ms Marco Polo Cruise Ship Review

This review of ms Marco Polo cruise ship (history, facts, details (specifications and statistics) and cabins/venues information) is integrated with our Marco Polo cruise itinerary-schedule-location page.

The ms Marco Polo liner is an adults-only passenger ship currently operating UK cruises from London (Tilbury). This is a small and “affordable luxury”cruise ship, and an impeccable choice for a comfortable, traditional and mature ambiance vacation aboard one of the world’s most famous cruise ships at a most reasonable price.

ms Marco Polo cruise ship

The original ms Marco Polo ship name is ms Alexandr Pushkin (after the most famous Russian poet), built 1965 in GDR (East Germany) for the USSR’s Baltic Shipping Company.

ms Marco Polo cruise ship docked in Tilbury, London

mv Marco Polo specifications/statistics

  • year built 1965 as ms Alexandr marco polo ship details (specifications and statistics)
  • ship builder Mathias-Thesen Werft, Wismar (East Germany), yard number: 126, ship type: cargo passenger, ship class: Ivan Franco (aka “poet” or “writer” class). Has 5 sister-ships known as the “five poets”.
  • major refit-refurbished (plus alterations) 1991-1993 (refit cost US $60 million).
  • Port of registry/ flag-state Nassau (The Bahamas)
  • identification IMO number 6417097, MMSI 308693000.
  • passenger capacity 820 (max 915), staff and crew 356 (all English speaking).
  • stats: weight-tonnage 22,080 tons, length overall 578,4 ft (176,3 m), width 77,3 ft (23,6 m), draft 27 ft (8,2 m), propulsion (2 Sulzer-Cegielski 7RND76 diesel engines, combined power 15447 kW), speed 19,5 kn (22,4 mph, 36 km/h), 4 elevators.

ms Marco Polo history, facts

The cruise ship Marco Polo was built as one of the largest, fastest and most luxurious ocean liners in the USSR fleet and in its early years was used for seasonal regular Transatlantic crossings between Leningrad (USSR) and Montreal (Canada), with calling on Helsinki and London, and in the rest of the year operating Bahamas cruises from Havana (Cuba) and Nassau,  and from other ports around the world when chartered to Western cruise companies, including from Australia (when it was chartered to the Far Eastern Shipping Company).

As a low-priced cruise ship, Marco Polo became very popular in Western markets, and especially in Australia, UK and West Germany. Laid up at Singapore in 1991, purchased by Gerry Herrod (founder of “Ocean Cruise Lines”), rebuilt in Greece (including an extension of the superstructure, and aside from the hull and engines all was removed). The new Marco Polo ship was the 1st ship of the new Orient Lines of mr Herrod. In 2010 it became part of the Cruise & Maritime Voyages fleet. The mv Marco Polo offers a wide variety of itineraries, including Norway Fjords and Around Britain (British Isles) cruises from London, also to Mediterranean and Black Sea, and special Transatlantic Amazon cruise in Brazil each year.

  • current ship owner – GMI (Global Maritime Investments Group), a Greece based fund.
  • current operator (chartered to) the UK cruise ship company CMV (Cruise & Maritime Voyages).
  • concise service history
  • The Marco Polo ship name was given in 1991, its former name was ms Alexandr Pushkin (1965-1991).
  • previous owners “Baltic Shipping Company” (1965-1985, Leningrad based company), “Far Eastern Shipping Company” (1985-1991, Vladivostok based company), Orient Lines (1991-2008), Global Maritime (2008 onwards).
  • former operators “Baltic Shipping Company” (1965-1979), Transocean Tours (1979-1984), Far Eastern Shipping Company (1985-1990), rebuilt (1990-1993, Singapore), Orient Lines (1993-2008), Transocean Tours (2008-2010), Cruise & Maritime Voyages (2010 onwards).
  • Built as a semi-navy vessel, featuring greater hull strength and stability in comparison to other passenger ships (to be able to navigate through broken ice), powerful deck lifting gear (to transport armoured vehicles), with large storage areas and sailing range of over 19,000 km.. The 1st USSR ship to have a discotheque on-board (after a refit in the 70’s). One of the first ships with outside staterooms and a swimming pool with a retractable glass roof.

Marco Polo cruise ship information

  • 13 cabin categories, total cabins 425, Inside 131, Outside 294, Balcony 0, Single cabins 15, Wheelchair cabins 2.
  • Only cabins in Deluxe Oceanview or higher have convertible beds (most have 2 fixed single berths, some with fixed king or queen). All with hair dryers, mini safes, individual air-conditioning, phones, flat TVs, complimentary bathrobes, slippers, towelling. Category Superior Deluxe and above (plus suites) have marble bathrooms with a hot-tub and shower and a separate sitting area (Deluxe Suites with walk-in closets). All bathrooms feature flush (non-vacuum) toilets. Category Superior Oceanview and below outsides have portholes, and the above grades cabins have windows (some with obstructed views).
  • cabin features – decorated with bright furnishings in either blue, green or red (depending on deck location), wood furnishings, modern art prints, lots of mirrors.

