First Posted in October 2008 when the newly re-formed Orient Lines planned to operate this gorgeous steamship as MARCO POLO II. With the economic collapse, the plans were shelved and MAXIM GORKIY’s owners opted to sell her for scrap at Alang, India.
24,962 (23,500 as built) gt
642 by 90 feet (195 by 27 meters)
840 passengers (790 maximum as built)
20 knots (23 maximum as built)
Fully air conditioned and stabilized
Propulsion Machinery: AEG steam turbines supplied by Foster-Wheeler boilers (23,000 shp), twin screws
Builders: Howaldstwerke Deutsche Werft, Hamburg
Registry: Nassau, Bahamas
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All photos by and copyright Peter Knego 2008 unless otherwise noted.
SS MAXIM GORKIY Deck By Deck Tour
Top Of House
Spotless fo’c’sle: over bow from Top Of House.
Top of House, facing aft.
Radio Mast from starboard Top Of House.
Starboard wing from top of house.
Top of house, facing forward.
Over Midships Pool Area from Top Of House.
Although it was not passenger territory, the MAXIM GORKIY’s Top of the House was maintained in pristine condition. This is actually where the staff and crew “escaped” for their breaks and it was even called the “Green Beach” on sunny days when crew members headed up for a quick tan on its freshly painted green deck. To accommodate the ship’s ‘Tween Deck design, the aft platform was slightly raised from the forward section, which featured a small wading basin at the base of the mast.
A second platform on this level topped the funnel casing aft of the midships pool.
Aft from starboard wing.
The GORKIY had traditional open bridge wings.
Wheelhouse, facing starboard.
The wheelhouse was much the same as when built with some additional new equipment. A chart room, radio room and officers’ accommodation followed immediately aft.
Night pool and funnel in an aft-facing view from midships Bridge Deck
MAXIM GORKIY midships pool area, facing starboard/forward from Bridge Deck.
MAXIM GORKIY Bridge Deck, facing forward.
MAXIM GORKIY funnel from starboard Bridge Deck.
Aft from aft Bridge Deck.
Although the terracing due to the ‘tween decks layout of the ship made it difficult to determine which level certain areas belonged to, Bridge Deck technically continued with a glass-screened platform overlooking the heated salt water midships pool and another half deck level with a small terrace that surrounded the funnel casing.
Sun Deck (was to be renamed Sky Deck)
Forward Sun Deck, facing port.
Port Sun Deck, facing aft.
Detail outside of Lido Cafe in the forward vestibule.
Sun Deck began with a U-shaped terrace overlooking the bow with landings on either side that led via stairs down to the Lido Deck. Internally, it housed officers’ accommodation, continuing aft via the forward vestibule and up a half-landing to the Lido Cafe.
Lido Cafe, facing forward/port.
The Lido Cafe was originally the Lido Bar but was redecorated and reconfigured with a buffet station to serve as the MAXIM GORKIY’s casual dining venue. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are available here with seating on the starboard side of the room and around the pool basin, just aft. For the unrealized MARCO POLO II, the room would have retained its current function as the Raffles Cafe.
Upper portion of aft Sun Deck, facing port.
Aft Sun Deck.
The teak covered aft portion of Sun Deck terraces down from the Bridge Deck platform at the base of the funnel. The upper level is a netted in Sports Court and the lower portion is a sunning area.
Lido Deck (was to be renamed Promenade Deck)
MAXIM GORKIY Rossiya Lounge, facing starboard.
MAXIM GORKIY, Rossiya Lounge dance floor detail.
The handsome Rossiya Lounge was located on forward Lido Deck and had seen a fair amount of change since its original incarnation as HAMBURG’s Atlantic Club, retaining some core Midcentury decorative features such as its circular, textured brass dance floor, rectangular red and white lucite and marble lighting fixtures, circular bar (port side) and panorama of windows overlooking the bow. This room was to become MARCO POLO II’s Polo Lounge.
Port Lido Deck, facing aft.
Wide, open, finite promenades continued aft of the Rossiya Lounge underneath a canopy of lifeboats, culminating in a small terrace overlooking the stern. Stairs led up from here to the Sun Deck for those wishing to complete a full circuit around the front of the ship.
