Arcadia The First 21 Years

27th November 2005, 23:12


This information in this article is the first time it has appeared outside the ship whether in book form or Internet to my knowledge. It is from the Special Commemorative Issue of ARCADUS the ships crew newspaper on her 21st birthday published on board on Sunday 12th May 1974. I took part in compiling this edition along with other crew. I was the shipping -correspondent using the name Medic. So this series will be extracts from the Commemorative Issue.

When I realised that Arcadia was soon to be 21 when compiling one of my articles for Arcadus, I suggested to her master, Captain A.H.W Dallas that we have a party. He had not realised she was soon to be 21, and thought it a great idea, putting the wheels in motion, and me and a few others a lot of writing and research to do.

Not too sure about copyright, but since I compiled some of it myself there should be no problem. However, I would not want to see any of the following copied on other Internet sites or indeed in book form.

Although copied, I will add up to date input where applicable.

The word Arcadia comes from the Greek Arkadia, a region of the Peloponnese, which as a place of simple pleasure and quiet, the ideal of rural felicity and pastoral simplicity. The Arcadia of the Ancient Greece was often chosen as the background for pastoral poetry. The native of Arcadia was known to be the one who led a quiet and simple life.

Fred the Bread, who many former Arcadia crew member may remember, produced a birthday cake which was displayed in the forward Library on the Promenade Deck on the day of her birthday. The cake represented about forty hours work. It was made up of marzipan, flour, sugar, mixed fruits and spices, eggs, brown almonds, Fred the Breads Secret, plus half a bottle of rum, which totalled 55 pounds of material.

On Tuesday 14th May 1974, passengers were given a special menu. I will try to copy this into the gallery.


Arcadia built by John Brown and Co Clydebank at an estimated cost of £5 million on 14th May 1953, was launched by Mrs D.F. Anderson, wife of one of P&O’s Deputy Chairman.

Ships under construction at shipyards are seldom known by name, but from their works number, which simplifies the supply of parts and prevents confusion. Arcadia was 697.

She shared her birthplace with the Royal Yacht Britannia launched almost exactly a month earlier than Arcadia by Her Majesty The Queen.

Arcadia was designed for the United Kingdom/India/Ceylon/Australia service, with a passenger capacity of 670 first-class and 735 tourist-class (though these figures may vary slightly from different sources). That was 455 passengers over her total as of May 1974. Her crew totalled 778 in the beginning with 558 in May 1974.

Her original crew total included 12 Deck Cadets, 2 in May 1974. 38 Bell Boys was reduced to 16. But musicians, comprising the Entertainment Staff increased from four to about 40 confirming that cruise ships employed a far larger compliment of entertainers than ships plying line voyages.

On the same day at Barrow-in-Furness the opposition; Orient Lines Orsova was launched also bound for the UK/Australia service.

Arcadia’s gross tonnage was 29,871, 271ft long and 91ft breadth. Her single reduction turbines developing a maximum of 42,500 shaft horse power giving Arcadia a service speed of 22knots. The fresh water distilling plant was able to produce 500 tons of water daily. The hold carried a measurement of 153.813 cubic feet of refrigerated cargo space. It was estimated that as of her coming of age, Arcadia in excess of a quarter of a million passengers over a distance of two million miles.

Great efforts were made with Arcadia to incorporate into her design all the latest ideas and improvements. Her funnel, known as the ‘Clydebank’ funnel was designed especially by John Brown the builders and Thermotank Ltd, in who’s wind tunnel the smoke tests were carried out to carry the fumes well aft of the ship and prevent them falling on the after open decks. Arcadia’s funnel at the time of building and launching was something of a revolutionary design and it excited a good deal of comment.

If the funnel casing were empty three double deck busses could be driven through abreast. The casing itself weighed forty tons, and was measured together with the uptakes and all the fittings the weight was increased to 85 tons. New metals were also introduced in her building. All the ship’s ladders were constructed from an alloy which proved as strong as the old metal ladders in previous ships. Arcadia being the first P&O ship to try this new alloy material.

A waterline model of her hull was built for experiments on upper deck arrangements and how she would look at sea. A set of cabins were built ashore where various fittings, furniture and colour schemes were tried out, and the same model ideas were used on a mock up bathroom and shower.

For many weeks, prior to the launching of Arcadia special work gangs were called in to build the cradle on the sliding ways. One of the tasks of this work gang was the shoring up with great bulks of timber of the fore part of the ship to take the tremendous strain that it placed on the hull when the after end first becomes waterborne and the forward end is still pressing on the launch way.

After launching on 14th May 1953, Arcadia was fitted out at a berth in John Brown’s Clydenabk yard, alongside the Royal Yacht Britannia. Arcadia’s internal work was behind schedule supposedly because of the direction of labour to the Royal Yacht as the priority job. Ultimately, Arcadia sailed on her maiden voyage to Australia carrying some 50 workmen, carpenters and plumbers, to complete her internal works. These workmen were paid for 24 hours, 7 days a week for the duration of the voyage.

On 20th January 1954, under the command of Commodore G C Forrest (who was her captain for the maiden voyage, and who remained in command until his retirement some two years later) she sailed to Liverpool where, in dry dock at Gladstone Dock, her Denny Brown stabilizers were fitted. She was the second P&O ship to be fitted with these fins, Chusan being the first.

From Liverpool, Arcadia returned once more to the Clyde where, off the famous Tail Of The Bank, she ran her acceptance trials.

Arcadia sailed on her maiden voyage from the Tilbury Landing stage on 22nd February 1954, bound for Port Said, Aden, Bombay, Colombo, Fremantle, Melbourne and Sydney, arriving in Sydney on 27th March, and later returning to England by the same route. Immigrants to Australia filled the Tourist Section of the ship.


The mural decoration of classical subjects at the after end of the forward restaurant was entitled ‘Arcadia’ and represented the following:

1. Hercules decoration the Erymanthian Boar
2. Hercules and his friend the Centaur Chiron whom he accidentally shot.
3. Pan and the Nymphs
4. Artemis Goddess of Naples
5. Hercules subduing Mares of the Thracian Diomedes
6. Hercules capturing the Arcadian stag
7. Hercules destroying the Stymphalian Birds

Even in those days, P&O featured Artemis Goddess of Naples, now one of their cruise ships heading off on her first world cruise under her new name.

The painting on five sheets of glass at the forward end of the same restaurant depicted Hermes arriving at the town of Megaloppolis in the country of Arcadia. These paintings were by John Churchill.

Written at the time of cruising in 1974, this is what I wrote:. The public rooms have changed since her maiden voyage. To start with there was a Cinema on the starboard side of the (now) Camelot Room. The projection room was directly above on the Boat Deck. The Dorchester Room was known as the Verandah Café, and the Pool Bar, not so differently as the Pool Café. There was a dance space on the port side of the Cinema. The rest of the public lounges were named by function – Tourist Gallery, and Smoking Lounge – rather than the more evocative (now) Bell Inn and Raleigh Room respectively. Some things that stayed the same: Commodore Forrest, a sailing enthusiast, had a sailing dinghy manufactured in fibreglass on board. He allowed his officers to sail it. The dinghy was launched from the Captain’s Deck by hooks under the starboard Bridge wing being used as davits. One of the officers who doubtless took his turn at sailing Commodore Forrest’s boat was Deck Apprentice Foster – now Harbour Pilot at Fiji. It was he who piloted the ship in and out on our call on May 2nd this month, and he mentioned that he has been a cadet under Commodore Forest on her maiden voyage. Captain Dallas now has his own boat on board of course.

Another field where Arcadia has changed little is the cricket pitch. Our very active cricket teams on board at the moment are by no means a new thing. In July 1954 a ship’s team under the captaincy of First Officer J.M Chester played against Warsash School of Navigation. Our team reached the venue in one of the ships launches, and won the match by nine wickets. Whereupon the ‘Victory Carriage’, a 1925 Rolls Royce, drew up and bore away and assortment of 18 team and Warsash cadets – four of them on the roof – to sherry and dinner as guests of the College. The triumphal return to Arcadia at Southampton was once again by ships’ launch.

28th November 2005, 21:11

Monday 25th October 1954 at 2249 the weather was fine and hazy with little wind, and a temperature of 47F. Arcadia was undocking from Tilbury Dock and shifting to the Landing Stage. The tug attending aft, Cervia, capsized, drowning five of the eleven crew members. The tug was apparently changing from one quarter to the other when the wash from Arcadia’s engines going astern, combined with the list of Cervia caused by weight on the line, turned her over. She went down so fast that even the axeman on stand by had no tine to sever the cable. The tug settled upright on the river bed. She was subsequently salvaged .


The First Plumber was standing next to one of the Assistant Chippies on the forecastle head, chatting seeming quite normal. Quite suddenly Plumbs said: “Well that’s it, goodbye old chap”, and jumped over the rail at the port bow.

The alarm was immediately raised, and within minutes, a Williamson turn had been completed and Arcadia was steaming along a reciprocal course searching for the man by the light of searchlights from the Bridge wing. It was fairly choppy at the time and all the spots picked out were a couple of sharks sculling around attracted by the moving glow of lights.

Two of the ships boats were sent away to search further back along the ships track, but to no avail. Both Bridge lifebuoys which had been thrown over when the alarm was raised were recovered by the lifeboats.

The man was not found, and just over one hour later the ship resumed her course for Fremantle presuming he had drowned. He had a history of mental disturbance going back for some time, but it was thought his imbalance had improved until this incident.


Arcadia, bound from Las Palmas to London 29th December 1956 was on the homeward leg of her voyage. There had been some trouble with her stabilizers so it was resolved that they would not be extended unless it became really necessary. It did become a necessity when the Surgeon had to perform an appendectomy shortly after the call at the Canary Islands. When it came to the time to retract the stabilizers a snag occurred as had been feared, and one of the fins jammed out by about two feet. The Chief Engineer was unwilling to try to extend the stabilizers again in case they jammed out completely, which would mean the ship was unable to dock alongside on arrival at UK. In those early days of stabilizers it had not become apparent that one fin could be utilised without the other, and heading for a sizeable storm in the Bay of Biscay.

On the particular evening in question shortly before dinner the vessel began to roll very heavily in the weather and Captain Bodley decided to heave to. As he executed this manoeuvre and put the ship to heave to, shortly after everyone had sat down to dinner, Arcadia lurched sickeningly and the Bridge recorded a roll of 39° to port and 43° to starboard.

All the furniture, piano’s – the lot- was thrown from one side of the ship to the other. In the restaurants there were no carpet in those days and the people were skidding around sitting in their chairs, and being thrown out of them. Everything in the Galley went flying, and the passengers finally ate bread rolls and apples for their meal some hours later.

When the Second Engineer, now Chief Engineer John Howell, reached his office he found that his trunk-type lid opening fridge had decanted all over the deck, and all his papers and files were swilling around in a lake of ginger ale and tonic.

It was a miracle that there was only one injury sustained. A very large lady of ample proportions further increased by being seven months pregnant rolled from one side to the other in the Somerset Room, and fractured her forearm in the process.

The ship remained hove to all night and by eight the following morning the weather had abated sufficiently for her to resume her passage at full speed for Tilbury, where she arrived a little late and none the worse for her pounding.

Fast forwarding a few years, we hit a force 12 between Vancouver and Honolulu in 1973. We did not heave to then, ploughing through like the grand old lady she was. I lost my breakfast one morning over the railing. My Crew & Isolation Hospital was on the after end of C Deck. A narrow deck, the either side of the Nursery led to my hospital divided by a heavy door from passenger accommodation. As I rested my tray on the railing to open the door, Arcadia listed to starboard heavily, and I lost the lost having to go back for more. D Deck was under water at the after end below my hospital, so I had to go through the Public rooms. Ropes were put around the ship for passengers to hang onto, and once again there were not many injuries other than than a few wrist fractures common in heavy seas or slipping. On this trip, was the American group the Platters who gave a crew show in the Bell Inn. Later, we caught the end of the Cyclone that destroyed Darwin, and one again the grand old lady coped well as did the passengers and crew.

A hole was torn in Arcadia’s bows as she was arriving at Tilbury Docks on 22nd December 1962. A very strong wind was blowing at the time and the anchor was lowered in an effort to hold her, but the force of the wind turned the ship onto her anchor which fouled the bow and gouged a giant hole about 19 feet across clean through the stem. The damage took two days to cement and repair and she eventually sailed on 24th December.

On 30th August 1963, the two liners Arkadia (Greek Line) and Arcadia caused some confusion to embarking passengers by being berthed alongside each other at the same Tilbury wharf.

2nd of June 1964, on passage from Aden to Colombo, Arcadia went to the assistance of the Greek tanker Parnis whose Messboy was suffering severe appendicitis. The boy was transferred to Arcadia, operated on in the ships hospital, and subsequently landed at Colombo for repatriation.

16th August 1964 on passage from Honolulu to Vancouver a seaman from the US vessel Lykes Lines Frederick Lykes was transferred to Arcadia seriously ill. He was treated on board and landed to hospital in Vancouver.

In 1964 Arcadia left Port Said to transit the Suez Canal. Due to very strong winds blowing and heavy squalls she was grounded twice on entering the Canal. She was, however, able to winch herself off on both occasions.

The next editions will see the ship back track a bit as I plough through all the pages of print of her 21st birthday as well as a few Arcadia firsts that many people may not be aware of, plus famous people she carried.

29th November 2005, 12:28
Is anyone enjoying the first 21 years of Arcadia?. There has been 58 hits, but this only tells me people have read it. It would be good to know what people think because compiling this is both time consuming and indeed painful having to sit so long at computer before copying to the site. I am only too happy to do this despite the discomfort, but it would be nice to have some comment rather than viewing figures which tell me nothing other than that people have read it. Just because 58 people have read it so far, it does not neccessarily mean they like it. David

29th November 2005, 12:52
Yes, I am absolutely enjoying your history!. I lived in Williamstown in Melbourne, and from my home could see the 'Mail Boats' at Station Pier, Port Melbourne. Arcadia was well known to me. Keep going Pompy.

Paul UK
29th November 2005, 13:28
Keep Going David


29th November 2005, 14:19
I'm eagerly awaiting the rest of the events. Well done...... Keep it up.

29th November 2005, 14:30
Many thanks guys. David

29th November 2005, 14:40
Hi Pompeyfan,
This is the sort of stuff that doesn't go into the official histories and is what makes the forum worthwhile. Accounts of ship dimensions and how many tons of bananas get loaded per trip are all well and good but this much more interesting.

29th November 2005, 16:18
Is anyone enjoying the first 21 years of Arcadia?. There has been 58 hits, but this only tells me people have read it. It would be good to know what people think because compiling this is both time consuming and indeed painful having to sit so long at computer before copying to the site. I am only too happy to do this despite the discomfort, but it would be nice to have some comment rather than viewing figures which tell me nothing other than that people have read it. Just because 58 people have read it so far, it does not neccessarily mean they like it. David

David, it's a cracking account of an interesting history/saga. I'm glued.

tom nicholson
29th November 2005, 17:07
you cant stop in the middle of these very interesting tales it is like watching a soap opera i cant wait for the next installment keep it going
thanks tom.

29th November 2005, 19:00
Really enjoying reading these. Great work and thanks for taking the time to write all of these.

29th November 2005, 20:10
Keep going,as an ex P&O passenger ship person the memories you are bringing back are priceless. KIWI

29th November 2005, 22:09

In the old days when cruising to Venice, it was not unusual for one of the ships boats to be taken out on an exploratory trip round the canals of the city. Much to the annoyance of the local gondoliers the ships launches would chug past creating enough wash to cause discomfort to the gondolier and his craft’s occupants, so much the boats’s passage would be accompanied by muck Latin gesticulation, waving of arms and shaking fists. The coxswain of the boat would fine a lamp post convenient to a local bar, make fast, and the remainder of the exploration would be liquid too, but of a different content. However, on one occasion the expedition set forth in usual style, but at low tide, under the Bridges of Venice. When it came to the return trip, the tide was up and the boat wouldn’t fit under the same arches. So the aid of some-bewildered some-amused passers-by was enlisted, and with all the extra weight of dozens of Italians added to the boat trippers the freeboard was sufficiently reduced to squeeze the launch under the bridges and home to the ship in time for sailing.

The 21st October 1957 the Chairman of P&O addressed the stockholders at a luncheon on board Arcadia shortly after she had completed a series of five cruises between line voyages carrying a total of 5,486 passengers, and on the day she departed on her next scheduled line voyage to India, Ceylon and Australia with 1,345 passengers aboard.

Easter time 1959, Arcadia cools it to air conditioning. From the time of building to date only certain sections of the ship were air-conditioned. Amongst these were the Verandah Café, the Restaurants, Telephone Exchange, the Bureau, Leading Hands and European Mess Rooms, and Hairdressing and Barber’s Shops, plus all the inboard cabins. Air conditioning will be mentioned again when one of the crew aboard Arcadia for the longest gives his stories of the ship including hosing passengers down on the deck her were too hot. Looking around the ship now(May 1974) all the rooms with the old fashioned round silver coloured air blowers had air conditioning at the time of building, and the small Thermotank punkah louvers were 1959 editions. It is noticeable in the poem SS Arcadia by J.H. Gough Wilson that there is a special mention of the air conditioning in specific areas. From Easter 1959 the entire ship benefited from the instillation of Harland and Wolff’s Belfast yard of Thermotank Air Conditioning.

June 1961, Arcadia was on the rocks. At about 0900 under pilot on her way into Honolulu on one of her earliest calls there she became firmly lodged upon a coral reef. The pilot had embarked first, followed shortly afterwards by a troupe of Polynesian dancers for the passengers entertainment. Whilst embarking these dancers from their launch Arcadia must have drifted, or possibly she was badly position before hand, but on getting under way again and heading for the entrance channel she failed to make the tight turn necessary and found herself stuck fast with a starboard list of something like 7 degrees. Divers were sent down to inspect the hull and they confirmed there was little damage. Efforts to release her with the aid of tugs on the first high tide fails, and so she sat there for about 12 hours until the second attempt at the evening tide successfully dislodged her from her perch. She then proceeded into Honolulu to disembark and embark her passengers who had been waiting all day in hope that their ship would come in.

Captain Dallas gave us a story for the 21st birthday edition of Arcadus which was another man overboard incident which happened on 10th September 1971. The alarm was raised by a passenger on C Deck aft. Word reached the Bridge at 1225 and by 1235 the ship completed a Williamson turn and was steaming on a reciprocal course. Action by the Officer of the Watch had been swift – buoys over, whistle sounded, telegraphs to stand by, and the Accident Boat crew quickly mustered.

The ship was homeward bound, four days out of Cape Town on a bright and sunny afternoon with a moderate South Westerly swell and not much wind. But who, if anybody had gone over?.

A passenger reported seeing an Asian looking man with a red band round his head swimming strongly away from the ship. So the first thoughts was one of the Indian Deck Crew but none had been working near the side rail, and were soon all accounted for. The Og Wallah Serang counted his men, and then a Goan man was reported missing.

The passenger had thrown a lifebuoy over the side right away, and two more went as his message sped to the Bridge, and there was also the smoke float lifebuoy. By now the ship had turned half a mile beyond the lifebuoy and was slowly steaming north again. All the lifebuoys that had been thrown into the water were counted. Life had been going on as normal down below and the correct path was confirmed by a trail of garbage and cardboard cartons. Masthead, bow and Bridge lookouts were now augmented by the passengers lining the rails, endeavouring to be helpful, anxious; like all those on board desperately hoping to sight the man. Some false reports came up from them, which usually turned out to be one of a number of large grey-brown sea birds which seemed have appeared from nowhere.

