Maxim Gorkiy
The 25,000grt Maxim Gorkiy was originally built for the former Deutsche Atlantik Line of Germany and debuted in on the 28th March 1969 as Hamburg.  After difficulties resulting in Hanseatic (II) being sold in 1973, Hamburg was briefly called Hanseatic (III) until she was sold to Sovcomflot and managed by the Black Sea Shipping Company in the former USSR but was based in the Ukraine the following year.  Sovcomflot took control of all Black Sea Shipping Company ships after the collapse of the iron curtain to prevent them being used for paying debts.  Also that year she was given her last name of Maxim Gorkiy.  She has had many managers since on behalf of Somcovflot but faces an uncertain future when Phoenix Seereisen cancelled the charter after twenty years, saying she has become too expensive to run.  Her final cruise for them ended on the 30th November 2008.  However there was light at the end of the tunnel when it was announced on the 29th June 2008 NCL's former subsidiary, Orient Lines was bought by Wayne Heller with the intention of bringing the ship up to 2010 standard and calling her Marco Polo II.  Itineraries for 2009 were launched and one of her calls was to be Southampton a month before Marco Polo.  Lines opened on the 3rd September and the future looked good for this old steam ship.  However the economic climate took its toll and on the 19th November they announced plans were postponed until things picked up.  So she ended her Phoenix Reisen charter with nowhere to go.  She was moved from Venice to anchor in Piraeus but despite typically last minute efforts to save her, left on the 28th January 2009 en route to Alang as Maxim M and was beached on the 26th February.  I'm very pleased I got to see her again in 2008, not once but twice in five weeks even though it makes saying goodbye and looking at Peter Knego's pictures of her there harder.  She was a lovely ship.  Strange looking but memorable unlike so many cookie cutters today.

The photo below was taken as she sailed from Southampton during a rare call to the city on the 7th September 1998.  Not very good but it was very bright that day with a reasonable 35mm camera.     
She made a return visit on the 31st July 2008 and passed that other legend ending her career in November, the QE2.  To see pictures of the arrivals, click here.  To see Maxim Gorkiy in Bergen the previous month, click here.

For more information about this classic liner, go to Christina Heinrich's marvellous website
here.

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© Patricia Dempsey 7th September 1998 & 1st April 2006
Not to be reproduced without permission
  Updated
3rd March 2009