Royal Interocean Lines; MS Tjiwangi and MS Tjiluwah later known as the “The Elegant White Yachts”
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With Reuben Goossens
Maritime Historian, Cruise‘n’Ship Reviewer, Author & Maritime Lecturer
Please Note: All ssMaritime and other related maritime/cruise sites are 100% non-commercial and privately owned. Be assured that I am NOT associated with any shipping or cruise companies or any travel/cruise agencies or any other organisations! Although the author has been in the passenger shipping industry since 1960, although is now retired but having completed around 680 Classic Liners and Cargo-Passengers Ships features I trust these will continue to provide classic ship enthusiasts the information the are seeking, but above all a great deal of pleasure! Reuben Goossens.
MSTjiwangi & MS Tjiluwah
History of the two Ships
With RIL from 1950 to 1974
MS Tjiwangi the first of the pair to enter service
Please Note: All images are from the author’s private collection, unless stated otherwise
These two compact liners were considered the most
beautifully proportioned passenger cargo liners seen in Australian waters,
becoming the most popular ships to sail between
Company background: After the turn of the century the
Koninklijke Java-China Paketvaart Lijnen (KJCPL) and Royal Interocean Lines
(RIL) was founded in
In 1948 KJCPL decided to build two intimate 9,000 GRT passenger cargo liners, and these ships were built by Van der Giessen at Krimpen. Their keels were laid as follows: MS Tjiwangi in 1949 and MS Tjiluwah in 1950, and they were launched April 29, 1950 & April 28, 1951 respectively. Both ships were completed in the same year of their launch.
Tjiwangi being launched on April 29, 1950
Built for KJCPL, but now operating for RIL, one of their larger passenger liners the 14,304-ton MS Ruys
(Three identical ships sailed between
For the next ten years, Tjiwangi and Tjiluwah operated on
the Dutch East Indies to Hong Kong service, until 1960 a decision was made to
change their service and commence them on the
MS Tjiluwah a beautifully proportioned small passenger liner – KJCPL postcard from 1956
In July 1960
with Tjiwangi having arrived in
A KJCPL postcard of the MS Tjiwangi - 1958
Ports of call:
RIL Postcard of the Tjiwangi after 1960
Accommodations on the Tjiwangi and Tjiluwah as built: All cabins were outside with one or two portholes.
First Class cabins were located on B Deck, which had 2 single cabins with private facilities. 17 Twin bedded cabins all with private facilities, and 20 Twin bedded cabins that offered a sofa that converted into a third bed if required, as well as 1 two-berth cabin, but the 20 Twins with the sofas and the two berth cabin had share facilities. First Class was fully air-conditioned throughout.
Tourist Class cabins were located on C Deck and comprised of 40 four berth cabins all having shared facilities. Tourist Class had Gyro fan-forced air-cooling.
First class was quite opulent, with the Main Lounge located forward on Promenade (A) Deck being surrounded by the superb Wintergarden and these ships had that traditional ocean liner style Promenade Deck, lined with comfortable deck chairs with stewards constantly at your call. Then there was another unusual feature for ships of their intimate size. Each had a two deck high Restaurant that featured a fine balustrade on the upper deck looking down on the Restaurant below, and a grand sweeping staircase down into the restaurant. The Tourist Class public rooms were equally decorative but having a more modest restaurant. Both classes offered ample deck spaces for relaxing, sun baking and sports activities, and each class had their own swimming pool.
delightful Tjiluwah is seen arriving in
Above & Below: The elegant
The Wintergarden surrounded the Main Lounge - starboard looking aft
The Bar was located on the Portside just aft of the lobby
(At the same location starboard was the library/card/games room)
The First Class Restaurant was for a small ship, quite extravagant
Note the differences between the décor above and below
The staircases differed on the two ships as one was placed forward & the other aft of the Dinning Room
Twin bedded cabin with a sofa that converted to a third bed
And here is the wonderful MS Tjiwangi in the early 1960s
The delightful Main Lounge and Bar was located within the hull of the ship
Later a comfortable and more casual Tourist Class Verandah
Lounge was installed on the starboard side of Promenade Deck
The swimming pool
Outside Twin Tourist Class Cabin
Cover of a Cabin Plan
See the official Deck Plan link at the bottom of the page
Service speed: 16 knots.