Four times Arcadia went down the line of buoys, all stretching and straining with Captain Dallas postponing a decision to abandon the search thinking of what it would be like for a man in the water, to see the ship not turn again and steaming away. A ‘CQ’ message was sent for any ships in the vicinity and two altered course to pass fairly close by.

It was 1500, and word by now had come that, knowing the missing man, apart from the shock, there was no great surprise at what he had done. So it was with heavy heart at 1510, that Captain Dallas called off the search.

That night, a simple but moving service was conducted by the Chief Pantryman in the Goanese Mess, ending what must have been one of the saddest days in Arcadia’s chronicle as written by Captain Dallas himself.

In 1972, again on the homeward voyage, the newly-wed bride of a tanker Radio Officer was transferred to Arcadia for medical aid, and she was later landed in England. By coincidence this transfer took place at the same spot, four days out of Cape Town homeward bound, as the search for the Goanese man overboard on the previous voyage.

Thanks for all the messages of support. Next episode very soon.

non descript
29th November 2005, 23:55
David, well done Sir, an excellent account and very moving in its content. I am very impressed and very grateful for your endeavours. (Applause)

30th November 2005, 22:48

On 9th February 1972 at Nassau, Arcadia was berthed alongside QE2, who for some 3¾ hours joined the P&O fleet. After one, or possibly two, lunchtime gins, Third Officer Mark Hoddinott, aided by the Third Radio Officer and abetted by the First Officer and Co boarded the QE2 with the P&O House Flag secreted about the person. Successfully dodging various Officer of the Watch (Cunard Division) armed to the teeth with sextants and binoculars, our gallant duo found their way to the Queens Monkey Island (Gibraltar?) and proceeded with full pomp and ceremony to hoist the P&O House Flag, which unfurled and fluttered bravely from the masthead.

A hasty retreat was successfully beat with all tracks covered, and back to Arcadia and onto the gins again!.

Come sailing time, Arcadia was due to leave her berth at 1800. So, with P&O pomp, the sunset ceremony was carried out, sailing music softly breaking the evening stillness as Arcadia slid from her moorings. QE2, anxious to keep up with the P&O Joneses was askance to find, at HER sunset ceremony. That she had seemed to have crossed the house (Trafalgar!)

Captain (Noah) Dallas was the proud owner of a photograph of the Captain of QE2 standing, arms akimbo, on his Bridge wing, striking a Cunard pose, oblivious of the fact that above his head flutter the unmistakeable colours of the Peninsular and Oriental Gang!.

On 16th February 1972, Arcadia was at anchor in Acapulco Bay. At about 1400 it was observed from the Bridge by the Officer of the Watch that the Fourth Engineer, Ted Miller was enjoying a spell of water-skiing. This in itself would have excited no comment, except that Ted, full of bonhomie and Black Label, and with P&O’s best advertising interests at heart, was speeding around the Bay dressed in full whites including cap, bearing the P&O House Flag fluttering from a broomstick. Mr Miller then completed a ceremonial ski-past salute to Captain Dallas. How he disembarked from his skis rather – er – dampens the story!.


A very drunk and very belligerent Goanese crew member who had entered into too much spirit, or rather Guinness had to be removed forcibly and detained in the lock-up ward in C Deck Hospital aft. It took five men to escort him to the After Hospital, these five being David Tomalin (Catering D P) Peter Binns (Baby Doc) Gordon Rennison (Dispenser) Fred (Hosp Att) and Joe (Hosp G S). As these five manfully struggled to keep the miscreant under control they entered the ward, and carried the man to the bed. The heavy steel door swung to and shut behind them. The door had no handle on the inside, and closed with a self-locking device.

This happened in the early part of the evening Christmas Day. Some five hours later a puzzled Coxswain, wondering at the hammering and yelling, released the five prisoners whilst on his late night rounds of the ship. During their evening’s confinement the five not only missed their Christmas Dinners, but also the Captains Party, the Purser’s Party, and their share of Christmas spirit that our Goanese friend had consumed earlier.

This happened before myself and Les Massey took over from Fred, Hospital Attendant and Gordon Dispenser in June 1973. I was told this story, so was very careful when I went into the lock-up cabin whether empty or with an occupant in there, although the lock-up cabin on Canberra was similar. I was Hospital Attendant on Canberra Christmas 1972, and her Christmas Cruise also had a lot of incident even more so than Arcadia. That is a story for another day however, but Christmas 1972 had incidents on at least two P&O ships.


January 26/February 2nd 1960
Sir William Slim, Governor General of Australia, flew his personal standard on board.

Early 1960
Dame Pattie Menzies sailed from Sydney to UK in Arcadia on her way to launch Canberra at Harland and Wolff Belfast, a special trip made specifically for the launching.

Famous Australian historian Sir Keith Hancock KBE, sailed

The King and Queen of Malaysia – Raja Permasuri Agong and Yang Di Pertuan Agong.

Rt Hon Sir Robert Menzies and his daughter sailed on a south Pacific cruise, leaving Dame Pattie behind in Canberra, the Australian capital, not the ship.

January 1969
Australian Prime Minister Rt Hon J. G Gorton and his wide sailed from Suva to Sydney as part of their return trip from the Prime Ministers Conference in London.

Miss Evonne Goolagong Australian World Tennis Champion took a cruise from Sydney for a rest prior to participating in the Wimbledon Tournament.

June 1973 onwards
ME!, No my boss actually, Major General P.R. Wheatley, D.S.O R.A.M.C (rtd) M.R.C.S L.R.C.P F.R.C.S F.R.S of MED Q.H.S. Formerly Director of Army Surgery and Consultant Surgeon to the Army. Presently serving as Ship’s Surgeon. He was once Orthopaedic Surgeon to Her Majesty the Queen.

With Doc Wheatley as Surgeon, we had quite a medical team because the Dispenser who joined with Doc Wheatley and myself in June 1973 was a retired Naval Lieutenant serving 32 years in the RN getting from Sick Berth Attendant to commissioned Officer. Between him and the Surgeon, they not only had more medals that any crew member on board, but possibly more that anybody in the P&O fleet. When wearing blues, their entire top pocket was full of ribbons indeed going way below the pocket much to the envy of Merchant Navy Officers on board who looked quite stupid compared to these two most with little more than two medals. Les earned the M.B.E while in the RN, no small achievement along with every medal going including the Order of St John. I learned so much from these two men during my time working with them that I still put to good use today. Even the Captain referred to Doc Wheatley as Sir!.

1st December 2005, 21:27

One of the contributors to the Special Commemorative issue of Arcadus, Jim (Curley) Cannell PRS, like myself, came from the Isle of Wight. So when getting to his story in the issue, I looked his name up in the phone book to see it he was still around. To my delight he was, and had a long talk to him. Now in his 90s, his memory is not so good, but he told me that when the weather is better, he will dig a few things out about his years with P&O and indeed Arcadia. Anyway, because I kept the Special Commemorative issue, I can retell Curly’s story just as he told it at the time much to his delight.

Curley was a deck steward on the Arcadia 1964/5. One afternoon another steward sidled up to him and pointed to a white haired passenger asleep in a deck chair: “ I say Curley”, he said, “Just look at him with his mouth wide open catching flies”. “That gentleman”, Curley replied “ is Sir Robert Menzies, Prime minister of Australia”. When Sir Winston Churchill died in January 1965 Sir Robert had to cut short his holiday and fly to England from Los Angeles to attend the funeral.

Speaking of Australian Prime Ministers Curley recalled John Gorton travelling on Arcadia in 1969 and how he used to love getting on the bandstand to sing, the passengers simply lapped it up.

Among other famous passengers Curley had the pleasure of serving on the ARC was Jack Peterson, European and British heavyweight boxing champion of the late 1930s. On one occasion he had collected the top Bingo prize in the lounge. Curley recalled that he was so delighted you’d have thought he had won a 15-round bout.

The last of Curley’s personalities but by no means the least was Grecia Farfel, the late Billy Cotton’s solo trumpet player. During the time he was on board he gave concerts in the ships ballroom and on several occasions sat in the ships orchestra, thereby infusing life and sparkle into the combo. He amazed his audience one night by just taking his trumpet mouthpiece in one hand and an ordinary mineral water bottle in the other and proceeded to play popular melodies in the bottle. He was one hell of a musician Curley recalls and was a personal friend of his. He first met Grecia in 1943 when Curley himself earned a living playing the trumpet.


In each edition of Arcadus we ran a What’s My Name column asking readers if they could work out who it was. So we did the same for the Commemorative issue by finding a crew member who had been on board longer than anybody else. Some SN members who worked on Arcadia may remember this chap, but even if you don’t know him he came up with some classic memories in the history of Arcadia.

He was often seen, during a free moment leaning over the rail with his large eyes fixed on the horizon. What was he thinking of?. Do his thoughts go back to when Arcadia was only three years old?. For this man has been steadily in the ARC for 18 years (as written in 1974). In the beginning he liked Arcadia, and he requests to be reassigned have always been honoured.

As I wrote this, momentarily the air conditioning was off in my section of the ship. How was it in those days before air conditioning?. And when was it installed?. In those days the ship made three trips yearly to Australia, and did six English cruises. It is true that the restaurants and the writing rooms were cooled, but my friend described other parts of the ship as HOT. In those day the scuttles were open, the wind-chutes out, and there were curtains at the doors. All off duty time was spent on deck looking for a breeze, and scarcely finding it.

Most of the crew, and even some of the passengers, slept on deck until hosed off by the Laskas. Actually, the ship was not fully air conditioned until she started sailing to the States.

My friend recalled the time when the ARC ran into a whale. Obviously it was sleeping on the surface and with a terrible crash and bang it landed right on the bow. Its tail was flipping, and in order to get it off the ship had to go astern. That was in the Indian Ocean, and it was a hot and clear night – one not to be forgotten.

Then there was the day our friend recalls when somebody pushed the wrong button. Made fast at Suva, Arcadia suddenly shot forward at what seemed full speed. The ropes and hawsers were snapping and popping, and the Police band scattered. A yacht sailing slowly past in the light airs when suddenly, it seemed, set upon by Arcadia, who came so close, that all the occupants of the sailing boat decanted in fright into the water and started swimming to safety. It was a miracle that no-one was hurt because there were passengers actually going down the already rigged gangway at the time the ship moved forward along the quay. The local scuba diving club dived to ascertain the damage, and cut away 17 turns of wire rope around the propeller. The Company, in gratitude for their efforts, presented the Scuba Club with a new aqualung set. Our friend never did know who pushed the wrong button.

Our subject served many notables, amongst whom were Field Marshall Sir William Slim, ex Governor General of Australia; Sir Robert and Dame Pattie Menzies; Lord Nuffield; Dame Edith Evans, the famous actress; Spike Milligan, and Mr Coleman responsible for the wonderful English mustard. There were the Sheiks and Sultans, Air Vice Marshall’s, Colonel’s and Captain’s, and all ranks going to and from England, to Aden, Singapore and India. Even Mr Shanks of toilet fame was aboard, from the sublime to the ridiculous they all travelled in the ARC. Some of these were not mentioned in the famous people carried on Arcadia in the last edition.

Some of the captains our subject served under aboard Arcadia were, Dallas, Biddick, Chapman, Harrison, Le Fevre, Blois, Green, Wild, Gowen, Wacher and Forrest. I am sure a few SN members who worked for P&O remembers some of these captains?.

This chap, What’s His Name, hails from Halifax in Yorkshire. He was originally a Utility Steward, then a Winger, and then a BRS his present job of many years standing. He is a coin collector, and also has a fine collection of sea shells, for which he has paid anything from a few cents to $50.00 (that was a museum for a Cowrie shell, which he wouldn’t sell at any price.

He was asked if he could give Arcadia a really fine birthday present what would it be?. He replied:” A new diesel engine, so she could use less fuel, but most off all since were now based on the west coast of America, the occasional trip to the UK to store up with English goodies, especially Allsopps!”.

How many SN members reading this know what Allsopps was?. Was it unique to P&O, or did all companies use it when being stored from the UK?. For those who do not know, I will tell you later. But have a guess if you do not know?!.

The man in question is BRS, Stanley Adey who’s cabins are on A Deck.

Marjory Walker, Escort, Posh Hostess and Passenger Relations Officer served aboard Arcadia and other Company ships when Arcadia was based on the west coast of America wrote the following before she moved to her new home port in Sydney: I’ve said goodbye to Arcadia before, very sure I would not return. I even wrote a farewell to my friends one and all for Arcadus. That was a couple of years ago, and here I am once again. This time it would surely seem that I shall not tramp her decks again. No longer will I find my way to the Lookout Bar for a great view on all sides. I shan’t have the opportunity to work with the friendly young people in the Bureau. The cabin and the dining room stewards who have taken such good care of me will be missed. The Entertainment Staff and all those super artists (including the wonderful members of the crew show) will be fondly remembered. The boys who work in the Public Rooms (Barmen and Stewards) will become part of my memory.

Memory has a way of backtracking. I remember when I first went to sea with P&O. It was aboard Canberra, and Commodore Dunkley was the Master. Then there was Captain Riddlesdale.

I was aboard Canberra during the Seaman’s strike in London and we were there for weeks and weeks. I was also on Canberra when we but hours out of Suez, when war broke, and we turned around and home via South Africa.

I was aboard Oronsay during the typhoid when those on board didn’t worry so much about typhoid but cirrhosis of the liver!. I was privileged to be aboard Arcadia when she did the first seasons cruising to Alaska. Captain Gowen was the Skipper and Captain Dallas Staffie. There was Chusan and Iberia and Oriana and Orsova and later Spirit of London. The years marched on, or perhaps I should say they sailed by.

Of all the ships Arcadia has been my favourite. I wonder why?. I really don’t know. Perhaps it is because when I come on board I feel at home. I can’t help wishing it wasn’t Arcadia heading towards Australia as her home port. A part of my heart will go with her.

From where I sit it looks as though there will be no more Circle Pacific Cruises, no more Around The World from Port Everglades, where I used to fly to join the ship. But if the ARC ever comes back to the States, you can bet you last dollar that some way, some how I shall be aboard even if I come as a passenger.

Next episode, a few Arcadia firsts.

non descript
1st December 2005, 21:39
Yet another great read, thanks David and please keep it coming

2nd December 2005, 00:30
Ind-Coop and Allslops BEER right Pompeyfan? (Applause)

At least in the London area it was Ind-Coop and Alsops. Of course we had to play on the Allslops word.

Still enjoying your yarns mate. ATB.........Peter

2nd December 2005, 12:05
Yes, Allsopps was a lager in a yellow can brewed in this country but for export only. David

2nd December 2005, 13:29


Arcadia was the first P&O ship to have an Observation Lounge at the forward end of the Boat Deck, immediately beneath the Bridge. The bar counter was decorated at each end with a figurehead of a sailing ship, and a mural on the after bulkhead (since painted over) bore representations of the first Arcadia, the William Fawcett and the Cutty Sark. Most of the other nautical and maritime decoration including globes are still there today (May 1974) in the Lookout Bar.

Arcadia was the first P&O ship to carry P&O (and not Marconi) employed Radio Officers.

Whilst cruising from Bergen in August 1954 Arcadia passed through Karm Sound, a channel of no more than 200 yards in width, to the cheers and whistles of local children lining the nearby shores. A bridge under construction at the time, and long since completed, by reason of its insufficient height, meant that Arcadia was not only the first P&O ship to pass there, but also the last large ship to transit these narrows.

In November 1959 Arcadia became the first passenger liner to land passengers at Picton New Zealand whilst on a cruise between line voyages.

22nd December 1959, Arcadia’s first call at Honolulu.

12th October 196, Arcadia’s first call at Seattle.

1970 Arcadia was the first P&O ship and largest passenger liner to cruise to Alaska and Glacier Bay.

On 14th July 1973 saw P&O’s and indeed Arcadia’s first call at Anchorage Alaska. Now a full time cruise ship, the call of such a large passenger vessel on a cruise at a port so far north caused quite a stir in the local Anchorage press. I still have this newspaper somewhere in my loft. We made the front the page, and there was a picture of her Captain Chapman (relief captain to Captain Dallas), standing on the bridge.

This was part of Arcadia’s Summertime Great Circle Pacific Cruise as Arcadia set off now based on the west coast of America and quite a new crew many of us joining for the first time a month earlier flying out to San Francisco by TWA with champagne on the way out, a far cry from Dan Air when we moved to Australia some 16 months later. Setting off from San Francisco, having signed articles on 18th June 1973 we set off for LA to pick up passengers before heading north to Vancouver arriving on 9th July 1973. From there we headed further north to Ketchikan, then onto Glacier Bay and Anchorage. From Anchorage we headed for warmer climes reaching Yokohama 9 days later on 23rd July 1973. On 25th July we reached Kobe staying there for two days.

28TH July 1973 saw another P&O and Arcadia first when we called at Kagoshima, Japan.

After Kagoshima we visited my favourite port Hong Kong where both the ship and crew had a wash and brush up with a new coat of paint on our three day visit and most of us with new made to measure suits, shirts, shoes, new glasses and goodness knows what else in the most amazing place you will ever find. From there we headed to Guam. If memory serves me right, Chitral was there with us. After that we headed down to Rabaul where, again if memory serves me right, our water tanks filled from an old submarine itself filled with water to serve anchoring ships.

From there it was onto Sydney, Noumea, Suva, Pago Pago, Papeete, Nuku Hiva arriving back in LA on 2nd September 1974 and San Francisco on 3rd September 1973.

While down in the South Pacific on 10th August 1973, Arcadia anchored off Niuafo’ou Island known as ‘Tin Can Island’ because ships have to post their mail by tin can. Niuafo’ou is one of the outlying islands of the Kingdom of Tonga, 400 miles from Tongatapu Island, on which Nuku’alofa, the capital of Tonga is situated. It is about 3½ miles long, 3 miles wide, and is of volcanic origin. The last volcanic eruption took place in September 1946 (as written in 1973), and when this happened, the home and properties of the 1,300 inhabitants were almost wiped out, and so they resettled on Eua Island, south of Tongatapu. About 200 villagers returned to Niuafo’ou in 1958, and the population was about 600 as of 1974.

Passengers and crew posted letters here with a special insertion with details of the island (as copied below) which they could write on the other side plus an envelope printed on the outside: SS Arcadia Summertime Great Circle Pacific Cruise August 1973 Dispatched By Tin Can Mail at Niuao’ou Island, Tonga August 20th, 1973. Due to this and the unusual way it went ashore it would become a collectors item.

Niuafo’ou is better known by its nickname ‘Tin Can Island’ because, as there is no good anchorage, at one time the regular means of mail delivery was for the ships carpenter to seal mail in 40-pound biscuit tins and throw them overboard, to be towed ashore by waiting ‘postmen’. Hence the name ‘Tin Can Island’.

The outward mail was made up ashore into several parcels, and tied to the ends of sticks about three feet long. Two or three natives usually swam out, each with a stick topped by a parcel of mail, supported by poles of Fau wood of six to seven feet in length. These poles were buoyant and easily carried the weight of a recumbent body. The parcels of outward mail were place in buckets lowered from the deck of the steamer.

The letters posted from Arcadia was sealed in a canister which was thrown overboard off Niufo’ou Island, picked up, and taken ashore for forwarding to the addressee.

As the government owned vessel in which the mail is conveyed to Nuku’alofa only sails at 5 weekly intervals, it is likely that letters could take up to 3-4 months to reach their destination.

I have pictures on slides of natives in rafts picking up the can dropped by one of our lifeboats. When, and if I treat myself to a slide scanner I will post these pictures.

