THE MARCO POLO II (ex: Maxim Gorky)

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#21
Charleston, SC
1,074 Posts
Joined Dec 2007
We took five cruises on Marco Polo and loved them all..when she folded we switched to Oceania and Azamara..were hesitant of the open dining there..however..we enjoyed it..some evenings we sat in a twosome becuase we were tired from full days..some nights we sat at a larger table where they put us with others and some nights we asked others to join us and we sat with them. It actually worked out just fine much to our surprise. We never have had ANY problem getting the type of table we wanted for the night. We also asked to sit in particular areas of the dining room and did get to know the wait staff that way. What we really love are the tables for 2 that are near other tables for 2 and you can either talk or not depending on how you feel. Many of the people we met at the larger tables we joined for breakfast and/or lunch on other days.
We are just thrilled that Orient will be back!
Sherry
#22
acton,london
3,138 Posts
Joined Feb 2001
i am going with an english group on the MAXIM GORKY in 4 weeks from germany to the norwegian fjords and back. grerat news that she will be MARCO POLO2, i shall certainly be interested in going next year. wonder what the single will be as the old ship use to have shares and singles but later this was omitted from their brochure.
dave
#23
In the NCL fleet NOW
51 Posts
Joined Nov 2007
As everything is official now, now we are only waiting for ticket back to work....i have got so many inqueries that they have not heard anything from orient for possible employment, even we are old MP crew...
#24
Toronto, ON. Canada
1,492 Posts
Joined Dec 2001
Mexfolkart, I am glad that it worked for you.

I am a solo traveller but that is not the only issue. I want tables for 8 so that we can meet more people and enjoy my cruise. My friends, a couple who are ardent Orient Lines fans have told me that they also want set seating as they dine together/alone the rest of the year and want to enjoy others at dinner while cruising.

Just because I believe that fixed seating is what I want, doesn't make it so. What I have control of is me. I just remember that Mr. Heller said ""As for details of the onboard product, consumers and travel agents can expect the same friendly and gracious service that has endeared legions of intrepid travelers to Orient Lines over the past 15 years." .

This is what I expected.

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.
im-a-going, This, in fact may be the solution Thanks
Fran
#25
england
1,448 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
Having been on a cruise returning yesterday (Spirit of Adventure) I have only just got round to reading the board. I have to say that when I saw on another board that it was open seating my husband and I were over the moon. We are total converts to open seating now because we had a cruise on P&O rather like Rotterdam's where we had some very unpleasant people and then this was followed by our final cruise on MP when we were on a table for 8. Four of the people did not show having chosen to eat upstairs. The second week of the cruise the Maitre'd did find another couple. We do feel however, with many people preferring to eat casually upstairs or in alternative restaurants on some nights fixed seating is not what it used to be.

In March we sailed with HAL on the Rotterdam. They have brought in a system of half fixed and half open. This may be the way forward. We were actually down for fixed but after HAL changed the system we opted for open and found it really good. You do not have partly empty tables and also have the opportunity to meet more people. On their open system you could either phone up and book in the morning, or you could just turn up. We always booked and found that this way we could always get the same brilliant waiter we had the first night. Not many people were bothered about that so we had the best of both worlds. The same table and waiter, but different people joining us. We have also always found it frustrating that you meet up with people you like and cannot eat a single dinner with them on the old system.

Just another point of view.
#27
england
1,448 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
Yes Doug we enjoyed SOA very much indeed. I have to say it was every bit as good as 18 months' ago and probably given the cash to do it more often would be at least my husband's favourite ship. As it includes insurance, gratuities, excursions, water and transportation to either the airport or port of departure it does bring the price down a bit in real terms. Also the drinks onboard are cheaper than most cruiselines. I too like the ship very much but I do miss the Americans and Australians you got on MP. Also as I have said before, at least in Europe I do not like included excursions. For us of course, there was open dining which we have come to prefer. We will certainly be back for more, though it is more likely to be Quest which is doing the Far East itineraries.

Meanwhile it is very exciting about MP. I am however, just a little worried that they will not include Brits at the beginning at least. We saw the Maxim Gorky in Bergen last year, and from the outside at least she looked a very nice ship and indeed I guess she looks better white. This is unusual for me as I tend to prefer the dark hulls, but somehow she now looks unbalanced.
#28
3,985 Posts
Joined Jun 2005
Orient Lines have kindly given me permission to post a contact email for anyone wishing to gain further information and for booking enquiries but who are outside the US and Canada. This was posted on my discussion board a couple of days ago. Sharon gave me full permission to post her contact details wherever I thought it might prove useful to people outside the US and Canada. They are looking into getting offices outside of the US sorted out but in the meantime....

