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Hi Steve,
I was 13 when I sailed on the Achille Lauro, when she was doing the immigrant runs from Australia to the UK and back. I remember we sailed from Adelaide, Freemantle, Cape town, Las Palmas then Southampton. I would like
to read about other peoples experiences whilst on board, especially if they were my age at the time.
 

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I took my first cruise on her in 1986, and while she was never a favourite of mine she was a proper ship and there were no pretensions about her. I saw her at least 8 times in Durban and in quite a few guises. She was a regular visitor in South Africa over the Christmas season and really looked great with a darker hull. I have quite a lot of slides of her and will always remember because she was my first ship
 

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I'm told that the Achille Lauro started off life as the Willem Ruys operated by a Dutch company and that it used to make regular trips between Britain and the Far East.
 

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Willem Ruys was her first name . Owned by Rotterdam lloyd and was on the Indonesian run and later switched to Aussie NZ run .The Oranje of Royal Dutch mail line became the Angelino Lauro. The W.R had an unusually low boat deck and her colour scheme was a bit different grey hull pale pink superstructure and black funnels . I was told that she was a fantastic a ship to sail on as a passenger .
Alex
 

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I was off the coast of South Africa, on passage from Cape Town to Rayong via the Sunda Strait, when the Achille Lauro caught fire.

We were too far away to render any assistance, but followed the story as it unfolded, from the Sat A messages sent from the RCC.

I always found it ironic that despite all the high-tech comms gear on board that ship, the initial alarm was raised by a small Thai cargo ship QSPing the distress call made on 500KHz by CW.

Was this the last time that Morse was used to raise the alarm at sea? Probably the last ocean-going passenger ship anyway.
 

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I sailed on her so many times I cannot remember precisely how many voyages. Her lido balcony cabins were upgraded considerably when MSC took her over from Star Lauro as well as other suites on Lido deck. Food was never great though but she was the most stable ship I have ever sailed on.
 

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spot on G0SLP..........

a little known fact...........the g.m.d.s.s. gear onboard was fitted with its dustcovers and no one onboard knew how to operate it.

watch this space for a repeat performance...............:(


the irony of this is that it was hailed as a major success for g.m.d.s.s. as the subsequent s.a.r. comms was co ordinated by Norway for a distress off the Horn of Africa.
 

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My mother and brother sailed from NZ to UK on Willem Ruys and I sailed from NZ to Australia on Archille Lauro in 1968. A friend of mine ended up working in Italy for Flotta Lauro
 

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I can remember so clearly being at 38/39 berth in the 80s, a really cold november night 2100hrs that big blue ship with stars on the funnels with a kind of roundish like submarine hull and lots of rivets ,she waz a lovely ship , i think she waz off to las palmas ,she looked great did the achille lauro . RIP
 

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Willem Ruys

I sailed on her from Southampton to Singapore, as a small boy in 1948, I remember a few areas in the 1st class being very elegant, nearly fell overboard when the decks were wet during the sailors wash down.
I also saw her as the AL a few times but it had lost its charm.
 

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Achille Lauro and others

Brett talked about sailing many times on the Achille Lauro and said that
"Food was never great though but she was the most stable ship I have ever sailed on."

We had a trip as passengers on the Achille Lauro in 1969, from Wellington to Southampton. Most of the time she seemed pretty comfortable but my notes from the time mention a day when she was being thrown about a bit until they put out the stabilisers. My record says that that made a remarkable difference.

I've recently dragged out those notes because I decided the time was long overdue to tidy up the "logs" of many sailing holidays in the 1950s before they get tidied away into some dustbin. I'm including the Achille Lauro and one or two later events. Another comment in the log, based on talking to other passengers, was that the Angelina Lauro rolled more than the AL, that the Canberra rolled continuously in any weather, and that the Oriana is steady in a calm sea but "throws a fit if it is rough".

Any comments on those two ships? I can't see that there is any thread for them.

Mike
 

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Brett talked about sailing many times on the Achille Lauro and said that
"Food was never great though but she was the most stable ship I have ever sailed on."

We had a trip as passengers on the Achille Lauro in 1969, from Wellington to Southampton. Most of the time she seemed pretty comfortable but my notes from the time mention a day when she was being thrown about a bit until they put out the stabilisers. My record says that that made a remarkable difference.

I've recently dragged out those notes because I decided the time was long overdue to tidy up the "logs" of many sailing holidays in the 1950s before they get tidied away into some dustbin. I'm including the Achille Lauro and one or two later events. Another comment in the log, based on talking to other passengers, was that the Angelina Lauro rolled more than the AL, that the Canberra rolled continuously in any weather, and that the Oriana is steady in a calm sea but "throws a fit if it is rough".

Any comments on those two ships? I can't see that there is any thread for them.



Mike
I can certainly comment on Canberra. She didn't roll continuously in any weather during my time working on her from 1971 to 1973. I have made comments loads of times that she was a far better sailor than modern day cruise ships twice her size. So to say she rolled all the time in any weather is not true. I only did one Med cruise on the old Oriana. The only thing I disliked about her was that she vibrated down aft. Very annoying especially when performing medical procedures, but she didn't roll anything like the current Oriana which certainly rolls in any weather including off Ryde in slight seas which really amazed me. Not even the Wightlink ferry rolled in same seas a few hours earlier.

A friend of mine emigrated to NZ aboard Achille Lauro in 1970 when I was living out there. He was not too keen on the ship, but did not mention about her rolling.

