MTS Marco Polo, then Aquamarine, Odysseus & Lucky Star

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With Reuben Goossens

Maritime Historian, Cruise‘n’Ship Reviewer, Author & Maritime Lecturer

Please Note: All ssMaritime and other related maritime/cruise sites are 100% non-commercial and privately owned. Be assured that I am NOT associated with any shipping or cruise companies or any travel/cruise agencies or any other organisations! Although the author has been in the passenger shipping industry since 1960, although is now retired but having completed over 700 Classic Liners and Cargo-Passengers Ships features I trust these will continue to provide classic ship enthusiasts the information the are seeking, but above all a great deal of pleasure! Reuben Goossens.


The delightful MTS Odysseus, which had served in Australia as the popular Marco Polo previously!

Please Note: All photographs are from the author’s private collection, unless mentioned otherwise!

Photograph by & © Chris Taylor


Page Two

The Commercial Bank of Greece attempted to sell the ship, but each attempt failed, thus they decided to take bring the MTS Aquamarine home to Greece departing Hong Kong on July 1981, and upon arrival she was laid up at Eleusis Bay near Piraeus and there she remained until 1988. Thus this superb cruise ship remained idle for seven long years!

A New life as the MTS Odysseus:

The Aquamarine was finally purchased in 1988 by the famous Greek Shipping company that commenced in 1850, being the famed Epirotiki Steamship Co, later known as Epirotiki Cruises and they renamed her MTS Odysseus.

They took her to Perama where she was comprehensively refitted, which included the extension of her aft superstructure up to the stern, as well as brand new cabins being added between the radar mast and the funnel.

Her interiors were greatly modernised with her décor being designed by the famed and a man who was considered as being a genius Mr. Arminio Lozzi. Her accommodation was slightly increased to 454 passengers based on a twin bedded basis or 496 using all berths. Her cabins where delightfully modern, bright and airy and well furnished offering every possible comfort of a modern cruise ship. Upon completion, she was officially listed as 12,000 GRT (Gross Registered Tons). She passengers were looked after by an able crew of 200.

Let us look at her interiors:

The Odysseus Bridge



Left: the Main Lounge - Right: the Restaurant 



Typical twin bedded cabins 



Left: the Swimming Pool - Right: One of the many Cocktail Bars


The Aft Decks of the Odysseus taken during a cruise in August to Egypt August 1992

Photograph by & © Don Ravey


Quite some time ago I received an email from Mr. Chris Taylor, who was kind enough to supply a number of fine photographs of the Epirotiki cruise ship, MTS Odysseus as he sailed on her from 1990 to 1991 around South Africa, Comoros, Seychelles, Madagascar, Mozambique, worked as part of the ships Entertainment crew with such duties as a DJ, Comedian, but also as one of the children Entertainer’s.

He visited ports such as; Athens, Suez Canal, Post Said, Seychelles, Male, Fregate, Praslin, Aldabra Atoll, Comoros, Grand Comore, Anjouan, Madagascar, Nosy Be, Mozambique, Maputo & South Africa’s, Durban. I will be presenting his excellent photographs on Page Three!

 MTS Odysseus seen in 1995

Photograph by & © Mike Godden

A New Livery and the Company merges with a Name Change:

On December 1, 1995, a merger took place between Epirotiki and Sun Line, giving birth to a new company named Royal Olympic Cruises (ROC), and the Odysseus was considered within the high range in the new overall fleet, and thus the Odysseus became the flagship of ROC. Her exteriors once again took on a new look as her hull and funnel were painted dark blue. She returned to her previous cruise program. Later she undertook a number of Scandinavia cruises during the summer.

After the Epirotiki and Sun Line merger, Odysseus hull was painted in the new Royal Olympic livery

MTS Odysseus with her new dark blue hull certainly looked very attractive indeed as it seemed to give her a more balanced profile showing off her classic lines. Her passengers loved her vast deck spaces, be it under cover or open air for the sun lovers. She had two spacious teak-decked Promenades, ideal as walking areas, which includes a covered jogging track below the promenade.

A warm and pleasing Mediterranean décor is featured throughout the ship. In addition Odysseus also features an excellent collection of art. Most lounges are located on Promenade Deck. Two decks down the popular Marine Club and covered deck is located just aft of the Dinning Room.

