reply #19 on: Feb 16, 2014, 05:17 PM »
Jenny Williamson on Liners' List draws attention to the photographs of the storm posted by the Marco Polo Captain on Facebook :

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=630608416976430&set=a.587614681275804.1073741826.100000818320764&type=1&permPage=1

More can be seen by clicking "next"/"previous".

These may well be useful in case he needs to produce evidence of the weather conditions faced by the ship.