MS Marco Polo Cruise Review, Photographs and Deck Plan 2016

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The magnificent MS Marco Polo is seen here in 2015 the year she celebrated her 50th.anniversarry

There is no doubt that she is one of the most sleek and beautifully built and designed ships left in the world!

To my knowledge this photo came from the sources of Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV)

 A Cruise Review of our Voyage of the ms Marco Polo

Our Cruise to Iceland departing on June 4, 2016 ~ by John Happs.

With sections by Reuben Goossens as shown

This feature offers a wonderful insight of the MS Marco Polo of 2016, for John and his dear lady Hazel Happs took a cruise to Iceland, a destination they really desired to visit. As you read John’s review you will note that this was his very first experience on a Classic Cruise Ship, for in the past they had only sailed on large modern cruise ships, ships many would call floating hotels, come resorts rather than offering a “real ship” or ocean experience.

But, we should understand that times are changing and many simply do not know the difference between the wonderful world of the classic ships and what the modern ships have to offer, for the truth is that both have their advantages. Thus we should always keep this in consideration. As we will discover, despite some small issues, John and Hazel had an excellent cruise and they recommend a cruise on the Marco Polo to Iceland to others!

A wonderful photograph of the Marco Polo

Photograph provided by & © CMV

Please Note: There are some parts of the descriptions in this review that may be by Mr. John Happs and they clearly indented, but many of the general details of the ship and her public facilities are by me, being the author of & In addition, the majority of the photographs are by Mr. Happs unless stated otherwise. Some of the photographs are by Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV) taken after her 2014 refit and by photographers unknown and they are clearly marked.

Reuben Goossens.

“It was with mixed feelings that my wife Hazel and I decided to travel to Hull and embark on the 12 day cruise to the Faroes, Iceland and Hebrides aboard the Cruise and Maritime’s Marco Polo. After all, we had read conflicting reviews about the ship with many comments being particularly critical of the staff, the food, cabin and the ship itself. We had cruised on much larger and newer ships over the years, including those from Royal Caribbean, Princess, MSC, Holland America, Star Cruises and Cunard.

We knew what we wanted from a cruise and tried to board the Marco Polo with open minds.

The ship was built in 1965 as the Alexander Pushkin and renamed Marco Polo in 1991 when taken over by Cruise and Maritime Voyages. Many aficionados would without doubt describe the Marco Polo as a “real ship,” having timber, or teak plank decking, traditional lines and accommodation for just 800 passengers.”

It was in 2015 that the Marco Polo celebrated her 50th.anniversarry and she continues to sail on looking still a very beautiful ship!

Text by R. Goossens – Image provided by & © CMV

“Boarding at Hull involved completing the appropriate paperwork in the rather unsophisticated cruise area. In fact it was a temporary marquee.”

“Our first check in point was in this marquee before joining a bus”

“Then there was a very short bus ride of about “100 metres” that took us to the Ferry/Cruise terminal where we received our cruise cards and we then boarded the ship. Boarding was surprisingly fast and the staff was friendly and most helpful at each stage and amazingly for the first time in our cruising history, our luggage was waiting outside our cabin before we reached it.”

“The Marco Polo is seen from our short bus ride”

“Our departure was quite different for it was very interesting since the Marco Polo was inside the port of Hull and waiting for the high tide and the opening of the gates of the lock. Tugboats were located both fore and aft to ensure the ship fitted safely into the narrow connecting channel as it moved into the North Sea at high tide.”

“Tugs gently take us through the Hull Lock out into the North Sea

Life on Board:

“Our first impressions on board were that the ship was small with just 800 passengers and a little tired looking in some places, that is when compared with the more luxurious, larger and more modern ships that we are more familiar with.”

Magellan Deck 8:

“Parts of the ship, such as Deck 8 had clearly been nicely re-furbished and this was the heart of the ship where most of the public rooms were located. Here we found lounges such as the following venues.”

*The Happs cruise review will continue after the main Photo Album of the ship!

Located just far forward of Deck 8 is the main Showroom of the ship, the Marco Polo Lounge, with the delightful Captains Club directly aft, both these venues occupies the full width of the ship, as this deck is located within the hull.

The spacious Marco Polo Lounge, with the Stage aft and the Bar forward of the ship


Captain’s Club far forward of the ship


A Musical Duo plays in the Captain’s Club

Next is the Main Lobby that has the Reception Desk on the starboard side and the Tours Desk portside. Heading aft along the starboard side is the delightful Palm Garden whilst along the starboard side is the location of the ships Boutique. Next comes the intimate and elegant full width Columbus Lounge and Bar.

Reception in the Main Lobby


The Tours Desk


The exotic looking Palm Lounge is a very pleasant place to read a good book and have a cup of tea or coffee!


