Norwegian Cruise Line (1998--2000)|
Star Cruises (2000--2008)
Origin Cruise Group (2008--present)
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. This plan was shelved however, and in 2003 Orient Lines reverted to operating with just one ship when the Crown Odyssey returned to the NCL fleet.
On 4 June 2007, NCL announced that the Marco Polo had been sold to the Greece-based Global Maritime, with a delivery date on 31 March 2008. This meant the end of the Orient Line brand, as no ship was brought in to replace the Marco Polo. Global Maritime in turn chartered the Marco Polo to the Germany-based Transocean Tours.
On 27 June 2008, Star Cruises sold the Orient Line brand to Origin Cruise Group, owned by Wayne Heller. The new owners stated they would be restarting operations with several second-hand ships with a capacity of 600 to 800 passengers. The first ship acquired by the "new" Orient Lines was SS Maxim Gorkiy, which was purchased from Sovcomflot on 20 August 2008. The Maxim Gorkiy was due to enter service with Orient Lines in April 2009 as SS Marco Polo II. On 19 November 2008 Wayne Heller stated that due to the economic crisis of 2008 the relaunch of the Orient Lines brand has been delayed indefinitely. The Maxim Gorkiy never was refitted and renamed Marco Polo II. The ship was sold for scrap in January 2009, and has since been demolished. No further announcements have been made regarding the future of the Orient Lines.
|Ship||Built||In service for Orient Lines||Gross Register Tonnage||Status as of 2012||Image|
|Marco Polo||1965||1993--2008||22,080 GRT||Since 2010 sailing for Cruise & Maritime Voyages.|
|Crown Odyssey||1988||2000--2003||34,242 GRT||Since 2008 sailing as Balmoral for Fred. Olsen Cruise Line.|
|Marco Polo II Never Officially Named||1969||Never entered service (Planned to enter service on April 15, 2009).||24,981 GRT||Scrapped in Alang, India|