Sitmar Line TSS Fairstar

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With Reuben Goossens

Maritime Historian, Cruise‘n’Ship Reviewer, Author & Maritime Lecturer

Please Note: All ssMaritime and other related maritime/cruise sites are 100% non-commercial and privately owned. Be assured that I am NOT associated with any shipping or cruise companies or any travel/cruise agencies or any other organisations! Although the author has been in the passenger shipping industry since 1960, although is now retired but having completed around 680 Classic Liners and Cargo-Passengers Ships features I trust these will continue to provide classic ship enthusiasts the information the are seeking, but above all a great deal of pleasure! Reuben Goossens 

From a P&O Holidays brochure

Please Note: The majority of photographs on this page are by the author or his travelling companions, unless shown otherwise.

Australia’s beloved Fairstar the “FunShip” may well have long gone, however for countless past passengers, our memories will remain for a very long time, for this ship was one of a kind!

This page contains a host of photographs, which I hope will rekindle the flame of delightful memories of the wonderful Fairstar, the photographs are mostly of her in her final days, and by that I do mean from 1994 to her final cruise before she was sent to India name the “Ripa”, for to us, she was a “Ripa” of a ship!

This is me aboard the Fairstar in 1994 on one of my many cruises on her

Sadly all my wonderful photographs I had from my voyage from Melbourne to Naples in August 1964 were lost when I moved to Brisbane, as the mover lost a tea chest which contained a box containing hundreds of photographs. I have one photo left of me standing at the Giza Pyramids at Cairo, which can be seen on another page. However, those who may have sailed on her on a voyage from Italy, Rotterdam, Bremerhaven or the UK to Australia or New Zealand to start a new life Downunder, I am sure will still enjoy this page, for she will always remain the Fairstar! Then there are the many who headed for an adventure and a tour in Europe and/or the UK, which commenced with a voyage on the fabulous Fairstar, which was a great start to a fabulous experience!

As we all know, in 1974 she became a full time cruise ship for Sitmar and countless Australian’s cruised the South Pacific, New Zealand and Asia on her and those experiences will remain etched in our minds. Whatever the experience, the majority of those who have sailed on her will remember this fine once British built ship that was rebuilt in the Netherlands for a great Italian company, to be eventually be taken over by another British company “P&O Holidays” but in due course the newly renamed P&O Cruises Australia became fully based in Australia, but under the American Carnival banner. Thus, P&O Britain and Australia is really owned by the American’s!

Most images on this “Fairstar Photographic Page” reflect her as she was during her final four years, for I sailed on her in 1993, 1994 and 1996 when she was the much-loved Fairstar the with the new Dolphin logo on her funnel and her internal updates! Below is a complete ships internal and external view together with descriptions.

Scanned from a P&O Holidays brochure

As we already know, on January 21, 1997 the TSS Fairstar departed Sydney for her very last cruise ever and returned to Sydney on January 31, with a traditional long white pennant flying from her mainmast related to her years of service. The Fairstar’s successor was the TSS Fair Princess and she departed on her maiden South Pacific cruise from Sydney on February 7 1997.


Above & below: The Fairstar seen on our departure day as we took a ferry from Circular Quay to Darling Harbour

on April 13, 1996 and partook of a 13 night “South Pacific Discovery” cruise to Vanuatu, Fiji & New Caledonia

However, photographs on this page do represent more than one cruise, but three cruises between 1994 to 1996



Welcome Aboard!

What I will attempt to do is take you on a tour of the Fairstar and as we usually boarded on Promenade Deck, on the starboard side, I will more or less commence there. I will commence with departure day as the Fairstar is about to depart, with countless colourful streamers flying in the wind with happy passengers ready for their cruising adventure!

The Fairstar is about to depart and she is filled with happy passengers with streamer flying!

Photographer is unknown – Please see photo note at bottom of page


The Fairstar has moved from her berth and we are off on our cruise

Then we will start from the forward part of Promenade Deck, which will also take us up one level, for there is only one way in and out and that is via the forward stairs and then we will slowly head aft! I will then head up to Boat Deck, again from fore to aft, then to topside, after which I will head below Promenade Deck to the rest of what I can show you. If anyone has any photographs you feel that are worthy to add, I certainly would appreciate it, for I am looking for images of the Bavarian Beer Hall of the original Fairstar as well as the Library. In addition some views of the buffet out on deck fart aft on Promenade deck; I had all those photographs once, but they were lost when I moved years ago!

I certainly you will enjoy the memories that I have gathered and comments are more than welcome.

Reuben Goossens.

