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Please Note: the sites of ssMaritime and Cruise-Australia are a non-commercial and privately owned cruise site and it is NOT associated with any cruise company, shipping or travel organisation! Although the author has been in the passenger shipping industry since 1960 and is currently semi-retired, but continues to write cruise and ship reviews and articles in order to better to inform cruise and ship enthusiasts and provide information for those intending a cruise vacation anywhere n the world in the near future!

Please Note: Copy, photographs and images are by Malcolm Walker, unless otherwise stated.

My Voyage on SS Remuera Final Voyage

From New Zealand in September 1964

By Malcolm (Mal) Walker

September 10, 1964 had finally come and I was about to depart on the New Zealand Steam Ship Co liner, the SS Remuera bound for Florida, USA.

Leaving Auckland was somewhat bitter-sweet, for the friends I’d made during my stay of a number of months and they came to see me off, as well as a couple of my team-mates from the soccer team that I had been playing with.

But after the usual formalities, finally I was aboard the Remuera and I soon located my cabin, where six of us, all young lads would sleep in three double bunks in a long narrow cabin with just one porthole. We had a wardrobe each, a chair and there was a hand basin and a mirror in the cabin. The showers were located right next door.

Having settled in, I went out on deck and there were a few hundred people lined up on the wharf and laughter was mixed with tears as we slowly steamed out of Auckland harbour.

Our farewell from the “International Passenger Terminal” at Princes Wharf, Auckland

The next weeks until the day I disembarked the ship in Florida, it was packed full of fun and adventure. I am not sure how many passengers were aboard, but I would guess around four hundred and most of them were young people.

The Passenger List

 

Front Cover of the Passenger list

 

This is part of the “Auckland to Port Everglades Florida” Passenger List

As can be seen from the notation, Mal was in cabin 11 on B deck

 

These are some of the officers & staff for the final voyage to the USA and England:

 

Commander: R.G Hollingdale.

Chief Officer: A. Britain.

Second Officer: C.M. Turner.

Chief Engineer: G.A. Davies.

Second Engineer: A.S. Ross.

Purser: P.G. Allen.

Asst Purser: R. Calvert.

Chief Steward: A.B. Brown.

Doctor: J.B. Hollinrake, M.B., CH.B.

Sister: A.F. Hoyle s.r.n., s.c.m.

First Radio Officer: G.A. Parker.

During the day there were games such as shuffleboard and hoop-badminton and hoop-la were always available and also a good variety of indoor board games gave interested partakers a busy time. Evening’s saw many fun-filled times playing Charades, Trivia quizzes, Dances and Disco in the Bar.

The meals on board were really terrific, especially for us young lads who had been looking after ourselves in rooms or apartments ashore and were now enjoying three course, Chef cooked meals and being served in style!

The crew were very friendly and I made friends with a couple of Scouse’s from Liverpool, England. They had been told that this was the last passenger voyage for her as the SS Remuera and that the ship had been sold. I was even offered a job aboard for the rest of the voyage to England, but as I had such a hard time getting all my papers for the USA that I reluctantly turned it down.

It is children time in the swimming pool, - we are somewhere in the Pacific heading for Tahiti

We arrived at Papeete in Tahiti and we all went ashore very excited to be on this romantic tropical Island. My mate and I hired two Vespa Scooters and set off around the island. Stopping at a fruit stall we met two great girls who invited us in for a refreshing fruit drink and some homemade pastries.

SS Remuera seen berthed in the heart Tahiti’s Capital CityPapeete

 

Yes, this is me and I am ready to go exploring beautiful Tahiti of my rented Vespa

But, unfortunately the Remuera was in Tahiti just for the day thus we had to leave our friends and set off to find a beach for a swim. What surprised us was the sand was *black and shiny and it squeaked when you walked on it. The water was a beautiful aqua green and warm. This little bay that we had found was surrounded by Coconut Palms and best still it was deserted!

An overall view of one the bays we were heading for

 

I could not believe how beautiful this pitch black the sand on the beach was, yet the water was crystal clear!

*The reason for the pitch-black sand is that it is volcanic sand, it is found usually on one side of the Island, whilst on the other side it will be quite white!

The day on Tahiti passed all too soon and we only just made it back, well sort off in time to the ship, but we were told off by an officer for being late.

