THE MARCO POLO II (ex: Maxim Gorky)

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#1
91 Posts
Joined Jan 2002
Although it still "under construction", the Orient Lines website has just announced that the Maxim Gorky will become the Marco Polo II. There is also a 2009 cruise calendar and an extensive listing of the ships public rooms.

I've also learned that Sharon Harlow will once again be heading the "Polo Club".

All this is VERY good news!!!
#2
Toronto, ON. Canada
1,492 Posts
Joined Dec 2001
Rotterdam17601, Have you sailed on the Maxim Gorkiy? If so what did you think of it? I noticed that during 2008 they will be getting it up to SOLAS standards. I am very please about that as I would hate to give my heart for only a year.
Fran
#4
Cardiff, Wales, UK
186 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
Originally posted by rotterdam17601
Although it still "under construction", the Orient Lines website has just announced that the Maxim Gorky will become the Marco Polo II.
Very good news.

Bit of a problem trying to add my name to the mailing list on the new website however, they seem to be very ignorant or confused about the United Kingdom as they only have the States (we call them Counties) that make up England - no good if you live in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland then!!

#5
91 Posts
Joined Jan 2002
Franu...

I've never sailed on her.

Just after she was sold by the "German-Atlantic Line" to the "Black Sea Steamship Company", she was chartered to "United Artists" for the filming of the movie "Juggernaut" (1974). If you can find a copy, the movie will give you an idea of the ships outside deck areas and the size of her public rooms. Realizing that things change in 34 years, you should still be able to get a "feel" for the ship. Plus, it's not too bad of a movie..... Richard Harris, Omar Sharif, David Hemmings, Anthony Hopkins and Shirley Knight.

The M.P.II should be a nice suprise for all of us next year!
#6
South Florida
8 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
Cazz,
Thank you for information us of the problem you are having. I've forwarded your comments to the proper person to have this looked into.

PoloClub
#7
3,985 Posts
Joined Jun 2005
Seeing as all but the announcement of new ownership page at the Orient Lines website is now shut down, I assume that the knowledge regarding the Maxim Gorkiy was an unintentional slip by their webmaster.
#8
Toronto, ON. Canada
1,492 Posts
Joined Dec 2001
I assume that the knowledge regarding the Maxim Gorkiy was an unintentional slip by their webmaster.
I assume it was also a slip that was on google from the UK.
Fran
#9
3,985 Posts
Joined Jun 2005
I didn't find it on google, I just opened the Orient Lines website and the information was there for all to see....least it was til earlier today when I checked again after seeing that an official announcement about the ship etc was being made on Wednesday on Seatrade

So the Orient website being open to viewing would have been a mistake.
#10
Long Island, NY, USA
3,779 Posts
Joined Nov 2003
The site is now set up the way it should have been from the start.

When I opened orientlines.com it always looked just like it does today, but type in the address of the other pages and they were all still there... And the ship information and itinerary ones had been updated.

All the pages should have been taken down except the one that Orient actually wanted people to see.

Given the lack of an announcement I never doubted the visibility of these pages was a mistake - but I don't doubt the validity of the information that was on them, either.

Anyway, I am looking forward to further details on Wednesday.
#11
Toronto, ON. Canada
1,492 Posts
Joined Dec 2001
In Mr Heller's news conference today, he stated among other things that there will be "open dining" . This could possibly be a deal breaker for me. I hope that they don't turn this into another NCL.
Fran
#12
Long Island, NY, USA
3,779 Posts
Joined Nov 2003
My first choice would have been to give everyone an assigned seat at a single seating - it can be done on this ship.

That would mean no alternative restaurants, though, other than the small buffet/casual restaurant. I know that's how it was done on the old MP, but in today's marketplace, especially in North America, you want as many dining options as you can create. If two of the dining rooms are used as alternative restaurants, the choice is either two-seating dining or open seating... And frankly, my preference then is for open seating. IMO, two-seating dining is going the way of the dodo. (So is single-seating, of course.) Open-seating dining and two alternative restaurants will help Orient Lines compete better in today's marketplace. In fact, if you look at the dining plan for the "new" Orient Lines, it looks exactly like Oceania!

