Thursday, August 21, 2008

Orient Lines Reborn: Marco Polo II

Orient Lines, the destination cruise specialist founded by British cruise and tour entrepreneur Gerry Herrod in 1992, and which was recently acquired by another cruise industry visionary, Wayne Heller, is preparing to set sail in 2009.

The “new” Orient Lines earlier announced plans to acquire vessels rich in history and character and that can carry 600 to 800 passengers in comfort and safety to all seven continents, much like the former company’s beloved Marco Polo. Additionally, the new owner’s plans include preserving Orient Lines’ hallmark cruise-tour product, which seamlessly incorporated pre- and/or post-cruise hotel stays and orientation sightseeing tours, as well as distinguished guest lecturers and local cultural highlights, where possible.

Moving forward, Orient Lines has now announced that its new flagship, to be christened Marco Polo II, will carry 650 guests in 325 staterooms, two thirds of which are outside. The cruise liner, which most recently sailed as Maxim Gorkiy, will make her maiden voyage for Orient Lines in April 2009. Rich in character and history, Marco Polo II promises proven ocean-going capabilities, including an ice-strengthened hull, deep draft, Denny Brown fin stabilizers, bow thrusters and ample provisional stores, essential for cruising to all seven continents. The vessel has a classic interior d├ęcor and handsome exterior profile with a raked bow and traditional cruiser stern.

At nearly 25,000 tons Orient Lines’ new flagship is larger in size than her Marco Polo predecessor, yet carries nearly 200 fewer guests. The added space translates to a greater number of public areas and amenities including an indoor spa pool and four separate dining venues, six bars, a show lounge, cinema, casino, library, Internet center, card room, state-of-the-art fitness center and outdoor pool. Marco Polo II will maintain the line’s proven service formula with European officers, American and British social staff, and a friendly and gracious Filipino crew.

“We’re delighted to introduce Marco Polo II to Orient Lines’ large and loyal family of past guests,” said Wayne Heller, Orient Lines’ president and CEO.

After roaming the Med throughout summer 2009, Marco Polo II will set sail on a 33-day Grand Transatlantic crossing on Oct. 25, 2009 from Venice to Rio de Janeiro and begin a series of South America voyages. To receive additional ship and itinerary news electronically or by mail, you may register at or call toll-free 800-333-7300.

Some history: Marco Polo II was originally built in 1969 for the German Atlantic Line. She underwent multi-million-dollar refurbishments in 1988 and 1995 and will receive additional enhancements to be fully compliant with Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) 2010 requirements.

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