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MS Marco Polo is a cruise ship owned by Global Maritime, under charter to UK-based Cruise & Maritime Voyages, having been previously operated by Transocean Tours, Germany. She was built in 1965 by Mathias-Thesen Werft, East Germany as MS Alexandr Pushkin for the Soviet Union's Baltic Shipping Company. After major alterations and additions, the ship sailed as Marco Polo for Orient Lines from 1993 to 2008. The Alexandr Pushkin was constructed at V.E.B. Mathias-Thesen Werft in Wismar, East Germany. She was the second ship of the Ivan Franko class (also referred to as "poet" or "writer" class), named after the Russian poet Alexander Pushkin. The construction of this class featured some notable differences from contemporary ships built in the west. Amongst other things they offered cabins for six people and had three taps in the bathrooms - for hot, cold and sea water - Both of these features had long since been abandoned in western liners. The ships also featured certain forward-looking features, such as all outside accommodation for both passengers and the crew, and an indoor/outdoor swimming pool with a sliding glass roof. To enable the ships to navigate through broken ice, they were constructed with greater hull strength and stability than usual in passenger ships of this size. The Ivan Franko class ships were also built with the use as a troopship in mind. Due to this they had unusually large provision and storage areas, enabling a cruising range of over .

For the company sometimes referred to as "Orient Line", see Orient Steam Navigation Company Orient Lines was a cruise line specialising in exotic destinations that was in operation 1993—2008. The brand was founded in 1993 by Gerry Herrod, who had previously owned Ocean Cruise Lines. Orient Lines was sold to Norwegian Cruise Line in 1998, and ceased operations in March 2008. The brand was sold to new owners in June 2008, and was planned to restart operations in April 2009. However, due to the economic downturn in 2008 the re-launch of the Orient Lines brand has been delayed indefinitely. The history of Orient Lines began in 1991 when Shipping & General Ltd, owned by Gerry Herrod, acquired the cruise ship Alexandr Pushkin from Far Eastern Shipping Company. Herrod had previously operated Ocean Cruise Lines, but had sold that venture in 1990 to Paquet Lines. During the next two and a half years the Alexandr Pushkin was almost entirely rebuilt and emerged in 1993 as the Marco Polo for the new Orient Lines brand, embarking on a varied program with cruises all around the world. In 1998 Norwegian Cruise Line acquired the successful brand. In 1999 NCL itself was acquired by Star Cruises. Following this NCL's Norwegian Crown joined the Orient Lines fleet in May 2000 under the name Crown Odyssey. In March 2001 Star Cruises announced that their SuperStar Aries would be joining the Orient Lines fleet in mid-2002 as the Ocean Voyager.

Transocean Tours is a Germany-based cruise line that operates three ocean-going cruise ships on the German and British markets, as well as five river cruise ships on the German market. The company was formed in 1954 and first begun operating cruise ships in 1972, using tonnage chartered from the Soviet Union-based Baltic Shipping Company. Transocean Tours Turistik was formed in West Germany in 1954. In 1967 the company became the West German agents of the Soviet Union-based Baltic Shipping Company, marketing cruises on the and MS Estonia 1960. In 1972 Transocean Tours chartered the Estonia for full-time German market cruising. She was subsequently followed by a large number of ships, including river cruise ships, chartered from both the Baltic Shipping Company and the Black Sea Shipping Company. Until the 1990s the chartered ships retained their Soviet funnel colours even when in Transocean service. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union the company begun chartering ships from other companies, starting with MS Calypso in 1994. At the same ships in Transocean service started to be painted in the company's white/blue livery. Between 1997 and 2001, the company fleet consisted of just two ships, the ocean-going cruise ship and the river cruise ship RMS Moldavia. In 2001, the river cruise ship MS Ukraina re-joined the fleet, followed by the Astors near-sister in 2002. Another river cruise ship joined the fleet in 2005, while was chartened in 2006 for British-market cruising. In 2008 the Arielle was replaced by .

The Baltic Sea Steamship Company (ОАО Балтийское морское пароходство, БМП) is a Russian sea transport enterprise based in Saint Petersburg and operating on the Baltic Sea. It was founded in 1835. In the Soviet Union it was the largest steamship company with about two hundred vessels. In November 1992 it was transformed into a joint stock company. On December 26, 1996 it went bankrupt according to a court decision.

