Orient Lines, the one-ship cruise line that operates under the Norwegian Cruise Line umbrella, will high-step into history in March as Marco Polo gears up to depart the fleet. NCL will not be replacing the ship, which means that Orient Lines, created in 1991 as a destination-oriented company, will no longer exist.
The 42-year-old Marco Polo, on the other hand, will get a new lease on life, having been acquired by U.K.-based Transocean Tours. Ex-U.K. specialist Transocean Tours' is bringing in Marco Polo to replace Arielle. Marco Polo will be based at London Cruise Terminal, Tilbury.
Marco Polo, which sails its last cruise for Orient on March 2, will begin its voyages for Transocean with a Norwegian fjords sailing on April 19. Former Royal Butler Paul Kidd will be a special guest on that cruise; he'll talk about life at Buckingham Palace and Clarence House.
In between, the ship will undergo a minor refurbishment in which a small casino will be replaced with an extended bar area. Marco Polo will sail under the same name. The ship began its life in 1965 as the Alexander Pushkin.