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With Reuben Goossens

Maritime Historian, Cruise‘n’Ship Reviewer & Author



Photograph from the Author’s collection


Page One – MS Oranje


Link to the Angelina Lauro page is located at the bottom of this page


MS Oranje was built for the Nederlandsche Stoomvaart Maatschapij (Netherlands Line) in 1938/39, by the Nederland Shipbuilding Company in Amsterdam. Her keel was laid down on July 2, 1937 and she was launched by Queen Wilhelmina and named Oranje (in honour of the Royal House of Orange) on September 8, 1938. She undertook her trials in June 1939 and attained a maximum speed of 26.5 knots, making her the world fastest motor liner. One of her most striking features was the unusual shape of her hull, for instead of her sides being vertical, her hull flared out, and this was called a “tumbledome hull.” At the waterline she was 17 ft (5.17 m) wider than at her superstructure. It was claimed that her unique hull design with a flared cut away bow would provide her additional speed, something she certainly had, as well as providing a reduced tonnage of around 1,800 tons.



Above & below: The launching of MS Oranje on September 8 1938

Photograph from the Author’s collection



This Postcard of the Oranje was released in the fifties

Photograph from the Author’s collection


Specifications (as built and in 1959)


Tonnage:                20,017 GRT (gross registered tons) / 1959 - 20,551 GRT

Length:                   656ft – 199.9m

Width:                    83.7ft - 25.5m

Draft:                     29ft – 8.8m

Engines:                  3 x 12 cylinder Sulzer diesels 27,500 BHP

Screws:                  Triple

Service speed:         21 knots – max 26.5 - during sea trails

Passengers              283 First, 283 Second, 92 Third and 52 Fourth Class / 1959 – 323 First, 626 Tourist Class

Passenger Decks:     8

Livery:                    Grey hull, white superstructure, yellow and black funnel, red boot topping


Built in 1939, MS Oranje was a modern looking liner for her time

Photograph from the Author’s collection

After her launching and having been fitted out she was completed on June 27 1939 and she undertook her sea trails and was delivered to the Netherland Line. Her first two voyages were two ten day cruises from Amsterdam to Madeira before she commenced her first scheduled voyage to the Dutch East Indies, which departed Amsterdam on September 4, 1939. She sailed via Cape of Good Hope and Batavia. However soon enough World War II had commenced which saw her laid up at Sourabaya from December 1939 through to February 1941.

War Duties

In February 1941 the Captain was ordered to sail for Sydney and place his ship at the disposal of the Australian Navy. The Dutch Government advised the Australian Government that they would bear the full cost of Oranje's conversion as a hospital ship, and even though she would be sailing under Australian command the Oranje remained crewed by a Dutch crew, and continued to sail under the Dutch flag. On July 30, 1941 she commenced a five year service as an Australian hospital ship.


Above & Below: Oranje is seen as an Australian based Hospital Ship

Photographs provided by Johan Franciscus


Oranje was the largest hospital ship operated from Australia and she served for five years throughout the multiple theatres of World War II, including the Middle East, as well as the Indian and Pacific Campaigns. During this time, Oranje made 41 voyages, carrying Australian, New Zealand as well as British and other soldiers. She became a regular and most welcome sight in both Australian and New Zealand ports.

Berthed in Sydney during the war

Photograph provided by Peter Weatherton

Her final visit to Australia as a hospital ship was in November 1945, after which the MS Oranje sailed for homeport where she was received to a tumultuous welcome. She was completely refitted and restored once again as a luxurious passenger liner. The Oranje was officially handed back to the Netherland Line in July 1946, and the 16th she departed Amsterdam recommencing the Batavia service, sailing this time via Southampton. However, due to the strife in the now independent Indonesia, this service had ended and a new service had to be found for the Oranje and other Dutch liners. In February 1950, she made her first liner voyage from Amsterdam via the Panama Canal to New Zealand and Australia, returning via Singapore and the Suez Canal. She would soon become a regular visitor Downunder! Her history continues below the photo albums below.

Photo Album 1947 – 1958



The now famous Holland to Java poster

All Photographs below of the interiors are from the Author’s collection



Above & Below: First Class Social Lounge. The Wintergarden surrounds this room




Tourist Class Dinning Room


Twin bedded cabin


 Oranje seen here as built, however she was about to receive a extensive refit

Photograph from the Author’s collection

At twenty years of age, the Netherland Line decided to give MS Oranje a comprehensive refit and a minor external facelift, this took place in Amsterdam in 1958/59. Upon completion her tonnage was then listed as 20,565 GRT and she was able to accommodate 323 Fist Class and 626 Tourist Class passengers. Externally the major change that could be seen were the windows amidships on promenade deck, being the new verandah/cinema, available to both first and tourist class passengers. Also her aft decks had been extended further aft.

1959 - 1964


Oranje is seen here after her refit. Note the amidships enclosure on Promenade Deck

Photograph from the Author’s collection

September 7, 1960 she departed on her first round-the-world voyage from Amsterdam via Southampton, sailing via the Suez, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Panama, Port Everglades, Bermuda, Southampton and Amsterdam. She and two other Dutch ships serviced Australia and New Zealand, these being the Netherland Line Johan van Oldenbarnevelt and the Royal Rotterdam Lloyd Willem Ruys. These three ships sailed under the banner of “Dutch Mails.

Oranje in Wellington New Zealand

Her running mate, Johan van Oldenbarnevelt, is seen in the background

Photograph from the Author’s collection

Then on February 26, 1961 she sailed in the opposite direction but visiting the same ports. However soon enough, with air travel gaining popularity and passengers desiring to sail by sea declining rapidly, the Nederland Line decided to end its passenger services in 1964.

Oranje seen passing though the Panama Canal Locks toward the

end of her career with the Netherland Line (Royal Dutch Mail)

Photograph from the Author’s collection


Souvenir Delft Blue plate depicting the Oranje

Photograph from the Author’s collection


MS Oranje home in Amsterdam

Photograph from the Author’s collection

The Netherland Line decided to Oranje their flagship, MS Oranje, together with her Royal Rotterdam Lloyd, running mate MS Willem Ruys to Flotta Lauro Line. They were rebuilt and renamed Angelina Lauro and Achille Lauro

MS Oranje commenced her last voyage around the world voyage as a Dutch liner on May 4, 1964.



After a massive rebuilding programme, MS Oranje came out as an ultra modern, sleek liner

Photograph from the Author’s collection



Page One:                  The Oranje Story

Page Two:                  The Angelina Lauro Story

Page Three:               Angelina Lauro Photo Page

Page Four:                 Angelina Lauro’s demise

Page Five:                 Angelina Lauro Deck Plan

Page Six:                   MS Orange – Passenger list of her very first voyage/cruise 4 Aug 1939

                             Provided by passenger Dieuwertje Goedkoop


Visit our Main Index for features on other Dutch liners, such as the Johan van Oldenbarnevelt, Sibajak, Willem Ruys (Achille Lauro), the TSS Rijndam and Maasdam, SS Rotterdam and SS Nieuw Amsterdam, the simple migrant ships such as the Waterman, Groote Beer and Zuiderkruis, as well as the famed “Elegant yachts” of Royal Inter Ocean Lines ships, and many other Dutch Passenger/Cargo ships, all of which can be found on my Main Index.



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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 only), in order that due credit may be given. I know what it is like, I have seen a multitude of my own photographs on other sites, yet these individuals either refuse to provide credit or remove them when asked, knowing full well that there is no legal comeback when it comes to the net. However, let us show these charlatans up and do the right thing at all times and give credit where credit is due!

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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