For booking enquiries and general information/Polo Club enquiries please contact :

Sharon Harlow - Polo Club Administrator

on

[email protected]

Orient Lines
1170 Celebration Blvd - Suite 200
Celebration, FL 34747

1-800-333-7300, ext. 7045

Direct: 407-566-7100, ext. 7045

Fax: 407-566-7162
#29
Toronto, ON. Canada
1,492 Posts
Joined Dec 2001
Orient Lines have kindly given me permission to post a contact email for anyone wishing to gain further information and for booking enquiries but who are outside the US and Canada.
Why only outside the US and Canada? Are these not the same for us?
Fran
#30
3,985 Posts
Joined Jun 2005
Originally posted by franu
Why only outside the US and Canada? Are these not the same for us?
Fran
Because they only have an office in the US, they cannot take agent bookings from outside North America, they can only deal with direct bookings from guests.

For the UK, they need to have an office and be a member of various organisations, such as ABTA, before UK agents are allowed to book clients onto the ship.

So Sharon informed me that if anyone wishes to book and they are not from North America/Canada, then they should contact her direct and she will handle things accordingly.
#31
Toronto, ON. Canada
1,492 Posts
Joined Dec 2001
That sounds great especially with the quality of service given to the UK customers in the past. This should be better as the UK customers with Transocean are now happier than they were with the agency that Orient Lines had in the past.

It seems that the powers that be are really listening to us and lets give a round of applause to Sharon.
Fran
#32
Long Island, NY, USA
3,779 Posts
Joined Nov 2003
Given that Orient Lines always got a lot of passengers from outside North America, I certainly hope it begins dealing with travel agents elsewhere soon.

At an absolute minimum it needs to make its cruises readily available in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Germany.

If the ship is going to be full of North Americans only the atmosphere will be very different from that we had on the old Orient Lines.
#33
Santiago de Compostela/Spain/European Union
1,489 Posts
Joined Mar 2002
Well, Spain. Still the same selling agent?. I wonder if the new Orient Lines will take into account the following things which weren´t available here. Not pre-post cruise staying, no transfers, no flight included.

Are going going to have one week cruises?. As far as I can see, nothing less that 11 days cruises available.
#34
South Florida
8 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
At this time we only have the office here in Celebration, FL. We are still working on setting up GSA's in other countries. As a way of servicing Polo Club members from other countries I've given Ally my contact information. Any one can contact me for any reason. All quotes will be in US$ and I will not have access to booking air. Once the GSA's are set up we can transfer any bookings that are made.

PoloClub
#35
Long Island, NY, USA
3,779 Posts
Joined Nov 2003
Sharon - I'm glad to hear that you're in the process of starting up GSAs outside North America. This is, of course, essential.

In the meantime, it is very kind of you to make your contact information available for those outside North America who want further information.

And thanks for taking the time to post on the boards. We appreciate it.
#36
91 Posts
Joined Jan 2002
If all goes well, Orient Lines plans releasing their fares for the Marco Polo II on Tuesday (Sept. 2nd).

I'm hoping that their fares will be competitive in the U.S. market. With the decline of the dollar, the fares of the British and European lines have become very expensive.

Although I realize that Orient Lines fares will have to be a bit higher than that of the large U.S. lines due to a lack of "economy of scale" and the costs of operating an older ship, I hope that they will not be as high as those lines who base their profits on the Euro or British pound.

We will know on Tuesday!
#37
Daytona Beach
822 Posts
Joined Oct 2001
Hurray! Today, Aug. 30, we received a four-page flyer from Orient Lines with info on the Marco Polo II. Itineraries, prices,etc. Evidently this was sent to Polo Club members to give them "first crack" at reservations. Their web site is up now and has a lot of info, including photos and deck plans. Several itineraries appeal to us, but we have to wait until after the first of the year to schedule one.

Franu - I hope you'll give the new MP a try despite the new dining arrangements. You loved the old MP so much that it would be worth trying the "new" one, don't you think?

Brigitte
#38
Long Beach, CA
427 Posts
Joined Jun 2005
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. The open dining is precisely the reason that I will not cruise on Oceania.
... 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
Fran, I agree 100% (Except, make that 90% of my MP/OL cruises - 15 of them). Traditional dining is part of the cruise experience for me too and I LOATHE open seating for dinner. It's a deal breaker. I've met some wonderful people at the dinner table that I probably never would have met without traditional seating. If you're not going to keep things, like traditional dining that make it a "cruise experience" why do a cruise? Cruises are social and travel events. Without the "social" part, you're just staying in a floating hotel - it looses a lot of it's charm and romance. (Can you picture one of those lovely old cruise ships back in the glamourous age of cruising with open seating?).

