The "Marco Polo" is a traditional Ocean Liner but with a ice strengthened hull which has been converted into a specialist Eco-tourism cruise Liner. She is operated by Orient Lines and now has a cruise mate in "Crown Oddessy"
The above view shows her entering Lyttelton Harbour on the 18th February 1999 following an extended Antarctic Cruise from Ushuaia in Argentina.
MARCO 1 1999 Christchurch Paquebot arrival postmark on Official Orient Lines Postcard. US$4
Note: The view at left showing "Marco Polo" in Antarctic waters is the view on the back of the card shown at right.
MARCO 2 1999 Official Orient Lines postcard postmarked Ross Dependency Agency Christchurch. US$4
Note: This is the same Official card as the previous item but this one has been posted through the Ross Dependency Agency in Christchurch and bears a Ross Dependency stamp.
MARCO 3 1999 (December 31st) Orient Lines postcard postmarked Stanley, Falkland Islands US$5
Note: The "Marco Polo" had called into Stanley on the 28th of December and the above postcard comes from that visit. The picture side shows the vessel in Antarctic waters.
MARCO 4. 2000 (January 14th) Orient Lines postcard Paquebot posted at Ushuaia. US$8
Note: The above postcard bears a Falkland Island stamp which has been postmarked with the Ushuaia paquebot cancellation. It also bears a Cape Horn Cinderella at the middle bottom.
MARCO 5. 2000 (January 14th) Orient Lines postcard posted at Ushuaia. US$5
Note:this postcard bears Argentinean postage stamps and has been posted as an ordinary ship postcard.
The two views above show the "Marco Polo" berthed at the main wharf in Ushuaia on the 14th of January, the day when the two preceding postcards and the cover below were posted there. The "Marco Polo" had left Ushuaia on the 6th of January and gone via the Drake Passage and the Bransfield Strait to Deception Island and then via the Lemaire Channel to the British Antarctic Base, Port Lockroy which it visited on the 10th January. It then returned via Neumayer Channel, the Half Moon Island and Cape Horn to arrive in Ushuaia on the 13th of January 2000.
MARCO 6. 2000 (January 14th) Envelope posted at Ushuaia from the "Marco Polo". US$5
Note: the pictorial postmark of Ushuaia bears the legend of "The Southern Most City in the World" as well as the 4 main stars of the Southern Cross.
MARCO 7. 2000 (January 28th) Envelope postmarked Ushuaia for departure of "Marco Polo". US$8
Note: This was the start of "Marco Polo's" Grand Antarctic Cruise for 2000 where the vessel left Ushuaia and visited a series of Antarctic bases and scenic areas before ending up in Lyttelton on the 20th February, 2000. After postmarking the envelope has been carried by hand on board the vessel and is Back stamped on arrival at Christchurch on 21st February, 2000. The cover has been autographed at the foot by Peter Hillary, son of Sir Edmund Hillary the famous Mountaineer and Antarctic explorer. Peter Hillary in 1999 led the Iridium Ice trek team to the South Pole. He was one of the noted Antarctic personalities on board the "Marco Polo" during her Grand Antarctic Cruise.
This view is of the Lemaire Channel one of the cruising highlights on the way from Deception Island to Port Lockroy.
MARCO 8. 2000 (February 3rd) Postcard posted at Bellinghausen Russian Base by "Marco Polo" US$10
Note: The "Marco Polo"called at the Russian "Bellinghausen" base on the 3rd of February, 2000. The postcard bears the Russian base's datestamp at left but bears Chilean stamps and has been posted out through the nearby "Eduardo Frei" Antarctic Base on the same date. The picture side shows a view of the vessel in Antarctic waters. The postcard has also been autographed by Peter Hillary, one of the VIP's on board the vessel.
MARCO 9. 2000 (February 11th) Postcard posted at Scott Base by "Marco Polo" US$8
Note: The above postcard is a new view card available to passengers on board the vessel. When the "Marco Polo" arrived in McMurdo Sound most passengers went ashore by zodiac to McMurdo Base but the American Post Office was closed at the time owing to staff being involved with off-loading the supply ship "Green Wave" which was also in Port. Only a limited number of tourists including those with New Zealand Passports were allowed to visit the nearby Scott Base where it was possible to post mail.
The view at right shows the "Marco Polo" arriving at Lyttelton on Sunday, the 20th February, 2000 after completing its Grand Antarctic Cruise from Ushuaia.
The vessel has just turned around helped by the tug and is about to berth at Cashin Quay.
MARCO 10. 2000 (February 21st) Envelope from "Marco Polo" posted paquebot at Christchurch. US$8
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