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Home: Welcome


The Society for lovers of modern cruise ships, ferries as well as the classic liners of old that transported people around the world before the advent of affordable jet aircraft travel.

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We are delighted to invite you to our joint venture with the Institute of Mechanical Engineers called “Shieldhall, Tour and Sailing”.

Steaming down Southampton Water to the Solent, passing the cruise ships in berth. We will enjoy the colourful spectacle, of this popular annual event, the yachts racing at Cowes Week. As part of your cruise, see the impressive engine room with its original steam engines, and the bridge.

Saturday 27th  July 2024, 10:00 am sailing time.

Southampton Docks, Berth 110

Tickets are available to members/non-members, and are available from the Institutes’s website:

For more information please contact:

Robert McGregor. email:

Conference in Rotterdam


There is a two-day conference on board the S.S.Rotterdam in the city of Rotterdam on 8 and 9 October 2024.
The speakers include Captain Aseem Hashmi, Master of Queen Mary 2, Stephen Payne and other distinguished experts.
Subjects range from navigating the QM2, the creation of the new French cruise line, cruise ship design, saving the Rotterdam, and Dutch liners.
The programme will be updated here as it develops.

The rates for the two day conference and the price of accommodation in Euros are as follows:-
• Conference for 2 days €175 (or for 1 day €100).
• One night stay on board S.S.Rotterdam €155 (superior room) in/ex single use incl breakfast; two night stay €150 in/ex single use incl breakfast per night. Excluding 6.5% city tax, to be added.
• Gala Dinner on board on the evening of Tuesday 8 October €250 per person.
Full information and the portal for bookings is at:

Home: About


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The Ocean Liner Society is a non-profit organisation.

Our members celebrate the passenger ship in its many forms. Whether your interest is the liners of yesteryear, the cruise ships of today, or ferries, the society has something for all.

Members include employees of major shipping companies, authors and ship buffs, inveterate travellers and armchair sailors.

Members receive the superb quarterly magazine Sea Lines - 48 colour pages of detailed articles by noted maritime authors on ocean liners and cruises ships, plus all the latest passenger ship news.  Your membership includes:

  • 4 issues of Sea Lines (worth the price alone!)

  • The opportunity to join the ship visits mailing list and join some visits (subject to the terms and conditions shown)

  • Discount on back issues of Sea Lines

  • The opportunity to join group cruises and zoom meetings with other enthusiasts

Membership applications are accepted all year round. You can join online with PayPal (please use the button under the appropriate membership rate and include your postal address for the magazine mailing). Alternatively, you can download the membership form to post to us with a sterling cheque or with credit card details it can be scanned and returned. When renewing your membership by PayPal we used to ask you to put your membership number in the 'Add message', option on the PayPal checkout window - we seem to have lost that facility in a recent upgrade, so until we can find another way, an email to membership (below) to say you have done it would be handy.

Email regarding membership:-
Join us (or renew if you are an existing member) through PayPal: Membership costs are:


£23 for UK members



£26 for European members




£30 Worldwide members (outside Europe)

with magazine sent by airmail.

If you prefer, you can download a form, fill it out, post it with a sterling cheque or include your card details and post or scan/email it back to us.

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When we held 'in person' London talks, we suggested a donation to cover the room hire and equipment costs. If you enjoy our talks (through a Zoom license we have to pay for) please consider making an online donation through PayPal.

You can decide the amount of your donation yourself. If you don't like PayPal you can send a sterling cheque to Mayes House (address at bottom of the site).

Thank you.

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All Zoom meetings commence at 7.00 pm and finish by 9.00 pm (UK time UTC in November to March and BST in the British summer - April to October).

The talks we provided by Zoom during the Covid months were a boon to many who would otherwise not be able to attend. In this respect, Covid created a 'happy accident'. There are four or five times the number of members we had in Farringdon/Blackfriars in London). We now have speakers from both coasts of America and various parts of Europe and attendees getting up at very early hours in the Antipodes.  Some who are not “Zoom enabled” miss the London talks, but overall the gains of our forced switch to Zoom outweigh the losses. We will maintain the Tuesday monthly talks in this format and not go hybrid. 


