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About the Author of

ssMaritime.com ~ ssMaritime.net

& SavetheClassicLiners.com

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 New Zealand cruise

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 New Zealand on the Holland America Line ms Oosterdam in February 2013, this meant having to fly to Sydney and from Auckland home to Brisbane. But sadly he will now only be able to sail out of Brisbane and the ship must return to Brisbane and that sadly limits his choice rather to one P&O ship, the Pacific Dawn! If a Princess ship is located in Brisbane, he will not sail with anymore after the hideous experience last time, and they are banned! Even though he was a Princess Platinum Club Member, thus a good and faithful Princess cruiser previously, but the experience on the Dawn Princess world cruise was so bad, that he will never sail with them again! The reason for having to depart only from Brisbane is entirely due to his deteriorating health as flying is now out of question for him!

Thus this is the latest news, but now back to Reuben and the ssMaritime Author story starting from the beginning!

Rotterdam 1945 - 1955

Reuben Goossens was born in Rotterdam the Netherlands during a time of great horror of World War II. Coming from a Jewish family his mother was lucky to escape the Holocaust. However, his families’ tragic wartime detail is very long and a sad story and we feel that this is not the place to tell it. Although, Reuben’s birth was certainly not a normal one for he was born as a “Blue Baby.” Yet remarkably, thanks to what can only be called an amazing story, Reuben is with us today. But this is not the place to tell it! With the war over they remained in Rotterdam.

But, soon enough, his mother could not handle the memories of all the horrors anymore and Reuben’s Mother decided to move to Winterthur in Switzerland where she had some friends, it was a delightful town and not too far from the great city of Zurich. But in due course they returned to Rotterdam being Reuben’s mother’s home city, but as it was a city that had its entire city centre destroyed as it had been bombed by the German’s and much had gone except for about two buildings in the city centre, thus the many horrid wartime memories remained for his mother, but she would stay for a while anyway!

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 dark timber Bridge. Her tall single tall black funnel was very gently tilted aft and all this superbly framed by her two tall masts! In addition, she did have electric davits/cranes and for a ship that was built in 1928, that was innovative!”

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.

Other Ships:

Postcard of the Royal Rotterdam Lloyd’s MS Willem Ruys

Later she became Flotta Lauro’s MS Achille Lauro

Other ships in the port of Rotterdam included the imposing twin black funnelled MS Willem Ruys, which is an amazing, ship, with an amazing story. Her construction was commenced in Rotterdam prior to the WWII, but she was unfinished and remained in the city throughout the war and remarkably she remained mostly unscathed. However, the Germans attempted to have her completed for use as a Nazi ship, but the well know super efficient Dutch who hated the German’s so much are a stubborn lot, and some strange reason there were countless problems with her construction that meant it just could not be done! She was completed after the war.

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!”

Holland America’s SS Nieuw Amsterdam seen as built

Whenever possible, Reuben would sit alongside the Maas River and watch the river barges, tugs, cargo ships and other passenger liners pass by. At times he would be quayside as a liner departed for a far away destination, bedecked in flags and streamers flying in the wind.

Amsterdam 1955 - 1958

There came a time his mother decided to move to Amsterdam, being another Port City and Reuben was quite happy for there he could watch new and different ships come and go. Whenever the liner MS Johan van Oldenbarnevelt and her newer running mate MS Oranje of the “Netherland Line” were in port he would make a special effort to be at the Java Kade (Java wharves) to watch their passenger’s board and experience the excitement of their departure. I recall him telling me that he would be just as excited as the passengers who were already aboard standing at the railing ready to depart. For he always believed that one day it would be his turn standing at one of these very railings on a fine passenger ship just like that, waving goodbye to those ashore as he would be heading to far across the ocean to a new and strange land!

