MAXIM GORKIY (ex HAMBURG, HANSEATIC) Retro-Triple Decked, Part Three

Our deck-by-deck look at the late MAXIM GORKIY concludes with the lower portion of the ship.  This was 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.

Built 1969

24,962 (23,500 as built) gt
642 by 90 feet (195 by 27 meters)
840 passengers (790 maximum as built)
340 crew
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

Promenade Deck, ctd.

Gorkiy in the Gallery.
Portrait of Maxim Gorkiy in the Gallery.
MidCentury Modern in the Gallery.
MidCentury Modern in the Gallery.
Gallery door detail.
Gallery door copper detailing.
Totally random MAXIM GORKIY carpet shot.
Totally random MAXIM GORKIY carpet shot.

The Galerie also retained most of its gorgeous vintage character, occupying the midships space aft of the Musiksalon and adjoining the Volga Bar (see part two) on its port side. The inboard bulkhead was paneled in polished granite and contained a portrait of Maxim Gorkiy. The original HAMBURG lanterns lined the starboard side and there were some astounding enamel-topped chrome tables, enduring white leather settees and chairs and two original Aubusson tapestries by Louis-Marie Jullien called HAMBOURG I and HAMBOURG 2 on the aft bulkhead. This space was to become the unrealized MARCO POLO II’s Monte Carlo Casino.

Library, facing aft.
Library, facing aft.
Library table top.
Library table top.
Library detail.
Library detail.
Library, facing forward.
Library, facing forward.

On the starboard side of Promenade Deck, the Library/Card Room continued aft of the Musiksalon. A large display devoted to the Malta Summit can be found here, along with two richly textured and colored ceramic panels. Full length windows on the starboard side bathed the room’s honey-toned woodwork in natural daylight. The space was rich in vintage character and style, from the textured ceilings to the angled ceiling cornices, pedestal seating and some pretty spiffy table tops with inlaid marble chess boards. The room would have retained the same function, albeit with expanded internet facilities, were it to have became the MARCO POLO II’s aptly named Library/Card Room.

Zhiguli Club, facing aft.
Zhiguli Club, facing aft.
Zhiguli Club, facing aft.
Zhiguli Club, facing aft.
Zhiguli Club, facing forward.
Zhiguli Club, facing forward.

The Zhiguli Club was another extraordinary time-capsule of late 1960s assymetry, from its carved wooden divider to the circular fixed settee. Other bits of brilliance included the lighted globe in its marble plinth, original pedestal chairs, and fantastic tables with flared chrome feet. It could have served nicely with little modification (other than the unfortunately required replacement of the wood paneling) when it became MARCO POLO II’s Explorer’s Club.

Starboard Wintergarden, facing aft.
Starboard Wintergarden, facing aft.

On either side of the midships foyer, the Wintergardens were created when owner’s suites filled in the center portion of HAMBURG’s enclosed promenades early in the ship’s career. These were extremely popular havens with their wicker and foliage ambiance and tended to attract the heavy smokers.

Port Wintergarden, facing forward.
Port Wintergarden, facing forward.

The port side Wintergarden would have become MARCO POLO II’s Palm Court.

Promenade Deck After Gallery ceiling detail.
Promenade Deck After Gallery ceiling detail.
After Gallery, facing aft.
After Gallery, facing aft.

The After Gallery is the central corridor linking the midships foyer to the aft foyer. It is where the shops were located and had some nice vintage touches, including moulded star ceiling panels, several gold leaf patterned terra cotta tile inserts, a lighted ship display and route map. As one headed aft, the main focal point was a brilliant red and blue panel at the end of the passageway.

MAXIM GORKIY Beauty Salon, facing port.
MAXIM GORKIY Beauty Salon, facing port.

On the port side of the After Gallery, the Beauty Salon was still very much original with its 1969 tile work, salon chairs and oval mirrors.

Promenade Deck panel.
Promenade Deck panel.

Magnificence in Melamine! Is it a rising sun, or, perhaps the earth from a lunar vantage? Remember, the “Space Ship” was introduced in 1969, the year of the first Apollo moon landing. Cue up Zager and Evans “In The Year 2525” and it’s 1969 all over again!  This panel and much of the ship’s artwork and fittings were saved from the scrapyard by the author in 2009.

MAXIM GORKIY, Cinema, facing aft/starboard.
MAXIM GORKIY, Cinema, facing aft/starboard.
Cinema, facing starboard.
Cinema, facing starboard.

The Cinema remained as built, with its stylish and dramatically-lit honeycombed metal wall fixtures, elevated proscenium, and angular seating. The former Hansa Theater was to be renamed MARCO POLO II’s Majestic Theater.

MAXIM GORKIY aft starboard promenade, facing aft. The whie rattan furnishings were originally in the Lido Bar.
MAXIM GORKIY aft starboard promenade, facing aft. The whie rattan furnishings were originally in the Lido Bar.

On the port side, the after promenade was to become MARCO POLO II’s Enclosed Promenade and on the starboard side, a Recreation Area.

Neptune Bar, facing starboard.
Neptune Bar, facing starboard.

The Neptune Bar was located in the shelter of the aft portion of Promenade Deck. It was to be renamed Expedition Bar when the ship became MARCO POLO II.