Following on from the success of  ‘Canberra  Day'  in Southampton in July 2022, we are keen to develop this idea and would  like to create similar events to bring the social side together, perhaps about another ship or shipping  line.  Southampton and Alton in Hampshire have proved to be a good locations with a suitable venues and convenient for many members.  However we would also like to consider other places in the UK, subject to being able to find a suitable and viable venue. We welcome suggestions from members for possible locations and subjects.

Details to help members get Zoom-enabled appeared in Sea Lines 100 and an edited version is repeated here.

To attend a talk please email a request for a link to David Trevor-Jones:
In the subject line of the email please write:
‘ALL’ - if you wish to attend every meeting
put the code below for a specific meeting in the heading (e.g. ‘OLS 16 Jan 24’).

Please request one meeting or ‘ALL’ per email, to help David manage your request.

These talks have been extremely popular. Please get your requests in early and only request links for meetings that you can join, as you may be denying someone else the chance to attend. Please also note that email links will be sent out from the weekend before, up to 6pm the day before the meeting. Responses to requests after 6 pm the day before the meeting cannot be guaranteed. If the email is not in your inbox, please check your junk folder.
In the email you will find an invitation to ‘Join Zoom Meeting’ with a long html link, which you should click.
With the link there will also be a ‘Meeting ID’ and a ‘Passcode’. You should not need to use those but, if
the link does not work, they provide an alternative way of getting into the meeting via the ‘Join’ button
in your Zoom Client home window. Please allow 10 minutes prior to the meeting start time to go through
the link and to allow for any technical issues. The host will admit attendees to the meeting prior to 7.00 pm.
For further information or programme changes or announcements check back here.

Subject to be confirmed
Peter Knego
Tuesday 20th August 2024

Apply for a link to stating OLS 20Aug 24
Leading maritime historian, author, collector and web film-maker Peter Kengo takes time out from his exceptionally busy sailing schedule to give us talk but at the time of writing the title and topic have yet to be finalised.  Keep an eye on the talks page on the Society’s website for news or just take a chance.  Peter’s talks are invariably fascinating, taking us aboard ships that most of us could not dream of experiencing.

Subject to be confirmed
Speaker to be confirmed
Tuesday 17th September 2024

Apply for a link to stating OLS 17Sep24
At the time of writing the speaker and topic have yet to be finalised.  Keep an eye on the talks page on the Society’s website for news or just take a chance and see where the mystery voyage takes us.

Subject to be confirmed
Speaker to be confirmed
Tuesday 15th October 2024

Apply for a link to stating OLS 15Oct24
At the time of writing the speaker and topic have yet to be finalised.  Keep an eye on the talks page on the Society’s website for news or just take a chance and see where the mystery voyage takes us.

M.S.Europa (1981)
Dr Stefan Behn
Tuesday 19th November 2024

Apply for a link to stating OLS 19Nov24
Dr Behn is one of Germany’s leading shipping historians and a former Executive Board Member of the Port of Hamburg Harbour Authority (HHLA).  His detailed knowledge of German-operated and especially of German-built passenger ships is unmatched and he brings special insight into the story of Europa of 1981, perhaps best known in the UK as Saga’s Sapphire.

An insider’s view of the cruise industry’s 2024
Mike Deegan
Tuesday 17th December

Apply for a link to stating OLS 17Dec 24
Mike Deegan, Head of Fleet Operations at Noble Caledonia, has expertly briefed us on the catastrophic effect of the pandemic and the recovery of the cruise industry from the operators’ perspective. Now the ‘new normal’ is in place and bookings are bouyant there are new challenges to the cruise industry. Mike will entertain rather than depress us with his authoritative overview looking back on the past year and forward to the future for the industry.

