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

Home: Welcome


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:
£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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Home: About



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.

An insider’s view of the cruise industry’s 2023 - Mike Deegan

Tuesday 19th December

Apply for a link to stating OLS 19 Dec 23

Mike Deegan, Head of Fleet Operations at Noble Caledonia, has expertly briefed us on the catastrophic effect of the pandemic on the cruise industry from the operators’ perspective. Now the financial fall-out and cost of living crisis present yet further 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.


Cruising and voyaging in 2023 - Bill Mayes

Tuesday 16th January 2024

Apply for a link to stating OLS 16 Jan 24

Our chairman usually manages to fit in a good number of cruises and ferry crossings each year, and 2023 was no exception, with another two ‘must do’ trips successfully removed from the list. One of the world’s largest cruise ships, one of the smallest (and oldest) and several in between will feature as we spend some time in Scandinavia, Greenland and the Mediterranean.

Ships of Splendour: 100 years of ocean liners - Bill Miller
Tuesday 20th February 2024

Apply for a link stating OLS 20 Feb 24
Never a speaker to shrink from a challenge, the indefatigable Bill Miller selects 150 or so passenger ships from 1923 to 2023 in photographs from his collection and provides comments, even slight ones, on each.
An ocean liner feast of images and stories is promised.

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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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 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.

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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.

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.

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. The 2023 show had to be deferred as Southampton Council have closed the car parks adjacent to the Masonic Hall that we have used in recent years and until works altering the area are complete we will not know if it is possible for traders to comfortably unload and later pack up. We haved found a new venue to try.  We are sorry that we were not able bring a Southampton Ship Show to you in 2023 but 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.


Following the success of a 2022 Christmas Markets cruise aboard Ambience, a group of members took their second ship, Ambition, to give it a try. The group set out for six nights on 26th November sailing from Tilbury to Zebrugge, Rouen and Honfleur, . Rouen’s Christmas Market was expected to be open so there appeared to be an opportunity to try a French Christmas market.  


Several Society members will be on the first seven night cruise on Cunard's new Queen Anne sailing 23rd June 2024 heading for Norway.


Our second proposed 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.


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:

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 sure when the former range of companies will allow visits to start again, but Ambassador led the way with a visit to Ambience in July 2022.  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:


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

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Group Cruises
Ship Visits
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.

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