The Port of Tilbury is located on the River Thames at Tilbury in Essex, England. It is the principal port for London; as well as being the main United Kingdom port for handling the importation of paper. There are extensive facilities for containers, grain, and other bulk cargoes. There are also facilities for the importation of cars. It forms part of the wider Port of London. The Port of Tilbury lies on the north shore of the River Thames, below London Bridge, at a point where the river makes a loop southwards, and where its width narrows to 800 yards. The loop is part of the Thames lower reaches: within the meander was a huge area of marshland. Gravesend on the opposite shore had long been a port of entry for shipping, all of which had used the river itself for loading and unloading of cargo and passengers. There was also a naval dockyard at Northfleet. The new deepwater docks were an extension of all that maritime activity. The original docks of London, all built close to the City, were opened in stages by what was to become the East and West India Docks Company (E&WIDC) at the beginning of the 19th century. With the coming of the railways and increasing ship size, location close to the centre of London became less important than access to deep water, unrestricted sites and reduction in time spent travelling up the winding Thames. The Company had long been in competition with their rival, the London and St Catherine Dock Company (L&StCDC), and had been doing all it could to dominate it.

Cruise & Maritime Voyages is a passenger shipping company headquartered in Dartford, United Kingdom. Cruise & Maritime Voyages was formed in 2009, by parent organisation Cruise & Maritime Services International, after German based Transocean Tours (for whom they were the UK representative) filed for bankruptcy. Cruise & Maritime Voyages has positioned itself as "Providing ex-UK 'no fly' cruising holidays aboard smaller and medium sized classic and more traditional style ships". Cruise & Maritime Voyages serves an adult market, with an on board style of traditional entertainment, dining and rooms using a fleet of older tonnage. In 2009 the veteran liner MS Marco Polo was chartered for cruising as the line's first ship. The ship is operated as an adults only (16 and above) vessel, and is marketed at cash short consumers, with multiple departure points in the UK along with exotic itineraries. She is under a five-year charter with the line, and was transferred in 2009 after previous operator, Transocean Tours filed for bankruptcy. In 2010 MS Ocean Countess (ex. Cunard Countess) was chartered as the second ship of the fleet. Ocean Countess had been chartered as Ruby for Louis Cruise Lines prior to her current charter. Marco Polo was in Tilbury and Ocean Countess in Kingston upon Hull, UK, during the Royal Wedding in 2011.

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) is a company operating cruise ships, headquartered in unincorporated Miami-Dade County, Florida. It began operations in 1966 under the name Norwegian Caribbean Line. The company is best known for its Freestyle Cruising concept, which means that there are no set times or seating arrangements for meals, nor is formal attire required. Norwegian Cruise Line has a sister company, NCL America. NCL itself is jointly owned by Star Cruises (a public company partially owned by the Genting Group based in Malaysia) and Apollo Management, with both companies owning 50% of NCL. Norwegian Cruise Line controls approximately 8% of the total worldwide share of the cruise market. The cruise line was founded as Norwegian Caribbean Line in 1966 by Knut Kloster and Ted Arison, with just one 830-ton cruise ship/car ferry offering low-cost Caribbean cruises. Arison soon left to form Carnival Cruise Lines, while Kloster acquired additional ships for Caribbean service. NCL pioneered many firsts in the cruise industry like: the first Out Island Cruise, the first combined air-sea program (marketed as "Cloud 9 Cruises") which combined low cost air fares with the cruise, first shipline to develop new ports in the Caribbean, like Ocho Rios in Jamaica. Like the original Sunward of 1966, NCL's second ship, the Starward had the capability to carry automobiles through a well concealed stern door. Later, this area was turned into cabins and a two deck movie theater, which is now a casino.