The occasional bad apple can get seated with you at open too - and you have much less control over it. FYI - I'm the age group their trying to entice with their "open seating" - they aren't enticing me at all.

Lydia
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#39
Long Beach, CA
427 Posts
Joined Jun 2005
Ok - I just checked out the new Orient Lines Website - and I'm a little confused. I don't see anywhere where they state it's "Open Seating" all it says is the main dining room is "Open" (ie available) for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.... In fact they say "single sitting"... which usually means Traditional... maybe they reconsidered?

From OL site:
Dining Facilities
Seven Seas Restaurant – The ship’s main dining room accommodates all passengers in one unhurried sitting. The menu features Continental and American favorites as well as a la carte items. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Maxim’s – Reminiscent of a Riviera brasserie, here guests savor the flavors of the Mediterranean, including Italian and French specialties. Open for dinner, reservations suggested, no cover charge.

Marco Polo Grill – This upscale venue offers a variety of taste experiences that includes roasted meats and poultry, and fresh local seafood, where available. Open for dinner, reservations suggested, no cover charge.

Raffles Café – The ship’s casual Lido buffet restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with both indoor and poolside seating. In the evenings guests can enjoy a mélange of regional specialties.


On another note - they also state their refitting the ship to meet the SOLAS 2010 standards.
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HAL Niew Amsterdam - 7/84 Alaska
Premier Big Red Boat - 8/87? Bahamas
Cunard QE2 - 8/91 TransAtlantic
RCL Golden Odyssey - 3/93 SE Asia
Star Clipper - 6/94 Mediterranean
Princess - Royal Princess - 1995 Panama Canal Cruise
Orient Lines - Marco Polo - 10/96 Athens to Mombasa
Orient Lines - Marco Polo - 12/97 Antarctica
NCL - Norweigian Dream - 8/98 - Baltic Capitals
Orient Lines - Marco Polo - 2/99 Auckland to Sydney
Orient Lines - Marco Polo - 3/99 Sydney to Singapore
Orient Lines - Marco Polo - 12/99 Millenium Cruise Antarctica
Orient Lines - Marco Polo 2/00 New Zealand
Orient Lines - Crown Odyssey 12/00 Singapore - Hong Kong
Orient Lines - Crown Odyssey 12/00 Hong Kong to Singapore (via Vietnam)
Orient Lines - Marco Polo 6/01 Norwegian Fjords
Orient Lines - Crown Odyssey 12/02 Los Angeles - Tahiti
Orient Lines - Crown Odyssey 12/02 Tahiti - Sydney
Holland America Lines - Veendam 11/06 Western Carribean
Orient Lines - Marco Polo - 11/07 Fall Transatlantic
Orient Lines - Marco Polo - 12/07 Rio to Buenos Aires
Orient Lines - Marco Polo - 12/07 Antarctica and the Falklands
Holland America - Statendam - 3/08 WWII Cruise
Holland America - Veendam - 9/08 Amazon Explorer
Holland America - Nordam - 4/09 Transatlantic
Star Clippers - Star Flyer - 08/09 Tahiti
Royal Caribbean - Independence - 4/10 - Transatlantic
Royal Caribbean - Grandeur - 10/11 - Transatlantic
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#40
Toronto, ON. Canada
1,492 Posts
Joined Dec 2001
Hurray! Today, Aug. 30, we received a four-page flyer from Orient Lines with info on the Marco Polo II. Itineraries, prices,etc. Evidently this was sent to Polo Club members to give them "first crack" at reservations.
Brigitte, That sounds wonderful. Unfortunately I will have to wait a while until Canada Post decides they have stored my mail sufficiently.

Franu - I hope you'll give the new MP a try despite the new dining arrangements. You loved the old MP so much that it would be worth trying the "new" one, don't you think?
I have been reassured by Sharon Harlow that there will be a choice to have set dining or open dining. This is great as it covers all of the bases. I am presently making my choices regarding itineraries and prices.

Ok - I just checked out the new Orient Lines Website - and I'm a little confused. I don't see anywhere where they state it's "Open Seating" all it says is the main dining room is "Open" (ie available) for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.... In fact they say "single sitting"... which usually means Traditional... maybe they reconsidered?
Lydia, It is not from the OL website that I have garnered this information. It is from the Seatrade Insider News which reported on the press conference given by Wayne Heller CEO and Bruce Nierenberg,EVP to announce the purchase of the Maxim Gorkiy. Although I do not have a copy of the exact wording, he stated that there would be open-dining.

Believe me, I have been so hungry for any information regarding this since I read the Original Announcement that Mr. Heller and his wife Judy had purchased the Orient Lines name that I think that I must be obsessed.

I hope to meet you both on board the MPII.
Fran