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About the Author of
ssMaritime.com ~ ssMaritime.net
Cruise-Australia.com & .net ~ SavetheClassicLiners.com
Mr. Reuben Goossens
Maritime Historian, CruisenShip Reviewer, Author & International Maritime Lecturer
With Kosta Specis and Hun-Eng Tan
*Updated May 2013
Reuben Goossens seen in more recent times
Fifty One Years in the Passenger Shipping/Cruise Industry
Having known and worked for Reuben Goossens as his personal assistant and secretary since the early eighties, whilst Mr. Hun-Eng has worked with Reuben, as he prefers to be called, and Eng been associated with Mr and the late Mrs. Betty (Bashy) Goossens since 1995, thus we feel that we are more that well qualified to write this page about a most remarkable man, who has always had just one care on is mind. And that has been to please others and to bring joy into their lives! He has done this in the most remarkable ways, both whilst he was in business and after he finally retired! Let me explain.
Reuben Goossens, who could have done far greater things in life, for he was a highly educated man, and well qualified for so many opportunities, but since young he had a great love for the sea, thus he spent his secular working life in the passenger shipping industry, for this was the industry he obviously so greatly loved. He trained his staff to ensure that all clients would be offered the perfect cabins, not just to suit their needs, but also their budget and that they should never upmarket them to a higher grade room with colourful language and have them pay more than they could in reality afford! That was what all the other companies were doing, but Reuben would not allow this. If a client could afford better, then it was fine to show then what was available in better accommodations, etc! Reuben being a man of faith stands on standards, but that is not the way of the world, and that he feels is very sad. In fact, only the other day he received an email from an American and this email upset him greatly, and I have seen others, and more-so, I have found that certain kinds of Americans in general can be the most vulgar and rude people, and that is so sad. This last email had Reuben, who is now so very ill completely give up altogether! Sadly, he is now a broken man all because of these evil minded people! All I can say is that these satanically led individuals care less about others for their lives are all about the I, Me, and myself! If you just look around you, it can be seen everywhere for it has become a world of the self, whilst Reuben lived a life for others, even his sites were not commercial ventures, they are there to please people and to make millions happy!
His incredible knowledge of classic liners as well as the modern world of cruising is beyond question. We have both sailed with Reuben and have witnessed first hand his in-depth knowledge as Captains, officers and many of the crew we have met on countless ships knew Reuben either personally or by reputation and they obviously greatly respect him. On each voyage we were invited to the captains private lounge, the bridge, and on several special occasions we were given a tour of the engine room whilst in port, in addition Reuben is invited to many private functions. In the past he was booked as the guest maritime lecturer, but he has now retired from doing this for his own reasons, as he feels that every cruise is a vacation! Although I recall, whilst he was on TSS Fair Princess final cruise to New Zealand in 2000, Reuben was on a vacation but he received a special request from cruise director Dan Styne, who asked him if he would be so kind as to give a lecture in the Meridian Lounge as so many passengers and many of the senior crew already knew him by sight. Reuben decided to say yes and astonishingly the Meridian Lounge was packed to capacity with passengers sitting on the floor and standing down the hallway. Captain Phillip Pickford and a number of his officers were also in attendance. We knew of his long-standing renown, but that day really blew us away!
Sadly recent times have been very kind to Reuben, as he has considerable health issues, but to say the least, he has battled on and certainly has gone as far as he could! Both Eng and myself are astounded that in recent times, he still has completed a good number of features on various classic liners, which is just amazing considering that his eyesight is just terrible and he has to enlarge his work to 200% and even that is hard for him to read.
Reuben to date has written on some 534 classic liners, as well as on many cruise ships for his other sites. You would wonder what does he get out of all this work, 18 years of online writing and setting up his sites and giving his now 500 million readers a great deal of happiness and pleasure! And yes, he does all this for the sheer love of it. His rewards are the emails that he receives when past passengers write and say that they have relived their wonderful time on their voyages and how they enjoyed actually seeing the ships interiors. These kind people thank him for reviving their memories. However, due to the massive number of emails, and sadly the horrid nuisance emails that also tend to arrive, it is for that reason all email addresses have, or are slowly being removed from all pages except the one from his main (front) page at www.ssmaritime.com. This will lessen Reubens work a great deal.