On later cruises we called at Nuku'alofa picking up mail left by other ships in our lifeboats from natives in their rafts. Again if memory serves me right, we pick up mail left by one of the Royal Vikings who passed a few days before us.

November/December 1973 First passenger ship in P&O, and first since Queen Elizabeth during World War 2 to be refitted and dry-docked at Esquimalt, Victoria BC. We flew home on leave from Vancouver on KLM, after a very pleasant trip by ferry to the mainland.

2ND January 1974 Arcadia’s first call at Le Guaira.

7TH January 1974 Arcadia’s first call at Aruba in the Netherlands Antilles. This was part of her Christmas Cruise to the Caribbean from Vancouver, San Francisco and LA. A poor lady from Vancouver spent the entire cruise in the passenger hospital.

May 1994 Arcadia called at Portland Oregon being the first P&O passenger ship to call there.

First time for Arcadia to hold the Oriana Trophy, and the first P&O streaker!.

2nd December 2005, 19:38
Remember Allslops well,a good lager & in my time in a bottle.Only problem it was ten or twelve pence a bottle & gin was only four shillings & six pence a bottle.Bought cordial in Melbourne in 4/5 gallon lots to go with gin.Old timers used to say we were mad ,should drink gin water & bitters.Took many years for me to follow their advice.Remember Guiness & Tonic? KIWI

non descript
2nd December 2005, 20:14
David, thank you and congratulations on another great read; mind you any story that contains the word "Nuku'alofa" has to be pretty special in my book.

Doug Rogers
3rd December 2005, 00:54
Remember Allslops well,a good lager & in my time in a bottle.Only problem it was ten or twelve pence a bottle & gin was only four shillings & six pence a bottle.Bought cordial in Melbourne in 4/5 gallon lots to go with gin.Old timers used to say we were mad ,should drink gin water & bitters.Took many years for me to follow their advice.Remember Guiness & Tonic? KIWI

I havent heard or thought of Guiness and Tonic in many years but it was a sensible drink in the tropics, lots of bulk but not too intoxicating...must try it again one of these days...Ye Gods..another blast from the past!!.

3rd December 2005, 07:54
excellent stuff David, keep em comming, sure we are all hooked now.

3rd December 2005, 19:59

Due to my shipping articles in Arcadus Captain Dallas always kept me up to date with any news he received by cable. On this occasion, while compiling this special issue, news came through from Head Office. This was left for the next edition of Arcadus that we were also compiling at the same time as the Special Commemorative Issue. I will therefore include what was written in the next edition of Arcadus in this episode:


If you haven’t yet seen the cables from London about the NEW SHIP they’re set out below along with the Purser’s enthusiastic account of his visit to Island Princess:

“You will be receiving a press release regarding negotiations for the acquisition of the tier-two ship Island Princess and Princess Cruises Inc. STOP This is an encouragement to us all and in no small way due to the efforts of all concerned”. Signed Spanton, Head of Passenger Division.

The second cable from London read:

P&O negotiating acquisition of Princess Cruises Inc, and the 20,216 ton cruise ship ‘Island Princess’ STOP Princess Cruises leading United States West Coast Cruise operator based in Los Angeles and Seattle, is jointly owned by American interests and Norwegian Ship Owners Fearnley and Eger STOP ‘Island Princess built West Germany 1972 can carry 646 passengers STOP Since entering service has cruised Mexico, Alaska, Caribbean from home port Los Angeles STOP P&O state that if the deals goes through ‘Island Princess would be operating from Los Angeles alongside ‘Spirit of London’ Cable ends

Reply from Captain Dallas:

Arcadia delighted at the prospect of welcoming a Princess into the family. The Island Princess hopefully our new ship.

We may not have realised it at the time, but those cables saw the birth of Princess Cruises. Not long after, Sea Venture was purchased and renamed Pacific Princess and of course Spirit of London became Sun Princess. Island Princess is now Discovery and Pacific Princess, now Pacific for Pullmantur Cruises.

Arcadia however began it all. As she reached her 21st birthday, she can look back as being one of the pioneers of the current market and THE pioneer of Alaskan cruising.

I wrote the following after her 21st birthday as we arrived back at our home ports on the west coast of America and the crew change in Vancouver. This was not written in her Special Commemorative Issue of course but it forms part of her first 21 years:


Honolulu 9th May 1974 Hawaiian Progress, Matson Navigation Co 1970. 17.000 tons gross, 721ft length, 95ft breadth and 23 knots. This ship was also with us in Los Angeles and San Francisco and passed us on the morning of 10th May 1974 en route to LA.

Los Angeles 15th May 1974. Fairsea, Sitmar line 1956, Ex Fairland, ex Carinthia, later to join Princess Cruises.

As we set off home for leave, I wrote about the ships that crew not going home on leave could look out for as Arcadia began her Alaskan cruising season for that year. Ships in competition with her then were: Monterey, Mariposa, Royal Viking Star, Island Princes (soon to be owned by P&O) Farisea, Princess Carla ex Flandre, ex Carla C, and many more cruise ships including our own Spirit of London later to join Princess Cruises as Sun Princess.

Back to Acradia’s 21st birthday. I will copy the outside of her special 21st birthday menu, but in case the inside do not copy too well, here is what the passengers and indeed crew such as myself who were entitled to the passenger menu had for dinner:


Captain A.H.W. Dallas in Command

Appetizers Orange Juice Tomato Juice V-8 Juice

Marinade Tomatoes Egg Mayonnaise

Grapefruit Cocktail au Cointreau

Soups Cream of Asparagus Consomme Royal

Iced Gazpacho with Toasted Crouton

Salads Clydebank
Sliced apples peppers and celery with salad cream dressing

Dressings Thousand Island Armstrong Roquefort Sweet

Entrees Poached Supreme of Halibut Mariner
Garnished with shrimps mushrooms and truffles in white wine sauce

Lamb Saute DALLAS with Risotto
Cooked in wine sauce with mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, olives

Fried Chicken JOHN BROWNS
With tomato, bacon, corn cake, pineapple and ivory sauce

ARCADIA Curry with Rice
Curried veal, onions, carrots, with a condiment platter

Celebration Black Peppered Loin Steak Vingt et Un
Garnished with capsicums, black pepper, butter and brandy

Vegetables Buttered Broccoli Whole Green Beans

Saute Potatoes Baked Idaho with Sour Cream

Deserts Kirsch Gateau ANDERSON Peach Tar FORREST

Continental Pastries

Vanilla Ice cream Grapefruit Sherbet Tangerine Ice Cream

Sauces Chocolate Butterscotch Strawberry

Cheeses Assorted Continental Cheeses and Biscuits

Beverages Coffee Tea Iced Tea Milk Postum Sanka

Chef : Gordon Mincham Tuesday 14th May 1974

You will note that the current and first captain’s names appeared in the menu along with the builders name and the lady who launched her. The menu also differs from others I have of her and Canberra possibly because our passengers mainly American.

I was going to make this the last episode, but I have found material, plus other editions of Arcadus before and after her 21st birthday edition which would fit into her first 21 years, and more importantly be of interest because there is priceless information that may not be found elsewhere. There are also more ships that we were in port with including the dates that other members may have been on board at the time?.

The menu has not copied to the site in the same format that I copied it from the menu, but it gives you some idea of the lay out and more importantly the food!. (

4th December 2005, 21:42
pomp are u a shiping fan or a typing fan tell.

Doug Rogers
4th December 2005, 22:19
I think he calls it a labour of probably both!!.

5th December 2005, 06:24

I've really enjoyed your stories from the "Arc", please continue, it's what this forum is really all about.

Best wishes.

5th December 2005, 10:50
Thanks guys. I think it is the fact that I have this material that would otherwise gather dust and never be published. No doubt when I die all this stuff will be thrown onto the Skip. Some of it is my own memories of course, but I am sure that we all brought stuff back from our various ships that you would not find elsewhere that publishers of books have never got their hands on. As Coastie said, this is what this forum is all about. So lets see a few more stories. All members must surely have brought a few things home that is now priceless information?. I will continue the Arcadia episode, possibly the last episode soon. But I am getting my Xmas cards and yearly letters sorted out now. I will also hunt around for more stuff brought back from Arcadia and Canberra. David

15th December 2005, 10:57

Every day, passengers received a GOOD MORNING in their cabins featuring the ships daily events. We were Med cruising before she returned to Australia on the homeward leg of her Australian Woman’s Weekly World cruise. So take a step back in time to events on board Arcadia on 13th May 1975:

Once again it has not copied onto the site in the same format as I copied it from the original, but it gives you some idea of how it was laid out.


ARCADIA is 22 years old tomorrow and we all wish her a happy birthday.

Ladies who would like to take part in the table tennis competition are invited to meet Phil. The draw will take place at 10.40 am after which time no further entries may be accepted. Play will commence immediately.

Thinking of another cruise with P&O next year?. Spend the winter voyaging around the world in CANBERRA?. Then don’t miss the talk that JIM EADES will be giving on some of our other exciting ports of call. This talk illustrated by colour slides will be repeated at 4.45pm.

Tickets (10p each) on the ship’s run will be available from the Tote Table until 11.55 am. Please collect your winnings by 12.15pm.

Copies of our missing words competition are obtainable at the table in the Dorchester Room. The answers will be read out at 4.45pm in the DEVON ROOM and there will be a souvenir prize for the winner.

Celia will be happy to explain the rules if you haven’t played this exciting card game before.

Tickets will be on sale for the raffle which will be drawn at 5.00pm today in the DEVON ROOM. The prizes will be on display and the tickets are 10p each or 6 for 50p.

Romantic melodies played for you by our resident pianist MURI SYMONS

Phil invites you to join in half and hour of popular songs. The SID EVERETT TRIO adds to the accompaniment.

There will be a self-service Deck Buffet Luncheon in the Camelot Room at 12.30pm for FIRST SITTING PASSENGERS and at 1.15pm for SECOND SITTING PASSENGERS today. A selection of cold cuts, poultry, salads and sweets will be presented together with a hot dish. Passengers are requested to enter the CAMELOT ROOM via the entrance from the DEVON ROOM. This is an alternative to the full luncheon menu served in both Restaurants at 12.30pm and 1.30pm without the normal reservation of seats. Please do not assemble in the CAMELOT ROOM until it is ready. Red and white house wines will be on sale by the glass. Price 25p.

A further performance of ‘GOLD’ starring Roger Moore and Susannah York. This is an ‘A’ Certificate film and runs for 2 hours.

All enthusiasts are invited to the ever popular card event. There is a souvenir prize for the winner.

Try your luck as the numbers roll out of the bag again.

All children are invited to their own special party. After the games, there will be a special tea in the Restaurant. The accompaniment is by the SID EVERETT TRIO.

JIM EADES repeats his talk given this morning with illustrated colour slides.

The answers to the missing word competition will be read out, and a souvenir prize awarded to the winner.

The draw for our grand raffle also the STEINER’S draw will take place at this time. Please don’t forget to Bring your tickets with you.

Can you spot the tune? MURI SYMONS asks a few questions on all aspects musical, and there is a prize for the winner.

8.00pm and 11.45pm. Two further performances of ‘AIRORT 75’ – the drama of passengers sealed helplessly within a giant 747 aircraft after a mid-air collision. This film which stars Charlton Heston, has an ‘A’ Certificate and runs for 1 hour and 50 minutes.

8.00pm and 11.45pm. LANDFALL DANCE Tonight we say farewell to all our friends who leave us tomorrow. There will be dancing of every kind to the music of the SID EVERETT TRIO, THE RICKY SALLIS BAND and ‘RELEASE’.

8.30pm EARLY CABARET We feature our three popular entertainers, SHEILA WHITE, BILLY McCOMB and BILLY HYGATE in startime cabaret. Ten it’s on with the dancing.

8.15pm PIANO PLAYTIME Come along and suggest a tune to hear.

9.30pm SYNDICATE QUIZ More general knowledge questions to teams of up to six persons. Don’t worry if you are not in a group, we shall soon find you a place. ‘Bubbly’ for the winning team.

I left the ship and indeed P&O on the 16th May 1975 to return to shore side hospitals armed with material such as GOOD MORNING and other information used in this thread possibly never been published before outside the ship.

This episode is not over yet. I will turn the clock back to 1974 to Arcadia’s Cherry Blossom Circle Pacific Cruise leaving Los Angeles on 13th March 1974 via San Francisco and Vancouver then down to Honoloulu before heading over to Japan and Hong Kong before steaming south to Manila, Rabaul and Sydney where we arrived on Sunday 21st April 1974. On this day, an addition of Arcadus was published with articles not only from myself, but a message from the Welfare Leading Hand which read as follows regarding a crew tour. Everything from now on will be from various editions of Arcadus mostly written by myself, but the following article was written by the Welfare Leading Hand:


For some years PIONEER Gray Line Tours have been giving concession rates to members of ship’s companies of the P&O Fleet on the various tours which operate by them from Sydney. These are all excellent tours and are well worth consideration. The tours are detailed in the Brochure on the notice board next to the WLH’s cabin, and I suggest that if you are thinking of a tour study the list and pick out the one you like that coincides with you time off. Then telephone or visit one of the offices listed and book your tour in advance. On production of your ID Book you should be able to obtain a trip at child’s rate. WELF

The ship was alongside when crew received Arcadus, but the brochure had been displayed outside his cabin a few days before arrival. The Welfy on Canberra was always organising tours but coaches for crew only led by himself, not DIY. But this Welfy was a bit of an oddball anyway because he wore whites all the time, which were always grubby!.

I myself visited family and friends when in Sydney. My wife came from Sydney, but was back in the UK by then. Her family either came aboard or I visited them, as did friends of us both. One of these friends was a young lady called Sabrina Coleman who was in her early 20s I think. We both lost contact with her in 1978, both losing her address. So if any of the 4,000 members of SN know of her especially Sydney members I would be thrilled. She most likely married years ago changing her name making it almost impossible to find her. But I have never given up hope. She had a sister called Marie. It would be wonderful to find her again, and know very well that she would feel the same.

Travelling the world as a seafarer meant making and losing friends, and of course making new families. My aim was to return to New Zealand to settle for good when I left the sea, but it did not work out that way. Many former crew settled abroad which I am sure they would have never done had they not gone to sea?. I emigrated at first without the faintest idea of what New Zealand was like, and loved every minute of it. But travelling the world as crew gave us the advantage of seeing what these places were like before settling there. I remember so many passengers coming back home because one or the other could not settle there. It really can divide families, but that was before the days of the technology we have now with distance no longer being a problem as we can literally come into each others living rooms. When I emigrated I didn’t have verbal contact with home for the entire time I was out there. And the Portsmouth Football Mail giving me the results took six weeks to get out to me. No satellite television in those days?!.

Anyway, back to Arcadia as we steamed to Japan arriving at Kobe on Tuesday 2nd April 1974. We were there for two days and I recorded the following ships in port with us, so were any of you on board you may remmeber this?!:

STRATHCONON P&O built 1967, 12,539 tons gross, 563ft long – 79ft breadth – 21 knots.

JANEK KRASIKI Polish Ocean Lines built 1960, 6,904 tons gross – 505ft long – 64ft breadth - 16 knots.

SA VAN DER STEL South African Marine Corporation built 1966, 9,502 tons gross – 542ft long - 75ft breadth 0 20 knots.

STRAAT RIO Royal Interocean Lines built 1960, 7,041 tons gross – 506ft long – 67ft breadth – 17 knots.

Ships in Hong Kong to come in the next edition. If you were on Royal Viking Star in 1974, watch this space!. Also, there will be the full story of what happened in the quiz I have currently set in the Quiz Forum.

Doug Rogers
15th December 2005, 20:53
Oh dear that term Syndicate Quiz still haunts me....yuk.

15th December 2005, 21:12
i have been sea sick twice and my eyes are watering but what a great story keep it up and keep it comming.

16th December 2005, 01:13
Sorry chaps, I must be as thick as two short planks because I fail to see what Syndicate Quiz and sea sickness has to do with the history of Arcadia?!!. David

Doug Rogers
16th December 2005, 02:23
"9.30 Syndicate Quiz" as quoted in your Arcadia post Part Eight...
Syndicate Quizes were very popular on all the passenger vessels in my time at sea...and there was always the fear that one or other of the social staff would come along and pressure you to form an officers team if the numbers were down!!...of course in my experience we always won or came very close to winning, but then that was only to be expected of such intelligent beings and absolutely nothing of remembering some of the questions!!.

16th December 2005, 09:30
I was tired last night Doug, and did not understand what you meant?!. David

Doug Rogers
16th December 2005, 10:04
No probs David...and the joys of being on the 8-12 watch where you couldnt get involved!!.

17th December 2005, 18:32

I find your writing on ARCADIA most interesting. I was there cruising from the UK in 1968. In 1973 I joined in San Francisco for a Circle Pacific. Your Surgeon "The Major-General" was agreat friend. The Purser and Surgeon have a lot in common in a large passenger ship - we are the two Senior Officers who do not have a maritime background.

Thank you for reviving memories. Regards Nelson French [froggie]

18th December 2005, 01:05
Thanks Nelson. I don't seem to remember you, although your name rings a bell, but we were certainly aboard the same time because I was on that Circle Pacific Cruise as mentioned in her history. Will look you up in the Arcadus, you must surely have made a Top Twenty or two which as you will remember took the Micky out of other crew members from the Captain downwards. I was in many, and may reproduce one for others members to see what I mean?!. David

royal viking
18th December 2005, 07:23
does any one know if captain dallas is still with us

Doug Rogers
18th December 2005, 08:42
Retired but very much with us from anything that I know...great guy from my years with him!!.

18th December 2005, 10:44
Captain Dallas died a few years ago. I can't remember when now, but I stayed in contact with him after I left the sea. David

18th December 2005, 11:05

In the addition of Arcadus published on Sunday 21st April while in Sydney I wrote the following in my shipping column. This was a question in the Quiz Forum, so here is the full story as written by myself.


The Queen Elizabeth 2 is now under repairs in Hamilton Bermuda, after boiler trouble which left her drifting helplessly 270 miles west of Bermuda. She managed to reach Bermuda under her own steam with 2 escort tugs. Engineers worked around the clock to get one of her boilers working. The Norwegian cruise ship SEA VENTURE which took off the QE2’s 1,630 passengers was chartered by Cunard for the job. SEA VENTURE was in Hamilton at the time with 515 passengers aboard, but when receiving the cable from Cunard Management at 1800 on 2nd April the Captain of SEA VENTURE asked all passengers to remain ashore in order to give the QE2’s stricken passengers as much comfort as possible.

The cruise ship left within 40 minutes of receiving the cable, in fact she left so quickly that some of her passengers were left on board and the luggage belonging to others were still in the staterooms. On clearing the harbour at Hamilton, SEA VENTURE hove to and waited for the arrival of a London airliner bringing several Cunard engineers. They boarded the ship by cutter. The exercise of transferring the passengers went smoothly with the help of SEA VENTURE’S four high speed German built launches.

The following year, SEA VENTURE was sold to P&O and renamed Pacific Princess. She is now the PACIFIC of Pullmantur Cruises.

In the last episode I mentioned the ships we were in port with in Kobe. Below are the ships in Hong Kong with us 9/12th April 1974 on our Cherry Blossom Circle Pacific Cruise.

ROYAL VIKING STAR Royal Viking Lines 1972, 21,847 tons gross, 583ft long- 83ft breadth – 21.5 knots. She is at present on a World Cruise of 20 ports on four different continents.