MTS Odysseus Interiors- after 1995:

This is the very large Main Lounge and at night the Showroom and one of the dance venues

Photograph by & © Michael Hipler


This is the delightful Naiades Cocktail Lounge

Photograph by & © Michael Hipler


The Library was very cosy indeed


The elegant Restaurant


Looking along the starboard side of Apollo Deck to aft


 A delightful photo of the Odysseus at night in Turkey

Photographer unknown – *Please read the Photo notes at the bottom of the page!

Odysseus was a delightful smaller cruise ship that offered a traditional environment. The minute passengers stepped onboard her, they knew that they had arrived in a unique world that only a true ocean-going liner could provide, for she simply oozed a maritime atmosphere, with her covered promenades and those delightful interiors. But sadly the days of ships such as this are being lost and replaced by huge hideous square boxes that look more like building and Condo’s (Apartments bocks) that ships! Inside they are more like hotels or Island Resorts, or huge shopping malls, simply hideous, but all that is so very American, they love all that rubbish! They do not have our history of traditional shipping, except for a few ships of note!

The ever reliable and beautiful MTS Odysseus

Lucky Star

However, Royal Olympic Cruises was forced to change their name by the Olympic Council and they became ‘Royal Olympia Cruises,’ but soon enough due to a woeful management, they were heading for financial troubles. The Odysseus that was still mint, she as well as several other ships of the Epirotiki fleet were all laid up in 2003. Then, MTS Odysseus re-entered service for a short time, but she was soon laid up again. In 2004 the company was wound up and went into liquidation.

The Odysseus is seen laid up at Piraeus in 2004

She was sold by auction and was purchased once again very cheaply by Mantovana Holdings Ltd, a V-Ships subsidiary company, and was leased to Everis Capital Holdings to be operated as a casino cruise ship to operate out of Singapore. Below is a photograph of her, which was taken during her refit into a casino ship in Greece, where her main lounges became casino venues and only certain lounges remained as venues to relax and bars, etc. But throughout the ship, there hundreds of slot machines, even in the lobbies and hallways and on the promenade decks. She was renamed, Lucky Star. However, not too many of her passengers would end up to be very lucky, I am sure!

MS Lucky Star being refitted as a Casino cruise ship in Greece

Photograph used with thanks -

At completion, she headed for Singapore, where she was based and she operated 3, 4 or 7 night gambling cruises, but most would take the shorter option, as Singaporeans and nearby Malaysians would not be able to obtain long breaks or holidays!

For me personally, it is always so sad to see such a delightful cruise ship to end up as a lousy casino ship, for the truth is that frequently casino ships are generally poorly maintained and managed. However, many feel that her days were numbered and that she would be sold to be broken up in the near future!

Why did I and other maritime experts think this? Mainly because of the new SOLAS regulations that were due to come in, but personally I felt that she would go even sooner. Well, that is I felt at the time, unless someone decided to obtain her and use her as a hotel ship, but of course this never happened! But all too soon she was laid up at anchor and was on the market.

The Lucky Star still looking beautiful, is seen in lay-up and for sale

Photographer unknown - *Please read the Photo notes at the bottom of the page!

In April 2008 the sad news arrived that the Lucky Star had been sold to Indian Breakers and that she had already arrived in India and been beached at Alang. Apparently for her final voyage to Alang she was renamed “Lucky,” being a strange name for a ship that was doomed!

Regardless of her various guises, one of the most poplar versions will always be as the MTS Marco Polo 1969 to 1978.

Wonderful Memories of the MTS Marco Polo seen in 1977



Page One                Princesa Isabel - Later: MTS Marco Polo, Aquamarine & Lucky Star.


Page Two                  Odysseus - Later: Lucky Star & Lucky.


Page Three              Odysseus Photo Page & Deck Plan.


Page Four                Princesa Leopoldina. Later: MV Coral Princess & Millennium Queen & Millennium.





“Blue Water Liners sailing to the distant shores.
I watched them come, I watched them go and I watched them die.”



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Please Note: ssmaritime and associated sites are 100% non-commercial and the author does not seek funding or favours and never have and never will.

Photographs on ssmaritime and associate pages are either by the author or from the author’s private collection. In addition there are some images and photographs that have been provided by Shipping Companies or private photographers or collectors. Credit is given to all contributors, however, there are some photographs provided to me without details regarding the photographer or owner concerned. Therefore, I hereby invite if owners of these images would be so kind to make them-selves known to me (my email address can be found at the bottom of the page on, in order that due credit may be given.

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