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About the Author of
ssMaritime.com ~ ssMaritime.net
Mr. Reuben Goossens
Maritime Historian, Cruise‘n’Ship Reviewer, Author & International Maritime Lecturer
With Kosta Specis and Hun-Eng Tan
--Updated November 2013--
Mr. Reuben Goossens is seen in February 2013. The scene is in a lobby on board
the Holland America Line ms
Oosterdam, a 14-night
Photograph by Hun-Eng Tan on Reuben Camera
Fifty three Years in the Passenger Shipping/Cruise Industry
PLEASE NOTE: All postcards, images and photographs are from Reuben’s private collection, taken by him, or by his co travellers or passengers & crewmembers or as otherwise mentioned.
Myself Kosta, having known and worked for Reuben Goossens as his personal assistant and secretary since the early eighties, and Mr. Hun-Eng Tan has worked with Reuben (he prefers to be called Eng) and the late Mrs. Betty (Bashy) Goossens since the early 1990s, 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 is a highly educated man and is well qualified to do many things, but since young he has had a great love for the sea, thus he spent most of his secular working life in the passenger shipping industry, for this was the industry he obviously so greatly loved. When he was at the top of his game, he trained his staff well, and it was 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 try to upmarket them to a higher grade room with colourful language and have them pay more than they able to in reality afford! That was just 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 them what was available in better accommodations, etc! Reuben being a man of faith stand’s on very high standards, but that is not the way of the world and that he feels that this is so sad. In fact, only the other day he received an email from an American and this email upset him greatly, and I have seen other’s, and more-so, I have found that there certain kinds of American’s that can be very vulgar to the extreme, and that is so sad. This last email received by Reuben, who is rather ill these days has given up altogether and is not accepting any further emails with certain requests! Sadly, he is now a broken man all because of these evil-minded people! All I can say is that these 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 non-commercial ventures, they are there to please people and to make millions happy and he has never made a singe cent from any of them!
His incredible knowledge of classic liners as well as the modern world of cruising is beyond question. Myself and Eng have 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 captain’s lounge, the bridge, and on several special occasions we were even given a tour of the top of the engine room whilst in port, in addition Reuben is invited to many private functions. In the past he has been booked as a 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 absolute 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. They all knew of his long-standing renown, but for us, this event really blew us away, for he was treated like a star!
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 557 classic liners, as well as on countless cruise ships for his other sites. You would wonder what does he get out of all this work, 21 years of online writing and setting up his sites and giving his now 500.7 million readers a great deal of happiness and pleasure! And yes, he does all this for the sheer love of it. His rewards have been the emails that he has received when past passengers have written to say that they have discovered the ship they sailed on and how they relived their wonderful days of 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 Reuben’s 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 starting from the beginning!
Reuben Goossens was born in
But, soon enough, his mother could not handle
the memories of all the horrors anymore and Reuben’s Mother decided to
Thus, with Reuben being still a young lad and as they lived close to the harbour, he loved to spend time along the harbour side whenever he was able and he would sit just across from the Holland America Line wharves. Almost every second day passenger liners would be in port, such as ships from the “Rotterdam Lloyd” that later became the “Royal Rotterdam Lloyd”, including the 12,000-ton MS Sibajak that would be considered in these days as a small passenger ship, but in and around 1955 she was a fine classic looking and considered as a mid sized liner that sailed the globe proudly. To Reuben she and another ship were the two most beautiful ships around, but he came to admire the Sibajak for a strange reason, but at the time he did not know just why?
Reuben’s 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
What was unknown to Reuben as he was admiring this ship, fate would have it that this very ship that would change his future and mould his entire life! Amazingly, he and his other would choose this ship and sail on her half way around the world and whilst on board the MS Sibajak his love for ships and the sea grew immensely. In fact 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 Lloyd’s MS Willem Ruys
Later she became Flotta Lauro’s MS Achille Lauro
Other ships in the
As I already indicated with the Sibajak, Reuben did have one other 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 super 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!”
Reuben would sit alongside the
There came a time his mother decided to move
Little did he know that not much later he was
about to depart, and in due course he would not only have done that, but that
he will have sailed on countless ships, and have been on well over two hundred
and fifty 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
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
On May 17, 1958, the day after his 13th.birthday, Reuben’s 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 loved to watch come and go from Rotterdam.