Reuben went on a cruise to
Thus this is the latest news, but now back to Reuben and the ssMaritime Author story!
Reuben Goossens was born in
But, soon enough, she could not handle the
memories of all the horrors anymore and Reubens Mother
decided to move to
Thus, with Reuben being a young lad loved to
spend time along the harbour side whenever that was possible, and
he would sit just across from the Holland America Line wharves in
*Reubens childhood beloved ship, the MS Sibajak
This ship just proves that even then he loved the classic style of ships
As Reuben wrote regarding her livery;
The MS Sibajak had a steel grey
hull a well balanced long 5 deck white superstructure with an all
Unknown to Reuben as he was admiring this ship, this would be the very ship that would change his future and mould his entire life. Amazingly, he and his Mum would sail on this ship half way around the world on the Sibajak and this would strengthen his love for ships and the sea! It grew to such a point that he would end up working all of his secular life in the passenger shipping industry.
*Postcard of the Royal Rotterdam Lloyds MS Willem Ruys
That later became Flotta Lauros MS Achille Lauro
Other ships in the
As I already indicated with the Sibajak, Reuben did have another much loved and thus a favourite ship, but this ship was without a doubt his all time favourite liner and she remains so to this very day, although she has now long gone! This ship was the grand and stately two funnelled liner of the Holland America Line the luxurious SS Nieuw Amsterdam, a ship that is still regarded to this very day by so many maritime designers and authorities as The most beautiful and finest balanced liner that has ever been built!
Whenever possible, Reuben would sit alongside
Later his mother decided to move to
Little did he know that later in his adult life he would not have done all that, but that he would have sailed on countless ships, and have been on well over two hundred and thirty nine voyages/cruises from three days up to a 106 night in duration as well as many ferry crossings. But more than that, he has managed a major Passenger Shipping Company and was fully involved and operated a brand new Cruise Company in Australia, as well as having *sailed or °visited every single one of the ships that are seen on this page!
*The Netherland Line MS Johan van Oldenbarnevelt
She was sold to become the ill-fated Greek cruise ship, Lakonia
*later the MS Oranje was sold to become the Flotta Lauro MV Angelino Lauro
MS Sibajak 1958
MS Sibajak 1958
On 17 May, 1958, the day after his birthday, Reubens dream of sailing across the oceans became a reality as he and his Mother departed Rotterdam for Wellington New Zealand on the MS Sibajak, one of the ships he used to watch come and go from Rotterdam.
The very first liner that Reuben sailed on in May 1958
This voyage to
The MS Sibajak had been especially built
for the luxury
Her original first class lounges and that grand dinning room were all unbelievably luxuriant and ever so elegant as a past passenger wrote Reuben! And Reuben agrees that they were, for the were untouched during her latter years as an one class ship on the migrant service. These magnificent venues featured superb dark timbers, which were had fine Indonesian style carvings and her Dining Room features two deck above that looked down on this grand venue, with each of the two decks above having stunning balustrades surrounding it.
However, in 1958, the Sibajak was already an
ageing ship, although not that Reuben noticed it, he simply loved
this ship and he explored every single inch of it! But the axe
fell on her in 1959, when Royal Rotterdam Lloyd sold her to the
breakers and she was broken up in
On May 16, 2013 Reuben will have had 54 years of experience in the passenger shipping industry in one way or another, but he certainly commenced at the very bottom of the industry.
He commenced his first job May 1960, as an office boy with Russell and Sommers Pty Ltd., who were the General Sales Agents (GSA) for Royal Dutch Mails, a new and amalgamated name for the Dutch shipping companies, such as: Royal Rotterdam Lloyd, the Nederland Line, Holland America Line (HAL), the Europe Canada Line managed by HAL and a Dutch Government operation, but was managed by Holland America. At the time ships in their portfolio included the MS Willem Ruys, Oranje, Johan van Oldenbarnevelt, SS Zuiderkruis, Groote Beer and Waterman and the SS Seven Seas.