The Far-Eastern Shipping Company (FESCO; ) is a Russian ship-owning company and the base company of FESCO Group. Founded in the 19th century in Vladivostok, the company now owns a fleet of 50 vessels, totaling 880 thousand DWT (Dead Weight Tons). FESCO is publicly traded as . The major shareholder of FESCO is “Industrial Investors” (55.81%). East Capital holds 7.15% of the stock, 3.76% belong to EBRD, 13% - treasury stock and 20.28% - free float. President and Chairman of the Executive Board of FESCO Transportation Group is Sergey Generalov. FESCO has quite a number of international services in the Pacific Ocean, including services to and from People's Republic of China, Republic of China (Taiwan), Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Korean Republic, Japan, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, India as well as Canada and the Continental United States. FESCO's fleet of sea vessels includes large icebreakers, ro-ro vessels, container vessels, ice-breaking cargo vessels, bulk-carriers, timber-ships, and supplier vessels. The fleet operated by FESCO is enabled to provide cargo transportation in ports with limited navigation period, including unloading operations to non-facilitated shore. Moreover, the company is the biggest operator of Russian ice-breaking fleet.

A suite in a hotel or other public accommodation, denotes a class of luxury accommodations, the key feature of which is multiple rooms. Many properties have one or more "honeymoon suites", and sometimes the best accommodation is called the "presidential suite". Suites offer multiple rooms, with more space and furniture than a standard hotel room. In addition to one or more beds and bedroom fixtures, a suite will include a living or sitting room, usually with a couch that converts into a bed. Dining, office and kitchen facilities are also added in many suites. Some properties now offer only suites. In addition to the luxurious suites mentioned in the first paragraph, regular suites are particularly marketed to business travellers who would both appreciate additional space and may use it to host small meetings or entertain clients.

Ocean Countess is a cruise ship owned by Majestic International Cruises of Greece, on long-term charter to the UK-based Cruise & Maritime Voyages. She was completed in 1976 as the '4-star - Premium' style Cunard Countess for Cunard Line. Cunard Countess had an almost identical sister ship Cunard Princess, introduced in 1977. The new ships soon became popular with the North American and British/European cruise market, particularly for their contemporary facilities and variety entertainment. The pair are the only non 'Queen' purpose-built Cunarders still in existence, along with Louis Cruise Lines' Coral (formerly Cunard Adventurer). Cunard Countess was built in Denmark in 1974-75 and initially registered in Southampton, England. The vessel was fitted-out at the INMA shipyard at La Spezia, Italy, from where trials were conducted and the vessel completed in July 1976. The ship proceeded to her Caribbean sea base port of San Juan, Puerto Rico, via Barcelona, Spain and Antigua. A part-ship charter group of passengers were carried on this maiden voyage, between Barcelona and Antigua. On the eve of entering full commercial service in August 1976, Cunard Countess was christened at San Juan by Janet Armstrong, then wife of Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon. Cunard Countess became one of the better-known cruise ships to ply the Caribbean and middle Atlantic ocean, becoming a staple at the San Juan ship dock and later at Miami, Santo Domingo and many other places around the area.

Balmoral is a cruise ship owned and operated by Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines. She was built in 1988 by the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, West Germany as Crown Odyssey for Royal Cruise Line. She has also sailed for the Norwegian Cruise Line as Norwegian Crown and Orient Lines as Crown Odyssey. In 2007–2008 she was lengthened by at the Blohm + Voss shipyard in Hamburg, prior to entering service with her current operator. The vessel was built by Meyer Werft of Papenburg, Germany in 1988, for service with Royal Cruise Line as the Crown Odyssey. In 1989, Royal Cruise Line was sold to Norwegian Cruise Line, which continued operation of the company, along with the Crown Odyssey, until 1996. A reorganization of all of the fleets owned by Norwegian Cruise Line saw Crown Odyssey enter service with NCL's main fleet, where it was renamed Norwegian Crown. Following the purchase of Orient Lines by NCL in April, 2000, Norwegian Crown was transferred, regaining her original name, Crown Odyssey, in the process. In September, 2003, Crown Odyssey was refurbished and returned to the NCL fleet, again with the name Norwegian Crown. On May 25, 2006, NCL Corporation announced that its parent company, Star Cruises, had agreed to sell Norwegian Crown to Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines effective August 2006. Star Cruises concurrently chartered the vessel back from Fred. Olsen and NCL continued her deployment through to November 2007.


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