We commence on the starboard side and there we locate the main entrance (above) to the wonderful and very popular Brasserie Delfino, an Italian Brasserie that offered fine range of Italian Cuisine (below) and of course freshly baked Pizzas with an amazing range of toppings! The venue was open in the afternoon and until early in the morning.

From a P&O Holidays brochure


Here we see a little more of the interior and the typical Italian mural on the forward wall

The kitchen with its Pizza ovens and Grills were all located on the portside

Located forward of the Brasserie we head inside where there is a major stairwell that goes all the way from D Deck up to Boat Deck. However, here on Promenade Deck far forward was one part of the Dolphin Club known as “The Juke Box,” which was available to teens that enjoyed music as well as their computer games. The Dolphin Club also had facilities for children between 6 and their teens and those under 5, but these were located elsewhere and I will mention them when I reach the relevant deck.


Having fun in the Dolphin Club

From a P&O Holidays brochure

Taking the same stairwell one level up you reach what used to be the Fairstar’s original “Jungle Room,” being a Hip Hop style non alcoholic Bar that served mock-tail’s, milkshakes and spiders and soft drinks. There was a Jukebox, a dance floor and bench seating along the forward wall. All the aforementioned used to be on the portside. Whilst on the starboard side were a host of posts with metal branches with leaves, making them to look like trees, with an attached small table and two seats to each of these posts. These were considered as love seats! I know, myself and my shipboard love spent some time there!

However, after being converted into a cruise ship, in due course this space became the “Sharp End Bar,” which was what we may call the place to rage, and not the place I ever spent time at. Yes I did photograph it, but it was just too rough for my liking! Directly aft of the Lobby is the Beer Garden that has some tables, but mostly standing space, for tables and benches were often thrown overboard by the louts that sailed on the Fairstar.


Above & below: The Sharp End Bar, the jukebox remained but moved to port,

and the music had obviously also changed and the bar was still in its location



The Beer Garden was located directly above the Brasserie Delfino


Looking to aft from the forward section of the Beer Garden you looked up towards Officers Deck and the Bridge

In order to return to the enter the inside of the ship, we must go down one level via the forward stairwell and walk aft through the Brasserie to the main door inside the ship and in the main forward Main Lobby that has two Lifts that commences from Boat Deck and goes down all the way to the Cinema/Theatre mezzanine on D Deck. As we head forward and on the starboard side there was the entrance to the largest public venue on the Fairstar, the multi level Zodiac Lounge and Showroom! This was a huge lounge with a Stage located far forward with a spacious Dance floor attached in the middle of the room as it was used for the Production Shows, such as “Trocadero” and the wicked Transylvania” night. There was ample seating, be it bench of comfy lounge chairs with tables were located on this level as well as up on the Mezzanine level on Boat Deck. There were stairs up to the Mezzanine level on the forward wall on the port and starboard sides, and these walls were beautifully decorated with colourful murals of the Zodiac and these were originals from when the ship first became the Fairstar in 1964!

The Zodiac Lounge seen starboard forward with its wonderful mural, the stairs are just behind the timber wall on the left


The lower level Bar was located on the portside aft


Stretch and keep fit classes were held here when it was rather windy outside


This is the wicked Transylvania night and when the main performance is over the

passengers would have to participate - and yes it would be … to their Horror!


This is the upper level and looking on the port side far forward towards the superb Zodiac mural


The Bar on this level was L shaped and by far more intimate and located on the starboard side.

As we return to the Forward main Lobby with the grand staircase and lifts on the port side was the entry to the ships Casino, complete with slot machines and ample tables.

Provided by P&O Holidays Media Department


Above & below: Here we see the ships Casino, which was not very large

but enough to keep those who like to have a gamble very happy!


On the starboard side of the Lobby is a hallway heading aft of the ship that passes the Casino and next amidships, where once was the wonderful Bavarian Beer hall, is now the Ships Boutiques and shops, from perfumes, watches, and fashions to photographic and musical items, etc as well as daily needs.

Here we see one of the Boutiques and shops

From a P&O Holidays brochure

As we head aft we reach the aft Lobby that also has two lifts, that goes from Promenade Deck down to C Deck. But we have now reached the last indoor public venue on this Deck, the “Aquarius Night Club.” The venue was not much used during the day whilst I was on board in her latter days, although very different in her earlier days when it was a popular daytime lounge, but now the venue was somewhat smelly, due to smoke and very dark as curtains were always closed, thus a dark and an unwelcoming venue. Yet at night, it was party time here, well if that was your thing and if you did not mind having to breathe-in a hundred or more people smoking heavily whilst you are there! This used to be one of my favourite venues back in the 60s and early 70’s, but in the 90’s I hated this room!