One of the highlights for four of us, “the four lads” in the cabin was the Tug-o-War championship. Divided into teams we became the Sheiks and dressed in sheets and headdress accordingly. We won two contests even beating the “All Blacks’, being four New Zealand lads who were the firm favourites.

The Tug-o-War team “the four lads” and of course, I am seen on the left in the white T shirt

In the final we took on the ‘English Gentlemen’ who were dressed in ‘tuxedos’ and looked very much the part. Unbelievably, they whitewashed us in the best of three pulls, winning 2-0. Looks can be very deceiving.

Crossing the Equator ceremony, the Captain is looking quite bemused, but it was great fun!

We headed across the Pacific for Panama and the Canal which was something we were all looking forward to! It was a slow process getting to the locks, for there were many ships in line, but in due course it was our turn. As the Panama Canal was celebrating its’ Centenary from 1864 to 1964, there were large shields attached to the Locks that had celebratory messages as can be seen in the following photographs. I was especially fascinated by the small, yet powerful locomotives, which are called “Mules” for they can pull large ships with such ease in and out of these locks!

Looking forward over our bow we can see the Miraflores lock ahead of us

 

Besides the actual lock, here we get a much better look at these wonderful “mules” and how they work!

 

Here is a close-up of the “Miraflores Lock” tower with a Centenary shield

We berthed at Colon for a few hours and we, “the four lads” had a great evening celebrating our crossing of the Pacific. Ladies aboard were advised not to visit the Town without male companionship as it was a dangerous place!

Leaving Panama we set out across the Caribbean for the 600km voyage to Jamaica. Upon arrival in Jamaica we berthed.

The Remuera is seen berthed at Jamaica

Photograph from the ssmaritime collection

When the ship was cleared, we disembarked and walked the mile or so into Kingston. It was a lovely day and a few hundred of us strolled along the seaside into town. But suddenly a number of Jamaicans hassled us to buy souvenirs of all sorts when all of a sudden one Jamaican fellow snatched the watch off the wrist of a young English chap and set off at a run. Unfortunately for the thief the victim was a champion 400m runner and within a hundred meters the thief was caught and two or three men handed him over to the smartly dressed policeman at the dock offices.

Then a sudden downpour came out of nowhere and we, “the lads” managed to find shelter in a bar with an upstairs balcony, and a couple of cold beers while we surveyed the passing crowds. But, again that day we departed.

A view of one of the Kingston Streets, after the downpour

 

That’s me on the left with the two of “the lads” up on the balcony after that sudden downpour in Kingston Jamaica

 

Looking down for our wonderful dry location up in the Bars balcony

 

SS Remuera seen during her final voyage to Britain

Photograph from the ssmaritime collection

Sadly, all too soon Florida came into sight and we were about to arrive at Port Everglades where my voyage to the America was sadly over. Leaving my newfound friends was not easy, but then there was the thought of new adventures that were still to come and somehow that softened the blow!

This was my first sight of my destination, in view was Miami Florida!

 

Seeing the wharf at Port Everglades, Florida meant the end of my wonderful voyage.

But new American adventures awaited this Australian guy!

I remember on the docks at Port Everglades there were booths giving out ice-cold orange juice and oranges to everyone that was a nice gesture on a warm and sunny day.

Thus for me it was “Goodbye Remuera” I wish I could have stayed onboard a whole lot longer, but what I did have had been just great!

Mal Walker.

South Australia.

A Note from the author of ssMaritime

I am most grateful to Mr. Malcolm Walker for providing his interesting story of his voyage experience on the SS Remuera from Auckland to Port Everglades. As he stated, it was indeed her very last mainline voyage to England for thereafter she became the SS Aramac. But, this wonderful ship certainly had a fine history having been built as an all First Class, Luxury Combination-Liner and her appointments were very exclusive indeed! I suggest that you read her history page covering her complete history at: SS Remuera.

Reuben Goossens.

Remembering the SS Remuera ~ a Fine Passenger-Cargo Liner Indeed!

 

A fine aerial view of the SS Remuera during her early days

Image provided to the author by NZSSCo in the 60’s

 

Also read …

1. RMS Parthia, SS Remuera - SS Aramac & 2. RMS Media - SS Flavia

1. Covering the Parthia’s complete history

2. Her sister, the RMS Media that was completely rebuilt into the ultra modern liner, the SS Flavia

 

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Commenced in the passenger Shipping Industry in May 1960

 

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

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