Sea Lines


is our 48 page quarterly publication posted to members. Contact the editor:
Click the button to download the back catalogue and order form (pdf). Recent issues are highlighted below:

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ISSUE 115- SUMMER 2024

The summer issue features the new Carnival Celebration that is notable because it celebrates 50 years of the Carnival Brand.  Clive Harvey completes the review of the postwar trio of Orient Line ships with an article on the 1948 Orcades, the first with a revolutionary arrangement of deck spaces and bridge location.  The third main article is about a former Turkish ferry rebuilt as a luxurious small cruising vessels now plying Scottish waters and called Lord of the Highlands, registered in Inverness. There follows the usual article on the cruise ship and ferry news around the world, and news of the revised and relocated Ship Show on 16th November 2024 and group cruise ideas.

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ISSUE 114 - SPRING 2024

The spring issue features the largest cruise ship in the world (at the time of writing) as Icon of the Seas debuts and our correspondent, Matthew,  reviews this massive vessel with a gross tonnage not far off a quarter of a million grt. Another key article notes the conversion of the former HAL Maasdam and creation of a new operation called Compagnie Francaise de Croisières and the re-named an extensively refitted ship is called  Renaissance. The first article in the magazine notes how small ships sometimes became yachts for the rich and famous and how the process continues (and sometimes stalls) with some smaller ships awaiting a new life with new owners.

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ISSUE 113 - WINTER 2024

The cover picture shows the Finnsirius nosing into port and the article comments that she is about as far as a sterotypical ro-pax as one can get. The historical feature showcases the last Orient Line ship in the postwar rebuilding programme, the 1954 Orsova.  The (reasonably) big new ship this time is 144,000gt Disney Wish, a ship that carries 4000 passengers in 1254 cabins and shows how the company has developed since the first pair arrived over 25 years ago. Finally there is a report on the Society cruise in late 2023 on Ambassador's Ambition that went to Begium and French Christmas Markets. There is Porthole, talks schedule and cruise ideas to complete the edition together eis some upcoming live, in-person events.

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The cover picture of the 1912 built Wilhelm Than on the Göta Canal heralds a most interesting article by William Mayes about a passage he made on the vessel in May 2023. There is a four page article about the Sagafjord that ended her days as Saga Rose before falling foul of the SOLAS changes in 2010. The new ship this issue is the luxury end of the MSC operation with the first of their fleet under the Explora banner.   Albert Schoonderbeek completes the story of the six Statendams and Jacques Letard records the movement in St Nazaire from dry dock to fitting out berth of the almost complete Celebrity Ascent. Porthole, talks schedule and cruise ideas complete the edition.

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ISSUE 111 - SUMMER 2023

The cover shows (part of  the)  new MSC World Europa in Genoa and the main 12 page article reviews the ship.  Michael Gallagher explores some of the forays into the American market by Cunard with various associates.  Our Chairman and Editor samples the unlikely named Margaritaville at Sea Paradise which has a cocktail theme. She started life as Costa Classica (1991). There follows a detailed history of the interiors of Holland America Line's six Statendams This issue deals with the first three. The book review is on the Olympic Titanic Britannic: the anatomy and evolution of the Olympic class by Simon Mills.

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ISSUE 110 - SPRING 2023

The cover is a give-away that the feature article is about the Havila ships that have taken some of the slots on the coastal service in Norway, once the preserve of the Hurtigruten brand. There follows the second part of the Oranje story when this Dutch liner became the Angelina Lauro. A report on the OLS group cruise on Ambassador's Ambience in December 2022 follws and then there is the second part of the round-up of Covid 19 casualties. This time it is the ones that took on new roles and new names after leaving their pre-pandemic employment. The book review is on Lusitania to QE2 - The Great Clyde-Built Ships by Bruce Peter

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ISSUE 102 - SPRING 2021

This issue features two different cruise reports on voyages around Cuba in recent years and the front cover shows Celestyal Crystal at Maria la Gorda. The other Cuba report is on the short-lived fathom operation using P&O's Adonia. History fans are treated to the first part of the story, by Clive Harvey, of the ss President Roosevelt. This first part covers the story from starting the ship's career as the troop  transport General W. P. Richardson (AP-118) then as LaGuardia on service to the Mediterranean and finally as Leilani on a tourist class service to Hawaii. The second part will be published in a future edition when the American President Line took her over.

