The Society for lovers of
ships that carry people around their world

Queen Mary 2
Queen Mary 2

- arguably the only current ocean liner

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IBERIA at Capetown in January 1968
IBERIA at Capetown in January 1968

- the closure of the Suez canal in 1967 forced a different route

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French Line's Normandie
French Line's Normandie

- was this THE classic liner of the 20th century? Our Society decided it was in a poll.

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Queen Mary 2
Queen Mary 2

- arguably the only current ocean liner

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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 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:- oceanlinersociety.membership@gmail.com
Join us (or renew if you are an existing member) through PayPal: Membership costs are:
£20 for UK members

£24 for European members


£27 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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At our 'in person' London talks, we suggest 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.


All meetings commence at 7.00 pm and finish by 9.00 pm (UK time UTC in winter and BST in summer).

Talks now online by Zoom until we can resume in person with an ability to stream.

We hope to recommence our London talks programme in January and we need to test whether our last venue can support streaming. Until then we will schedule Zoom-only talks. The huge, supportive, response to our adventures into Zooming has convinced us that we must continue with the programme when our venue reopens, and we are investigating the technology that will facilitate that.

As Sea Lines is our primary medium for informing members of the talks, and news of our venue, we will not resume real meetings until it can be announced in the magazine. So, for now, the Zoom-only programme will be organised and announced in quarterly batches.
Details to help members get Zoom-enabled first 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 18 Jan 22’).

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.

An insider’s view of the cruise industry’s 2021  - Mike Deegan
Tuesday 21st December: Apply for a link to david.trevorjones@outlook.com stating OLS 21 Dec 21
Mike Deegan, Head of Fleet Operations at Noble Caledonia, has viewed the catastrophic effect of the pandemic on the cruise industry and the confusion as travel restrictions have been lifted from the operators’ perspective. His own Company’s fleet has seen some exciting, rather unconventional deployments. He will survey the return of cruising and some of the new ships, and will look forward to the future for the industry.

Travels in 2021 - Bill Mayes
Tuesday 18th January 2022: Apply for a link to david.trevorjones@outlook.com stating OLS 18 Jan 22
Our current plan is for this to be a combination of live meeting and zoomcast from the Foundry
Room, St Brides Foundation, 14 Bride Lane, off Fleet Street, London EC4Y 8EQ. Please check here for confirmation nearer the time. With the UK Government allowing a cautious resumption of cruising in May, tonight’s programme will look at how UK cruising restarted and the trips that out Chairman managed to achieve during the year. There will also be a look at the ships that were lost as a result of the pandemic and those that
changed hands. By way of contrast we will also see some historical trips from the recently scanned part
of the speaker’s slide collection.



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

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The autumn issue features a major review of the first Virgin Voyages ship Scarlet Lady and is written in the context of how everything Virgin does shakes up the status quo. One of the new Fred. Olsen ships, Borealis,  is reviewed by a Captain who knows her intimately in her former life as Rotterdam of HAL and notes changes made. The long-lived Doulos, now a hotel ship on land, has her interesting history set out and the book review this quarter is about Bruce Peter's 'Danish Design at Sea'. There follows the usual article on the cruise ship and ferry news around the world. 

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ISSUE 103 - SUMMER 2021

The summer issue features the second part of Clive Harvey's  story of the ss President Roosevelt which ended her life as the Ocean Explorer I. The editor reports on a return to cruising after Covid on the brand new Viking Venus in May 2021, with all the measures the cruise company implemented to keep guests safe.  The R ships were a fleet that failed and the fate of all eight ships is plotted and notes where they all ended up.  Anthony Lunn explains how he got fascinated by liners and three book reviews precede the usual article on the cruise ship and ferry news around the world. 

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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 101 - WINTER 2021

Issue 101 has on its cover the 'Festival of Britain' Orient line ship, the middle one of the post-war trio, ss Oronsay. Inside Chris Mason recalls sailing in her on the day England won the World Cup in 1966 and his cruise as a teenager. Also featured are articles on the Alaska Marine Highway,  how Holland America responded to the Covid 19 crisis and a new, larger ship in the Mein Schiff fleet at 315m long. There is a book review on a volume about how Britanny Ferries developed as a brand, plus some rather different ship news in 'Through the Porthole'.

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Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have published all our new ship reports but we have a wealth of material to expand our reviews of liners and other vessels from the past.  Our lead article in the 100th edition is a review of Cruise and Maritime Voyages, which ceased to trade during the pandemic but may arise like a Phoenix. The SS Legacy with US Coastal ships and Amerikanis have short articles but the key historical article is about the Polish ship SS Batory by Anthony Cooke. News of laid-up ships is in Through the Porthole. There is also news of our new venture to stream talks from November 2020.

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ISSUE 99 - SUMMER 2020

Before COVID 19 struck our intrepid new ship reporter Matthew Sudders got a short trip on the new Hurtigruten ship Fridtjof Nansen and we report on that taster voyage. Sea Cloud features on the cover as a private yacht and a report on her current life as a sailing cruise ship is the main feature. Clive Harvey then tells the story of the Conte Biancamano
& Conte Grande of Lloyd Sabaudo that were absorbed into Italia or Italian Line in 1932. The usual ship news is there and the hoped-for Society cruise in 2021 (now canceled).