LYCAON Blue Funnel Line (Dutch Flag) 1954, 7,572 tons gross – 487ft long – 62ft breadth – 16 knots.

LLOYD BAKKE Knutsen Lines 1954, 9,500 tons gross – 507ft long – 62ft breadth – 16 knots.

The specification of the following ships are unknown:

TAIPOOSHAN Shung Cheong SN Co Ltd (British flag) This ship is on the Hong Kong/Singapore and Penang service.

ASIAN EXPRESS Asia Australia Express Line Inc (Dutch flag) She is on the Hong Kong Australia cargo service.

STATE OF MADHYA PRADESH Shipping Co of India. Regular sailings to the East Coast of USA and Canada.

Manila 14th April 1974

HOKKAIDO Swedish East Asiatic Company 1966, 7,326 tons gross – 512ft long – 70ft breadth – 16.5 knots.

BIRKENSTEIN Hamburg American Line 1955, 5,854 tons gross – 498ft long – 61ft breadth – 17.5 knots.

On finding another edition of Arcadus I found the ship’s we were in Yokohama with, the port before Kobe on 3rd April 1974 on this Cherry Blossom Circle Pacific Cruise.

The place was alive with cargo ships. So I could not log them all, but although there was an oil crisis on at the time, it did not seem that way

ORONSAY P&O built 1951, the second of three ships for the Orient Line to be built in the space of six years ending the traditional cowl top. Oriana was the last Orient Line passenger liner to be built, and brought an entirely new look from Oronsay, Orcades and Orsova. ORONSAY is 28,117 tons gross, 709ft long, 94ft breadth and 22 knots. We docked the other side of her, but she left shortly after. A friend of mine from Canberra was working on Oronsay. He was Accommodation Steward but one of his jobs on Canberra was a WRITER. Anyone know that that was?.

ORONSAY was on a cruise from Sydney leaving Sydney on 23rd March 1974 to Yokohama, Kobe, Kagoshima, Hong Kong, Kota Kinabalu, Singapore, Djakarta and Bali arriving back in Sydney on 26th April 1974. This cruise was part of the brochure from Patrick Travel Sydney as mentioned in earlier editions starting in February 1971 through to January 1975. Oronsay did 5 of these cruises with Himalaya taking over on 23rd June 1974 and then we on Arcadia taking over from Himalaya 19th October 1974. Oriana also did two cruises in this brochure from 22nd December 1974.

Other ships at Yokohama:

CATHAY Eastern and Australian SS Co Ltd P&O 1957 ex BAUDOUINVILLE 13,821 tons gross- 558ft long, 70ft breadth – 16 knots.

ORIENTAL CARNIVAL Orient Overseas Line No information on this ship but looked a bit like the former Rangitoto or Rangitane.

KII MARU Nippon Yusen Line 1966, 11,380 tons gross- 560ft long – 76ft breadth – 20.5 knots.

JURAT Polish Ocean Lines 1970, 11,000 tons gross 546ft long – 77ft breadth – 17 knots.

These were just a few of the vast number of cargo ships in this very large port and busy port.

At Hong Kong we had a complete crew change of Asian Crew. For me it meant a new steward for the Crew Hospital and new Peak Boy. The latter wasted no time in offering his services whilst the hospital steward took longer because it was a rotten job for them with little opportunity for tips.

In Part Ten, we will be in Sydney with Royal Viking Sea.

Frank P
18th December 2005, 16:46
Hello David,

Our paths have crossed a few times, I was onboard the Royal Viking Star when you were in Hong Kong, we were also doing a Circle Pacific cruise, and I was onboard the R V Star in 1974 when we did 5 cruises to Alaska. If I find/still have the photos I will post them. Do you remember The RED DOG SALOON In Juneau????

Keep it up with the stories.


18th December 2005, 20:15
Didn't go ashore in Juneau Frank. I think I have posted a picture of Royal Viking Star in Hong Kong with us. Will have a look. If not, I will post it. David

21st December 2005, 20:18

The dates of the brochure on Arcadia’s Cherry Blossom Circle Pacific Cruise and the dates I wrote in Arcadus differ slightly. In the brochure were in Sydney from 21st to 23rd April 1974. But in Arcadus, I wrote about the ships we were in Sydney with from 24th to 27th April 1974. So I assume we must have changed the Itinerary slightly. Anyway, according to my own notes in the edition of Arcadus published on Sunday 5th May 1974, these were the ships we were in Sydney with. Were any of you on board these ships?:

ROYAL VIKING SEA Royal Viking Line 1973, 22,897 tons gross – 583ft long – 83ft breadth – 21 knots. She was heading for Port Moresby, Bali, Singapore, Kota Kinabalu, Hong Kong, Keelung, Kobe, Yokohama, Honolulu and Los Angeles. Both her and Royal Viking Star meet quite often as we circle the Pacific.

TOWNSVILLE TRADER Australian National Line 1970, 6,326 tons gross, 345ft long – 71ft breadth – 18 knots.

SAFOCEAN AMSTERDAM and SAFOCEAN ALBANY Zodiac Shipping Co Ltd (Royal Interocean Lines) 10,489 tons gross – 524ft long – 76ft breadth – 20 knots.

KAITUNA Union Steam Ship Company of New Zealand 1956, 3,722 tons gross – 345ft long - 50ft breadth – 12 knots.

OCEAN MONARCH Shaw Savill 1957 Ex EMPRESS OF ENGLAND 1970, 24,467 tons gross – 640ft long – 85ft breadth – 21 knots.

Ships in port with in NOUMEA on 30th April 1974

LENIO 1956 Ex BERMUDA PALM Palm Lines 5,154 tons gross – 447ft long – 58ft breadth – 15 knots.

LONDON GRENADIER London Overseas Freighters Ltd. I had no information on this ship. I had ten ships listed under this company but not this one.

I had a footnote in this addition of Arcadus and it looks as if I have made the same mistake when mentioning Royal Viking Star in Hong Kong 9/12th April 1974. She was not on a World Cruise but on a Circle Pacific like us, which Frank P would know only too well. She began her cruise in San Francisco. After Hong Kong she headed for Keelong, Kobe, Yokohama, Honolulu, Los Angeles and San Francisco after doing a Sydney to Sydney Circle Pacific Cruise which I am sure Frank will fill in the details?.

I will include an Information Sheet in this edition from H.F. Spanton Head of Passenger Division because although it is old news, it is also history of what was going on at the time as how it affected not only P&O, but the entire cruise industry which at the time was in it’s infancy.


A Passenger Division News and Information Sheet to all Sea Staff from H.F. Spanton Head of Passenger Division Dated 24.4.74

In view of comment in the Press and the radio recently, none of which have been the result of any announcement made by the Company, I consider it necessary to give the following outline of the current position for your general operation.

An article by Michael Baily of the Times of 16th April 1974 described the effect of the present economic climate on the passenger ships of all Lines of all nationalities. The big rise in fuel oil prices is, of course, the main feature. He quotes US $75 per ton compared with US $15 a year ago. Most passenger ships in the cruising holiday industry have a high fuel oil consumption.

The article refers to the P&O Passenger Division as the one organisation in the world likely to succeed in the cruise holiday industry as we have remained true to the traditional sea-going holiday and built onto this on board entertainment programmes. Furthermore, he feels in Passenger Division we have managed to keep together a team of sea and shore staff capable of producing the right formula. I am more than aware of the quality of this team and of what it has achieved and would like to thank you all for your continuing enthusiasm and effort.

At the same time, it would be idle to ignore the effect that the high fuel prices have had on the operation of the older vessels in the fleet and, as you will have noticed in the Press, and indeed, as mentioned by the Chairman in the Annual Report, it is possible that certain units may have to be withdrawn – ideally to be replaced with more modern tonnage in which connection development plans continue to be vigorously pursued.

The position at this time is that ARCADIA has been scheduled to Sydney in October on completion of her Alaskan cruise programme. HIMALAYA is at present cruising from the UK and will return to Australia on the WTHQ voyage, following which she will carry out a programme of cruising based in Sydney. Studies are in hand of further alternatives which will indicate whether any possibilities exist for HIMALAYA’S further employment although, ultimately, present indications are not optimistic. I will ensure that you are kept fully informed. H.F. SPANTON – HEAD OF PASSENGER DIVISION.


A message that starts off praising us, and ends with the possibility of losing a ship in light of the oil crisis was not good, and we feared for our own ship. After all, at one stage during the fuel crisis of that era, we were anchored off Vancouver for two weeks unable to get fuel. We certainly feared for the future of our own ship as well as cruising in general despite being tipped as succeeding in the cruise industry. Michael Baily of the Times certainly had good insight but with so many old ships, most built for the line voyage era, it was hard to see a future in cruising. We now know of course that the future was good as Michael predicted, but it came at a price, the demise of the British seafarer, although the writing was on the bulkhead even then with cheaper labour taking our jobs with some positions already redundant when the line voyages ended.

Anyway, looking at other editions of Arcadus, I can squeeze another edition in and possibly more with news of the era, plus other ships in port with before I left Arcadia in 1975.

4th January 2006, 22:03

Due to finding more material directly from the ship in the form of her crew newspaper Arcadus, I will be going slightly beyond her first 21 years until 1975 in fact when I left the ship. Be prepared for an amazing but true story after the letter to Captain Dallas.

Before flying home on leave from Vancouver after the Cherry Blossom Circle Pacific Cruise on 19th May 1974, a letter from a very unhappy American passenger appeared in Arcadus which amused me and the rest of the crew including Captain Dallas, privately at least?!. This is what was said:

Dear Captain Dallas

After two months aboard ss ARCADIA we would like to offer the following suggestions:

1. ALL bars be closed by 1.30am
2. ALL activities close by 1.30am

Passengers do not appreciate being woken up by loud talking, loud laughter and other noises between the hours of 2 and 4am, then lay awake the rest of the night. Why not put the Golden rule into practice?.

3. The crew ought to be more disciplined. Do you know that some elevator boys read books while operating the elevator?. Some boys lock the elevator, sit in an armchair on D deck near the dining room, ignoring the buzz for the.

(For those who may not be aware. P&O employed Bell Boys in those days who had various job on board including operating the lifts until they were 18)

4. We were told Boat Drill is required by law. If so, then WHY do you not insist that ALL passengers, required to attend drill, should do so?. Twice during Boat Drill we noticed many passengers ignored your request and laughed at those who obeyed the law. Not one Officer was in sight in the Camelot Room. Not one Officer checked the cabins. In other words the whole procedure was a Big Farce.

5. The Entertainment was not up to par. It was all geared to gamblers and the drinkers. This is the first cruise(we’ve been on many)we’ve seen so many drunks stumbling around. It is also the first Costume Ball that a streaker and “Adam” were allowed to appear at that the Ball. Many of us wondered WHY Captain Dallas and the Doctor didn’t send them back to their cabins. No, they were accepted and the streaker and Dirty Sally received prizes. Kindly remember Captain Dallas, NOT ALL passengers minds are in the gutter.

6. ss Arcadia claims to be an English ship. Please tell me why you use fancy foreign names on the menu?. We the passenger, would like to know what we are ordering. Not once has meat loaf or beef stew been on the menu. I’m sure it would be cheaper to serve than steak or roast beef that is ¾ fat and swimming in grease. One winds up with 3 or 4 bites of meat. Secondly, the menus had nothing for passengers who are on diets.

7. We decided on the Cherry Blossom Circle Pacific Cruise because we wanted to be in Japan to enjoy the Cherry Blossoms. All we saw were a few trees with buds on. Another reason we took this cruise was to see the Bamboo Organ and see it played. As we entered the church we heard music. What a let down to learn the organ has been in Germany several years, and no-one knows when it will be returned. It was the ship’s business to check all the tours before you sell the tickets. The guide wasted our time.

The only one of the crew to make the trip pleasant was Mr Cook. Every other cruise we’ve taken the Captain ate in our dining room, and invited passengers at various times to sit at this table. Not so on ARCADIA – unless one attended church Sunday a.m, one would never know who Captain Dallas was.

Our Travel agent will receive a full report of our trip. This was our first P&O cruise, also our last. We experienced too many disappointments.

Respectively Submitted

Mr & Mrs L. K. ********

I have not printed their surname in case they are still around and read this, but I doubt it. That was 32 year ago. But it is still as funny as the day we read it?!.

For all those former P&O crew on this site, here is a few names that may ring a bell. When we were in Hong Kong with Oronsay on our Cherry Blossom Cruise, we printed a list of her Officers. Here are a few.

Captain Commodore F. B. Wooley

Staff Captain D.J. Scott Masson

Chief Officer I Tomkins

First Officer G. G. Lee

Chief Radio Officer C Jameson

Chief Engineer W. Godbold

First Electrician J. Smyth

First Ventilation Officer P Doig

Purser M. C. Whicker

I have the full list if anybody is interested. I will try to name a few Arcadia crew before I finish this. Most appear in out top 20 to 50 which I may include later.

At the end of the Cherry Blossom cruise I flew home on leave not to join the ship again until October 1974 when cruising from Sydney. On return home, I went into the Seaman’s Hospital in Greenwich to have my wisdom teeth out under GA. After that I worked at P&O head office in London for a couple of weeks sorting out medical records and doing a few cruises as supernumerary Hospital Attendant on Canberra and Oriana and stood by Oronsay in port on my own. But while at head office in Beaufort Street, a strange thing happened.

Before we left Arcadia, I had a crew member in my hospital who was weird to say the least. It happened towards the end of the Cherry Blossom Circle Pacific Cruise. This man was a steward. The male hairdresser in the Steiner Salon above my hospital had told me all about him. As a leading hand, I could have my haircut in the after end passenger Salon. The hairdresser, who I thought was a bit freaked himself, was interested in UFO’s. So much so that I bought a book he advised when in Sydney. He was convinced this guy was an alien. So when he was in my hospital I asked him loads of questions. I was interested in astronomy and pretty knowledgeable about it having studied it since I was a child.

On speaking to this chap, he told me things that were way beyond my understanding. This is just part of what he told me one evening. At no stage did he ever say or even indicate that he was an alien himself, and at no stage did I ask him. I just listened thinking he was a nutter. He told me aliens were visiting us and had been for centuries, mixing openly thousands of years ago with primitive man who believed them to be gods. Now, they just mingled with us. He said although still thousands of years behind them technologically and spiritually, we were advanced enough to suss them out if we saw their craft. Although he did say that they tease us sometimes by showing their craft to people who are then ridiculed. This is part of their plan to reveal themselves slowly because although our technology had advanced our spiritual state was almost the same as primitive man making us very dangerous. When I asked, almost jokingly, what star or star system they came from he said that they don’t come from other stars in our universe although some did, but from a parallel universe that he called the Direct Aligned Universe or DAL universe. They had found how to cross dimensions from theirs to ours. He asked to see my UFO book. When I gave it to him he asked if he could keep it to read while in hospital. When he left the hospital, I never saw him or the book again. After I came out of the Greenwich hospital I sorted out notes including the box from Arcadia that I had packed myself of crew leaving including this man. When I opened this box, his notes was missing. So I went into Fleet Personnel who had every record of all crew past and present. I couldn’t find him.

So when I got back to the ship in October, I went straight to my own register in the hospital where I had details of all crew members since I joined Arcadia in June 1973. It was gone with a new book in its place. The Hospital Attendant who stood in for me had gone back on the flight we came out on, but I was told that my book went missing the day I left in Vancouver. A trusted friend looked for other records on board but found nothing. This man had completely vanished. As far as P&O were concerned, he never existed. Yet he was in my hospital, and a member of crew on the Cherry Blossom Pacific Cruise. But all written records of that had now gone.

The hairdresser, one of several crew still on board who knew this man who had flown out to Sydney with me and was absolutely ecstatic with my news now totally convinced he was an alien who had covered all his tracks with the intention of telling us a bit, then disappearing making us look foolish.

People could well ridicule me for writing this story. So before making up your minds with smart Alex comments, lets look at the facts.

1. He DID exist. 2. I personally put his medical notes in a box which I opened myself on the other end. 3. My register went missing. 4. There was no record of him in Fleet Personnel or elsewhere on board.

So how did he, or somebody else remove all knowledge of him?. He would have had no access to the box before leaving the ship. He could have removed his details from elsewhere on the ship, but how?. He could have removed my register but since I was using that until the day I left that is not possible, I am bound to have noticed it gone. But even if that was all possible, he could not have possibly removed his details from Fleet Personal in London because they never left the building. I was only allowed to search the files because I was working there.

All this WOULD be possible if he were an alien because they no doubt could do things then that we would still regard as impossible just as it would have seemed impossible in 1900 if somebody had predicted man would land on the moon only 69 years later or the technology we have today.

I have always kept an open mind on this because unless somebody can give me a sensible explanation as to how his details went missing including Fleet Personnel, nobody can say that he was or wasn’t and alien.

So make up your own minds, and no witty comments please because if this bloke really was an alien, there is nothing remotely funny about that. But it would be worth a clap if he was the biggest con and escape artist of all time?!. The next episode will see Arcadia cruising out of Sydney, and back to normal.

8th January 2006, 12:07

I rejoined Arcadia on 15th October 1974 in Sydney after a 30 hour flight from London. We had taken over from Himalaya. For the next five months we would be cruising from Sydney before going back to the UK on the Australian Woman’s Weekly World Cruise. Quite a few of the European crew had changed, especially ‘Wingers’. Australian cruising was not popular because of the lack of tips. It was not until my return to the ship that I discovered my register had gone. I had left medical books in my cabin which had also disappeared, but I put that down to the thieving Hospital Attendant who relieved me while away who would have been beginning a 30 hours trip back to London on Dan Dare, punishment enough perhaps?!. But my missing register was the biggest mystery which disappeared the day I left according to the nursing sister who didn’t fly back with us from Vancouver. Untill then, I thought I may have forgotten the name of the alleged alien which is why I could not find his medical notes(that I had packed myself)or his details in Fleet Personnel. It was better thinking that than thinking that than thinking the unthinkable. But to find that my register with his name in it plus his other records on board had gone convinced me that he or somebody meant to erase all records of him whoever he may have been.

One of the editions of Arcadus gave details of buses in Sydney who provided a service from 20 Pyrmont into the city when berthed there. It said the route will be from Pyrmont- Harris Street, Central Railway Station- Elizabeth Street – St James Taxi Rank – Pyrmont. We were told that the buses were provided for passengers, but if they were not full, crew could used them bearing in mind that passengers must be given preference.

In the first edition of Arcadus having returned to the ship I introduced myself to new crew as corresponding on all shipping matters under the name of Medic. Although I had sent material out to Captain Dallas when away from the ship. These were the ships in Sydney on 7th November 1974. FEDOR SHALLYAPIN – C.T.C. Lines (Russian Flag) ex FRANCONIA ex IVERNIA Cunard. Built at John Brown Clydebank in 1955, and launched December 1954 as the IVERNIA for the Liverpool – St Lawrence trade. She was re-named FRANCONIA in 1962 for the New York – Bermuda service, and was sold to the Russians in 1973. She is now(as written in 1974)under charter to C.T.C Lines as a cruise ship. The FEDOR SHALLYAPIN passed our berth in Sydney at about 1330 heading for Pyrmont (we were at Circular Quay on this occasion), and had just come from Singapore via Fremantle etc. Her sister ship the LEONID SOBINOV ex CARMANIA ex SAXONIA Cunard will be around these waters for the summer. She was also built at John Brown in 1954 as SAXONIA. FEDOR SHALLYAPIN is 21,406 tons gross and LEONID SOBINOV 21,370 tons gross and both 608ft long – 80ft breadth – 20 knots as liners but not as cruise ships. We are Arcadia are not travelling at the same speeds as when she was employed on ‘line voyages’ although the Chief Engineer showed what she could do when we landed the crew member off Newcastle.

