Marco Polo Cruse Ship

While vojage by boat along the Fjorlandfjord, one of the arms of the Sognefjord, near the village of Fjorland, a ship whose elegant silhouette was once a symbol of the Soviet Civil Fleet - the Alexander Pushkin, now Marco Polo cruise liner.

Marco Polo cruise ship in Sognefjord

The ocean passenger ship Alexander Pushkin was the second ship of the Ivan Franko project (301 / Seefa 750), built by order of the USSR at the VEB Mathias-Thesen-Werft shipyards in Wismar, East Germany, and launched on April 26, 1964. The ships of this project, in General, met modern requirements, had isolated rooms and gangways for the crew, a pool with a sliding roof, but also had some exotic features by Western standards - for example, six-person cabins and three taps in the washbasins - for cold, hot and sea water, which Western shipbuilders have long abandoned. In addition, the project provided for the use of the ship for the transfer of troops (in the USSR, absolutely all transport had a dual purpose), the ship had large storage facilities and fuel reserves, providing autonomy of up to 10,000 nautical miles, as well as cargo holds and powerful cargo booms capable of lifting armored vehicles. Nevertheless, the appearance of liners of this series, which also included "Ivan Franko", "Taras Shevchenko", "Shota Rustaveli" and "Mikhail Lermontov" became a notable event in the world of shipbuilding. As the foreign press wrote, "..their overall architectural appearance gives the ships a special elegance"... " the 700-seat Soviet vessel will not be inferior in its seaworthiness and comfort to foreign vessels crossing the Atlantic. At the same time, passengers will find something unique and enticing here - the Russian style."

Marco Polo cruise ship in Sognefjord

On August 14, 1965, the liner was transferred to the Baltic shipping company, and began to perform regular flights on the Leningrad — London and Leningrad — Le Havre lines, and in April of the following year opened a new line from Leningrad to Montreal. Flights to Canada continued until winter, then the liner began to go on cruise routes around the world. Alexander Pushkin has become one of the most popular Airliners among foreign passengers. About 80% of the tickets were now consistently sorted by the" own passenger " of the Russian ship, who preferred it to ships of other countries. Some tourists made up to 17 cruise flights on the Russian liner. Residents of Germany have been waiting in line for years to buy tickets. In 1972, the ship was modernized, received stabilizers of pitching, and also received the first in the history of the Soviet passenger fleet specially equipped hall for discos.

Marco Polo cruise ship in Sognefjord

In 1984, the ship was transferred to the far Eastern shipping company, and a year later in 1985, it was leased to CTC Cruises, and began operating cruises from Sydney. In 1991, Alexander Pushkin was sold to Orient Lines and given a new name - Marco Polo. In June 1991, the ship underwent a deep modernization at the Greek shipyard Neorion, after which only the hull remained of the old vessel - the interiors and mechanisms were completely replaced. Perestroika lasted two and a half years and cost, according to various sources, in the amount of 20 to 60 million dollars. From 1993 to 1998, Marco Polo operated cruises on exotic routes - to Southeast Asia, Africa, and Antarctica, then changed hands, changing hands every 2-3 years. Now the ship is owned by Transocean Tours and runs under the Bahamian flag.

The boat with the Marco Polo carries tourists to the shore.

Fjærland. A boat from the liner Marco Polo transports tourists to the shore

In 2009, the ship was involved in a scandal about the infection of 400 passengers with a norovirus infection, which caused the cruise to be interrupted off the coast of Scotland. In March 1913, while leaving Sortland in Northern Norway, the ship collided with an uncharted underwater rock. However, the cruise was completed, and at the end of it, the ship went to dry dock in Antwerp and after nine days of repairs again put to sea. The most recent incident occurred on February 14, 2014, when one passenger was killed and several others were injured during a storm in the English channel.

Marco Polo cruise ship in Sognefjord

Now, despite its age, the liner continues to delight the eye with its smooth forms, favorably differing from modern floating resorts, which are more similar to land buildings than to sea vessels, where all the romance of sea travel is lost.

This is the kind of welcome we received from the USSR in the most unexpected place.