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 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

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 Royal Rotterdam Lloyd – MS Sibajak – seen departing Rotterdam for Wellington New Zealand

The very first liner that Reuben sailed on in May 1958

This voyage to New Zealand sailed via Southampton, across the Atlantic to the very Dutch and very quaint town of Willemstad in Curacao, Cristobal, (Colón) then transiting the Panama Canal, with a port call at the then notorious and dangerous city of Balboa (Panama). Whilst crossing the Pacific they spent the day in Papeete the Capital of Tahiti before arriving in Wellington in middle of the Southern Hemisphere winter early in July.

The MS Sibajak had been especially built for the luxury East Indies (Indonesian) service, and thus her first class lounges and were rather glamorous! After the Indonesian problems, she operated migrant services to Canada, the USA, after which she was placed on the New Zealand and Australia service.

“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 Asia. However, this fine old liner gave Reuben the experience of a lifetime and this voyage cemented his love of the sea and the ships that sail on them. At a relatively young age onboard MS Sibajak he decided that he would work in the shipping industry no matter how, and as we now know he did, and although he is now retired, and so sadly due to his health he has to give up his great love and write further features on Classic liners! His last one has been the Pacific Princess, which has just been scrapped this year, 2013. Thus, this fine Maritime Historian, Cruise and Ship Reviewer is sadly giving up what he loves to do so much!

Wellington

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 New York

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!

Union Steam Ship Company Head Office in Wellington

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.

Brisbane Australia

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 World Tours,” that commenced with a voyage to and back from Southampton on a Chandris liner, and in the UK and Europe they would tour the UK and Europe by coach. To ensure quality control and to make sure his staff were selling optional tours, etc, Reuben would sail on board the ship during various sectors and thus would spend a great deal of time on the Chandris ships, especially the SS Australis, which had been built as the SS America the forerunner to the grand SS United States. Then there were two ex Matson liners, the two funnelled, SS Ellinis and SS Britanis. However, in due course, the company (Australian Express) was sold to Trafalgar Tours and its Australian offices were closed.

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 Queensland as “Astronaut Travel”, being the retail outlet and “Jetset Tours” the wholesale business. During its establishment Reuben worked with the late and wonderful Mrs Marie Watson-Blake, the late Mr. John Julius and Tony Newton of Newton’s Travel.

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 Sydney in October 1975 being the beginning of a popular cruise venture that had an average loading of 97.6%. However, at the same time CTC Cruises were also operating various Russian ships from Australia, however their ships, including Fedor’s identical sister the TSS Leonid Sobinov sadly did not enjoy the kind success as “Celebrity.” It was for this reason alone that later the Fedor Shalyapin’s Russian owners without any warning decided to rescind their charter agreement with us late in 1976 and they transferred the ship to CTC Cruises, which is a wholly Russian owned company, although they had their head office based in London. Whilst the Fedor was with CTC she never regained the kind of popularity she had enjoyed during Reuben’s halcyon days. I have always known from his many marketing successes that he was the ultimate marketing genius and he always worked with integrity and total honesty, never offering a fare in the media that was not available to Mr and Mrs Average as it seems to be these days where you have to be able to read the fine print on TV or in the paper, when you need a magnifying glass, and often even then it is hard to figure out and the fare given is on a single cruise, a year and a half in the future! Thus all other fares are much more! Sadly today advertised fares shown are lead in fares on a particular cruise and are usually based on four persons booking together and sharing in an inside four berth cabin on the lowest deck, located far forward in the bow. Considering the majority of sales are twin bedded cabins, these fares are simply not relevant to the vast majority of the public!

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!

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 Sydney

Photograph by & Jeff Eastwood

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 Australia for an extended time. It was when Fedor Shalyapin rendezvoused with a Russian submarine whist crossing the Tasman Sea when she was bound for Sydney. Upon her return to Sydney, passengers told the media of the strange events that occurred, and how both cargo and crew were transferred to the submarine. This caused a massive controversy in Australia, however, what and why it happened was never fully explained. Australia banned all Soviet based passenger ships for a considerable time. Never let it be said that a wrong does not get repaid in some way or another! CTC received what they deserved! Later they did return, but in due course the curse remained as they went bankrupt. Unbelievably the two main men who ran CTC in London, now operate “Cruise & Maritime Voyages” in the UK, and already there has been massive problems with their chartered ships, with the first cruise of the MV Discovery being stopped due to safety concerns and passengers sent home, the second cruise passengers had to put up with carpets still being laid, and in all a cheap and nasty operation. The old CTC men have obviously have not changed their spots! Please note: The aforementioned was largely taken from an English cruise reviewer!