This delightful Lounge is such a warm and an intimate venue with a delightful Bar

As we reach the aft Lobby, directly behind the Columbus Lounge, and on the starboard side is the delightfully timbered and tartan carpeted Library and the ever popular Nanson Card Room is on the portside, the only downside of this venue was the small number of tables! This is followed by the final indoor full width interior space, being the Marco’s Restaurant being the ships Buffet. Seating for Marco’s was in a casual style indoors or aft out on deck overlooking the Swimming Pool and the ships spacious decks.

The Livingston Library


The Card Room contained the ships countless Plaques which were presented to the

ships Master when the ship arrived there for the very first time ever

Photograph provided by & © 2014 CMV


Marco’s Restaurant

Photograph provided by & © 2014 CMV


A section of the table seating



Above & below: Her superbly stepped up aft deck and pool below on Deck 8 are seen

at Lunch time with dinners seen eating on Deck 8 and up on Deck 9 on image above


Photograph provided by & © 2014 CMV

Amundsen Deck 9:

Far forward there is an open air viewing deck, whilst just aft of a number of deluxe suites that are outside, there is a spacious Promenade which is a U shape and thus this is the best deck for walking!

The Promenade Deck seen portside looking forward

Photograph provided by & © 2014 CMV

Beside a range of Premium Suites and twin bedded or double bed Staterooms, as well as eight Inside Staterooms. However aft of the superstructure is the amazingly spacious Scott’s Lounge and Bar. This venue has a large timber dance floor as this venue is used as the nighttimes dance venue, nightclub as well as the Disco, pending the clientele. There is a long curved Bar on the forward on the starboard side and the bandstand is located opposite on the portside. It is quite a dramatically furnished venue and it is very popular at night!

Here we see a Premium Suite

Photograph provided by & © 2014 CMV


Scott’s Lounge & Bar

Columbus & Navigator Decks 10 & 11:

I will conclude the topside of the ship under the single heading. Forward on Deck 10 there is a rather delightful open sided deck on the port and starboard sides, whilst far forward there is a spacious full width open viewing deck. In addition there is another deck far aft.

Her interiors contain two Deluxe Suites far forward and three other Suites, as well as seven deluxe Staterooms. There are also four Inside Staterooms. Whilst aft is the Beauty Salon and the Internet Café as well as the Jade Wellness Centre and Gym all of which are reached via the aft Lobby stairwell and lift. In all the Marco Polo has two lifts located at the forward main Lobby, one in the amidships Lobby and one in the aft Lobby.

This is top of the line a Deluxe Suite which has a separate Bedroom and a beautiful lounge

Photograph provided by & © 2014 CMV


The Jade Wellness Centre Entrance, it offers a host of services

Photograph provided by & © 2014 CMV


The ship has a spacious Gym with all the equipment you could possibly wish to use

Photograph provided by & © 2014 CMV

Far forward on Deck 11 we find the ships Bridge, which is as modern as they come having the very latest in Technology, Navigational and Safety equipment. The ship has the finest Fire prevention and sprinkler equipment and installations, and she has passed some of the stringent maritime safety tests and has received top ratings from the IACS Safety Board, being the “International Association of Classification Societies”. She is fully SOLAS compliant until October 3, 2018 when she will require to be re classified and I and all classic liner enthusiasts certainly hope that she will continue to sail on, but that is a decision CMV has to make, for they are obtaining a good number of new second hand ships.

The Bridge

Photograph provided by & © 2014 CMV

Amidships to aft there are a good number of Premium Twin/Double Staterooms and two Junior Suites the latter having floor to ceiling windows.

Premium Twin/Double bed Outside Stateroom


Here we see the Junior Suite, but these are two which are located far forward on Pacific Deck 6 that have these window styles

Those on Navigator Deck 11 have floor to ceiling windows

whilst aft there is an exterior deck space with a small stepped up raised area containing three round heated Whirlpools.

The ships Whirlpools up on Deck 11 as well as a fine sculpture

Deck 12:

On deck 11 there are two stairs that lead up to Deck 12, the aft section of this deck serves as the ships Helipad and the deck has been surfaced with Astroturf right up to over the Bridge. This deck is open to the passengers when it is not in use by helicopters of course!

Her we see an excellent view of Marco Polo’s aft and topside decks, including Deck 12 and her Helipad!

Photograph provided by & © 2014 CMV

We have seen the ship from Decks 8 up to Deck 11, however, I just have to take you down to Deck 6, as well need to take a look at the ships main Restaurant! And also continue the cruise review.

Atlantic Deck 6:

The main feature on this Deck is obviously the wonderful Waldorf Restaurant which can be reached via the amidships stairwell or its two lifts.