As there will still be enough seats at dinner for everyone at once, I doubt there will be much trouble with waiting for tables etc. This is very different from the large ships that were designed to seat only half the passengers at one time and went to open seating.
#13
Toronto, ON. Canada
1,492 Posts
Joined Dec 2001
Doug, I understand your point, however, I do not agree. If this is going to be the way of all ships, cruising would have to be a past activity for me. The open dining is precisely the reason that I will not cruise on Oceania.

It is my strong belief that open dining, balconies and special perks for occupants of higher priced cabins lead to less socialization by guests.

A friend told me of always being seated by himself although he requested to share a table with free-style dining. Not only that but he was always seated facing the wall. If that is how it is, or will be, I can stay home and dine by myself.

More than 50% of my MP cruises were the social aspects which the new Orient Lines will diminish if they instill these programs. Making friends over a good meal is not just an ideal but did happen and I am still in contact with many of them. I hope that Mr. Heller takes this into consideration.
Fran
#14
91 Posts
Joined Jan 2002
Back in the mid '70s, my wife and I were seated at a table with an abusive alcoholic (and his poor wife) who came to dinner drunk and nasty each evening. After the third night we requested to be seated at a table of our own.

Although I'm excited at the prospect of sailing with Orient Lines again, if we can't reserve a table for two for the duration of the voyage, we simply won't book with them.

I'm happy to say that reserved seating is still available on many of the lines. We've sailed on 39 cruises now, and ever since that incident have had our own table.

I'm hoping that Orient Lines will reconsider there position. I would like to sail on the Marco Polo II next year.
#15
Long Island, NY, USA
3,779 Posts
Joined Nov 2003
Originally posted by franu
A friend told me of always being seated by himself although he requested to share a table with free-style dining. Not only that but he was always seated facing the wall. If that is how it is, or will be, I can stay home and dine by myself.
What cruise line was he on?

There is no reason open seating should preclude you from sharing a table if that's what you request.

His experience is unacceptable and I hope he brought it up with the management on board and if necessary, the home office as well. IMO that is not an open-seating problem, that's a poor service problem. To be forced to eat alone every night is simply not acceptable whether it is fixed seating or open seating.

Originally posted by rotterdam17601
Although I'm excited at the prospect of sailing with Orient Lines again, if we can't reserve a table for two for the duration of the voyage, we simply won't book with them.
It sounds like you dislike open seating for the opposite reason to Fran's. She's afraid she won't be able to sit with others; you're afraid you'll have to sit with others.

Most cruise lines with open seating do allow you to reserve a table every night, so I hope this would not be a problem for you.

If open seating is done properly (and there is certainly enough space on this ship to do it properly - everyone can eat dinner at once and there will still be empty seats!) you should be able to get any kind of seating arrangement you want... With others, alone, whatever you want. It should be about choice, not forcing you to be alone when you want to meet new people, or to be with others when you want to be alone, or to eat early when you want to eat late, or... You get the idea.

I don't think there's anything wrong with the idea of open seating - I just think a lot of cruise lines do a very poor job of executing what is basically a good concept (with the right ship - some ships are just not suitable for this sort of operation).

I doubt Orient Lines has worked out the details yet - the web site doesn't even say it's open seating - but I look forward to finding out exactly how it intends to arrange things.
#16
Cardiff, Wales, UK
186 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
Originally posted by franu
Doug, I understand your point, however, I do not agree. If this is going to be the way of all ships, cruising would have to be a past activity for me. [...]

It is my strong belief that open dining, balconies and special perks for occupants of higher priced cabins lead to less socialization by guests.

[...] Making friends over a good meal is not just an ideal but did happen and I am still in contact with many of them. I hope that Mr. Heller takes this into consideration.
Fran
Fran,
you have summed up exactly how I feel about my cruising experience. I chose the Marco Polo in 2006 for my first cruise, and found assigned dining to be the easy way to socialise which the research I did, on here and elsewhere, suggested it would be.