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 Tours” as well as “FunPac Tours.”

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 India in October 1987 sadly there was a car incident, which caused a serious illness that almost took his life, but being the positive person and a man of great faith, he continued in the only way he could and that is to “Never give up!” Thus besides, his other side, being ministry, he always remained on the maritime/cruise scene continuing with his vast experience in shipping, as he began to write in his new role as a Maritime Historian, Author, Lecturer, Cruise & Ship Reviewer.

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 New Zealand cruise market although the world seems to love it, and then there is Reuben most loved classic passenger ship; the 1914 built MV Doulos, which he has saved and the online book on her can be found on ssmaritime.net.

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 New Zealand cruise in a packed Seaward Lounge

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 Rotterdam the Netherlands on May 17, 1958. Since then he has sailed on countless liners and cruise ships either once or a good number of times. All voyages undertaken (and that are listed) are from 7 nights to over 120 nights. However, considering he commenced in the passenger shipping industry as an office boy 53 years ago, that is over a half a century of working in the Industry, and Reuben has also inspected countless ships all over the world and undertaken at least another 123 shorter voyages from overnight ferry crossings to 3 and 5 night cruises, and these are not included in the list above, but less the 36 ferry crossings that makes the new grand total of 152 + 87 short voyages (3 to 5 nights in duration) to 239 voyages/cruises.

*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!

 Reuben and travelling companion and one of the co author of this page Mr. Hun-Eng Tan

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 Singapore. Reuben of course founded the “Save the Classic liner campaign” in 1995/97!

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

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 South America, then Costa’s luxury cruise ship MS Franca C. Until December 2009 she was a charity Book-ship and the Doulos is crewed/staffed by an all-volunteer crew. Reuben celebrated her 94thbirthday onboard on August 22 by cutting the official birthday cake after the official ship’s opening to her Sydney season.

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 Bremerhaven to Newcastle in 1950!

 

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 on 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.

MV Dawn Princess in Istanbul Turkey – September 8, 2009Reuben calls the Dawn Princess a “turkey of a ship”

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 nights from Sydney home to Brisbane

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 Aruba

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 New Zealand. He departed Auckland on October 22, 2010 - 14 nights

Photograph provided by Holland America Line

 

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 Portsmouth England, via Asia, the Suez Canal for 40 days. He met many ship lovers onboard as well as providing several maritime lectures during the voyage.

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 England around South Africa!

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 UK on March 6, 2011 and that was his 124th voyage!

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 Vista class ship.” And what does he do, he books a cruise the MS Oosterdam and what is that? A Vista class ship! She departed from Sydney and Reuben and Eng who always sails with him, as he also takes care of Reuben health needs with all his medicines, etc. Although Reuben found that the ship’s interiors, service, cuisine was true Holland America, and simply the wonderful, but he found the ship far too big, or as he put it “far too long, and also much too crowded!” But sadly his health was a total mess whilst he was onboard, although as he always does, he puts on that brave face of his, and he will never allow anyone see him look sickly! But, during this entire cruise Reuben never set left the ship for he was simply unable. To be honest, this cruise just about killed him, and it has been decided, this has been Reuben’s very last cruise where he will fly anywhere, thus it will have to be short cruises out of Brisbane!

ms Oosterdam seen in Hobart on February 10, 2013

Photo by Hun-Eng Tan & © ssMaritime

 

Read the - ms Oosterdam 2013 Cruise’n’Ship Review

In conclusion.

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!

 

 

 

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