In AUCKLAND on 10th November 1974, I was busy seeing friends and going back up to the Hospital where I worked. So I only noted two of many cargo ships in Auckland as we entered the Waitemata: TURAKINA New Zealand Shipping Co Ltd (at anchor) Built 1960, 7,707 tons gross, 455ft long – 62ft breadth 17 knots. NEDER LINGE (at anchor) Nederland Line (Royal Dutch Mail) 1967 – 9,638 tons gross – 522ft long – 78ft breadth – 20 knots.

In this edition of Arcadus a form was printed for a shipping competition I ran which was won by Mike Carr, now Captain of Oriana. Talking of Mike, this is what he wrote in Arcadus on 5th December 1974 (in competition with me!) when 2nd Officer of Arcadia wondering perhaps when he would be master of his own ship. Hope you are reading this Mike on your world cruise on Oriana?!:

SPIRIT OF LONDON having completed her refit in Victoria BC has been renamed SUN PRINCESS and is now carrying out a series of 11 day cruises from Los Angeles to Mexico. We shall meet up with her on 2nd March 1975. On Christmas Day, she will be between Mazatlano.

CANBERRA is at present cruising in the Mediterranean, and on 8th January 1975 commences a round the world cruise, returning to Southampton on 20th April 1975 and will spend the rest of the year cruising to the Mediterranean and Atlantic Islands. On Christmas Day she will be cruising along Equator.

ORIANA is at present on her way to Australia via Panama, and arrives in Sydney on 20th December 1974 when she commences a series of cruises. She leaves for the UK on 29th March 1975, arriving 9th May. We will meet up for the first time on 10th May in Southampton when Canberra will also be in port. On Christmas Day Oriana will be between Noumea and Suva.

ORONSAY is at present cruising from Sydney, and we are both in Sydney together for a couple of hours on 7th December. On 21st January 1975 she commences an interesting Indian Ocean cruise returning to Sydney on 12th March and cruises until departing for Southampton via Panama arriving 14th July 1975, and then out to Sydney for more cruising. On Christmas Day she will be between Sydney and Auckland.

NEVASA and UGANDA carry on with their Educational Cruises. On Christmas Day UGANDA will be in Haifa and NEVASA will be between Lanzarote and Freetown. M CARR 2ND OFFICER.

I hopefully squeeze another episode in, possibly two.

8th January 2006, 22:33

A lot of shipping in Sydney between the 21st and 23rd November 1974. We were often in port for two days which was handy for me visiting family on my wife’s side as well as friends.

BRITANNIS – Chandris lines. Ex LURLINE 1970, ex MATSONIA 1963 ex MONTEREY 1956 Built 1932 as MONTEREY for Matson Lines USA. 18, 655 tons gross, 632ft long- 79ft breadth. Still a liner, she arrived at 13 Pyrmont at 1330 23.11.74 from Southampton via South Africa on a ‘line voyage’. She sailed at 2030 bound for San Juan in Puerto Rico, where she will disembark her UK passengers who will then fly onto their destination. BRITANNIS should then start Caribbean cruising for the winter.

MORTON BAY, Container Ship – OCL (P&O group). Built 1969 – 26,876 tons gross – 746ft long – 100ft breadth. This ship arrived from the UK on 21st November 1974 and sailed back to the UK on 24th November. She was berthed at 5 White Bay.

TAUPO General Cargo and Refrigerated ship (P&O Cargo Division) Built 1966. 8,219 tons gross, 528ft long – 71ft breadth. One of the New Zealand Shipping Company vessels before amalgamation with P&O. This ship arrived from the UK at 0600 on 22nd November 1974 and was berthed at 8 Pyrmont. When Captain Vickers told me Canberra had ceased to a liner after her final ‘line voyage’ in December 1972, it did not mean the ‘line voyage’ era was over. These cargo liners will keep the ocean ‘line voyages’ alive even if no passengers are carried as long as food and other goods are carried by sea.

SAFEOCEAN AMSTERDAM Royal Interocean Lines operated by Zodiac Shipping Co, Netherlands. Ex STRAAT AMSTERDAM built 1968, 10,484 tons gross, 528ft long- 76ft breadth. This ship was berthed at 12 Pyrmont and is on the Australian-South African run.

CORABANK Bank Line Built 1973 by Swan Hunter Readhead shipyard, South Shields. 11,405 tons gross – 530ft long – 74ft breadth. Doxford oil engine 15000 bhp. She was berthed at Darling Harbour ahead of the Roll on Roll off container berth.

NEW ENDEAVOUR Topsail Schooner on our port side as we passed the Opera House. Another likely to be seen in these waters which I often saw in Auckland was the Chilean ESMERALDA.

Ships seen at BRISBANE on 25th November 1974

MANORA General Cargo and Refrigerated ship (P&O Cargo Division) Built 1970 – 10,000 tons gross – 515ft long – 76ft breadth - . This was a BI ship before P&O bought her. MANORA, which was in dry dock is on the Australian run to Karachi, Arabia and the Persian Gulf ports carrying wool, general and refrigerated cargo. It is interesting to note that almost all the cargo ships of companies who were amalgamated with is have got P&O written on the blue stack, but the passenger ships in our fleet haven’t. The school ships NEVASA and UGANDA stay the same, and SPIRIT OF LONDON which did have P&O on her yellow stack has now changed to SUN PRINCESS minus P&O though still owned by us.

TOMBARRA Roll on Roll off Container Ship (Scan Austral) Sailed from Brisbane at 1500 also seen in Sydney. This is a new type of container ship with Roll on Roll off facilities. These type of vessels have sprung up within the last year and are now a common sight in Australia as well as the rest of the world. TOMBARRA is of Norwegian registry and built in France in 1973. 13,874 tons gross – 680ft long – 97ft breadth with Pielstick oil engines manufactured by Chantiers de E’Atlantique. TOMBARRA operates from from Australian ports to Canada, North America (West Coast) A.N.L also operate these kind of vessels.

Since we were in Sydney so often being our home port, an eating out place was suggested. Wonder if it is still there?. This place was the Three O Restaurant, 30 Darlinghurst Road Kings Cross Sydney.

In Arcadus it was written that this restaurant is situated in the heart of Sydney’s Kings Cross area. It is about ten minute from Pyrmont in a Jo Baksi (taxi). It has an extensive menu covering everything from exotic foreign dishes. An all female staff serve with extreme efficiency and friendliness. Light music played by a trio also accompanies your meal. Price for four courses plus wine under $12 for one person.

In the editorial of Arcadus on 21st November 1974 this is part of what Captain Dallas wrote on his return. Amongst those leaving this time will be Captain Hannah, and I’m sure we all hope he has a good leave and wish him the best of luck in ISLAND PRINCESS, whilst he has been a good shipmate to us all, we hope he remembers and sends something for the Arcadus about his new ship.

Entirely new in this edition is a Ship Spotting Competition which we hope will prove to be of interest, especially after the amount of time and thought that Mr Cole has put into it. Just had to put that in!. This is the competition Mike Carr won. His prize was a crate of beer. Not Allsops!.

In the next edition we sail back to the UK for the first time in two years.

10th January 2006, 17:58

Like so many New Years since 1967, I had celebrated none of them in the UK, with most being celebrated in the southern hemisphere as this one was as we saw in 1975 cruising in the South Pacific. We had just had two Boxing Days before and at Pago Pago, then missing 27th December 1974 completely as we crossed back over the International Dateline heading back to Sydney. 1975 would see Arcadia back in Southampton for the first time in 2½ years. In the meantime, we were still cruising from Sydney. Between 30th January 1975 and 1st February 1975, these were the ships we saw in Sydney:

OCEAN MONARCH Shaw Savill Line, Built 1957 by Vickers Armstrong as the Empress of England. This ship left 20 Pyrmont at 1500 1st February 1975 for a cruise to the Islands and her place at 20 Pyrmont was taken by ROYAL VIKING SKY which arrived from Wellington at 1600. Our place at 13 Pyrmont was taken by the FAIRSTAR ex OXFORDSHIRE which arrived at 1700. The OCEAN MONARCH went out on a days trial test (after having repairs done to her engines) on 31st January 1975 at 0900 with a few day trippers paying $25 each. She returned at 2100.

SHOTA RUSTAVALI which we saw twice in Suva was berthed at Wooloomaloo on our departure from Sydney and sailed at 1230 just behind us. Also berthed at Wooloomaloo was NORTHERN STAR, Shaw Savill line. She like OCEAN MONARCH was having an engine overhaul. Shaw Savill’s slogan is Better Travel Shaw Savill. Not such a good idea perhaps because Northern Star broke down when I emigrated on her meaning I had to fly to Auckland from Wellington leaving my baggage in Wellington only to takes days by rail.

On leaving Sydney for Southampton on 1st February 1975 on the Australian Woman’s Weekly World Cruise we were escorted out of Sydney Harbour by the LADY HOPETOWN. Details of this vessel was given by my boss, Surgeon Dr P.R. Wheatley, who’s friend is proud owner of her:

The LADY HOPETOWN which escorted ARCADIA out of Sydney Harbour is named after the wife of Lord Hopetown the first Governor General of Australia. She was built in Berry’s Bay, North Sydney for the Sydney Harbour Trust in 1902 and acted as the V.I.P steam yacht in Sydney harbour from 1902 to 1965. She has been restored by voluntary labour by the Sydney Cove Waterfront Museum and officially re-commissioned by Lady Cutley, the wife of the Governor of New South Wales in June 1974.

When a V.I.P. Yacht she carried more VIP’s than any other passenger ship in Australia. They included King George VI, as Duke of York, the Duke of Winsor and Gloucester, the King and Queen of Siam and all the Governor Generals of Australia and Governors and Premiers of New South Wales. She is the largest passenger steamship in Sydney Harbour. She is powered by a 100 HP expansion reciprocating engine and her boiler burns ½ ton of coal per hour when travelling at speed.

There are numerous stories about LADY HOPETOWN one of the most interesting to Sydneyites is when they transferred to Zoo from Moore Park to Athol Bight and she acted as guard ship with harpoons and rifles to prevent lions and tigers escaping from the ferries. On the last convoy the LADY HOPETOWN carried a load of monkeys followed some days later by a load of NSW politicians. Thanks you dear old lady for seeing us on our way out. HOOT HOOT HOOT.

This article was typical of Doctor Wheatley who always had a very dry sense of humour putting monkey’s and politicians in the same sentence!. A former Major General in the army, and former Orthopaedic Surgeon to the Queen he was a joy to work with. He had a 'Harry Worth' chuckle and always maintained not to have a pink gin before 1100!. With the Dispenser a retired naval officer having done 32 years in the Royal Navy, we had some medical team. Les Massey, Dispenser was on HMS Rodney when Bismark was sunk. He looked after the chief gunner of Bismark in his hospital. With these two telling their stories, I was captivated for many hours at ‘pour outs’ in their cabins or mine. To hear the story of the sinking of Bismark from a person there plus what the crew they picked up from Bismark were saying was priceless and certainly different to some of the stories I have read from people not even there. I would imagine there are plenty of stories around, and books written that differ from people who were acrually there?!. Both Les and Doc Wheatley had more medals between than anybody else on board. Even the Captain called Doc Wheatley Sir!.

On February 15th 1975, ARCADIA was between Hong Kong and Honolulu. A cable came through telling me that my youngest son was born. It made the STOP STOP STOP Press in Arcadus!. And Doc Whealey being the gem he was invited to his cabin where he popped a bottle of champagne. But that was not all, every senior officer including the Captain arrived with a bottle of champagne. It was the first time I had been pissed in front of the ‘Old Man’ and got away with it. But all the officers was well away as well. God knows who was steering the ship. Mike Carr perhaps?!. Mike, if you are reading this, do you remember that night?!.

The outward leg of this Australian Woman's Weekly World Cruise called at Brisbane, Manila, Hong Kong, Honolulu, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Balboa, Cristobol, Barbados and Madeira arriving back in Southampton on 21st March 1975 for the first time for 2½ years.

An edition of Arcadus gave details of pay-off in Southampton on 21st March 1975: Advice has been received from London regarding pay-off. Arcadia is expected to berth at 1300, pay-off should commence at 1700.

It will be started with an early pay-off for night workers and ratings on urgent compassionate grounds. Any rating who thinks they may be eligible for this are to inform their head of department no later than arrival at San Francisco. Any C.S. ratings are to contact Crew A.P regarding leave brought forward from previous voyages, to agree the number of days leave, and also leave to be taken before he/she rejoin the ship.

INCOME TAX- no change in the tax codes will be accepted after departure from Barbados. Any person who attained the age of 18 during the voyage is to inform the Crew Office of the date as after this time they have to pay into Graduated Pension.

QUERIES any further queries will be dealt with at the normal crew query time in the Crew Office between 1730 and 1800.

Any person with private stores on board are asked to contact the Catering Assistant Purser as to the date when these will be required:

YES/NO NEXT VOYAGE 22nd March – 9th April Dry Dock break
10th April – 14th May Cruising UK

This will be done by Deputy Purser Catering. Leave dates from 21st march 1975 to 9th April midnight. YES/NO If the answer is yes you will then be asked for the date: 1 22nd March 2. 10th April and 3 14th May.

I re-joined the ship on 9th April for three cruises. The first, Cruise 501 left Southampton on 12th April 1975 to Lanzarote, Tenerife, Madeira, Malaga, Tangier, and Vigo arriving back on 26th April 1975.

Our next cruise, Cruise 503 left Southampton on 26th April for Casablanca, Lanzarote, Tenerife, Madeira, Gibraltar and Lisbon(see picture of her in the Gallery taken by Paul on 7th May 1975) arriving back in Southampton on 10th May 1975. That evening we set off for a short cruise to Amsterdam. The Navigator who I think may have been Mike Carr gave the following information:

The ship’s run from departure Southampton to arrival Amsterdam was 310 nautical miles at an average speed of 13.78 knots. Temperatures at noon yesterday were Air 53.0F, 11.7C. the Barometer reading was 1017.1 mbs.

Arcadia departs her Amsterdam berth at 7am this morning 13th May 1974, and for the next 3½ hours we will be transitting the NOORDZEEKANAAL. The pilot will disembark at approximately 1030 off the IJMUIDEN Breakwater, and from here we will set a west-south westerly course across the North sea. At approximately 1530, we will alter onto a west by southerly course to enter the traffic separation scheme which operates in the Dover Strait: this keeps southbound ships in a path 4 miles wide separate from northbound vessels which travel in a similar path to the east of our lane and kept apart by a separation zone a mile wide. Vessels bound to the north are therefore kept to the west of the Strait or, in other words, on the English side and southbound off the French coast. We will transit the Dover Strait at 2000, and at this time, will pass 6 miles off Dover and on clearing the Strait at 2230 will set various westerly courses off the southern coast of Sussex and Hampshire. We expect to embark the Southampton Pilot off Nab Tower as 0430 tomorrow and enter the Solent via the eastern approaches. We expect to be alongside out berth for 0700.

On 16th May 1975, I paid off from Arcadia not only leaving her, but leaving the merchant navy at the request of my wife who left me a year later. So in hindsight, I should have stayed. Captain Dallas certainly tried very hard to change my mind. It still means a lot to me for the Captain to be so keen for me to stay meaning I must have done something right. If only one could turn the clock back?!.

I had intended to finish this article at this point. After all, I have gone over Arcadia’s first 21 years. My idea was a short story of her 21st birthday based on the special edition of Arcadus we put together. But it has grown from there as I have found other editions of Arcadus before and after her 21st birthday.

Today, I have found yet more editions going back to before, and indeed after her birthday giving enough information for quite a few more episodes depending on the length of each one. This edition is slightly longer thinking it would be the last. So if you want me to carry on, please let me know.

I had thought about writing a book. There is certainly enough information, some never seen before in book form or on the Internet as I said at the beginning. But finding a publisher is almost impossible unless I published the book myself. But I don’t have the funds to do that. Hopefully, however, a publisher may be reading this and think it worthy of a book. One can only hope?!. In the meantime I will carry on if members wish me to do so.

10th January 2006, 21:18
Splendid work, David, and I think I speak in the name of all my shipmates who have been following this 'voloptuous' thread to its bare-breasted, and hardly bitter, end. Presumably, the photo I shot in Lisbon (1975 and NOT '74..quick edit necessary!!), was one of the last, if not THE last, taken during your stint on board. If only I'd known what was going on 'behind the brown door' on C-Deck, David (to misquote an old Shakin' Stevens hit from October 1981)!!!

10th January 2006, 22:40
Duly put right Paul, 7th May 1975. Will get to work on another episode soon. David

10th January 2006, 22:49
Excellent effort David.
Even if you don't get published you have at least shared your knowledge with a great crowd of people who share your interests.

Keep it coming!

Best wishes,

11th January 2006, 17:54
Thanks Brian

11th January 2006, 19:36
That installment has been along time coming & well worth the wait.A real credit to you as unlike most of us you kept meticulous records & it is not all dependant on memory.A book would be fantastic not only for us but no doubt of interest to many of the passengers who sailed on Arcadia & her like. Kiwi

18th January 2006, 21:02

I have decided to continue the story of Arcadia having found more editions of Arcadus. I knew I had these of course, but the original idea was to cover her 21st birthday edition. This has since grown and will continue until my information literally runs out. Once again this is straight from the ship itself, some my own articles which you will not read elsewhere. The end of part fourteen saw me leaving the ship, but I will now be back tracking, but because it’s history anyway, what matters?!.

Sorry for taking so long with this episode, but a slide scanner came before starting on this episode and I have been sorting through hundreds of slides and trying to use the thing properly which I have not mastered properly yet.

We start with Arcadia’s Winter Caribbean Cruises beginning in Vancouver. This was a Christmas Cruise leaving Vancouver on 20th December 1973 and a Carnival Cruise leaving Vancouver on 23rd January 1974. Both cruises visited the same ports, San Francisco, Los Angeles (our home ports along with Vancouver), Balboa, Cristobal, Curacao, Caracas, Grenada, Martinique, St Thomas, San Juan, St Croix, Barbados, Caracas, Aruba, Cristobal, Balboa, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Vancouver.

We were very busy in the passenger hospital on the Christmas Cruise. One lady spent the entire cruise in the hospital. I was always amazed that some people travelled when they were clearly ill before they left. And when I left the sea, working in a hospital on a holiday island I found that the amount of people either taken ill or dying was so massive I could not believe, and still can’t, that governments do not try to educate people. So perhaps I can use this article to attempt to do just that?.

I have even written to newspapers, but all I get is some pathetic comment that if people die on holiday, they died happy. What complete and utter nonsense because every death I dealt with was avoidable had the person been made aware of the dangers. People make silly remarks because they don’t understand the underlying reasons.

Basically, people go on holidays thinking it will do them good. Psychologically, a holiday is good for you. But people are not aware or don’t stop to think that although you are having a great time psychologically, your body is having its worst nightmare.

Almost every person reading this would have travelled from A to B, often a long journey and been tired when getting to the other end. Also, everybody reading this would have been on holiday feeling totally knackered, needing another holiday when they got home to get over it. Theirs minds are in great shape, totally relaxed and rejuvenated, but their body feels like a wet rag rung totally dry. Therefore, you don’t have to be a medical genius to work out that an unhealthy body is going to be in severe danger.