CABIN types, sizes, location

Type (number of cabins) Deck Grade Size (ft2) Beds

Standard Inside (16)

1-2 1 110 2

Standard Plus Inside (30)

1-2-3 2 126 3

Superior Inside (52)

4-6 3 126 2

Wheelchair Inside (2)

6 4 158 2

Premium Inside (23)

4-6-7 4 158 3-4

Single Inside (5)

3-7 5 100 1

Standard Oceanview (32)

1-2 6 119 2

Standard Oceanview (34)

1-2-3 7 126 2
Standard Plus Oceanview (51) 1-2-3 8 126 2

Superior Oceanview (28)

6 9 137 2

Superior Obstructed (10)

6-7 9 137 2

Standard Single (10)

4-6 10 129 1

Superior Plus (44)

4-6 11 139 2

Premium Obstructed (18)

8 12 161 2

Premium Oceanview (45)

4-6-7 12 161 2

Deluxe Obstructed (6)

8 DL 213 2

Deluxe Oceanview (2)

4 DL 213 2

Junior Suite Obstructed (2)

4 JS 253 2

Deluxe Suite (2)

7 DS 484 2.


  • Day casual (swim wear is seen only around the pool). Night smart casual (T-shirts, shorts, jeans), semi-formal (men – suit/jacket with/without tie, women – cocktail dress, skirt/pantsuit) and formal (men – tuxedo/dinner jacket, dark suit and tie, women – formal dress). The dress code applies everywhere (including the buffet restaurant).
  • tips are charged automatically to guests’ shipboard accounts) – £5 PP per day (£4 for itineraries longer than 16 days).

DINING options

  • include 2 main restaurants (breakfast-lunch-dinner). The “Waldorf Restaurant” (Deck 6 Atlantic), 2 seatings for dinner (6 and 8:30 pm), open seating for breakfast and lunch. The Breakfast menu features staples like fruit; cereals, breads, eggs, pancakes, french toast, kippered herrings, sausages, bacon, grilled tomatoes. The Lunch menu offers 4 main courses, with 2 starters and 2 soups (1 chilled), 2 desserts plus several ice cream choices. The Dinner menu offers 4 main courses (seafood, beef, poultry, lamb, pork, veal, pasta), 2 starters, 2 soups, 3 desserts (plus ice cream). “Healthy” and “Vegetarian” choices. The food on-board features fresh and high-quality ingredients, the service is superb. The “Marco’s” buffet (located on Deck 8 Magellan, all the way aft by the pool), casual dining, 2 buffet lines. Lunch menu additionally offers a grill for hamburgers and an omelet station (outdoors) and an made-to-order pasta station (indoors). Best features – salads and desserts (plus a hot dessert and an ice cream trolley), exotic dishes at dinner. In “Marco’s” afternoon tea is also offered with a variety of cookies and cakes. 24-hour room service.

Excursions, activities, public venues, clientele

  • On-board ACTIVITIES are well balanced between traditional entertainment and enrichment programs, also boasting sophisticated art auctions. Daytime lecturers by a destination-related lecturer, classical concerts by a string trio, bridge tournaments (professional bridge instructors), ballroom dance lessons, etc. Evening entertainment in the “Marco Polo Theatre” (2 production shows a week, staged once for each dinner seating), singers, dancers, magicians, comedians, a live orchestra.
  • All shore excursions are well-chosen, with quite affordable prices (lower than the major lines), friendly and professional staff. Easy tendering.
  • Almost all the ship’s public spaces are on Deck 8 (Magellan), all of them having large windows. Besides the “Marco Polo” lounge and the “Captain’s Club” (a piano bar), another feature venues are the main lobby (shore excursion and purser’s desks), the “Palm Garden”, a photo gallery, a shopping arcade, the “Columbus” lounge, several boutiques, the Livingston library, the Nansen card room, the Marco’s buffet and the pool area. On Deck 9 Amundsen is the “Scott’s” bar and nightclub, and on Dec 10 Upper are located the Internet Cafe, the Jade Wellness Center (Spa, Sauna, Beauty salon), a Medical Center and the Fitness Center. The pool is on Deck 8 (saltwater), and on Deck 11 there are 3 Jacuzzis. Deck 9 features a teak promenade.
  • ms Marco Polo has all to please its discerning clientele of mostly UK, Australia New Zealand and North American guests, most of them singles and couples (average age 50-60), well-traveled and experienced cruisers. The ship has an extremely high repeat passengers ratio, but is not suitable for mobility-impaired passengers and is not recommended for families with kids (it has no youth facilities and dedicated staff).

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