Cruise ship Marco Polo hits Iceberg

  • Thread starter Anthony Charles Givelin Paine
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Anthony Charles Givelin Paine

On January 29th the luxury cruise ship Marco Polo
sruck ice whilst sailing in to Hope Bay Antartica
causing damage.
We left London on January 17th and after two days in Buenos Aires we flew to Ushuia in Southern Argentina and boarded the ship.We decided to do two cruises, back to back,because of the distance involved in getting to the antartic.The first cruise started in British South Georgia and on the morning of Thursday January 17th we were cruising very slowly through 'iceberg alley' to Hope Bay in the Antarctic Peninsular.We were up on deck from 5am.The early morning was very misty with thick freezing fog patches.There were a number of small bergs and loose ice floating by.At around 5.50am I noticed a huge berg looming very near to the ship.I was standing on the port side stern taking video shots.Looking at the video footage the berg was extremely large and most of it had cleared the ship before she sruck. The berg struck with a loud crunch with much ice deposited on the port aft promenade deck and upper deck.Damage was caused to the restaurant, both promenade and uper decks with superstructure damage.Railings buckled and broke for about ten feet or more.The upper deck aft also buckled.Large chunks of ice fell on to both decks.There was only a few people on deck and when the ice struck they moved quickly away. It did cause some alarm.
A few minutes later the Captain came over the PA system and announced the ship had struck ice and was stopping due to the fog.He stated there was no cause for alarm.A few minutes later officers and crew appeared on deck and immediately assessed damage.The hull was inspected a little later when we anchored in Hope Bay.The aft port decks were sealed off and urgent repairs begun.

The following day the Captain appeared with the cruise director for 'Meet the Capt- questons and answers'As expected questons were asked about the berg.The Captain appeared to prevaricate and did not give succint answers.He stated the berg struck probably due to the 'ventura' affect.(I have never heard of this )He also stated that there was a growler on the starboard side which made it difficult to navigate the ship.
The crew were instructed not to talk about the berg incident.
A few days later on a visit to the bridge when we were just leaving I noticed a very large book.This turned out to be the Ships Log.I glanced through the pages end stapled on the entry for the ice berg day was a full report typed up with the heading 'Ice berg Incident report'.
As I mentioned the berg was very big.I think it was slightly higher than the promenade deck where the life boats are stored.When I look properley at the video footage and have photographs developed this will give more accurate size.
The MV Marco Polo is a mid size ship of some 22,ooo tons.The ship has a fine, traditional 'real - ship' profile with an extremely ice - strengthened hull. Orient lines and its single ship Marco Polo was bought by Norwegian cruise line in 1998.The ship is fitted with the latest navigational aids.
We certainly enjoyed our two cruises which lasted in total for three weeks.The second part of our cruise concentrated on the Antarctic Peninsular.The scenery was resplendant and an excellent eventful cruise
When we get our pictures developed of the collision I will post then for you to see .We only arrived home yesterday.
Just out of interest the Marco Polo was damaged about one year ago whilst in Half moon Island,Antartica, it ran aground.
I do hope you find the account of the ice berg incident of interest.
Kind regards
Mar 28, 2002
..."It did cause some alarm"...

I bet it did!

It's very interesting to see a first-hand account of an iceberg strike and with accompanying photos forthcoming too! If only someone had a camera handy on the night of 14th April 1912.

Last weekend I was at the "Destinations" travel show at London's Earl Court and I picked up a few brochures for Antarctic cruises. It's one place I would love to go.



Mike Herbold

Dec 13, 1999
Fascinating story. I tried to find more news about this on an internet search, and ran into this story of an early sailing ship named "Marco Polo" hitting an iceberg near the Antarctic in 1851.

From looking at other recent Marco Polo cruise ship entries, it looks like they advertise these trips as iceberg watching and whale watching adventures. It doesn't seem so surprising that they would eventually ram one or the other.

Anthony Charles Givelin Paine

The MV Marco Polo hit the berg on January 29th and not the 17th as reported in parts of my earlier message.
kind regards,

Shannon Duff

Sep 26, 2004
Wait, you were on there? Wow. What kind of damage did it make to the ship? Did anyone get hurt? Maybe I'm asking too many questions...
Jan 18, 2005
Hello all!

This was news to me. even 4 years late..

Does anyone know what is happening to the Marco Polo? I have heard there is going to be a Marco Polo 2 next year, a converted cruise-ship.

Not Alang too?
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