I recently sailed on the classic ocean-liner, Marco Polo, on a trip across the English Channel and up the Seine to beautiful Rouen, then returning to the channel coast for a visit to Zeebrugge and the quaint town of Bruge.
The Marco Polo is still in very good nick for a sea-going veteran of her stature and the trip was very enjoyable. Their sailings from Tilbury are particularly well suited for anyone based in Essex or for cruisers in Kent who live near the Thames. And prices are excellent value for money. So good, in fact, that most of their itineraries for 2012 have already sold out. Quite an acheivement for a cruise company in these recessionary times.
I want to highlight one sailing that is still bookable. That is the Titanic Heritage cruise taking place from Tilbury on 10th April 2012 to commemorate the anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic with an opportunity to also visit the final resting place of RMS Lusitania off the Old Head of Kinsale. There will be exhibits on board as well as meals based on menus of the period. Currently prices are:
Voyager Standard Inner Cabin, £499 per person
Voyager Standard Ocean View Cabin, £699 per person
but check www.cruiseandmaritime.com for most current prices.
I have re-printed a complete description of the cruise at the bottom of this blog for you to peruse.
Marco Polo Maritime Heritage Cruise Itinerary
Day One – Tuesday April 10th 2012
Sail from the London Cruise Terminal at Tilbury at 1600hrs and enjoy a spring evening passage along the Thames.
Meet with your fellow passengers, browse the exhibition areas and enjoy your first dinner on board, which
will feature a menu from one of the liners of the past.
Day Two – Wednesday April 11th 2012
Cherbourg: Arrive 09:30 hours – Sail 18:30 hours
Arrive today in Cherbourg, at the head of the Cotentin Peninsula, where in 1912 Titanic
anchored off and embarked 231 passengers by tender before setting course for southern Ireland and Queenstown. The city of Cherbourg has embraced the commemoration and is including Marco Polo’s visit today as part of their event programme. We have all day to tour this historic town and visit the special exhibition at the Cité de la Mer maritime museum. We shall also embark a number of French guests, primarily from the Association des Amis des Paquebots, who will be joining this special cruise.
Day Three – Thursday April 12th 2012
Cobh: Arrive 16:00 hours – Stay overnight
This morning you may wish to attend a lecture from one of our guest speakers or relax on deck as we head
for the Irish coast. Early this afternoon, we reach the spot, off the Old Head of Kinsale, where in May 1915,
another great liner Lusitania, was lost with some 1200 lives as a result of a German U-Boat attack. A wreath
laying ceremony will be held to mark the tragedy before we arrive in Cobh, which as Queenstown in April 1912
was the final port of call for Titanic. Here she took on mail and 123 passengers at Deepwater Quay in a two
hour call before turning heading out across the Atlantic and into history. We berth overnight in Cobh giving
opportunities to take in the memorials dedicated to both maritime disasters in the town and participate in a
special event the port is planning to mark Marco Polo’s call.
Day Four – Friday April 13th 2012
Cobh: Sail 15:00 hours
For thousands of hungry and mostly penniless emigrants in the 19th century, Queenstown would have been their last view of Ireland before setting off in search of a new life across the Atlantic.
The Cobh Heritage Centre provides a graphic illustration of these times and the advances from the early ‘coffin’ ships to the latter day transatlantic liners. Alternatively, today, journey into Cork and enjoy a great taste of Irish hospitality, visit Blarney Castle or the
fashionable resort of Kinsale, famed for its fine food and sea-fishing.
Day Five – Saturday April 14th 2012
Belfast: Arrive 09:30 hours – Sail 19:30 hours
Today is spent in the great city of Belfast where the Olympic Class of White Star vessels were painstakingly built in the Harland &Wolff shipyards. The new £7 billion waterfront Titanic Quarter development, located right next to the very slipways used by the ship and
her sisters, is on course to open in March 2012 and promises to be absolutely stunning.
Pride of place amongst the new buildings will be the iconic Titanic Belfast, built to resemble the liner’s bow; and the restored SS Nomadic, sole surviving vessel of the White
Star Line and tender to the First Class passengers that boarded Titanic in Cherbourg. The whole of the city is gearing up for an emotional day on April 14th and the authorities have offered a special event for Marco Polo passengers and those of Saga Pearl II, which will also be in port, as a mark of appreciation that they have come to Belfast to share in the occasion.
Day Six – Sunday April 15th 2012
Liverpool: Arrive 08:00 hours – Sail 14:30 hours
An early morning passage along the Mersey brings us to the new Pierhead cruise berth facility, close to the old headquarters of the White Star Line. Liverpool was not only
Titanic’s port of registry, and also that of Carpathia, which came to rescue 705 survivors, but additionally the home town of Captain Edward Smith and almost 1 in 10 of the ship’s company. In addition to a new exhibition: Titanic and Liverpool: the untold story which will open at Merseyside Maritime Museum in March 2012, the city has announced plans for a number of events for the day, details of which are to be released shortly. Tonight’s dinner will feature a menu originally served aboard one of the many liners that sailed out from Liverpool in the heyday of the port.
Day Seven – Monday April 16th 2012
As Marco Polo makes her way through the Western Approaches and into the English Channel heading for Tilbury, you have a chance to swap stories and reminiscences with your fellow passengers. Take a wander around the exhibition areas, perhaps participate in a quiz or raffle to win some of the items of memorabilia that are on
display or just relax in one of the ship’s comfortable lounges. To set you up for your last evening on board, enjoy
dishes from an Alexandr Pushkin Farewell Dinner menu which were prepared in a slightly different galley to that
which Marco Polo’s Executive Chef and his team work in today!
Day Eight – Tuesday April 17th 2012
Tilbury: Arrive 09:30 hours
Disembarkation will be after breakfast and hopefully you will return home full of memories of
a fascinating week on board Marco Polo.