The very first liner that Reuben sailed on in May 1958
This voyage to
MS Sibajak had been especially built for the luxury
“Her original first class lounges and her grand dinning room were all unbelievably luxuriant and extremely elegant” wrote Reuben! And Reuben agrees that they were, for they were untouched during her latter years as a one-class ship on the migrant service. These magnificent venues featured superb dark timber’s, which were had fine Indonesian style carvings and her Dining Room features two decks above that looked down on this grand venue, with each of the two decks above having stunning balustrades surrounding it. Her past Tourist Class lounges had been vastly upgraded and were more than comfortable and well furnished and decorated! The ship had vast deck spaces, thus there was ample room for sports and there was a dedicated sports deck topside, just aft of the bridge!
However, in 1958, the Sibajak was by then
officially an ageing ship, although not that Reuben noticed it, he simply loved
her and he continued to explore every single inch of her! But the axe fell on
her the very next year in 1959, when Royal Rotterdam Lloyd sold her to the
breakers and she was broken up in
In 2013 Reuben has had 53 years of experience in the passenger shipping industry in one way or another, but he certainly did start at the very bottom of the industry.
He commenced his first job in May 1960, as an office boy with Russell and Sommers Pty Ltd., who were the General Sales Agents (GSA) for “Royal Dutch Mails”, that at the time was a new and an Amalgamated name for the Dutch Shipping Companies, such as: “Royal Rotterdam Lloyd”, the “Nederland Line”, “Holland America Line” (HAL), and 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. Thus 7 ships!
SS Groote Beer one of 3 US built & rebuilt
“Victory” ships, she is seen in
Including the Zuiderkruis & Waterman
In 1961 the Union Steamship Company of New Zealand sought out Reuben’s services to join their ship Provisions department in order to supply USSCo’s passenger ships with all their needs during their longer voyages, as well as their 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
Reuben’s 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 decided to move to
Brisbane and there he joined “Australian Express Co,” first
as a travel agent, and he had to work with one of the most difficult Managing
Director’s you could find, to say the least, but because Reuben is so
good what he does and could not be walked over by his Greek boss, and because
of this his boss respected him and thus, due to Reuben’s 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
But before the sale even came up, Reuben had
received a better offer and had moved and became involved a little latter 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, he once again moved on, for Reuben is a builder of new things and he took a position with “Atlantic & Pacific International” in Brisbane, working together with Lord Bollingbrock of New Zealand and the excellent Mr. Tony Millmore 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 banner of “Celebrity Club Cruises.”
The first cruise departed
The name “Celebrity” was later taken over by Reuben’s 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
The Fedor seen at the
Passenger Terminal in
Photograph by &
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 Reuben’s 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
In the nineties he commenced his websites
being ssmaritime.com for articles on vintage liners, savetheclassicliners.com
being Reuben’s 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
Mr. Goossens’ maritime and cruise sites have had a massive worldwide successes over since 1995, for these sites have now received almost 500.7 million visitors, making Reuben’s sites/pages the most read shipping pages on the net!
Reuben 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
Reuben’s 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&O’s 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 Reuben’s 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 the then 94-year-old Doulos’ propeller shaft tunnel
Photograph by Sven Benseler on Reuben’s camera: © 2008 - Reuben Goossens – ssmaritime.com
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 Roma’s from
Captain Justin Lawes and Reuben Goossens aboard P&O’s MV Pacific Sun.
This photograph was taken on November 20, 2008 at the Captain’s 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&O’s 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 was the worst cruise ever experienced in my well over a 140 cruises!
This was a
106 night around the world voyage. 104 nights Sydney to Sydney - plus 2 more
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
on 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!
This is one of Reuben’s countless cruises of
Reuben onboard “the superb Volendam Rotterdam Restaurant” – formal night
Photo by Hun-Eng Tan & © ssMaritime
Read Reuben’s - 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 Titanic’s 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 Reuben’s - MV Athena Cruise Review
Reuben took photo the Athena whilst in Phuket on March 15, 2011.
Reuben 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 foot on a
ms Oosterdam seen in
Photo by Hun-Eng Tan & © ssMaritime
Read the - ms Oosterdam 2013 Cruise’n’Ship 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 put’s 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 more than 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 the ships you might mention.” Obviously there are far too many listed on this page to do so, however, I have used at least those as many 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 every single one of them!
Kosta Specis & Hun-Eng Tan
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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 (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 Reserved