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ISSUE 109 - WINTER 2023

This issue features the new Norwegian Prima with an article by Matthew Sudders followed by a report about Clive Harvey's experience of being catapulted into the role of on-board speaker (with added razor wire through the Red Sea) on part of what turned out to be Boudicca's final voyage. The historical article this time is the first part of a two-part account of the career of Oranje that became Angelina Lauro.  There is run down of the casualties of the Covid pandemic listing the data on ships that went to the breakers. There is the usual 'Through the Porthole' with the recent ship news.

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ISSUE 108 - AUTUMN 2022

The cover shows the new guise of the ship that once served remote islands in the South Atlantic. It has been re-purposed to carry electric racing cars, their teams and other passengers in considerable luxury. Our correspondent experienced a very short initial voyage and reports on the metamorphosis.  There is an article about the Mercy Ships, particularly the introduction of Global Mercy. Anthony Cooke writes about four Israeli ships of state and what they became. There is a short report on the Society's Canberra Day in July and the usual news heard 'Through the Porthole'.

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ISSUE 107 - SUMMER 2022

Costa Europa appears on the cover and her career is reviewed as she heads for scap at Aliaga after an interesting career from her start as Homeric then Westerdam through to her final phase as Thomson / Marella Dream.  The lead article is about the evolution of Baltic cruise ferries and features the Viking Glory. There is also a trip down memory lane with a fascinating article by Laurence Miller on old liners recalled.

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ISSUE 106 - SPRING 2022

Sun Viking gets a tribute in this issue and follows her story through to her final guise as Oriental Dragon in Hong Kong. The Rise and Fall of Star Cruises follows with a history by Matthew Sudders. A first impression of Iona is followed by a short article on a hybrid LNG battery powered ferry, Color Hybrid which operates between Sandefjord and Stromstad.

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ISSUE 105 - WINTER 2022

The front cover features the Saga Saphire and Clive Harvey recalls his impressions of this ship that started life as the luxurious Europa. Chris Mason recalls his 1965 cruise on the 1954 John Brown built Arcadia and notes all the other ships that P&O has operated that have carried that name.  The new ship featured in this issue is the sailing cruise ship Golden Horizon and there is a short article recalling the 2001 Panama Canal transit by member Gavin Harper in QE2. There is the regular report of shipping news which includes a summary of the major scrappings, sales, and other changes to passenger ships.

Ship Show, group cruises & visits

Most years we host a Ship Show. When it is possible to get a group booking together a party will go to sea. When we can once more get on board a ship in port, we will re-start a programme of ship visits.

Ship Show, cruises & visits


Each year we try to hold a show in where traders in ocean liner books, models, paintings, artefacts and memorabilia gather. An integral part of the day is a pair of lectures by notable speakers - usually around lunchtime.

We haved found a new venue to try. We have booked the Alton Community Centre  for Saturday 16th November 2024. More details will be posted here as plans for the day are developed.




Our late summer 2024 cruise will be on Celestyal Journey. Acquired by Celestyal Cruises in early 2023, the former Ryndam, and later P&O Australia’s Pacific Aria, is a significant upgrade for Celestyal Cruises, bringing a wider variety of cabin types, restaurants, bars and entertainment space; she will sail from Piraeus in Greece. Our chosen itinerary is the seven-night Idyllic Aegean, departing on 7 September 2024. Our ports will be Thessaloniki, Kusadasi (for Ephesus), Heraklion (for Knossos), Santorini, Mykonos and Milos, before returning to Piraeus on 14 September.

Nominated overseas cruise in 2025. Mein Schiff Relax
For 2025, the Ocean Liner Society is once again proposing a group cruise overseas in the form of a nominated sailing on a ship that would not normally be considered by the English speaking market. We will sail on the first of the new class of TUI ships – Mein Schiff Relax.
Departing Palma, Majorca on 4 May 2025 for a seven-night Western Mediterranean itinerary, featuring an initial overnight in Palma, followed by calls at Cannes, Marseille and Barcelona, with two sea days.


