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Your first cruise ship

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Our first cruise was on the older Westerdam. In fact it was the week after they filmed the movie Out to Sea.


After that we were hooked, have never left HAL. Enjoy the smaller ships and everything and everyone that goes with it. :)

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Our first cruise was on Song of America ~ 1988 as a fairly young couple. We were immediately hooked.


We had an inside cabin and had early seating as in the traditional style. I think we had to up at 730 for breakfast, but we were already up to walk the deck in our quest for some kind of RCCL "dollars" which if you collected enough you got a free t-shirt.


We thought the SOA was beautiful.


Recognized here at a port a few years ago now sailing as a Thompson cruise ship, I believe.

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It was a Sitmar ship in the early 80's which ultimately became a Princess ship, don't remember which it was.

Believe she was the Sitmar Fairwind which was renamed the Dawn Princess :)



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Edited by JVilleGal
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Morning Sonja;


Your best bet is to call HAL's Mariner Society at 1-800-547-9139. Since you're in Canada, you can also reach them at 206-281-3535 ext. 8353 and tell them your 1956 story.




ss Costa Rica Victory (1945-1971) Originally built by the Permanente Metals Co, Richmond, California for the United War Shipping Administration as Victory-class (improved Liberty-class version) troop ship/freighter Costa Rica Victory. She was commissioned in 1945, towards the end of World War II and managed by the American Hawaiian Steamship Co, New York. Her war time service however, was short lived and she was laid up and placed for sale in 1946.


She was purchased along, with her two sisters, ss Cranston Victory (renamed Zuiderkruis / Southern Cross) and ss La Grande Victory (renamed Waterman / Aquarius) in 1947 by the Dutch Government and used a troop and civilian transport to and from the Dutch East Indies (present Indonesia) and Dutch New Guinea. She was renamed Groote Beer for the constellation Big Dipper and, unlike Waterman and Zuiderkruis stayed under direct Dutch Government control N.V. Stoomvaart Maatschappij Nederland / Steamship Company Netherlands, Ltd. / Netherlands Line until 1952. She also made three voyages to Australia before her reconstruction commenced in November of 1951 in Amsterdam.


In November 1951, she was sent to the Nederlandsche Dok en Scheepsbouw Maatschappij (NDSM)/Netherlands Dry-Dock Shipbuilding Company in Amsterdam where construction started to rebuilt her for general passenger use. An extra deck was added, she received a new bridge, and her original accommodations were gutted. In its place, she had cabins fitted to accommodate up to 830 passengers.


Still owned by the government but now managed by Rotterdam's Holland America Line under N.V. Scheepvaart Maatschappij Trans Oceaan/Trans Ocean Shipping Company Ltd., starting in June, 1952, she was then used to transport thousands of Dutch immigrants to the United States (New York City), Canada (Halifax, Nova Scotia's Pier 21 (Canada's Ellis Island), and to Quebec City and Montreal, and occasional runs to Australia. In 1961, Holland America outright purchased the Groote Beer from the Dutch Government and also assumed control over Trans Oceaan. In 1962, she and Waterman, were chartered as accommodation ships for the Commonwealth Games in Fremantle (Perth), Australia.


In 1963, she was sold by the Dutch Governmentand purchased by Greek shipping tycoon Yiannis Latsis aka John Spyridon Latsis and his family-owned Latsis Shipping Company. She was renamed Marianna IV and operated on another immigrant service, this time from Piraeus to Australia and New Zealand. In 1964 and 1965, she was chartered by the Atlantic Educational Program for four round-trip student voyages between Rotterdam and New York. For this charter, she received her old name of Groote Beer and Holland America Line once again acted as her agent. Back under Marianna IV, she was laid up at Eleusis Bay, Greece in March 1967. She was sold for scrap in 1970 and broken up at Eleusis in 1971.




John: Your knowledge off all these old ships continues to amaze me

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Good luck with the Mariners Society en het beste! ;)

John - just wanted to let you know - I contacted the Mariner Society by email yesterday about my long ago (Aug. 1956) "cruise" on the Groote Beer. Today I received a reply. They have added 8 days to my cruise history. This now makes me a 2-Star Mariner! They also created a Mariner number for my brother Robert, who will be cruising with me on the Eurodam March 11-March 18, 2017 and credited him with 8 days! Robert was 3 years old when he "cruised" for the first time on the Groote Beer in 1956.

I am very impressed with the Mariner Society, and HAL.:)

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  • 1 month later...
Actually I would count my coming to the U.S. on the "United States" back in 1966 (in "steerage", sharing a cabin with two Russian women who didn't speak a word of English). But my first real cruise, with DH, was in 1988 on the Stella Solaris, a converted freighter. A wonderful experience all around. We had an inside cabin with oodles of space including a large coffee table and two club chairs. But the beds were bunks, not very romantic.

I sailed the Stella Oceanus on my first cruise in 1975 when Sun Line own it. Sun Line Cruises was owned by Marriott Corp at the time and I sailed the Stella Solaris in 1984 to the Med. Great Memories.

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My first cruise was on "ss Nevasa" on a Mediterranean cruise in 1969. She was a Briish India Ship formerly a troop ship with really spartan accommodation. She was used to take British schoolchildren and teachers cruising but carried a few adult passengers as well.

Edited by kiwijohn
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  • 6 months later...

I was on Ocean Monarch in Oct-Nov 1974 aged 4

I was on SS Ithaca in Oct-Nov 1975 aged 5 ~ same route as below

I was on Achille Lauro in Oct-Nov 1976 aged 6 (it suffered hijacking in 1985 and later sunk)




Ulysses Line's Ithaca

Edited by Irish Pete
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November 1971, Union Castle line, Pendennis Castle, Southampton to Cape town for my first real job on the Zambian copper belt after graduation and also our honeymoon. We'll be celebrating our 46th anniversary next month on MS Zaandam as we round the horn.


Old Mike

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