Groote Beer one of 3 US built & rebuilt Victory
ships, she is seen in
Including the °Zuider Kruis & °Waterman
In 1961 the Union Steamship Company of New Zealand sought our Reubens services to join their ship Provisions department in order to supply USSCos passenger ships with all their needs during their longer voyages, as well as the inter Island ferries. The items included pre-printed stationary, completed passenger lists for the longer voyages, blank menu covers and countless other needs required onboard in the ships passenger departments. Within six months Reuben was the assistant manager of this department, which looked after all USSCo passenger ships that included the inter Island ferries, and their delightful passenger cargo liners sailing the South Pacific from various New Zealand ports, as well as visiting Australia. These were the MV Matua and the MV Tofua!
Steam Ship Company Head Office in
Reubens employment in the shipping industry gave him many opportunities to visit and sail on many ships, and although he had been on a line voyage, he finally went on his very first cruise departing Wellington on December 20, 1961, being a Christmas and New Year Cruise on the Dutch liner, MS Johan van Oldenbarnevelt (JVO) visiting Auckland, Melbourne, Sydney and back to Wellington. Reuben has written a work on the JVO, which is now available online on ssMaritime.com. (www.ssmaritime.com/jvo.htm), as well as a few others.
In the mid sixties Reuben moved to Brisbane and
joined Australian Express Co, first as a
simple travel agent, and he had to work with a most difficult
Managing Director to say the least, but because Reuben is so good
what he does and could not be walked over by his Greek boss, for
this he respected him and thus, due to Reubens expertise
and leadership he became the Manager. Australian Express was the
General Sales Agents (GSA) for the massive Greek Passenger
Shipping Company, Chandris Lines. Australian Express also
operated the now famed; Around the World
Reuben then became involved with the setting up
a brand new company, which many will all know as Jetset
Tours, which became one of the largest brands worldwide,
although it was first known in
Later, having moved on, Reuben Managing
Atlantic & Pacific International in Brisbane,
working together with Lord Bollingbrock of New Zealand and
the excellent Mr. Tony Millmore (unlike his useless son who
operates TTW Travel The World today Reuben
says, Stay far away from them, they are a disaster!) of
Sydney to commence a new cruise operation in Australia and they
chartered the Russian liner TSS Fedor Shalyapin (ex Cunard liner
RMS Ivernia, later TSS Franconia) for their company Shaw
Savill Holidays, but marketed their venture under the
Celebrity Cruises. The
first cruise departed
The name Celebrity was later taken over by Reubens old time associates and friends at Chandris Lines for their new cruise company as they were in need for a name suitable for an upmarket Luxury Cruise Line thus, Celebrity Cruises was born, although later sadly, Chandris sold Celebrity Cruises to Royal Caribbean Cruises, and they did lower the standards to a degree, as Reuben has told me, but it is still very good!
30 years old, Reuben is seen at the very top of the game!
At 30 years old, Reuben is seen at the very top of the game!
He is seen (in the middle) with famed Australian TV and singing super-star Jimmy Hannan (left) and actor
Ken James (right) during Hawaiian Night on board Fedor Shalyapin during a Pacific cruise ex Sydney January 25, 1976
Photograph: Ships photographer © ssmaritime.com
Fedor seen at the Passenger Terminal in
But all things come to those who do the wrong
thing and the Russians would eventually suffer, for CTC Cruises
would suffer the consequences for in due course as there would be
an occurrence that would end their operation in
During Reubens work in the shipping and
the travel industry in the seventies and eighties he also managed
Orbit Travel and he was then the founder and Director
of Coronet Travel Service, operating CTS
In the mid eighties Reuben decided to retire
from the actual shipping/travel industry and spent some time
travelling the world for a completely different purpose. Whilst
In the mid-nineties he commenced his websites
being today; ssmaritime.com for articles on vintage
liners, savetheclassicliners.com being Reubens long
standing campaign to save worthwhile ships from being broken up
and turned into museums and/or hotels, etc., and he has succeeded
with some important ships! In addition there is cruise-australia.com
and .net aiming mostly at the Australian and
Mt. Goossens maritime and cruise sites have had a massive worldwide successes over since 1995, for these sites have now received almost 500 million visitors, making Reubens sites/pages the most read shipping pages on the net!