I personally saw over a 100 people die needless each year when I left the sea. Every single one would have survived had they either stayed home, or been more sensible when on holiday. In addition, there were far more than that taken ill on holiday. It never ceased to amaze me that when on holiday, people did things they would not dream of doing at home. If they had a known health condition they kept it under control at home by not doing anything silly and taking their daily medication. Yet all that goes out of the window when on holiday with people even forgetting their tablets. A holiday seems to hypnotise people. Why else would they do crazy things they would not dream of doing at home so as not to miss a second of their holiday.

They eat as if they have starved for a year, go walking or dancing directly after a massive meal, and wonder why they suddenly feel ill or worse still, drop dead. The body simply cannot take the extra strain, and even a healthy body struggles to cope as I am sure that almost every reader can testify?.

The cause and modes of these deaths were so identical that I called it the ‘Holidaymaker Syndrome’. Some did not know they had heart trouble or other problems, but others did. So I give everybody the same advice whether you have a known health condition or not. Almost everybody over 30, often younger has a certain degree of narrowing of the coronary arteries. When you have a meal, especially a large one, rest for an hour at least preferably longer. Any exercise will increase the heart rate, which is already working hard digesting the food. When people say they are going to walk a meal off, they are talking total drivel. Basically, blood is flowing through at a higher speed when digesting food. Further pressure on the heart like any form of exercise increases that flow. If the artery can’t cope, people get pain (angina). The rush of blood often dislodges blood clot blocking the artery. It is no different to a water pipe when rain is so heavy, it can’t cope with the amount of water causing flow back and flooding. It is slightly more complicated than this of course. But if people ignore the basics and basic common sense, they will die years ahead of their time. Medicine is not complicated. After all, I learned it?!.

No clinical research has been done on this. We in my department knew all about if of course, but we were bound by the medico legal system, so could not pass the information into the spokes of the medical learning wheel. This is because every holidaymaker I dealt with was a sudden death and reported to the coroner. He is only interested in the cause of death, not clinical research it. So if natural causes were found, and no suspicious circumstances leading to death, nothing more is done. But although natural deaths, all were avoidable as explained above.

People die regularly on cruises, just as they did during my time at sea. Once again they would be doing more than their body could cope with from eating too much, then having a dance straight after. Many deaths on Canberra and Arcadia happened on the dance floor directly after a meal. It was not until I left the sea that I realised how significant this was. Yet, 30 years or so on, it is still happening. We have not learned a thing and never will until this problem is properly researched making the results public. But hopefully, those reading this will change their habits when on holiday. There is nothing to stop anybody going on holiday with a known illness. Just don’t do anything you would not do at home, and try to avoid tiring journeys. If that is not possible, relax for a day at least at your final destination, be it a cruise ship or whatever. And if you need to take two days to get from A to B do so. Never rush anything. You will enjoy the holiday far more by taking your time and not falling into the trap that so many do by throwing caution to the wind so as to get their money’s worth. If any member needs advice before going on holiday or on a cruise feel free to PM me for advice on your personal circumstances. And even if you don't have a known illness, don't do anything you would not do at home directly after a meal especially.

Anyway back to Arcadia.

Once we got to the Caribbean, these are the ships we saw on the Carnival Cruise after the Christmas Cruise. Too busy on the latter to log many ships.

CURACAO 5th February 1974. ISLAND PRINCESS 1972, Princess Cruises (before P&O took her over) She is of Norwegian registry with Norwegian officers, but Italian service crew. She made her maiden voyage on 28th November 1972, and serves both west and east USA with PRINCESS ITALIA, now selling by all accounts.

WESTMORELAND 1966, P&O (Federal Steam Navigation Co. Ltd)
8,230 tons gross – 528ft long – 71ft breadth

LA GUAIRA for CARACAS 6th February 1974. SANTA CLARA 1967 Prudential Lines, 9,322 tons gross – 560ft long – 82ft breadth. HAGEN 1967 Hamburg American Atlantic Line, 5,620 tons gross – 446ft long – 63ft breadth. BIRGITTE SCOU Ove Scov Line, 5,133 tons gross – 453ft long – 49ft breadth.

SAN JUAN 8th February 1974 QUEEN ANNA MARIE 1964 Greek Line(see my Gallery St Thomas on last cruise) ex EMPRESS OF BRITAIN 1956, 21,716 tons gross – 640ft long – 85ft breadth. Sister ship to OCEAN MONARCH of Shaw Saville ex EMPRESS OF ENGLAND 1957.

ST THOMAS 10th February 1974 SEA VENTURE 1972, Norwegian Cruise ships A/S, around 20,000 tons gross – 553ft long – 96ft breadth (before P&O bought her to become PACIFIC PRINCESS 1975)

BARBADOS 11th February 1974 CUNARD AMBASSADOR 1973, Cunard Line. (will post picture in due course). 14,155 tons gross – 485ft long – 71ft breadth – powered by four Stork-Werkspoor T.M410 12 cylinder V diesels 6,500 B.H.P each engine. Twin screw. Maiden voyage on 26th October 1972, her home port is San Juan. She has 268 crew, of which 200 are catering staff employed by a catering firm in San Juan. Each cruise lasts for a week terminating every Saturday in San Juan. I went on board AMBASSADOR and was not impressed. One officer said: “This is more of a bus stop vessel rather than a cruise ship like yours”. Passengers I spoke to said the same thing. She is still a nice ship, and should being so new, but she also had a cold empty feeling about her lacking the soul of an older ship like Arcadia. She was built in Rotterdam by P Smit Jr’s Shipbuilding and Engineering Works. Keel laid 1971.

PHILOSPHER 1964, Harrison Lines 6,162 tons gross – 407ft long – 57ft breadth.

LA GUAIRA (second visit on same cruise) RIO COBRE 1969, Fyffes Group Ltd ex JUNIOR 1945, 6,845 tons gross – 455ft long – 61fy breadth.

SANTA ISABEL 1967 Prudential Lines, 9,323 tons gross – 560ft long – 82ft breadth.

ACAPULCO 20th February 1974 WONOSOBO 1954 Royal Interocean Lines. At anchor, 7,502 tons gross – 508ft long – 66ft breadth. In Co Royal Rotterdam Lloyd Line.

20th January 2006, 17:24


First time for Arcadia to hold the Oriana Trophy, and the first P&O streaker!.

Any relation to the Golden Cockrel that was on a spigot atop the monkey island on Oriana?

20th January 2006, 18:36
I don't know. Something was transferred from Oriana to the new ship. I should be aboard her all being well in May so could find out. David

20th January 2006, 19:34
I don't know. Something was transferred from Oriana to the new ship. I should be aboard her all being well in May so could find out. David

Thankyou, its one of those odd things that one was aware of but never had a clear answer about. Both of our Senior Masters were Orient men and very proud of the Cockerel but its precise history always seemed a trifle vague.

Talking of things transferred I hope the new Oriana is not blessed with the Oriana Fanfare...passenger reactions seemed very mixed when it was played on the old ship..

20th January 2006, 21:01
I have a video of new Oriana somewhere, something tells me the Cockeral is mentioned. Will try to find it. David

28th January 2006, 19:46

After the Christmas and Carnival Cruise, we did cruises from the West Coast of USA to the Hawaiian Islands or Circle Pacific Cruises.

At Los Angeles on 24th February 1974 ROYAL VIKING STAR crept past our berth. She was the first of three ships owned by the Royal Viking Line (jointly owned by a consortium of Norwegian ship owners), which sail on a world-wide basis. ROYAL VIKING STAR along with her sister ships ROYAL VIKING SKY and ROYAL VIKING SEA were built at Wartsila Helsinki Shipyard. The shipyard has recently developed a diversification in building from the ‘ultimate’ icebreakers principally for Russia in the luxury cruise ship market. The three Vikings sailed on their maiden voyages in July 1972, June 22nd 1973 on a 14 day north cape cruise, and on December 2nd 1973 on an Atlantic Island/African cruise respectively. In order of building they are: ROYAL VIKING STAR 1972, ROYAL VIKING SKY June 1973 and ROYAL VIKING SEA December 1973. The STAR is 21,847 tons gross, SKY 21,891, and SEA 21,879. All are 583ft long – 83ft breadth and 21 knots with passengers capacity around 535, and powered by four Wartsila-Sulzer 9 ZH 40/48 diesel engines. Twin screw. On the round-world basis these ships tend to operate from the West and East coast of USA, their itineraries seem to change with the wind, and have a huge booklet of tours for 1974/75 from 14 days on either ROYAL VIKING SEA or SKY between June and August, starting at Copenhagen to Bergen, Aandalones. Arctic Circle, North cape, Tromso, Trondheim etc, and 14 days from Southampton to ports in UK, and to Hamburg, Gydnia, Stokholm etc, and on 8th January 1975 all three ships will set sail on a simultaneous round the world cruise: ROYAL VIKING SEA departing from New York, the STAR and SKY from San Francisco.


Did you know that a ship must have a certain number of Certificated Lifeboat Men before it is allowed to sail?.

Did you know that the Department of Trade and Industry issue these certificates to persons who can pass an exam (oral) and have been at sea for at least 6 months.

It is intended to hold classes for this on board, possibly split into two units of Asians and Europeans.

These classes will start in the near future, possibly before the next issue of ARCADUS. If you are interested please five your name to the Junior Second Officer on the Bride 12-4.

I did my lifeboat ticket and ended up with my own lifeboat. One of the reasons for this is that being medical we came under the deck department. Most of those with their own lifeboat should the ship have to be abandoned were deck department and responsible for marking off all crew on weekly boat drill. But the ship also needed a certain number of Certified Lifeboat Men as stated above, and indeed more because we needed as many as possible in anchor ports. I loved that job.

On 8th March 1974 we were in Honolulu with MARIPOSA of Pacific Far East Lines Ex PINE TREE MARINER 1956. 14,812 tons gross – 564ft long – 76ft breadth. Sold to Pacific Far East Lines in 1971 from Matson Navigation Company.

Since we took over from Himalaya cruising from Sydney, it is only fitting that I should re-publish what was written about her in Arcadus. A picture of her final voyage can bee seen in my gallery when she passed us off Brisbane.

Before leaving Sydney, Captain Terry will present a HIMALAYA plaque to the Lord Mayor. Most of the 1100 passengers on board for HIMALAYA’S final voyage are bound for Hong Kong, which will be the ship’s last port of call. She will then be sold for scrap. The passengers will fly to Europe or back to Australia in one of the several fly/cruise package holidays connected with HIMALAYA’S last voyages. Some passengers however will disembark at her first port of call, Brisbane. Scores of former passengers are taking this last opportunity to enjoy the hospitality of their favourite ship. HIMALAYA’S long association with Sydney dates back to 7th November 1949 when she sailed into the port on her maiden voyage from Britain. Her arrival heralded the return to a life of luxury and romance after the war-torn decade of the 1940’s. In her early years HIMALAYA brought thousands of families from Britain to their new lives in Australia and carried tens of thousands of Australian people to Britain and Europe and other distant shores. In recent years she has taken thousands of Australian holidaymakers cruising to the Pacific Islands.

Built in 1949 by Vickers Armstrong at Barrow-in-Furness, HIMALAYA has steamed more than 2¼ million miles over the 25 years, initially mainly on ‘line voyages’ between Britain and Australia and New Zealand, but subsequently on UK and Australian cruising.

Australians have always had a special affection for HIMALAYA partly perhaps because she was the first new ship after the war. That she has not lost any of her popularity was reflected in the heavy demand for berths in her last series of cruises to the islands of the South Pacific, which greet her as an old friend.

HIMALAYA’S withdrawal, however, will not reduce the P&O cruising service out of Australia. ARCADIA will join ORIANA and ORONSAY and next year P&O’s new 20,000 cruise ship will enter the Australian cruise programme.

The 20,000 cruise ship was SEA VENTURE which P&O was buying and re-naming PACIFIC PRINCESS which was mentioned on the last page of the Arcadus carrying the above story. Between June and October she like ISLAND PRINCESS would be cruising from West Coast North America, but between November and May from Australia.

Well, my material has come to an end. I left the ship on 16th May 1975. ARCADIA went on for another four years leaving Sydney on 29th January 1979 for her final cruise from Sydney. SEA PRINCESS replaced her. Her last cruise ended in Singapore on February 21st 1979 with her passengers and some crew transferring to SEA PRINCESS. Perhaps it is fitting that it was Captain Dallas, who founded ARCADUS, and was so much part of this wonderful ship was the master who delivered ARCADIA to the ship breakers in Taiwan to whom she had been sold.

ARCADIA may have gone, but she will never be forgotten. Ships like people will never die as long as there are others around who remember them.

1st February 2006, 00:08
Once again many thanks for your most interesting writings.Although I never sailed on Arcadia I found it all most interesting[ech dum atcha] wish I had a Malim Sahibs Hindustani to check spelling. KIWI

Michael Broughton
25th March 2006, 11:02
Well done Pompeyfan. First time I've read through your Arcadia Oddyssey. I did a stint on Arcadia as 2nd R/O from June to October 63 before I did a virtual pierhead jump to Canberra. I would have been quite happy to stay on Arcadia. A great ship.

23rd July 2006, 02:44
phew it's 0245 and i'm still up,Pompey thanks for the book I couldn't put it down

27th July 2006, 05:13
Thank you Pompeyfan for sharing these great stories with us.....the Arcadia does indeed live on! As I love a good joke, the story of the Arcadia Officers sneeking the P&O house flag on QE2 in Nassau and raising it up her mast made me laugh and reminded me of one of my QE2 memories. Back in late 1987 or early 1988, while an Asst. Purser on Royal Caribbean's ms Sun Viking, we were lucky enough to be docked in Barbados with QE2. Several of us on the Purser's Staff did what we always did when we were in port with an interesting passenger ship. Dressed in our Purser's uniforms and armed with our cameras and a large postcard of our ship signed by all the Purser's Staff for the QE2 Purser's as a friendship gift, we walked over to the Queen's gangway and introduced ourselves to the QE2 Officer. We told him that we were from the Sun Viking Purser's Dept and we asked kindly if we could come onboard to see the ship. With a sarcastic tone the QE2 Officer asked us what is a Sun Viking? We pointed directly across the pier to our small but sparkling cruise ship and advised him that is what a Sun Viking is. He then oh so politely advised us he was sorry we could not come aboard because this was "The QE2". He then dismissed us. Being young and not taking his snub lightly, I told him that when his shift at the ganyway ends he might want to get out a paint brush and get to work on all the rust that seemed to cover "The QE2" ! He was not amused. We all had a good laugh as we walked back to our rust-free Viking commenting how proud we were of our ship, more so at that moment than ever before. Thanks again Pompeyfan for sharing you memories of the brought back good memories of my shipboard life that I had forgotten about!

31st July 2006, 23:19
Many thanks for above comments. David

24th September 2008, 05:24
Thank you Pompeyfan for sharing these great stories with us.....the Arcadia does indeed live on! As I love a good joke, the story of the Arcadia Officers sneeking the P&O house flag on QE2 in Nassau and raising it up her mast made me laugh and reminded me of one of my QE2 memories. Back in late 1987 or early 1988, while an Asst. Purser on Royal Caribbean's ms Sun Viking, we were lucky enough to be docked in Barbados with QE2. Several of us on the Purser's Staff did what we always did when we were in port with an interesting passenger ship. Dressed in our Purser's uniforms and armed with our cameras and a large postcard of our ship signed by all the Purser's Staff for the QE2 Purser's as a friendship gift, we walked over to the Queen's gangway and introduced ourselves to the QE2 Officer. We told him that we were from the Sun Viking Purser's Dept and we asked kindly if we could come onboard to see the ship. With a sarcastic tone the QE2 Officer asked us what is a Sun Viking? We pointed directly across the pier to our small but sparkling cruise ship and advised him that is what a Sun Viking is. He then oh so politely advised us he was sorry we could not come aboard because this was "The QE2". He then dismissed us. Being young and not taking his snub lightly, I told him that when his shift at the ganyway ends he might want to get out a paint brush and get to work on all the rust that seemed to cover "The QE2" ! He was not amused. We all had a good laugh as we walked back to our rust-free Viking commenting how proud we were of our ship, more so at that moment than ever before. Thanks again Pompeyfan for sharing you memories of the brought back good memories of my shipboard life that I had forgotten about!

It was alot easier being on the other side of things.

I was in the Pursers Dep on QE2 from 1984 to 1987 and I always made a point of going on any other vessel that was in port with us at the time. In my Pursers uniform armed with my QE2 pass I never had any problem going aboard.

In fact I was always welcomed and was treated very good as I was an junior officer aboard the QE2 and that was looked upon with great repsect and to to my advantage of course. I was even given lunch by the captain on one occasion onboard the Home Lines Oceanic whilst in New York which was nice.

24th September 2008, 07:21
All very interesting, keep up the good work. My family emigrated to NZ from London aboard the Arcadia arriving in Wellington on 18 December 1963.
I was 10 at the time and it was very exciting to be onboard the ship, be at sea and visit all the ports. Up to then my experience of the sea was Brighton Beach!
I made friends with a another guy and we explored every inch of the ship over the 6 week trip We were forever getting chased out of first class and "crew only" areas.
We made friends with one of the lift attendants and along with his girlfriend we were his passengers in the lift when he staged breakdowns so he could get time off while the engineers fixed the lift! I remember he would open a flap in the ceiling of the lift, climb up and do something so the lift would stop, often between decks, and we would have to be rescued.
The crew were having a lifeboat drill one day and they had swung the boats out when a crew member fell overboard. The ship was turned around and he was picked up, luckily it was flat calm at the time.
That trip made a lasting impression on me and 7 years later I was a deck apprentice and am still working in the industry today!
The Arcadia was a fine ship and I would always take time to go aboard whenever I could when I ran into her around the world. I was very sad when I arrived in Kaohsiung and saw her at the breakers yard.

24th September 2008, 11:58
Great piece of history keep it coming Dave.

24th September 2008, 17:17
this really brings back memories as i was the youngest crew member on board early 1973 i took part in the crossing of the line ceremony and i was invited to the captains cocktail party afterwards' much to the envy of the other bell boys.i also remember stopping the lift between floors by pushing the hatch on the roof of the lift.and when wearing misselto the captain coming into the lift and saying its okay bells.i flew home after 7 months from san francisco.i had such a good time i rejoined 2 years later as a utility steward for another 5 months paying off in sydney.thanks to your hard work you have rekindeld things i had forgoten about.john

25th September 2008, 08:10
Nice to see this thread revived and the memories Arcadia brings.


It looks like we may have just missed each other?. I joined Arcadia in June 1973 in San Francisco. We were about to set off on a Circle Pacific cruise via Glacier Bay and Anchorage, being the first ever passenger ship to call at Anchorage, and then across to Japan and Hong Kong. I left in May 1975 before she left for her second leg of the Australian Woman's Weekly world cruise. You may well have been aboard for that?. We were based in Sydney then. As a member of the U Gang, you would have been in my Stretcher Party no doubt?!. I use to write in the ships internal crew newspaper Arcadus under the name of Medic.


26th September 2008, 21:54
hi david
i will look out my discharge book and get some only regret was that i did not take my leave in sydney as we were given the opportunity to do so.i would have went back for a 3rd trip but the agent who met us at heathrow would not give me a travel warrant to get back to aberdeen.i was entitled to one as i got the job in the aberdeen pool.when we left the arcadia in sydney we were only given £20 sterling so i had a problem getting home.however p&o did give me my expenses at a later date.but by then i had shipped out with ben line.
regards john

4th April 2009, 01:58
Is anyone enjoying the first 21 years of Arcadia?. There has been 58 hits, but this only tells me people have read it. David


I have just joined this morning. Thank you for a voyage down memory lane. I was Junior Engineer and 4th Engineer on Arcadia II 1954 to 1958.