The Ocean Liner Society, until the COVID 19 crisis overtook us, operated a programme of ship visits for members.  Our Visits organiser has now stepped down, so if you have good organisational skills and like dealing with people this could be an ideal way to expand your horizons, so please consider taking on (all or part of) this important role. We particularly need a Ship Visit Liaison Officer - someone who can talk to the shipping companies and persuade them that it would be in their interest to have OLS members visit their vessel. We have got some people who could administer the visit and the ballots, if it is too much for one person, but we must find a persuasive and persistent person to open up the opportunities for us.


We also need people to help us organise more 'in person' events. We need one or two tech savvy individuals who can run Membership and help hosting the Zoom talks (including distributing Zoom access details).


In respect of Sea Lines layout, we have no backup at present, so in the event of someone falling ill, having people who could ghost the present team for now, perhaps sub edit or see how layout is done who could take over in the event of one of the team falling ill. We feel that would be a wise precaution.  The software used is Adobe InDesign on a Mac and we have a template with design and styles saved, so it is a task of placing pictures, text and captions every three months and then doing corrections after proof reading and getting it to the printers. 'How to’ notes already exist.

Please apply to:

Group Cruises
Ship Visits & Tech.
Our Mission


Sea Lines Magazine - Ship Visits -  Talks - Ship Show - Group Cruises

For some people there is a fascination with the glamour of the days when ships with tall raked smoke stacks were the only way to cross to the Americas. Museums and magazines have a small area devoted to this fascinating and absorbing aspect of shipping. How often does the student or browser enthralled by the passenger ship have to deal with naval vessels and coastal craft, barges and navigation instruments? This Society is for those who want to go straight to the heart of  passenger ship story - and that includes ferries.

Some people develop romantic interests in the mail services to far flung colonies, the regular services that linked countries and whole empires together. Some remember cargo liners that also carried passengers. Many members developed their interest in ships after working at sea or taking holidays on liners taking time off from voyages and doing summer cruises. Indeed, cruising and how it is changing is a key interest to hundreds of our members. The Society is for those interested in all passenger carrying vessels - from the age of sail right through to the present and what lies ahead.

The Ocean Liner Society is a focus for those primarily interested in ships that undertook line voyages, how they changed into cruising ships and the cruise ships that take us to sea in the 21st century. Based in Britain, the Society has links with learned and knowledgeable writers, researchers and has members all over the world. Whether you are fascinated by the Australian, New Zealand and Pacific services of P&O or Orient Line, Royal Mail Line services to South America, the German greyhounds, Canadian or European liners plying the St Lawrence, Portuguese ships serving Africa, the services to the Cape or the grand Italian liners and more .... the Society has something for you.

Whether you just want to get more out of your cruise holidays or have a passion for other aspects of shipping (such as the celebrities who sailed in them) or the lives of ordinary people touched by the experience of travelling or working on passenger ships, the Society can help you develop your interest.

The passenger ship is a developing and living thing. They have changed from an uncomfortable but necessary form of transportation to a highly developed leisure vehicle. We are in exciting times as new tonnage is now being delivered which once more outstrips the superlatives of the "golden age" some 80 years ago.

Please note: we do not employ seagoing staff and we regret we do not have the resources to undertake research into voyages and ship history for you.



To contact us, if you prefer paper, use one of the addresses below (the Windsor address is quicker - the other covers the event of recipients changing). If you prefer email for contacting us, use the most appropriate from the following options:

Postal address: Ocean Liner Society, Mayes House, Vansittart Estate, Windsor, SL4 1SE.
or our forwarding service at: The Ocean Liner Society, 27 Old Gloucester Street, London WC1N 3XX, United Kingdom

We also have a Facebook group (link below), but we hope you will join the Society for full benefits and Sea Lines.

At the smaller end of the shipping spectrum, there is the preserved paddle steamer Waverley.  She starts in Scotland, works her way down the West Coast to the Bristol Channel, then back to Glasgow for August and then via the south west and south coast through September visiting  the south east and London in the late summer / early autumn. 

For those not contemplating a full cruise, the experience of this delightful little ship, the last sea-going paddle steamer, is well worth the effort to book a trip. A click on the image of Waverley here will take you to the web site about the ship and from there you can buy excursions on this characterful vessel.

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