on stage with Captain Philip Pickford 8 February 2000
A lecture had been presented during Fair Princess final
Photograph: P&O Fair Princess Ships photographer
Line Voyages, Cruises and other voyages undertaken to date
Having recently gone through all of
Reubens records, and with having gone on what is to be
thought is final voyage; it seems that to date Reuben has now
undertaken a grand total of 152 voyages/cruises. His first
experience at sea was of course on the Royal Rotterdam Lloyd
liner MS Sibajak that departed
*Please note: I have not as yet included the ships involved for these additional 87 cruises, but will do so in due course!
List of ships sailed on - (listed in alphabetical order)
Achille Lauro - Arcadia (2 & 3) Athena (2011&2012) Aurelia Aurora Australis Britanis Canberra - Club 1 Dawn Princess - Dominion Monarch Doulos Ellinis - Fairsky (I & II) - Fair Princess - Fairsea (1) Fairstar - Fedor Shalyapin Flavia - Franca C 2 cruises on Funchal in Feb 2012) Galileo - Gothic (2) - Himalaya (3) - Iberia (3) - Johan van Oldenbarnevelt Karelia - Mariposa (3) Matua - Mikhail Sholokhov - Monterey (3) - Nieuw Amsterdam (2) Oranje - Orcades (3) - Oriana (1 & 2) - Orsova (2) Oosterdam - Pacific Princess (2) Pacific Sun QM QE - QE2 Rangitoto - Reef Endeavour - Rotterdam (5) Russ Sibajak - Southern Cross (Shaw Savill) - Southern Cross (CTC) Sun Princess - SuperStar Leo - SuperStar Virgo Tofua Volendam - Willem Ruys and many other ships he has simply forgotten! On many ships he sailed a good number of voyages, these would include a good number of Dutch ships, the Kareliya, Southern Cross, Rotterdam V, a good number on the SS Oriana, and SS Canberra, as well as the Sitmar, later P&Os TSS Fairstar, and Princess/P&O TSS Fair Princess, and a good number of other ships!
Seen with their excellent Steward Frank on MV Oriana 2005
Photograph by George Walsh on Reubens camera: © 2005 Reuben Goossens ssmaritime.com
In August 2008: Reuben sailed on his all time
favourite classic ship the MV Doulos. His time on this ship was
very special to him, as Reuben spent almost a month onboard the
then 94 year old MV Doulos. First whilst she was in Brisbane and
then sailing on this fine 1914 built ship, along the coast of
Australia down to Sydney. Reuben assisted this ship to be saved
and she is now in
*Reuben is seen here in 94 year old Doulos propeller shaft tunnel
Photograph by Sven Benseler on Reubens camera: © 2008 - Reuben Goossens ssmaritime.com
MV Doulos was originally the American vegetable
transport/cargo ship SS Medina, which was later rebuilt as a
migrant ship SS Roma. As the Roma she made a single visit to
Newcastle Australian December 1950. Eventually she became the
Linea C (Costa Lines) Liner to
Whilst in Brisbane Reuben entertained a number
of ex 1950 SS Roma passengers who came to Australia on her
onboard the Doulos as Eastern European refugees and he has added
their stories and photographs to his online 30 plus page MV Doulos
Feature. There was also one gentleman in Sydney who has
provided a most interesting story of his time onboard the SS
*Captain Justin Lawes and Reuben Goossens aboard P&Os MV Pacific Sun.
This photograph was taken on November 20, 2008 at the Captains Club Party.
As Reuben was one of the most cruised passengers on board he received his orchid & a bottle of champagne
Photograph presented to Reuben by P&O and taken by the Ships Photographer
There are quite a few cruises not included Here
such as world voyages as well New Zealand cruises
There are quite a few cruises not included Here such as world voyages as well New Zealand cruiseson ships such as P&Os MV Oriana, MV Aurora and Princess MV Pacific Princess, although these ships are all included in the List of ships sailed on above.