Above & below: The Aquarius Night Club, the only reason the curtains are open above is that I opened them

for some light. The door above is the only way in or out. The Bar was on the same location but on portside.

Then there is the Bandstand aft and in the middle, located in front of the swimming pool’s shaped windows


As we return to the Aft Lobby and head out onto the Promenade Deck and go aft we will reach the completely covered and partially shielded from the wind area that was a very popular place early in the morning, for it was here at the buffet where tea and coffee would be served. Then it would be time for morning exercises and the Gym instructor would take her group through a complete program of movements!

As Olivia Newton sang … “Let’s Get Physical, Physical, Physical” on the TSS Fairstar, well she not quite say all that!

Then there were those fabulous Buffets here, which were simply spectacular, for there would be Asian Buffets and other special themed ones, but each had wonderful food and was beautifully arranged on long tables! Then late at night the entire area would become the late night “Starlight Disco and on the very last night of the cruise the Disco would continue until the ship reached Sydney Heads early in the morning and finally the party set would head off to make ready to disembark the ship in a couple of hours, after having had breakfast in the Dining Room!

From a P&O Holidays brochure


Above we see the Carvery at the Grand Buffet and below the night time Disco is seen in full swing!


We now head up to Boat Deck and as we have already seen the Mezzanine level of the Zodiac Lounge forward of the ship, just this time we will commence aft, as there are two stairs on both sides heading to the Lido Section that takes you almost next to the Kiosk, which was also the place to hire your snorkelling and scuba diving lessons and equipment. There was just one price and the snorkelling equipments would be yours for the entire cruise, which was great as you usually visited a number of great Islands with coral reefs close by the beach and amazing fish! The entire area was covered with excellent high quality green matting that felt great underfoot, for it was certainly nothing like fake grass! The Lido Bar was located on the port side close to the Swimming Pool and as we walk forward we note there is a huge spread of windows slightly curved as inside is a wonderful Sunset Lounge and Bar.

Here we see the stairs that we would have come up to reach this deck


Now we can just see the Kiosk on the left, the Pool and the Sunset Lounge Windows

The entry was inside, and either from the port or starboard side via the aft lobby and this room was wonderfully intimate and of course was famed for its wonderful view. The far was center aft and of an Island style, with high bar stools at the back and similar ones with tables fixed to the aft wall at the back of the Bar. This Venue was popular at any time of the day, but especially for pre dinner drinks and cocktail hour, but it was always busy in the evenings.

Aft section of the Island bar




Boat Deck contained Fairstar’s four Deluxe Suites, on the Port side were the Suites, “Aries” and “Libra” whist those on the starboard side were named; “Gemini” and “Taurus.” These were two room suites, having a separate bedroom and a delightful and a separate Lounge with a sofa, arm chairs, coffee table and all the comforts of home as well as both rooms having large one way windows looking out to the sea. The spacious bathroom came complete with a bath and a shower. The other then cabins on this deck were all Deluxe twin bedded cabins, which were more spacious than those on the lower decks and had additional facilities.

The lounge of one of the four Deluxe Suites

We will head to the forward Main Lobby with its two Lifts and head outside onto Boat Deck and we will head aft towards the 1993 installed “Al Fresco Café” over looking the aft Lido Deck and the Pool.

A view along Boat Deck



Above & below: The wonderful Al Fresco Café is seen along the port side, the actual café bar is located aft and

tables are located on three sides over looking a wonderful view, whilst enjoying a superb Barista Coffee!


As you can see in the image above there are stairs going up on both sides of the Café to Officers with the aft part being called Sports Deck. Located aft of the funnel housing was the ships Gym and directly behind that were two table tennis tables, which were very popular and used on a regular basis.

Here we see the Gym and table tennis tables, which were under cover, aft of this was a sports deck complete with nets for ball games.

There is one more deck to visit and this was Sun deck at the very top of the ship, above the Officers Deck and the Bridge. The stairs to reach this deck were located amidships, just forward of her funnel and you had to walk forward along officers Deck, from Sports Deck and climb up to reach it and below are a number of views, which I took having departed Noumea and heading for Mystery island and we were cruising through the narrow Boulari Havannah Passage in New Caledonia, and therefore the French flag on Fairstar’s Radar Mast!


Above & below: Sun Deck looking aft



A few passengers standing on the starboard side looking at the Passage


The ships radar mast is seen flying the P&O Company flag as well as the French flag

We now return to the interior of the Fairstar and as we have visited Promenade Deck and all those above, we will now head down to Saloon Deck which has two vital venues, yes the Restaurants! Far forward there were 12 outside cabins, being twin, 3 or 4 berth rooms, and 22 inside cabins, being two berth or twins or four berth rooms, all but two cabins had private facilities!

