This Dutch firm originally maintained ocean liner services linking Rotterdam with Jakarta via the Suez Canal. With unrest in Indonesia the colonial service was discontinued in 1957. In cooperation with the rival Nederland Line in 1959, a new around-the-world service was inaugurated via Southampton, Mediterranean ports and Suez to Australia, then across the Pacific to the Panama Canal, Florida and return across the Atlantic. The complete journey lasted about ten weeks.
Offering these marvelous and adventurous voyages was Royal Rotterdam Lloyd's innovative Willem Ruys, which pioneered the placement of nested lifeboats on a lower deck, now a universal feature of modern cruise ship design. This was not only safer in an emergency, but also freed desirable upper deck space for passengers.
First class passengers would find a lounge, smoking room, library and veranda with a cozy bar. Tourist class had separate but similarly designated public rooms, plus a cinema lounge with winter garden. Each class had its own outdoor swimming pool aft and dining room below.
"Among the vessels that nowadays sail the high seas, there is Willem Ruys, well known for her gay and yet cozy atmosphere, the superb standard of her international cuisine, the courteous and efficient service ... no detail contributing to comfort and convenience has been overlooked."
Willem Ruys was sold to Lauro Lines of Italy, renamed as Achille Lauro and converted to carry 1,500 passengers in two classes on service from Northern Europe via the Mediterranean and Suez to Australia.
Built: 1947 by De Schelde, Vlissingen, Holland