Passenger Decks: Four.
1950/1963: 98-First Class – 160-Tourist Class.
1963: 104-First Class – 118-Tourist Class.
. First Class only was fully Air-Conditioned.
1963: Ships refitted & now fully air-conditioned.
Livery 1950/1963: Black hull / white superstructure with red boot topping.
. black funnel Dutch flag with white triangle & gold crown.
Livery 1963/1972/74: White hull & superstructure.
MS Tjiluwah seen in 1963 after her refit – Such a graceful and intimate liner
In 1962/63, both ships received a refit, and had their hulls painted white, after which they became known as the “Elegant White Yachts.” The after end of the starboard Promenade Deck was glass enclosed creating the delightful Tourist Class Verandah Lounge.
Even though Tjiwangi and Tjiluwah had considerable competition from the well established Dominion Lines George Anson and Francis Drake, later the Chitral, Aramac and other vessels, however, the two Dutch flagged RIL ships were the more favoured, for they were renowned for their refined atmosphere and superb service.
Today these wharves have now been rebuilt as upmarket apartments, boutiques, cafes and restaurants
whilst the famed historic wool stores have been converted into luxury apartments
Photograph by & © ssmaritime.com
The Australian to
MS Tjiwangi seen in
Photograph by & © Graham-Emery
In November 1973 RIL finally decided to sell the Tjiwangi, which was sold by Singaporean PIL, and she was handed over at the end of January 1974 and was duly renamed Kota Bali and she joined her sister Kota Singapura.
With the sale of the two popular “Elegant White Yachts” as ship lovers called the Tjiluwah and Tjiwangi, Nieuw Holland’s days were rather short. For: 1. Cargo loading where changing to containers, and 2. Many tourists were choosing vacations by air, thus the Nieuw Holland was sold just three years later due to declining loadings.
MS Nieuw Holland, ex Randfontein operated for just over three years
MS Tjiluwah and Tjiwangi offered the very best in traditional cruising with an emphasis on comfort, service, and excellent food. Entertainment was minimal to today’s standards, but both ships had a small band and a pianist. The emphasis was very much a voyage of quiet relaxation, enjoying the ships excellent facilities, comfortable lounges, two pools and the spacious decks. It was a time where we enjoyed a drink on the promenade, reading a book in the Wintergarden or enjoying a drink in the bar and the main lounge engaging in interesting conversations with those who had cruised the world, or on their very first ocean voyage. Tjiluwah and Tjiwangi offered the very best in traditional cruising. Many of today’s vacationers would not enjoy this style of elegant cruising as the preference these days is to be entertained all day and night, private balconies, towering atriums, rock climbing walls, ice skating rinks, etc, etc, and sailing with a herd of 2,000 to 6,500 passengers on a floating hotel/resort which can hardly be described as ships.
fine photographs of Tjiwangi in Newcastle © by Mr. Stan Evans
Two fine photographs of Tjiwangi in Newcastle © by Mr. Stan Evans
A superb looking MS Tjiwangi seen on one of her rare
A stern view of the pristine MS Tjiwangi in
MS Tjiwangi and Tjiluwah will always be remembered as the “Elegant White Yachts”
Page One:Tjiluwah – Tjiwangi History Page.
. Tjiluwah – Tjiwangi - RIL - Deck Plan.
Page Three:RIL Memorabilia – A host of RIL memorabilia items.
Water Liners sailing to the distant shores.
I watched them come, I watched them go and I watched them die.”
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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.
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