The last surviving member of the quintet of Russian passenger ships, the Author class, reaches a significant age next year. Marco Polo was built in 1965 at Wismar in Germany as the second ship in a series destined for the Baltic Shipping Co and the Black Sea Shipping Co as Aleksandr Pushkin for the former company’s transatlantic service linking Leningrad with Montreal.
Her liner service lasted for just ten years and she has subsequently been employed in the cruise market for Transocean Tours, CTC Lines and, perhaps more importantly, as the ship that established Gerry Herrod’s Orient Lines in 1994. She has been with CMV since 2010 and appears to have developed a loyal following among her passengers. It will be interesting to see how CMV commemorate the half-century of this remarkable survivor.
Unfortunately, Marco Polo was one of a number of ships that suffered damage during the storms that hit Europe at the start of 2014. While in the Bay of Biscay, returning from a 42-night cruise to South America, she was hit by a particularly large wave that broke through a number of windows in the dining room, killing one passenger and injuring about 15 others. The ship was repaired on her return to Tilbury and sailed on her next cruise on schedule.