Dawn Princess in
The cruise was a very poor experience indeed, as this ship is just not designed for this world voyages!
was a 106 night around the world voyage for us. 104 nts Sydney to
Sydney, plus 2 nts
Photograph taken by © Reuben Goossens
Reuben (Left front) and myself (being the birthday boy that day at the window) and Mr. Hun-Eng Tan having diner
MV Dawn Princess on August 8, 2009 whilst in
Photograph taken by our steward © Reuben Goossens
*The elegant Holland America Line 61,214-ton ms Volendam she is certainly is a superb ship!
is one of Reubens countless cruises of
Reuben onboard the superb Volendam Rotterdam Restaurant formal night
Photo by Hun-Eng Tan & © ssMaritime
Read Reubens - ms Volendam - Cruise Review
Reuben sailed on the delightful MV Athena from
Fremantle on March 6, 2011 for her relocation voyage to
The truth is Reuben loved this fine classic ex
liner (the1948 built MS Stockholm) so much, he sailed on her
again in 2012, but this time she sailed from Fremantle to
On this cruise he gave five lectures, the first one being on the very say of anniversary of the Titanics sinking, and this lecture was a huge success. All lectures are accompanied by superb photographs, and Reuben is an excellent orator and one who makes the hour more that interesting, bit also entertaining! Captain Pedro Pinto attended every lecture, and during the From Stockholm to Athena lecture, the captain and his officers even had to remain standing as the theatre was packed to capacity as Reuben revealed the powerful history of this interesting ship!
Visit Reubens - MV Athena Cruise Review
*Reuben took photo the Athena whilst in Phuket on March 15, 2011.
sailed on her to the
Photograph by & © Reuben Goossens
Mr. Hun-Eng Tan, Captain Pedro Pinto and Mr. Reuben Goossens
Photograph © 2011 Ships Photographer
Reuben was to sail on a voyage from Europe to Australia late in 2012, but sadly that was cancelled less than a month prior to departure, as the Portuguese part of the company went broke, and Reuben was simply devastated for he knew the companies owner, who had only passed away in late May, and Reuben was to meet with him when he was in Lisbon earlier that moth, but he was just to ill. His twin sons took over and Reuben know that would be the end on a fine company!
He did not go on another cruise until February
6, 2013, and amazingly, and he did surprise me, for again and
again he had said I will never set a foot on these
ms Oosterdam seen in
Photo by Hun-Eng Tan & © ssMaritime
Read the - ms Oosterdam 2013 CruisenShip Review
There is no doubt that Reuben Goossens has been a stalwart of the cruise/maritime industry and he is greatly respected by his readers, maritime historians and shipping companies worldwide. There are countless thousands of emails that come in from those thanking him for the massive task that he has undertaken, for few people would have done what he has done to have written so much and all that for no profit or personal benefit. He could publish all of his writings, but he has refused all offers made, for as he puts it; I receive far more from it this way, remaining non commercial, for what is money and profit really, when I was in business, it was good, for I could keep my family and help others and the sick and needy. Today, I receive enough, just through all those emails of gratitude, and that is sufficient, for as long as I am able to bring some joy into the lives of so many, then I am a happy man!
PS. When I told him that I was going to write this piece (originally in 2000), he gave me a just one instruction; As long as you include photographs of ships you might mention. Obviously there are far too many listed on this page to do so, however, I have used at least those early ships that were so important in his early life, as well as the ship he operated, being the SS Fedor Shalyapin. The personal photographs, well they were my choice from the massive catalogue of photographs I searched through, and I know he will hate them all!
Kosta Specis & Hun-Eng Tan
Photographs: Photographs on this page are by: 1. Reuben Goossens. 2. Hun-Eng Tan. 3. Kosta Specis. 4. Various ships photographers. Postcard/photographs of the Nieuw Amsterdam, Sibajak, Johan van Oldenbarnevelt, Oranje and Zuiderkruis are all from Reubens private collection.
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Photographs on ssmaritime and associate pages are by the author or from the authors 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 (my email address may be found on www.ssmaritime.com only), in order that due credit may be given.
This notice covers all pages, although, and I have done my best to ensure that all photographs are duly credited and that this notice is displaced on each page, that is, when a page is updated!
is owned and © Copyright - by Reuben Goossens - All Rights