MAXIM GORKIY forward/port stairtower facing down from Lido Deck.
Entrance to Captain’s Club, facing forward.
Down a half level just aft of the forward vestibule but still technically on the Lido Deck level, there was a wonderfully original slice of the HAMBURG in the form of a small landing with sculpted “stop lights” leading to the Captain’s Club.
MAXIM GORKIY, Captain’s Club, facing aft.
Captain’s Club mermaid/merman.
The Captain’s Club was remarkably original, down to the “mod” mermaids and mermen lining its conical brass “porthole” windows. The seating and tiki-patterned bulkheads were just as they were when the ship was introduced in 1969. Apparently, no major changes would be made when this space became MARCO POLO II’s Kon Tiki Club. There used to be a conference room on the starboard/aft side of the Captain’s Club but it had since been turned over for staff use.
Fitness Room, facing aft.
Lido Deck continued at the midships stairtower on the port side with the Fitness Center. Ultimately, it had ellipticals, bikes, treadmills, a stretcing area and a couple weight machines with a view onto the port promenade. It appears little or no change was to be made to this facility when the ship became MARCO POLO II.
MAXIM GORKIY Chapel, facing forward/port.
Lido Deck continued with officers’ space. In the forward/port portion of the aft foyer, the MAXIM GORKIY’s still very original Chapel has been left untouched, and, like the Synagogue on QE2, was a lovely late 1960s slice of elegant design and utility. It was removed from the MARCO POLO II deck plan.
Promenade Deck (was to be renamed Belvedere Deck)
MAXIM Face at San Francisco, 26 March 2004.
Promenade Deck began at the ship’s long fo’c’sle.
MAXIM GORKIY, Musiksalon, facing starboard.
Public spaces commenced inside the superstructure with the Musiksalon. All remnants of the HAMBURG’s modern Hanseatic Salon vanished when the room received a complete make-over in recent years to better function as MAXIM GORKIY’s Musiksalon with a musician’s stage, dance floor and terraced seating. Decoratively one of the least inspired spaces on the ship, it was comfortable and functional and was to have become MARCO POLO II’s Ambassador Lounge show room.
Volga Bar, facing forward.
On the port side, just aft ot the Musiksalon, the remarkable Volga Bar gallery oozed style and character. A panorama of rounded rectangular white enameled windows looked out to sea on the port side while the inboard bulkheads were paneled in lustrous woodwork with lime green and earth-toned hide insets. Booth seating is angular, late-1960s style and the ceiling is barrel shaped. In the aft portion of the gallery, just before it zags inward to the bar area, there was a grand piano framed by the largest hide panel, signed by artist Kristin Koschade-Hotz/69 (later rescued for MidShipCentury). Although the woodwork would have to be removed for SOLAS 2010 compliance one wonders if the rest of the room, including the wonderful rectangular “rising sun” lucite light fixtures, artwork and furniture would have remained intact when the gallery became The Charleston Club.
Aft portion of Volga Bar, facing aft.
The aft portion of the Volga Bar includds more rich woodwork, backlit display cases behind the bar and a magnificent deep blue and white ceramic ensemble mounted into the counter that was dramatically lit from the overhang of the counter top. Semi-circular booths upholstered in rich orange complemented the deep blue tones of the bar, each with its own enamel-topped cocktail table and enameled steel lamp. This space was to have become Harry’s Bar for MARCO POLO II.
More To Come…
Very special thanks to Bianca Le Mouel and Martin Cox
Having documented over 400 passenger ships and taken more than 200 cruises, MaritimeMatters’ co-editor Peter Knego is a leading freelance cruise writer, a respected ocean liner historian and frequent maritime lecturer both on land and at sea. With his work regularly featured in cruise industry trades and consumer publications. Knego also runs the www.midshipcentury.com website which offers MidCentury cruise ship furniture, artwork and fittings rescued from the shipbreaking yards of Alang, India. He has produced several videos on the subject, including his latest, The Sands Of Alang and the best-selling On The Road To Alang."
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