The Last Ocean Liners

Baltic Shipping Company

Alexandr Pushkin


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Baltic Shipping Company

Soviet transatlantic passenger shipping after World World II through the cold war era utilized various ex-German liners following an irregular schedule. This changed in 1966 when the Baltic Shipping Company deployed their new Alexandr Pushkin on a seasonal route from Leningrad (St. Petersburg) to Montreal via Helsinki, Copenhagen and London. In subsequent years, intermediate ports varied to include Bremerhaven, London and Le Havre.

Baltic Shipping Company

She was the second of the Ivan Franko class of five 20,000 ton ocean liners which provided a variety of cruise and liner services on the Baltic, Mediterranean and Black Seas and beyond. It was considered a novelty to sail in a Soviet ocean liner and the new transatlantic service was popular and profitable.

Baltic Shipping Company

Alexandr Pushkin was soon reconfigured as a one-class ship for 680 passengers, with most cabins lacking private facilities. Public areas included a glass-domed indoor/outdoor heated swimming pool, sauna, five bars featuring Russian Vodkas and Armenian cognac, two nightclubs, a library, theater and duty-free shops with authentic Russian furs and handicrafts. Entertainment consisted of a dance orchestra and Russian songs and dances by the ship's crew.

Baltic Shipping Company

"You will experience the traditional Russian hospitality from the moment you step aboard. You will also quickly learn that your enjoyment is of the utmost importance to our staff - and our cuisine includes continental favorites with a selection of specialties and wines from the many republics of the Soviet Union."

Sister ship Mikhail Lermontov joined Alexandr Pushkin on the Baltic Shipping Company's transatlantic service in 1973, adding summer voyages from Leningrad to New York via Bremerhaven, London and Le Havre. Political differences brought an end to the Soviet passenger service to both Canada and the United States in 1980, whereupon both ocean liners became full-time cruise ships sailing from European ports.

Sample minimum one-way fares from Montreal to London: First class $327; Tourist class $215; All fares are per person in U.S. dollars.

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Alexandr Pushkin (Baltic Shipping Company) 1965
Alexandr Pushkin Baltic Shipping Company
Built: 1965 by Mathias-Thesen-Werft VEB, Wismar, E Germany Gross tons: 19860 Length: 578ft (176m) Width: 77ft (23m) Draft: 27ft (8m) Speed: 20kn Power: 21000 bhp Propulsion: Diesel twin screw Passengers: 86 First 580 Tourist End of service: Cruising only from 1980; sold 1992 as Marco Polo; scrapped 2021
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