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

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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ss Canberra at anchor
ss Canberra at anchor

- flagship of the P&O fleet and running mate of Oriana

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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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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.


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 Bristish 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.  We are anxious to get people together for talks again and to stream them, but we are considering a revival of Weekend Specials (with catering and drinks, a few times a year) spread through the calendar, as we once did in the 1990s. The first of these is 'Canberra Day' on 30th July 2022 in Southampton.

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 17 MAY 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.

A Scarlet Lady
Matt Sudders   Tuesday 19th July

Apply for a link to david.trevorjones@outlook.com stating OLS 19 Jul 22
Matt Sudders ventures so that we might not have to, this time to a brand-new ship and a brand-new cruise line, offering an onboard vinyl record store, a tattoo parlour … and a drag bar.  His explorations and reports back on the newest cruise ships in the past have brought insights into the evolution of ship layout and design and trends in industry thinking as well as views of interiors and descriptions of experiences varying from the sublime to the truly ridiculous.  Which will it be this time?

SS United States: Ship of Power, Might & Indecision
Bill Miller  Tuesday 16th August

Apply for a link to david.trevorjones@outlook.com stating OLS 16 Aug  22
Since her inception and construction just after World War II, and then her commissioning exactly seventy years ago, in June 1952, the SS United States has been a ship of great and often extraordinary interest. She was an exceptional example of marine design and engineering, one of the most successful of all trans-Atlantic liners, the last Blue Riband champion for speed and, of course, the pride of not only the American merchant marine, but of the nation itself. She was the greatest ambassador and flag waver of the red, white and blue ever to go to sea.
Bill Miller—author of three books on the “Big U” (her affectionate nickname), and with a fourth book released in 2022 —will review the triumphant career of this greatest of superliners, and then her long lay-up spiced with seemingly endless plans and rumours for a revival.

Canberra - a celebration / Shieldhall Liners Day : 30th & 31st July

We planned to hold a special Canberra event, celebrating the 60th anniversary of the much-loved liner’s entry into service in 1961, but sadly, we were thwarted by the Covid pandemic.

Instead, we are now presenting a whole day event in Southampton on Saturday 30th July 2022. This all-day conference will cover Canberra's story from inception to "Finished with Engines" and will include lectures, and lunch, morning coffee and afternoon tea within the ticket price.

The ticket price is £60 for members and £65 for others. To buy the member price tickets for this event please email ols.events41@gmail.com giving your membership number and stating how many tickets you require. A few places are available to non members through TicketSource - see button below. Please see the section below in the Cruises part of the site about the  ‘Shieldhall Liners Day,’ on the following day, Sunday 31st July.

Why not spend the weekend in Southampton and attend both events?

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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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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.

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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.

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.


Afternoon Trip - Cowes Week 'Liners Day' steam cruise on Shieldhall, Sunday 31st July 2022, 14:00 - 18:00, from Southampton.

Thanks to our friends at Steamship Shieldhall, OLS members are offered a generous 15% discount from adult fares, reducing the fare from £40 to £34.

Information about the cruise:

“Steam down Southampton Water to the Solent, passing Cunard’s Queen Victoria in berth, and on your return see cruise ships depart - always the chance to sound our whistle and play the ‘Shieldhall Organ’. Southampton of course is famous not just for the modern-day cruise ships but also the ‘ocean liners’ that plied their trade during the 20th century. We’ll have displays relating to the liners on board, and a special commentary will reflect their important connection to Southampton.

As part of your cruise, see the impressive engine room with its original steam engines at work and the bridge, with its traditional instruments and gleaming brasswork; admire the ship’s steam-assisted steering gear (similar to that used on Titanic); talk to the Captain and our volunteer crew; pass close to the great ocean liners and container ships; walk the teak decks; relax in the Saloon with our wide range of refreshments including tea/coffee; real ale; a range of Titanic bottled beers; wine and hot and cold food, available.”

Ocean Liner Society will have an information desk in the Saloon throughout the cruise.

Fully paid members MUST quote our special code when booking to secure the discount. The code has been notified via email and in Sea Lines. If you still need the special code please email ols.events41@gmail.com, quoting your Membership Number.

If not a fully paid member, use the same email to request more information on joining, and/or about this day trip.

Once booked please inform Peter Godliman, who will collate members’ response to this special offer Day Trip.



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 at the Masonic Hall, Albion Street Southampton. just south of the Westquay Shopping Centre. We try to have two lectures in a large adjacent room (the Masonic Temple). The 2022 show will be on an earlier weekend in November (not 19th as originally advised) and more details will be published and posted here as they are finalised.


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 OLS events (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 ols.events41@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:

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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