I returned in 2007, and was then as disappointed as the long time Marco Polo cruisers to not be able to return in 2008.

I have tried the Independence Royal Carib ship this year - not for me, too much like a holiday camp on the water - who mentioned Butlins??!

I am so excited to see the destinations on the website - Jewels of Italy for starters... I guess they will have joining instructions from the UK too in due course lol

Carol
#17
Toronto, ON. Canada
1,492 Posts
Joined Dec 2001
What cruise line was he on?
His experience was on an NCL cruise that he won playing BINGO on the Marco Polo. In fact he was prepared to disembark after 3 days because of his dissatisfaction. Fortunately he found others to dine with. No he did not complain but came back to the Marco Polo.

As some of you know, I too won a cruise on the MP by buying crack-its.It is on NCL. I am certainly not looking forward to this cruise in the new year on an "apartment barge" with free-style dining. I am not able to give it away so in order to gift it to my friend, I must go with her.

I doubt Orient Lines has worked out the details yet - the web site doesn't even say it's open seating - but I look forward to finding out exactly how it intends to arrange things
At today's press conference, Wayne Heller stated "Marco Polo II will carry 650 passengers and offer multiple, open-seating dining venues."

As more seniors are finding themselves suddenly single, taking the pressure off socializing becomes more important.

Everyone has their own ideas about what they like and why. Each is entitled to express their desires. I believe that this issue is an important one and the "powers that be" have heard us.
#18
Long Island, NY, USA
3,779 Posts
Joined Nov 2003
Originally posted by franu
His experience was on an NCL cruise that he won playing BINGO on the Marco Polo. In fact he was prepared to disembark after 3 days because of his dissatisfaction. Fortunately he found others to dine with. No he did not complain but came back to the Marco Polo.
I know it is not always easy to complain, especially if one is on a free cruise, but IMO in this case he did have cause to complain, if he wanted to.

As I said, this sort of treatment is just not acceptable, ever.
#19
Colorful Colorado
21 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
Fran, we empathize with you. Fixed dining (time, restaurant, table, tablemates, and servers) can be wonderful if you find yourself on board at the appointed hour each evening and like your fellow diners. On Orient, all our servers have been wonderful, so that may be a non-issue if they can bring back most of the Marco Polo crew. What does become a problem is when excursions return late and the only option if the early seating is missed, is to dine at the buffet (Raffles).

For this reason, we are fans of open seating. Yet, many evenings we too like to dine with people we know rather than always doing the same small talk of who we are, where we call home, careers, family, travel, interests, etc. So, on many nights we simply make a date and show up with our friends and ask to be seated together. It works out well, we get a table sized to our group, at the time we choose, and we have even successfully requested to be seated in the area where we know the servers.

Of course, the best of both may be what HAL offers: a choice of open or fixed seating. With multiple restaurants on the Marco Polo II, perhaps the good folks at Orient (are you listening Mr. Heller?) could provide both options based on availability at time of booking, and then allow for on-board adjustments, where feasible, just as has been done in the past for folks wanting to change seatings or dining partners.
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Pat & Wanda

Thirteen cruises thus far on Celebrity, Clipper, Discovery, Disney, HAL, Oceania, and Orient; two more booked; and a wish list that will keep us busy for some time.
#20
Long Island, NY, USA
3,779 Posts
Joined Nov 2003
Originally posted by im-a-going
It works out well, we get a table sized to our group, at the time we choose, and we have even successfully requested to be seated in the area where we know the servers.
Indeed, with open seating you should be able to get just about anything you want.

If you want to eat alone, you should be able to.
If you want to eat with friends, you should be able to.
If you want to eat with strangers, you should be able to.
If you want to eat in a certain waiter's section, you should be able to.
If you want to eat at at the same table and at the same time every night, you should be able to arrange that on the first night of the cruise, or even before you leave.