I remember John Howell, a great guy. I was on engine room controls when the double rings came down from the bridge indicating a problem, this was when the tug Cervia was capsized.

Other memories you revived the Plumber going overboard and the Bay of Biscay storm, a very scary moment when at the controls we observed the engine room inclinometer shift to just over 40 deg. The only way we could stay at the controls was to stand on coir mats that were tied down to prevent slipping.

I transferred from Arcadia in mid 1958 to take up position of Senior 3rd Engineer on the Patonga.

Thanks for the time and effort in posting the history.



13th April 2009, 19:15
Hi David

I checked the discharge book I was on Arcadia from 4th May to 7th June 1974 as 3rd R/O my memory says Ken Patterson was C/R/O and Roger Chapman was 1st R/O , cant remember who the 2/R/O was and we had a new 4th as well who just come out of college so the 1st had to babysit the 8-12 for a while , I paid off in Vancouver to join a Bulk Carrier a real change of lifestyle !!

13th April 2009, 22:58
well done David ,enthralling read.Those old p&o ships plus the orient line were things of beauty.Must have seen the Arcadia many times in Colombo in the 50s.

15th April 2009, 10:23
Hi Ian

We must have crossed for a few days because I flew home on leave on 19th May 1974 according to my Discharge Book. I was certainly on board for the Special Commemorative issue of Arcadus celebrating her 21st Birthday which I helped produce published on 12th May 1974. I have a copy in front of me now. I did not rejoin her until the October when she was based in Sydney working on other P&O ships in the meantime after coming out of the Seaman's Hospital at Greenwich.

In an addition of Arcadus on 7th April is a few leaving and a few joining. Leaving was Chief RO Morrison going home on leave. It does not say who replaced him. The Purser went home on leave to be replaced by a Mr Harries.

We had a J Chapman as Staffy, also as captain when Captain Dallas was on leave, but we also had Captain Biddick, but I do seem to remember Roger Chapman as well. I am trying to look him up in my editions of Arcadus. Mike Carr was junior officer then.

I have just found the flight times of our crew change in Vancouver for crew relieving, and those going on leave and coming back. For those relieving, the dates of joining and coming back were: Depart Gatwick 18th May 1974 at 1940 arrive Vancouver 2000 18th May 1974. Returning home was 6th June 1974 leaving Vancouver at 1300 arriving at Gatwick at 0845 on 7th June 1974. I assume you were on that plane arriving at Gatwick of 7th June?.

I flew home with the crew change leaving Vancouver at 2145 on 19th May 1974 arriving at Gatwick at 1730 20th May 1974. It was the same plane that brought the relief crew out on 18th May. I think it was British Caledonian. We used several, TWA, KLM, British Caledonian and Dan Air. Those who flew back off leave which did not include me left Gatwick on 5th June 1974. The same plane you flew home on?!. If you joined on 4th May 1974 I assume you flew out alone?.


16th April 2009, 18:45
Hi David

I think there was another crew change earlier than the 18th May as I remember the flight was a DAN Air 707 from Gatwick via Sondestrom in Greenland Roger Chapman and I were on that flight and I did catch the plane back on the 7th June as you say , I remember a party somewhere in that time period in the Officers accomodation where we were drinking Brandy and Champaigne cocktails which was a pretty lethal combination firing champaigne corks out of the PortHoles actually I remember ( vaguely) quite a few parties enough said !!!

16th April 2009, 21:13
Hi David

I think there was another crew change earlier than the 18th May as I remember the flight was a DAN Air 707 from Gatwick via Sondestrom in Greenland Roger Chapman and I were on that flight and I did catch the plane back on the 7th June as you say , I remember a party somewhere in that time period in the Officers accomodation where we were drinking Brandy and Champaigne cocktails which was a pretty lethal combination firing champaigne corks out of the PortHoles actually I remember ( vaguely) quite a few parties enough said !!!


Perhaps it was Dan Air. We certainly flew with them to pick Arcadia up in Sydney, a 30 hour flight. I remember a stop over at Sondestrom Greenland. It was a short runway, and the aircraft revved up full power at the end of the runway, and them took off like a sling shot. It was quite frightening.


17th April 2009, 18:09
I remember that take off , the red lights at the end of the runway were showing as we went past them and the wheels were still on the ground and there is not a lot of "soft stuff" around there if it all goes pear shaped !!

7th August 2009, 00:51
Hi David , Really enjoyed reading the 21 years of the arcadia , i got hooked and had to read all episodes,, Do your records go back to 1955/56 , as i am trying to trace my partners roots , Her father was a crew member during these years and passed away in 1958 aged 36,so she never knew him as she was only 5 months old , any information about him would be greatly appreciated , his name was George Robert Henderson Duffin ,, thanks again for the history , Jeff

8th August 2009, 23:01
Hi David , Really enjoyed reading the 21 years of the arcadia , i got hooked and had to read all episodes,, Do your records go back to 1955/56 , as i am trying to trace my partners roots , Her father was a crew member during these years and passed away in 1958 aged 36,so she never knew him as she was only 5 months old , any information about him would be greatly appreciated , his name was George Robert Henderson Duffin ,, thanks again for the history , Jeff

Hi Jumbo

Thanks for your comments. No, I would not have information on the person you mention I am afraid. However, I keep meaning to try to contact a crew member who may have been aboard during the years you mention, but not sure if he is still alive. But he does or did live here on the island. If I do manage to contact him. I will ask him.


10th August 2009, 22:56
Hello David,

Cracking info on my favourite ship... have read your posts again, brings back a lot of memories. I, together with a few other Macdonald, Hamilton & Co staff (we were Managing Agents in Australia for P&O and BI of course) joined for the cruise to Tasmania and New Zealand, and in particular to Picton in the north of the South Island of NZ, in November 1958. Arcadia was the largest ship to have gone into Queen Charlotte Sound and we had to anchor in the Sound. Sailing away that night with a few hundred Maoris playing guitars and singing, with flaming torches being carried, is a memory that will always be with me. She was a great ship, and a happy ship. I seem to remember that it was Captain Wild who was aboard her then, and he went later to Captain Canberra. Great times.

Dulcibella (Ian)

10th August 2009, 23:25
Hello David,

Cracking info on my favourite ship... have read your posts again, brings back a lot of memories. I, together with a few other Macdonald, Hamilton & Co staff (we were Managing Agents in Australia for P&O and BI of course) joined for the cruise to Tasmania and New Zealand, and in particular to Picton in the north of the South Island of NZ, in November 1958. Arcadia was the largest ship to have gone into Queen Charlotte Sound and we had to anchor in the Sound. Sailing away that night with a few hundred Maoris playing guitars and singing, with flaming torches being carried, is a memory that will always be with me. She was a great ship, and a happy ship. I seem to remember that it was Captain Wild who was aboard her then, and he went later to Captain Canberra. Great times.

Dulcibella (Ian)

May thanks Ian

I have just realized that only a couple of weeks ago I said on another thread that I would look up details of when P&O bought Island Princess, and Sea Venture creating Princess Cruises as we now know it. Well, all the information is contained in the first 21 years of Arcadia. I have scanned through it all again, and wonder if I should add more with the info I have, and write a book?. There is plenty of books on the shelves of Canberra for example, but very little about Arcadia.


11th August 2009, 11:54
David... Why not??

I think it would be a great idea.. she was a lovely and happy ship... I am speaking from a passenger's perspective, but I have gathered over the years that she was equally regarded by those who crewed her. I have a nice watercolour print of her by Andrew Dibben, number 60 of 750 and it captures her looks excellently. I've photos of her during the NZ cruise on my website,

Iberia was, in a way a sister ship to her, certainly inside and up in tne First Class Observation Lounge, but she didn't have that "thing" that Arcadia had... and of course she was scrapped well before her sister ship. She just never seemed to have the same popularity, and I think she used to have engine problems didn't she?

So if you have such a vast amount of material on and about her then I should certainly try and produce a book about her.. I wish you the very best of luck.


16th August 2009, 23:34
David... Why not??

I think it would be a great idea.. she was a lovely and happy ship... I am speaking from a passenger's perspective, but I have gathered over the years that she was equally regarded by those who crewed her. I have a nice watercolour print of her by Andrew Dibben, number 60 of 750 and it captures her looks excellently. I've photos of her during the NZ cruise on my website,

Iberia was, in a way a sister ship to her, certainly inside and up in tne First Class Observation Lounge, but she didn't have that "thing" that Arcadia had... and of course she was scrapped well before her sister ship. She just never seemed to have the same popularity, and I think she used to have engine problems didn't she?

So if you have such a vast amount of material on and about her then I should certainly try and produce a book about her.. I wish you the very best of luck.


Hi Ian

Yes, Arcadia and Iberia were known as the White Sisters. The Crew & Isolation Hospitals on both ships were identical, as was other parts of both ships. I came home from NZ on the Iberia, 6 weeks aboard her as passenger.


paddy mcdonnell
8th June 2012, 04:22
Is anyone enjoying the first 21 years of Arcadia?. There has been 58 hits, but this only tells me people have read it. It would be good to know what people think because compiling this is both time consuming and indeed painful having to sit so long at computer before copying to the site. I am only too happy to do this despite the discomfort, but it would be nice to have some comment rather than viewing figures which tell me nothing other than that people have read it. Just because 58 people have read it so far, it does not neccessarily mean they like it. David
I am hanging on every word,great stuff,maybe a movie?ha ha.
I did two trips on the Oronsay,but,apart from a Typhoon of the coast of Japan in 1960? we did not have all the drama of tha Acadia,however,I only was on it for two voyage's.
I will now get back to the 21st birthday of the Arcadia.
Paddy McDonnell

17th June 2012, 19:56
I was a "winger" in first class for about two years in 71 & 72. She was a good ship.

18th June 2012, 10:54
Greetings RL and welcome to SN. Bon voyage.

27th July 2012, 21:58
Thanks for the comments Paddy, and Redleader1.

I joined after you left Redleader 1, but how great it is to hear the word 'winger' again (Thumb)

Arcadia was one class when I joined her in 1973, being a full time cruise ship by then, but I wonder if John Hutton was Head Waiter in first class then?. And was Captain Dallas captain?. He was aboard her for quite a few years, and urged me not to leave her in 1975. A great man.

30th July 2012, 10:08

Those of you onboard Arcadia in 1973 may remember me.
I boarded the ship illegally in Anchorage and escaped ashore in Guam.
I'm currently in the process of writing my life story.
I would be interested to hear accounts from any passengers or crew who remember the impact my presence on the boat had.
It would be nice to include some first-hand impressions from your point of view in the book.

I look forward to hearing from anyone who remembers me.

Kind regards,

The Stowaway

30th July 2012, 10:42
Hi Santa

As I said in the Hello thread, I remember you. I still have the shore excursion brochure, looking at it now in fact. Not that you would have had a copy (Jester)

I also still have a copy of the Anchorage Times with us pictured on the front page arriving. I think you even made the pages of Arcadus, our crew newspaper. I wrote in it on shipping matters as Medic. I still have copies of that, so will did them out to see if you are there. Wonderful memories (Thumb)

30th July 2012, 15:32
Hi David,

thanks for your reply. I'm not stowing away much these days!
If you do find a copy of the newsletter with me mentioned and/or pictured, could you post it to me?

Many thanks,

The Stowaway

30th July 2012, 15:47
Hi again David,

Just read your reply on the 'hello' forum. Thanks.
If you do have any copy of Arcadia information mentioning me, I would be very grateful to receive a copy.
Hopefully my book will be in the works early next year and you will enjoy reading my account of living in a crashed plane on Guam for five months and my subsequent adventures. It's even more unbelievable than the story of how I arrived.

Look forward to hearing from you,

Kind regards,

The Stowaway

30th July 2012, 18:24
Hi Santa

I have not found any information about you having looked at all the copies of Arcadus this afternoon.

Although I remember you, it was almost 40 years ago, so do not remember detail. For example, we used to put caught stowaways in my 'Lock Up' Cabin the the Crew & Isolation Hospital, but I do not remember you being in there. So could you please jog my memory with more details.

I have e-mailed two former crew members who may have been on board at the time, and ringing another this evening if he is in.

7th August 2012, 10:39
Hi David,

Thanks for looking through the Arcadus newsletters.

I was held in the Brig not in 'lock-up cabin'. I was turned over to the Japanese and Hong Kong police in port each time and then returned to the authority of the ship.

I also made a daring escape from the Brig to the Radio Room, where, to the dismay of the officer, I called collect to my family in Maryland to tell them not to give the P&O people any money. (At the time my father was quite ill with heart problems and the purser had promised he would not contact him, but he did.)

With my nighttime escapades there was some drama in the elevator, trying to take a bath, and at my final surrender at the captains' buffet table.

Did you know the young cook, named Rex, by any chance?

Hope this jogs your memory.


The Stowaway

11th August 2012, 10:53
Hi David,

Thanks for looking through the Arcadus newsletters.

I was held in the Brig not in 'lock-up cabin'. I was turned over to the Japanese and Hong Kong police in port each time and then returned to the authority of the ship.

I also made a daring escape from the Brig to the Radio Room, where, to the dismay of the officer, I called collect to my family in Maryland to tell them not to give the P&O people any money. (At the time my father was quite ill with heart problems and the purser had promised he would not contact him, but he did.)

With my nighttime escapades there was some drama in the elevator, trying to take a bath, and at my final surrender at the captains' buffet table.

Did you know the young cook, named Rex, by any chance?

Hope this jogs your memory.


The Stowaway

Hi Santa

Because I had not long joined the ship in San Francisco, my memory is still a bit vague. I certainly remember a stowaway on board, but little detail although what you have told me certainly seems to ring a bell, but a distant one at present. I joined Arcadia on 18th June 1973 before setting off on the Summertime Great Circle Pacific Cruise reaching Anchorage on 14th July 1973. Below is a couple of cuttings from the Anchorage Times, which may bring back a few memories, that is if you can read the print. It is very faded and I could not scan the whole front page being a large paper?!.

I cannot think of a Brig on board, certainly not around the bridge area. Mine was the only proper locked cabin meaning the door could only be opened from the outside Who was watching you when in there?. We had a Cosxswain called John, a chap with glasses who with others steered the ship, they would have been in blue uniform then white when we reached warmer weather. We also had Safety Leading Hands who may have kept an eye on you, they wore blue boiler suit type things I think. One was called Mike. The captain was Captain Chapman when you came aboard, but I have a feeling our usual master, Captain Dallas came back before you left in Guam.

A cook called Rex rings a bell, but I went ashore with one called Ray, or Sting.

My 'lock up cabin' was aft, on C Deck, but I do not remember you in there, but you would have never escaped!. Before I joined the ship, the chap I took over from and the assistant doctor went into the 'lock up cabin' to a person in there. Not sure if it were a crew member who had misbehaved or a stowaway, but the door shut on them, and they could not get out. It was Christmas Day, and they missed Christmas Dinner and everything before they were found (Jester)

Did any of us visit you, and by us I mean any of the medical department?. Our surgeon(as they were called than)was an elderly man with glasses.

I am still trying to contact former crew who may remember you better than me. Sorry I cannot be of more help.

14th August 2012, 17:25
Hi David,

Thank you for your informative reply and pics.

I was in a proper brig. It had bars on the window and there was one double-decker bunk and the door was an iron door. To get in there was an old lock with a massive old key. It was small, hot, and stinking of bilge. One day there was no air at all and I think they may have cut my air off to get me to cooperate with them, although they claimed it was something wrong with the system. Twice a day a crewman would come and open the door to the brig and accompany me outside for twenty minutes. He said that by law it was required that I could go on deck to get air. It was on one of these brief visits to the deck that I made my daring escape to the radio room where I called my family in Maryland – much to the dismay of the radio operator.

I'm sure the cook's name was Rex, unless he told me that to cover his identity, because he did help me in several ways.

No doctor and no crewman every visited me. The only person that ever visited me was a very large drunken officer in the middle of the night who demanded sexual favors from me, but I fended him off.

Thank you for your help. If you can provide me with any more people or photos of my journey from Alaska to Guam, I would be most grateful.


The Stowaway

17th August 2012, 12:25
Hi Santa/Stowaway

I find it very hard to believe that none of us in the medical team visited you, or indeed any member of crew apart from the large officer you mentioned.

I do not recall the Brig, but as I have said, I did have a 'Lock Up Cabin' within my Crew & Isolation Hospital on C Deck Aft. The reason I find it hard to believe that no crew visited you (apart from one you say came twice a day to let you out) is that is was ship rules laid down by the captain that when I had a person in my 'Lock Up Cabin' be it a member of crew, passenger, put in there for a variety of security reasons or a stowaway, that I was never allowed to go in alone. Therefore, the same rule should have applied the Brig. In other words two people must always be present. That was the same on all my ships. In fact, I broke that rule on Canberra causing a stowaway to escape, and dive into Sydney Harbour, but that is another story (Jester)

In addition to more than two people going into that cabin, all people stowaways or otherwise was seen by the medical team. That again was common practise, and why your being aboard rang bells. I can't remember being involved, but I find it hard that none of us were.

Below, are a few pictures which may jog your memory. The first is a picture I took from a cable car going over Arcadia in Pago Pago in 1974. You mention going to the Radio Room. Well, that was within the bridge area as seen. Does any of those decks around the bridge or indeed elsewhere on board ring bells if you were taken out to get some air?.

Picture 2 is very faded. Not sure how long after I joined Arcadia that this was taken, but I am third from the left. This was the entire medical team and stewards at the time on our own deck aft of the ship and right outside the 'Lock Up Cabin'. Do you recognize any of us, or the deck?.

Picture 3 is a better picture of the medical team around 1974/75. I am on the far left. Again, do you recognise me?!.

The last picture should rings bells. I took it from my own deck of the military airfield at Guam, where you got off. The date was 6th August 1973.

All these pictures were all taken with my own camera

17th August 2012, 17:18
Nice picture from the cable car - Pago Pago has not changed much!

On Flag Day 1982, a US carrier was in harbour and decided to lay on a fly-by over Pago Pago sound. Unfortunately, the pilot did not see the cable and hit it, coming down in the Rainmaker Hotel. The cable car was never returned to operation.
Part of the hotel was taken under lease and refurbished. It is now run by a NZ expat, Jeff, as Sadie's-By-The-Sea. The restaurant/bar is called Goat Island. The same owner runs the Sadie Thompson Inn just past the centre of town.

I made a total of five trips to American Samoa from Oct. 2009 thru early 2011. I also got to visit Western Samoa (Aggie Grey's), Fiji and New Zealand.

17th August 2012, 19:41
Many thanks for that information Dave.

I wondered why the cable car was no longer working. It was a fantastic experience and view from the top. We were due to call there on Oriana in 2007 on her world cruise, and I could not understand why there were no trips on the cable car advertised in the shore excursions. So when finding out it was gone, the shore excursions team arranged for a taxi to take me around and to the top of the mountain for old times sake. The trip was a nostalgic one from Southampton to Sydney visiting many ports during my time at sea, Pago Pago bring but one. But sadly, due to problems getting fuel at Honolulu, Oriana missed Pago Pago, so I never did get back there.

Below are two more pictures of Arcadia at Pago Pago, one from the mountain when the cable car still working of course. What a view (Thumb)

17th August 2012, 20:55
Hi David,

From your starboard side view of Arcadia, just above the funnel on the shore are, from l to r; Satala power station, the ship yard and Starkist cannery. I know the power plant intimately! The other power plant is out at Tafuna by the airport.To the left of the photo, the bay ends in Korea House. This is where the tsunami did the most damage (29/09/09).