Over stern from Promenade Deck.
Over stern from Promenade Deck.

Orion Deck (was to be renamed Main Deck)

MAXIM GORKIY, Orion Deck passageway, facing aft.
MAXIM GORKIY, Orion Deck passageway, facing aft.

Orion Deck was to become Main Deck with the MARCO POLO II incarnation and was fully dedicated to passenger accommodation, linked by one of the ship’s unusual wide central passageways.

Forward from fantail.
Forward from fantail.

The ship’s fantail wrapped up Main Deck.

Saturn Deck (was to be renamed Bali Deck)

Reception, facing starboard.
Reception, facing starboard.

Saturn Deck featured accommodation and the Reception area, located amidships. It was modified with strangely incongruous lucite features and was in the end, a relatively charmless space. An example of why tampering with good, solid original design is usually a losing battle.

Neptune Deck (was to be renamed Pacific Deck)

MAXIM GORKIY, Odessa Restaurant, facing forward.
MAXIM GORKIY, Odessa Restaurant, facing forward.

Neptune Deck contained accommodation and the Odessa Restaurant, which, sadly, was drastically altered in 1994, perhaps to “match” the two lower restaurants which were generically rebuilt after the 1989 flooding. The Odessa Restaurant was to have been renamed the Seven Seas Restaurant when the ship became MARCO POLO II.

Restaurant Deck (was to be renamed Riviera Deck)

MAXIM GORKIY, Sea Restaurant, facing starboard.
MAXIM GORKIY, Sea Restaurant, facing starboard.

Restaurant Deck began with the Sea Restaurant, formerly HAMBURG’s stylish Grill Restaurant. It’s decor dated from 1989 when the ship’s lower decks were flooded and had to be rebuilt. It was to be renamed Maxim’s when the ship became MARCO POLO II.

MAXIM GORKIY Crimea Restaurant, facing aft.
MAXIM GORKIY Crimea Restaurant, facing aft.

Aft of the galley, there was the Crimea Restaurant, where the decor also dates from 1989. It was to have become the Marco Polo Grill on board MARCO POLO II.

Sauna Deck (was to have been renamed Spa Deck)

Indoor pool, facing forward.
Indoor pool, facing forward.

Like many great ships built for crossing and cruising, the MAXIM GORKIY had a marvelous, hexagonal indoor pool. Located at the bottom of the forward/starboard stairtower, it was to have been the centerpiece of MARCO POLO II’s Spa.

MAXIM GORKIY Accommodation

Promenade Deck Owner’s Suites

Promenade Deck Owner's Suite 177 living room, facing starboard.
Promenade Deck Owner’s Suite 177 living room, facing starboard.
Promenade Deck Owner's Suite 177 bedroom, facing port.
Promenade Deck Owner’s Suite 177 bedroom, facing port.

Orion Deck Luxury Suites

Orion Deck Luxury Suite 59, bedroom area, facing port.
Orion Deck Luxury Suite 59, bedroom area, facing port.
Orion Deck Luxury Suite 59, sitting area, facing aft.
Orion Deck Luxury Suite 59, sitting area, facing aft.

Outside Staterooms

Outside Orion Deck Cabin 111 (with picture window), facing starboard.
Outside Orion Deck Cabin 111 (with picture window), facing starboard.
Outside Cabin 359 (with portholes) facing starboard/aft.
Outside Cabin 359 (with portholes) facing starboard/aft.
Outside Neptune Deck Cabin 484 (with third berth and portholes), facing port.
Outside Neptune Deck Cabin 484 (with third berth and portholes), facing port.
Cabin 484 WC with full bath.
Cabin 484 WC with full bath.

Inside Staterooms

Inside Saturn Deck cabin 321, facing aft.
Inside Saturn Deck cabin 321, facing aft.
Stern view of MAXIM GORKIY during her final vsit to Flam, Norway.
Stern view of MAXIM GORKIY during her final visit to Flam, Norway.

With special thanks: Martin Cox, Gary Gerbino, Peter Kohler, Bianca Le Mouel, Michael J. Masino, Thomas Menke, Oliver Mueller

Unrealized Dreams:

Artist's impression of SS MARCO POLO II.
Artist’s impression of SS MARCO POLO II.
SS MARCO POLO II.
SS MARCO POLO II.
SS MARCO POLO II at Dubrovnik.
SS MARCO POLO II at Dubrovnik.

Posted October 30, 2008

December 2, 2008 update: A movement to bring MAXIM GORKIY to Hamburg for preservation as an hotel and attraction is now underway, with support of Hamburg shipping officials and possible financial backing from German investors.

January 8, 2009 update: After a week of speculative reports that Indian scrap merchants have been inspecting the ship at her anchorage off Piraeus, it was announced today in a German newspaper that the MAXIM GORKIY has been sold for Euro 4.2 million to a scrap merchant. Although it was also announced the ship departed today for India, she remains at her anchorage.

February 27, 2009: MAXIM GORKIY was beached under the delivery name MAXIM M at Alang on February 25, 2009 at 04:12.

Peter Knego

Peter Knego

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."
Peter Knego
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