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ISSUE 98 - SPRING 2020

This issue features the new Costa Smeralda with a report by Matthew Sudders followed by a report on the 2019 OLS society cruise on Phoenix Reisen's new acquisition, Amera which had a long career as HAL's Prinsendam. The historical article this issue is by noted author Anthony Cooke on the history of the Arosa Line.  There is a short article about Stena Estrid and the usual 'Through the Porthole' with the recent ship news and a trailer for the 2021 Society cruise on the CMV Columbus.

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ISSUE 97 - WINTER 2020

The front shows the ss Australis and inside is the recollection of a 20 year old lad from Carnoustie in Scotland when he emigrated on his own on the ship that had been ss America. The new ships are the World Explorer class of expedition ship.  There are reports on a German River Cruise with Riviera on the Jane Austen, the new W B Yeats ferry, and a review of theWolfsonian Collection in Miami.

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The front cover / lead article is about the new SAGA ship Spirit of Discovery, but the issue also includes a report from Clive Harvey of a visit to the preserved steamship Sandnes which is usually found in Stavanger. There is also a review of the new adventure ship Hondius and a fond farewell to P&O's Oriana.

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ISSUE 95 - SUMMER 2019

This issue features on the cover and a key article the Club Med 2 - a floating version of the famous Club Med resorts.  The historical article is about the Greek Line's Arkadia which started life as Monarch of Bermuda and in between was the New Australia. The Costa Venezia is reviewed before she sailed off to eastern waters, and the Magic Carpet of the Celebrity Edge is explored with other features of this new ship.

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ISSUE 94 - SPRING 2019

The front cover / lead article is about the new AIDAnova, this edition reminds readers of the revolutionary 31 knot Finnjet constructed in the mid 1970s with gas turbine engines. The historical article is about the Antilles and Flandre.

Ship Show, group cruises & visits

Most years we host a Ship Show in Southampton. 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.



Each year (pandemics permitting) we hold a show in Southampton where traders in ocean liner books, models, paintings, artefacts and memorabilia gather from 10 – 4 on an autumn Saturday (although we may move to the Spring). We try to have two lectures in a large adjacent room. The 2021 show is over so when plans for the next show are finalised, they will appear here.


The Society’s group cruises in 2022 will be with the new Ambassador Cruise Line. Their ship is called Ambience and we will be on two departures; one in August and the other December 2022. We have sufficient members booked to ensure the promised 5% discount on current fares. There is still time to join us on either one, or both, cruises and we hope our numbers will continue to rise.


For information; 

A) Fjordland, sailing from Tilbury on 25 August 2022, for 7 nights, visiting Eidfjord, Bergen, and Flam and including scenic cruising of three fjords.- most cabin grades remain available, but some have limited capacity.


B) Christmas Markets, from Tilbury on 11 December 2022, for 5 nights, visiting Hamburg and Antwerp including cruising the Rivers Elbe and Scheldt - this is proving very popular and some lower grade cabin categories are sold out. 


Since we announced this itinerary, Ambassador has 'enhanced' it by making it a themed cruise. The theme is Cricket Legends and will include former England captains Graham Gooch, David Gower and Mike Gatting, plus other legends of the sport who will reminisce over their lengthy careers. This theme may attract more interest - or not - but be assured that interaction with the cricket crowd is voluntary and will not influence our OLS group plans.


If you are interested in joining us, we recommend booking promptly to ensure a reasonable chance of securing suitable cabin accommodation.


Booking procedure: Please quote discount code Ocean5. To qualify for 5% Group Discount all bookings must be made with Ambassador Cruise Line on 0808 102 8030. Ambassador will contact you to complete your booking.


If you give the following details to Peter (details below): lead passenger name, number of passengers, telephone number(s), cabin type requested, these details will be passed to Ambassador who will contact you to complete the booking.


Alternatively, contact Ambassador Groups Department on 0808 102 8032 to book. You must quote the Ocean Liner Society. Once booked please email the following to petergodliman@gmail.com: names of passengers booked - booking reference number - cabin number (if known).


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 this important role. Please apply to: ols.sealines@gmail.com.

Ship visits were arranged with the cooperation of the cruise lines and we aimed to secure visits in ports around UK. We cannot guarantee any ship visits but we strive to secure several each year. Given the pandemic and its effect on the cruise industry, we are at present unsure if and when visits will resume. Children are not permitted to attend our ship visits.

Ship visits, when arranged, are announced by email to all members who have registered their interest in the programme, to the Membership Secretary.


New members should fill out ship visit preferences (if they want visits) when joining. Existing members amending their preferences should do so through the membership email or using a fresh membership form (button in 'About Us', above) and sending in by post or emailing a scan to: oceanlinersociety.membership@gmail.com


Each announcement includes instructions on how to apply. Our ship visits are extremely popular and usually result in places being allocated by ballot, drawn shortly after the stated closing date for each visit. Some cruise lines charge a fee for a ship visit which will be in addition to our administration fee, (currently £5 per person). The ship visits co-ordinator ( handing over and new) can be contacted at olsshipvisits@gmail.com

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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:

These are more reliable than the occasionally monitored 'Let's Chat!' facility on this site.

Note : Our former @ocean-liner-society.com email addresses have ceased to work, so the above addresses are replacements. We apologise for the inconvenience caused;  if you have tried to contact us on the failed ones, please try again with the addresses above.

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.

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