However the two spacious Restaurants were as follows; the forward one was the “Palm Court Restaurant” and the huge Galley separated it from the equally spacious “Orchid Room Restaurant.” Far aft of the latter was the spacious Card Room, which could also be used as a Conference Room.


Above & below: The Palm Court Restaurant (above) and the Orchid Restaurant (below)


As we head down via the Main Lobby to A Deck we reach the Pursers Desk and the Lobby is also the Photo Gallery. On the starboard side is a shop that sold all the basics, such as sweets and toiletries and books, whilst next door was the hairdresser and the Cruise Directors office. On the portside was a bank, a telephone and a waiting area. Originally this lobby was designed to be the main entrance to the ship, but with berthing changes, boarding now tends to be on Promenade deck.

The main Entrance Lobby and Pursers Office with Photo Gallery

Heading just a little aft on the starboard side was the previously mentioned sector of the “Dolphin Club” and here was a fine club for activities for those children between 6 and their teens, and a Playpen for those under 5, as well as a Nursery for the very small ones. Thus in all the Youth Centre Entertainment Club was divided in three parts!

Of course Decks A, B, C and D Decks were mostly occupied by cabins, ranging from a single bed cabin, two berth, twin bedded, three, four and even 6 berth cabins either outside or inside and with or without private facilities. Personally I have spent time in a two berth cabin as well as a twin bedded cabin, although I could only find just one photograph of the two berth cabin, the twin bedded image is seen as a three berth from a brochure.

Two berth cabin 540 on B Deck


This cabin can be sold as a twin, three or a four berth and the one seen is Cabin 104 on A Deck

Far aft on B Deck was the ships Medical Centre, clinic and hospital. On D Deck forward and could be reached via the Lifts was the spacious Theatre/Cinema which was simply a beautiful venue! You would arrive at the mezzanine and then there were the stalls below on E Deck. Directly forward of the Cinema, but could only be reached via another stairwell, one further forward from the Main stairwell, was the most horrid of all places on board the Laundry, it was a hot and humid of all places and a most unpleasant place to be, let alone having to do the laundry. We never did it onboard as we sent it out to be done, or kept it until reaching home. Today laundries are so much better, but as I now only sail in deluxe Suites, my laundry is done for free! However, the very fist time I sailed on the Fairstar in 1964, I sailed in what I consider to be the worst cabin on the ship. We booked very late, and although my mother had a luxury cabin as usual, she booked me in a 4 berth cabin with private facilities down on D Deck, but it was cabin 601 on the starboard side. If you look at the ship, just look at the bottom row of port holes and the most forward one, well that was my cabin, and my pillow was at the bow end, just think of it as the ship heaved up, and on our voyage, after Singapore we had some really bad weather, she pitched and tossed like a cork! I will let you think of my experience, it was my first and lat ever sea sickness experience. Remember, I had already sailed on many voyages and to date I have sailed over 200 voyages/cruises!

The author and his friend Kosta Specis is seen shore side at Vila

Taken with the © author’s camera by a friend


TSS Fairstar is seen returning to Sydney with the QE 2 berthed at the Circular Quay International Passenger Terminal

Thus the Fairstar sails under the Sydney Harbour Bridge and heads for the P&O Holidays Cruise Terminal at Darling Harbour

Provided by P&O Holidays


View her Deck Plans and a delightful video via the links below!


View an original 12.40 minute P&O Fairstar Promotional Video

TSS Fairstar Main INDEX

Part 1                    Oxfordshire - History. The troop ship that became a loved liner & cruise ship!

Part 2                    Oxfordshire Her Final Voyage.

Part 3                    Fairstar History & Page One.

Part 4                    Fairstar Photo Album Photographs taken during her final years.

Part 5                    Fairstar Deck Plans. Her original 1964 Plan and a 1995 Plan.

Also Read              Fair Princess Story From their Cunard days to Sitmar & P&O ships,

Read                       The Sitmar Ships covering all the other Sitmar ships.


 “Blue Water Liners sailing to the distant shores.
I watched them come, I watched them go and I watched them die.”



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Photographs on ssmaritime and associate pages are either by the author or from the author’s private collection. In addition there are some images and photographs that have been provided by Shipping Companies or private photographers or collectors. Credit is given to all contributors, however, there are some photographs provided to me without details regarding the photographer or owner concerned. Therefore, I hereby invite if owners of these images would be so kind to make them-selves known to me (my email address can be found at the bottom of the page on, in order that due credit may be given.

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