The main thing about Tutuila Island is that there are really no beaches and, bar one (just east of the canneries), no beach bar/restaurants. The island is ringed by a reef. The island is formed by the remains of an extinct caldera volcano, Pago Pago harbour occupying the crater (thus very deep).

I never made it up to the gun emplacements above the harbour entrance but did visit the museum at Fagatoga, the "centre" of town where the Senate and ferry terminal are. I used to make my colleague sick by telling him,"Look, that's Plant Pot Rock!" every time we went around to Tafuna.

On my first visit, from the depths of my childhood, I remembered the tale of the children that sang to the sharks and the turtles - Sure enough, it is on A.S. just west along the coast from Tafuna.

Sorry to have hijacked your thread a bit!
Best regards,
(In a surprisingly COLD Mexico City!)

17th August 2012, 22:19
Hi Dave

Interesting information. Pago Pago played its part in the history of Arcadia calling there a lot especially when based in Sydney, so you have not really hijacked the thread!.

Mike Stokes
18th December 2012, 23:15
Hi David
Thanks for bringing back some wonderful memories with your book.
The Arc was a wonderful ship, I joined her in September 1976 as a bell boy, I remember hitting the hatch to stop the lift between decks very often, I was on the Arc for 5 1/2 months before coming home, I was only home for 19 days before flying back out to Sydney to rejoin her. Whilst there 1st time round I broke my arm horse riding in Tonga, the surgeon at the time kept me waiting for about 7 hours before doing anything, I was in agony, I spent the next 4 days in the hospital on c deck aft. It was all great fun though.
Thanks again for bringing back the memories.


19th December 2012, 08:55
Glad you enjoyed it Mike. I well remember that flight out to Sydney when Arcadia took over from Himalaya in October 1974. It was a 30 hour flight.

Who was the Surgeon you mention?. Doc Wheatley was Surgeon when I was aboard, but he was orthopaedic, so may not have been aboard because I would be surprised if he would have made you wait for 7 hours with a broken arm unless he never knew of course. Crew as you know, came under the Baby Doc. The hospital you were in on C Deck aft was my old hospital. I don't remember which Hospital Attendant took over from me in 1975, but my cabin opened onto the open deck starboard side, the same side as one of the European Wards, which you might have been in?. It was like having your own balcony?!. The Crew & Isolation Hospital took up the entire aft end of C Deck.

Mike Stokes
19th December 2012, 23:06
Hi David
Can't remember the name of the surgeon, names at the time didn't mean a lot to me, it was my 1st trip and I was only 16 when I joined, at the time of breaking my arm I was 17. I do remember Malcolm Rose and Bernie I think his name was, in charge of the U Gang. Captain Dallas I also remember, he seemed to be on board forever-never went home.
I was in the starboard side of the hospital and you're correct in saying "it was like having your own balcony". There was nothing or nobody to see though apart from sea and sky, at least the weather was good, typical Aussie weather that time of year.
I done 2 fights out at 28 hours and I was lucky once to have 1 at 22 hours.
Only 3 trips (nearly 18 months overall) I done on the Arc, I was one of 30 in front of the Purser to be told I won't be coming back, very sad at the time.
I joined the Canberra in 1978 for the world cruise, a great ship with great people. I then went on to do Med cruising for 3 months, during that 3 months I bumped into the asst. Purser who had just joined and who I sailed with on the Arc ( I'm sure he was responsible for not letting me rejoin the good old Arc), guess what?? I was no longer required on the Canberra.
Things happen for the best though and I made trips with a few companies; Texaco, Reardon Smith, Ropner, then ended up doing 10 years with Geest. It was with Geest that I first sailed as asst. cook (which I done for about 4 years), I then progressed and made my way up to chief cook. Geest was a good company to work for (as most companies were in those days) with great people to sail with. It was on the British merchant navy website that an old shipmate from Geest contacted me after 20 odd years, he recommended this site.
I will read your book again soon as it was good reading and perhaps it will jog my memories with names.
Best regards

21st December 2012, 11:32
Great memories Mike. Yes, Captain Dallas was aboard a lot, but others relieved him such as Captain Chapman and Hannah to name but two.

1st January 2013, 18:07
good reading i also seam to remember a stowaway some where near guam

1st January 2013, 20:43
good reading i also seam to remember a stowaway some where near guam

Did you work aboard Arcadia?.

2nd January 2013, 12:47
I must have been on the same trips as you but I was a lowly bellboy working the aft lift

2nd January 2013, 20:16
I must have been on the same trips as you but I was a lowly bellboy working the aft lift

Nothing lowly about a Bellboy. I went ashore with one, David Marston, who now lives in Sydney. There were three of us, David and one of the cooks in the aft galley known as Ray or Sting. We were known as the three Musketeers flying out to Arcadia in Sydney in October 1974, then bringing her back to the UK on the Australian Woman's Weekly world cruise after months of cruising from Sydney.

The wonderful thing about Arcadia is that rank was not important, certainly not by me anyway. We were a very tight knit crew from the bottom to the top, which came over in the crew newspaper Arcadus where we took the Micky out of everybody including the captain in a top twenty of films or books or whatever.

One of the Bell Boys, not sure if it was you, brought me a telegram on 15th February 1975 when we were between Hong Kong and Honolulu to say my wife had given birth. I was eating in the aft restaurant, but when I returned to the Crew & Isolation Hospital the Surgeon phoned to ask me to join him in his cabin for a drink. All the senior officers attended including the captain, and all brought a bottle of bubbly. When consumed they each put a coin in the cork, which I still have. It was the first time I was drunk in front of the 'Old Man' and got away with it (Jester)

Mike Stokes
2nd January 2013, 22:13
I must have been on the same trips as you but I was a lowly bellboy working the aft lift

Nothing wrong with being a bellboy in the aft lift, it was the best lift to be working in(*)) worked in that one many times and loved it.

[QUOTE=Pompeyfan;645358]Nothing lowly about a Bellboy. I went ashore with one, David Marston, who now lives in Sydney.

The name Dave Marston seems to ring a bell with me, was he on the Arc when I joined (76), I was on her for almost 18 months.

Hats off to Pompeyfan by saying "rank was not important".(Applause) Not many would have said that in those days, there were, of course a few bad apples in the cart, but on the whole the Arcadia was a brilliant ship to sail on, I was certainly very proud to be part of the team on board.(Thumb)

Mike S

2nd January 2013, 22:37
Nothing wrong with being a bellboy in the aft lift, it was the best lift to be working in(*)) worked in that one many times and loved it.

[QUOTE=Pompeyfan;645358]Nothing lowly about a Bellboy. I went ashore with one, David Marston, who now lives in Sydney.

The name Dave Marston seems to ring a bell with me, was he on the Arc when I joined (76), I was on her for almost 18 months.

Hats off to Pompeyfan by saying "rank was not important".(Applause) Not many would have said that in those days, there were, of course a few bad apples in the cart, but on the whole the Arcadia was a brilliant ship to sail on, I was certainly very proud to be part of the team on board.(Thumb)

Mike S

Hi Mike

Yes, I think David was still on board in 1976, after I left. In fact, we have been in touch over recent years.

I was in a job where I nursed everybody no matter who they were or what rank treating them all with equal respect, and everybody knew me. Arcadia was certainly the happiest ship I have ever sailed on as crew.

3rd January 2013, 17:21
Hi mike that brought back memories that i had forgotton of picking up the brass handle going down and starting the lift up and then pushing up the tile in the corner between decks good fun

Mike Stokes
3rd January 2013, 21:53
Hi mike that brought back memories that i had forgotton of picking up the brass handle going down and starting the lift up and then pushing up the tile in the corner between decks good fun

Hi Westwest
That little brass handle mmmm, the one you take with you when you wanted to have a short break (depending on time of day or night) :)
Pushing the little tile to stop the lift in between decks was very popular with most (just to get to know the bloods (female) a little better) (Eats).
Memories are coming back to me more the I think back. I love all these posts from everyone just to bring back even more memories.
I've always talked (to family and friends) about the Arc, she was the best to be on and in the best place (Aus).
Best regards
Mike S

11th January 2013, 20:41
Hi all!

Firstly, a belated Merry Christmas from the Alaska to Guam stowaway 1973.

Many thanks and best wishes for the year ahead!

PS. Keep an eye out for my book..coming out soon!

12th May 2014, 14:58

I was aboard Arcadia at Suva when somebody pushed the wrong button. That was January 1960. However, as a second class passenger, berthing forward, I did not see much of the repair action. We heard the divers had to use metal cages to protect themselves from sharks.

12th May 2014, 15:04
I was aboard Arcadia when the Suva accident happened in January 1960 fouling the propeller. We were told the divers had to use metal cages because of sharks. Because I was a second class passenger berthing forward, I couldn't see much of the action.

13th May 2014, 19:05
On behalf of the 'SN Moderating Team', welcome aboard papua_memory.

Many thanks for your memory of the Suva incident.

Robert S Hill
21st May 2014, 07:06
Just found this thread and thoroughly enjoyed it. I was an R/O on Arcadia 71-73. I remember the Goan overboard incident and it was me who took the medical for the tanker officers wife. Jock Lefevre was Staffie that trip. Also did all the Alaskan cruising ports with Arcadia. Just been to the P&O Pensioners lunch in Southampton on May 2nd and met up with many old shipmates, Capts Jackson, Ian Walters, Colin Campbell, Mike Gold and CRO Paul Barry.
Regards to all Arcadians
Robert Hill

21st May 2014, 10:21
Just found this thread and thoroughly enjoyed it. I was an R/O on Arcadia 71-73. I remember the Goan overboard incident and it was me who took the medical for the tanker officers wife. Jock Lefevre was Staffie that trip. Also did all the Alaskan cruising ports with Arcadia. Just been to the P&O Pensioners lunch in Southampton on May 2nd and met up with many old shipmates, Capts Jackson, Ian Walters, Colin Campbell, Mike Gold and CRO Paul Barry.
Regards to all Arcadians
Robert Hill

Many thanks for your comments Robert.

I joined Arcadia in June 1973 in San Francisco, were you still aboard?.

Wish I had known about the P&O Pensioners lunch, otherwise I would have gone. Many of those I sailed with on both Arcadia and Canberra have sadly died, but a few still survive including Dr Poole, my former boss at head office.

Trail Blazer
21st June 2014, 06:48
Great stuff, thanks David. I was a passenger on Arcadia in November 1965, traveling with my parents from Sydney to Los Angeles. We were among the few Americans on the ship during our stay. I don't remember a whole lot from the voyage, but I still have the certificate that the captain signed for me when we crossed the equator.

Do you recall who the captain was in November 1965? I have tried to read his signature on the certificate but it's not very legible. Here ( is a link to a picture of it with the hope that you can tell me something about the man. I would sure appreciate it, I've wondered about this on and off for decades.


21st June 2014, 08:17

Many thanks for your comments.

I am afraid I do not know who the captain was when you were aboard. Like you say, his signature is not very legible. The only thing I can tell you is that she was still a liner in those days. I joined her in 1973 when she was a full time cruise ship, one of our home ports being Los Angeles. But when you were aboard she was plying a 'line voyage'. I would suspect she called at Auckland, Suva, Honolulu, Vancouver, San Francisco then LA(San Pedro)?. P&O ships usually went out to Australia and NZ from the UK via South Africa or Suez Canal when open, and back via the South Pacific, Hawaii, west coast of USA, Mexico, Panama Canal, Caribbean, and back home. Arcadia would have been two-class in those days, tourist and first class. She only became one class when she was cruising full time although she did cruises in between 'line voyages' from the UK and Sydney but was still two-class.

Although not knowing the captain, like all captains of his era he would almost certainly have been the old school type, spending more time on the bridge than mixing with passengers. Even during my time, Captain Dallas for example was in that mould.

Hopefully, someone may remember who the captain was. In the meantime, I will have a look through the imformation I have. Captains often moved around, so he could have gone to another P&O ship after Arcadia.

Trail Blazer
21st June 2014, 08:28
David, thank you for the reply. We did stop at all of those ports except for Vancouver. And you're correct, there was first class and tourist class. We were in tourist class.

Hopefully someone will chime in with the captain's name.

Thanks again for the reply and the interesting stories!


21st June 2014, 09:00

Hopefully, someone will come up with a name.

I am surprised she did not call at Vancouver. On line or liner voyages the ship was transporting passengers from A to B. Vancouver was one of our regular ports when I worked aboard Canberra before her cruising days, and Iberia. I was returning from New Zealand on Iberia in 1971 via the same ports. At Vancouver, a passenger joined us sharing my cabin bound for the UK. I was in a four berth cabin, the others coming and going as we reached each port disembarking or embarking. when I got to know them, they had gone (Jester)

I think her captain was John Wacher, who I met up with later when working for P&O.

Other captains that spring to mind are captain Woodley around at that time, Dunkerly, Jock Le Fevre, and Peter Love. If I can come up with others I will let you know.

9th September 2014, 13:41
Hi Kevin,

I was a steward on the Arcadia from 1964 to 1967 and I still have my discharge book and I can just make out the surname signed by the Captain at the time and I think he was called Green.


23rd October 2014, 22:16
my understanding of ships bells are typically there are 2 on a ship.
I purchased this from some friends that went on a buying trip through the Midwest of the united states..
I do believe this auctually came off the ship. based on the size, construction and being brass. but please give me your input

can anyone comment on this bell please.

Im sorry I polished the bell when I got it made it a bit more difficult to photograph



I thank u all for so many stories on this ship...its breaths life back into a great ship and a great time

23rd October 2014, 23:58
Hi, I am a philatelist and am trying to get the itinerary of the ss Arcadia's voyages for the years 1967-69. I am trying to construct a display of Norfolk Island stamps on Paquebot covers posted from the various ports visited during this time. Any assistance that I can get re dates and ports visited during this time frame will be greatly appreciated.

24th October 2014, 08:06
On behalf of the 'SN Moderating Team', welcome aboard starstamp.

During 1967 to 1969 as other years, she would have been plying 'line voyages' from the UK to Australia and New Zealand, although she spent several weeks cruising from Sydney between 'line voyages' which would have included Norfolk Island. At the time, she would have been first class and tourist, but in the early 1970s when she became a full time cruise ship, she was one class. Sadly, I do not have the itinerary's for the years you mention, but until 1969 her 'line voyages' began from Tilbury making her first 'line voyage' from Southampton in November 1969 via South Africa arrving in Sydney on 18th December 1969. She then cruised from Sydney until March 1970 returning on another 'line voyage' again via South Africa. If I find anything of interest between 1967 and 69 from information I still have, I will let you know.

8th January 2015, 04:26
Hey! This text was great! Im in a middle of something, actually looking for my half-brothers father. He was working on a ship named Arcadia, the ship was in Poland something around 1974-1975. This guy named something like Georgos (last name papulakis my mom thinks) left with the boat without knowing he has a son on the way. Now 40 years later my brother and his father stil don't know each other... So we looking for him in every possible way. Is this maybe the ship? Could you possibly know any Georgos papulakis?

My brother (and the rest of the family) will be forever thankful if you wanted to answer.

Thank you so much, and thank you for great text

Best regards,

8th January 2015, 08:00
Hi Paulina

Firstly. welcome aboard. I have deleted your e-mail address in line with site policy for your own security to prevent you receiving unsolicited e-mails. Members can contact you via the sites Private Message system where you can disclose your e-mail address if you so wish.

Arcadia has never been to Poland, at least certainly not 1974/75. We were based in Sydney, Australia then. We did an Australian Woman's Weekly world cruise in 1975 doing a couple of Med cruises from Southampton before the homeward bound including to Amsterdam, but not Poland. Your half-brothers father's name does ring a bell, so I will look up old copies of the ships crew newspaper to see if I can find his name. If he joined Arcadia in 1974 he would have flown either to the west coast of the USA or Sydney. I flew out to Sydney in October 1974 when there was a crew change to begin her cruises from Sydney.

9th January 2015, 02:08
Thank you so much!!! This means world to us! The question is still there - if it was not this Arcadia I wonder what other ship could be named the same. I tried to found some kind of list over ships with that name but it's hard. We don't know when Georgios joined, we just know that in '75 he was working on a ship named Arcadia or Arkadia, and that it probably was a Greek ship. I truly hope you maybe see his name somewhere in your copies so we can be sure that we spelling it right! And maybe get some more info.

Thank you so much!!!

9th January 2015, 04:30
Could it be this one..... ?
Go to the picture gallery of this site to see more pictures of this ship, and perhaps get some details about her.
Good hunting, and welcome aboard :)

9th January 2015, 08:03

I have started to look through copies of Arcadus, but so far not found Georgios, but that does not mean he was not on board. It is possible that he joined her in Southampton in 1975. We arrived on 21st March 1975 from Sydney on the outward leg of the Australian Woman's Weekly world cruise, which was to have been Himalaya until we took over her cruises from October 1974 based in Sydney. When Arcadia arrived back in Southampton, it was the first time for a few years. I joined her in 1973 based on the west coast of the USA. She left Southampton in May after three cruises for the homeward cruise to Sydney. Therefore, if Geogios joined us before those dates he would have flown to join us. You mentioned 1974, so he would have certainly flown. some crew members flew to the USA to take her down to Sydney, then flew back on the same aircraft that took the main crew to Sydney after leave including myself.

The Greek liner Arkadia can be ruled out because she arrived in Valencia, Spain for scrapping on 8th December 1966. She had been laid at Falmouth, Cornwall. Her final voyage was Bremerhaven, Amsterdam, London, Le Havre, Quebec in August 1966 before being laid up. It is possible of course that Georgios could have joined her in 1965, but not 1975. And as far as I know, Arkadia with a k did not go to Poland either.

I will carry on looking for his name, and contact a couple of former crew members who may remember him. If you have further information it would be helpful.

10th January 2015, 23:11
Thank you so much for helping! If the ship was not in Poland 1975 then it cannot be the one I'm looking for. My mom and my half brothers father were in a relationship for 7 months while the boat was in Poland 1975.... Can't find him, nothing on internet, google, Facebook and nothing on the ship as wel! We will go to a Greek consulate, maybe they can help! Appreciate your help!!!
Best regards!

10th January 2015, 23:53
Paulina, I think it would have been quite unlikely that it would have been a British ship in Poland for Seven Months.
Ding! Just had an Idea.... Could it have been one of the smaller Cunard Line ships that were converted and sold to the USSR (CCCP) Two of the four went East. Not sure which ones. Sylvania, Saxonia, Franconia and another one Carmania I think. Note, the names all end in IA, were British and around that time I think. Just a thought...... :)

11th January 2015, 11:36
I talked to my mum because it was strange that I can't find any info. The ship was named exactly EL ARKADIA and was in Gdynia for repairing for 7 months.... Now I have to dig in to that. Really hard to find information :/

11th January 2015, 11:38
And the ship was Greek! So this forum isn't about the boat I'm looking for, I'm aware of that now, need to start from zero again :(

11th January 2015, 12:12
EL at the front of the name indicates an Arabic ship Perhaps?

11th January 2015, 12:25

Why not ask the same question in Ship Research by starting a new thread here

Now that you know the name of the ship, more members may respond. Good luck (Thumb)

11th January 2015, 22:35
Really?!? Arabic... Gosh this is crazy, it was definitywny greek crew but the ship i don't know. My mum says it was definitely Greek crew because she was with them at some crew-partys... How hard could it be to find a ship!

Yes I'll start with the forum, that's the last chance we actually have! Thank you both for helping!!! Means a lot!