The Waldorf Restaurant is certainly an impressive venue and a delight to dine in; it is beautifully divided by elegant curved dividers with blown glass framed in a high gloss metal that sits on a specially designed low wall and pillars. The centre ceiling contains a huge stained glass style light fitting, which is one of the main features of the venue. But there is so much more, for it is her beautiful and beautiful furniture completes the picture, like her deep blue chairs which are located in the centre, whilst in the wings along the well lit large windows the chairs are in red and of course the table cloths are always in pure white and tables beautifully set, etc. Cruise & Maritime Voyages do know how to set a table! The ships Galley is located directly forward of the restaurant!

Directly aft of the Restaurant there are forty four Outside Staterooms and 20 Inside Staterooms completing

Photograph provided by & © 2014 CMV


Above & below: The magnificent Waldorf Restaurant


Continuing the Cruise Review:

“The entertainment theatre, being the Marco Polo Lounge is much smaller than any theatre we had seen previously on all the larger more modern ships and it occupied one sloped and thus a stepped level. The show stage was somewhat raised and it was the venue for the many day-time talks offered on the ship.”

The Marco Polo Lounge/Showroom, note that the seats are well raised!

Photograph provided by & © 2014 CMV

“Considering the stage appeared to be quite small; again compared with other larger ship theatres that we had experienced, thus we didn’t hold out great expectations for the quality of shows. However we were in for a very pleasant surprise. The entertainment was impressive indeed, for the Marco Polo song and dance team did an extremely well and their performances were professional and of a very high standard, and the same applied to the ship’s band which provided excellent music at show times. Thus regardless the stage size, it professionalism is what makes the show!

There was also a musical duo o a violinist and pianist who provided an excellent range of music in the various lounges and this again was of a very high standard.

During the cruise, a number of talks were given on a range of topics. These were very comprehensive and well illustrated.

Marco’s Bistro Restaurant offered a good range of food, however at times it could become a little crowded at peak times. The formal Dining Doom, the magnificent Waldorf Restaurant is located down on deck 6 and we found this to be well presented and it was available for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Service in the Waldorf was always simply excellent in all respects!”


“We found our inside cabin, on deck 5, to be comfortable and adequate in size with ample storage space for the two of us. The water flush toilet worked well although the shower could be a little intermittent in its delivery of hot water.

The beds were very comfortable and we experienced little noise from the outside corridor or nearby cabins. Storage in our cabin was more than adequate.”

 Inside cabins on lower decks are good value for money and as we can see they are well equipped

In fact it has superior facilities than modern ships and far more storage in fine timer cabinets!


 As John said the beds were very comfortable


The TV is certainly a little outdated could have been replaced in 2014, but then again when I sailed on a modern

P&O ship they had the same style TV and it never worked, as the 1 could not fix it and 2 there was no replacement

“There was a good variety of tours on offer although but like on most cruises, we considered them to be expensive. Alternative, less expensive tours with identical venues were usually available from local tour operators.”

PS: In my grand old age, I have to be honest, I have been on well over 180 cruises/voyages from 14 to 108 days long and excursion ashore booked on any ship is always more expensive and that is regardless with company you sail on! Thus, no use blaming Cruise & Maritime Voyages for the high costs, for it is the same on every single ship I have ever sailed on, be it a 12,798-ton classic ship to a grand 145,000-ton luxury ship! R. Goossens.

“We selected this particular cruise because it departed from Hull and we were touring in the area at the time but, of more importance to us, were the ports of call: Torshavn, Faroes; Seydisfjordur, Iceland; Akureyri, Iceland; Isafjordur, Iceland; Reykjavik, Iceland; Lerwick, Shetland Isles and Kirkwall, Orkneys. These locations certainly did not disappoint.

“For anyone wanting to see a good cross-section of Iceland on a ‘real ship’ this would be the way to do it thus why not Go,”

John Happs.

In Conclusion:

It is hard to believe, but when she, then named the “Aleksandr Pushkin” departed on her maiden voyage in August 1965 at 22,000 GRT she was considered to be a reasonably large ship, except for the giants of the sea like the RMS Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth both being 80,000-tonners. They were followed by the new QE2, which was 70,000-GRT. But today, 20,000 to 50,000-ton ships are considered small to mid sized. However it needs to be noted that the delightful classic cruise ship built in 1965 is just one of the very few 22,000-ton passenger ships that has Ice a Strengthened Hull and thus is she perfect for Iceland, northern Norway as she is for Antarctica where she has been many times during her days when she was owned by Orient Lines (1993 to 2008)!

This is a fine CMV Postcard of the MS Marco Polo at anchor

Photograph provided by & © 2014 CMV


Page Two … Deck Plan

And a look at a range of her accommodations


Interested in cruising on the MS Marco Polo?

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