David
 

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I took my first cruise on her, as Willem Reys, Southampton to Canaries , about 1964, with my girl friend and her parents. I shared a 4 berth cabin with 3 Glasgow cinema managers . About 3 in the morning EVERY morning, they arrived back in the cabin , drunk, and woke me to offer drink. Quite a trip and not a bad ship
John
 

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I was off the coast of South Africa, on passage from Cape Town to Rayong via the Sunda Strait, when the Achille Lauro caught fire.

We were too far away to render any assistance, but followed the story as it unfolded, from the Sat A messages sent from the RCC.

I always found it ironic that despite all the high-tech comms gear on board that ship, the initial alarm was raised by a small Thai cargo ship QSPing the distress call made on 500KHz by CW.

Was this the last time that Morse was used to raise the alarm at sea? Probably the last ocean-going passenger ship anyway.


500 khz Distress working went on for many years after the loss of the ACHILLE LAURO, right up the final day of the UK 500khz watch, with an Alarm Signal & a Distress call from the Bahamian m/v OAK/C6MX8 being handled on 31/12/97 by GLD under remote control from GND.

The 500 khz Distress Watch by UK coast stations finished officially at 010001z January 1998

There is a DVD available of the final QSOs on 500 between European coast & ship stations, with, I think some calls from the other side of the Atlantic.
I can post further details if anyone is interested.

It's a sad nostalgic programme for old-time Sparkies & should be listened-to in a dimly lit room with a glass of something strong !

Apologies if this subject has been covered on other posts on other threads.


Cheers

Marco
 

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What would have happened if that distress call from the Oak had occurred just before and carried on after midnight, would the call have been handed over to another Station?
 

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Coastie -

You don't stick by the rules at a time like that !

Everyone involved with the Distress would have stayed with it until QUM [Distress Working Ended]

Cheers

Marco
 

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Achille Lauro and others

Thank you David for the comments on the Canberra. I had only seen her in port once or twice and I'm glad to hear that she was a good performer.

I don't know anything about naval architecture but I would imagine that the hull shape and the weight distribution must be the main factors that determine how ships perform under different conditions. I would have thought that the general principles would be well established, enough to ensure a stable performance, but it seems not. One thing's for sure - Ships Nostalgia must be a huge pool of knowledge on the subject.

Many thanks, Mike
 

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What a Ship

My wife and I did a cruise on the Achille Lauro Cruise AC9 in October 1993. We sailed from Barcelona to Haifa, among other places.
I got my first glimpse of Achille Lauro as we approached by coach at Barcelona. She looked fantastic with two funnels, every inch a fine elegant ship; at a distance.
Our cabin was L12 located port side Lido Deck.
I have a thing about rust where there ought not to be rust and cracks where there ought not to be cracks, and I could not help notice there was plenty of both about.
3 days after leaving Barcelona they held lifeboat drill. Our muster station was in the forward saloon, what a shambles. People were wondering around in a daze. Adults trying to don life jackets that would not fit them. Those with adult jackets, some had them on upside down others had no life jackets at all. The only member of crew present was the ever present ships photographer.
I complained but nobody was interested.
At times the vibration was so bad some passengers in the lower parts of the ship took to sleeping on deck. At times the people could not use their showers because an oily evil smelling goo came up the shower drain. Complaining at the reception desk usually got the reply; " you think your cabin is bad you should see ours".
This cruise was the only one I have been on where at each port of call the ship picked up new passengers and some lucky passengers got off. I later described it as like being on a badly organized bus service.
Achille is famous of course for being hijacked by the Palestinians. The captain at the time of our cruise, name I can't remember, was the same man when she was hijacked. Later of course Bert Lancaster starred in a film of the hijack, every day of the so called cruise, this film was shown in the ships cinema over and over to the passengers. The captain is the only captain I have known who allowed all passengers access to the bridge when the ship was entering or leaving every port. I saw the pilots being unable to get to the bridge wings because of the crowd of passengers present.
One of the passengers we picked up was a Dutchman. He recalls that when the Germans invaded Holland they stopped work on the completion of the ship. Later after the war and completion, he sailed on her as a radio op. I recall him telling us after a visit to the radio room, that he could detect little change in the quality of the communication equipment from when he sailed in her originally.
The Italian crew were of course friendly (mostly), but that was about all as they appeared to be a very mixed bag. The stewards dress style serving in the saloons was something to behold. Nobody seemed to care a jot.
Part way through the cruise there was trouble between the Brits on board and the other largely Italian passengers. Some pushing and shoving going on over seats and the understanding that the Italians got preference of other things on the cruise. The Brits set up a morning get together at the aft end to keep a log of complaints
(I nicked named this the British Embassy) and there was talk of handing a petition into the captain but the view was that it would make little difference.
As the cruise came near to its end passengers were being offered very cheap rates to stay on board for the cruise out to Australia, Achille was based there for winter time.
I don't know of anyone who took up their offer!
It was soon after this that she was lost.
I lodged a successful claim for compensation with the Passenger Shipping Association and got £1,972.
When the ship was lost the Daily Telegraph started an investigation into the loss and a number of us were contacted by the paper asking if we would provide details of our experience on the ship, but having said I would, I never heard anything more. If our experiences are anything to go by, the ship should never have been at sea.

Happy Days.
Our next cruise is on the Black Watch, Cape Town to Southampton, round the coast, as we celebrate 50 year of being married to each other.
 
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