MV Doulos (1977-2010) - MS Franca C (1952-1977) - SS Roma (1948-1952) - SS Medina (1914-1948)

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A superbly built American built ship that sailed into History and she remains with us to this very day!

With Reuben Goossens

Maritime Historian, Cruise‘n’Ship Reviewer & Author

Commenced in the Passenger Shipping Industry in 1960


A superbly built American built ship that sailed into History and she remains with us to this very day!

Please Note: All ssMaritime and my other related ssMaritime sites are 100% non-commercial and privately owned sites. Be assured that I am NOT associated with any cruise or shipping companies or travel/cruise agencies or any other organisations! The author has been in the passenger shipping industry since May 1960 and is now semi-retired, but continues and I hope that the well over 675 Classic Liners and Cargo-Passengers ships I have written on will continue to provide classic ship enthusiasts and continue a great deal of information and pleasure!


SS Medina (1914-1948) was sold and renamed: SS Roma (1948-1952)

MS Franca C (1952-1977) - MV Doulos (1977-2010)

Doulos Phos (2010 - ) A land-locked Hotel at Bintan, Indonesia

MV Doulos

“A Ship Like no Other”

By Reuben Goossens 

Part Two - 2008 / Chapter Four

Doulos at Sea - Page One

As the P&O Cruises MV Pacific Sun had come in, the Doulos had to move to make way for the 47,000 GRT cruise ship

But the Cruise Terminal gave a superb vantage point for this fine photograph the day prior departure, August 18

On a perfect Brisbane winters morning, at 10am Tuesday 19 August the Doulos lazily pulled away from her berth and slowly turned around in the Brisbane River and headed down river for Moreton Bay and sailed North as far as Frazer Island before she could finally turn around about three or so hours later and head south for Sydney. As the photographs prove the day was simply superb and everything ran just superbly.

My joy was the smooth sounds of her beautifully maintained engines and all you had to do is look at the exhaust stack and what came out of it, which was as clean as you could possibly see on anything at afloat at sea. The P&O cruise ship Pacific Sun departed the day before us and her smoke was just pitch black. To think that Doulos’ Fiat Diesel engines were installed back in 1970 and they are still running as smooth as silk. When I interviewed the Chief Engineer, Mr. Dominic Bothello, he told me that “she would run for another 20 years without any problems whatsoever!”

As we sailed north there was great excitement onboard as we encountered Humpback whales. We met Humpbacks again on several occasions the next day and the Bridge made announcements each time and once the ship made a large circle around the area where the whales were, in order that everyone onboard could see them. However, the ship stayed well clear from them according the distance regulations.

During the voyage I spent a great deal of time interviewing various members of the crew and staff, but also managed to take many photographs. This and the next page contain some of these and I trust that you will enjoy the delights of the world’s most remarkable ship.

 A steady wind and ready to sail


 Captain Ashley McDonald on the Bridge

I was fortunate to be able to spend time on the Bridge with the Captain and his other guests, whilst we departed Brisbane and sailed down the Brisbane River, which provided a fine opportunity for some excellent photography of the ship and the scenery which you will find on this and the next page.

 Doulos is slowly turning in the Brisbane River in order to head towards the Gateway Bridge

Note the timber ladder directly below the funnel, it hails from the days of the SS Media in 1914


Looking aft, and already the Book Shop is being packed up with books taken down to the aft hold

Only to be brought back up again in Sydney


Now we have passed under the Gateway Bridge and heading towards the Bay we are on our way! 


 A superb view of the Sunshine Coast and the Glasshouse Mountains


 Humpback Whales perform for us


 And here is another one sometime later


I was asked to give a talk on the history of the MV Doulos, ex MS Franca C, SS Roma, SS Medina to the ships official tour guides. The reason being, they realised that a lot of the information they had was partially wrong. Thus, I gave them a clear picture of each incarnation on the ship and they will make sure that all future guides will study, the official MV Doulos site and obtains factual details. I even discovered that the Tour Passports that was given to the tour participants had incorrect information, as it said that the Roma received new diesel engines, which it did not, she kept the original much-troubled SS Medina steam engines. It was Linea C (Costa Lines) that installed the new Fiat Diesels in 1952, and yet another engine in 1970.

A happy group photo after the meeting


This photo was taken from ashore in Brisbane, but to enter the Bridge and the upper forward section of the

superstructure, you must use the door located just around the corner on the left, there is no internal means.


These are the doors to the forward part of the ship, one port (behind me) and amidships on the left is the door to the Library, to the right there is a short passage to an office and stairs up to Captains Deck and his quarters and which then leads up to the Bridge.


 Here we see the Library door, so let’s enter it!


As you will see from the photographs the Library is quite large and it has a massive collection of books as well as a variety of other facilities, including an internet café. I was quite impressed and found it more than adequate for a crew of just 350. Having sailed on many large passenger ships with up to 2,000 passengers, such as Oriana, the Doulos certainly put’s P&O to shame with the number and variety of books available! I will not give subtitles to each library photo, as most tell their own story!

 Looking aft


 Internet Café – looking to starboard


Looking to port 


 Cosy Lounge area, a good place to read the paper – looking aft to port


Looking starboard 


Stairs up to Captains Deck & his quarters and the Bridge – looking to port


The stairs will bring you into the Chart Room. See the door on the left behind the officer - Looking to port


Navigation is per Satellite and computer systems and the officer tells the Helmsman the headings

The ship does not have auto pilot systems – looking to starboard


Chart room – looking into the Bridge


Bridge office


Helmsman on duty – note the wheel is gone and only a small lever steers the ship 


The bridge is mostly a 1914 original with much fine timber – the compass is even older than 1914

as it was meant for another ship, but it never reached it and it was fitted on the SS Medina instead


Doulos’ Bridge is a rare piece of maritime history and art that should never be lost!

Note the Telegraph is located at “Full” speed ahead!


 Simply beautiful – They do not make them like that anymore!


Here is another close up view


 As we can see here the maintenance is simply excellent, and all done by volunteers!


 Radar masts atop the Bridge



 Overlooking the bow


 Again, this speaks volumes about the ships maintenance!


Calm seas and sunny weather 


Office aft of the Bridge – looking to port


The Book shop area was once the play ground for the rich as this was Lido deck with a

Superb sculptured pool and many sun lounges – See the Franca C pages for how it looked in her grand days!


 MV Doulos proudly flies the Maltese flag


 Valletta the main Port of Malta


 Boat Deck aft Lobby – It once had the famed Blue Mural, which was removed long ago

Now this fine image of the Doulos hangs there, which is made up of thousands of images of people


Lounge Deck - aft Lobby - Information Desk – Looking starboard


Lounge Deck – aft Lobby 


 VIP Lounge – Starboard – looking aft

Taken just prior departure from Brisbane


 VIP Lounge – Starboard – looking forward


 Lounge Deck – forward Lobby – Photo of the Logos the first ship – looking forward


A ceramic 1970 Mosaic from the Franca C days hangs at the entrance of the Dining Room – looking forward


 Dinning Room – starboard looking aft

Please note: The red carpets were laid back in the days of the original all first class MS Franca C in 1970

The quality was so good that they have lasted all this time and although there is some wear, but still good!


Dinning Room - port – looking aft

The self-serve buffet is aft in the middle


 On the wall far forward is the original 1970 Franca C mural – looking forward to starboard


 A closer view of the magnificent mural


It is amazing what is still found onboard from the old Franca C days. Above we have seen the blue circular mosaic decoration at the entrance of the Dining Room, and the amber village mural on the forward wall of the room. However the Chief Steward also discovered a number of original Linea Costa, or Costa Line knives and I feature these below. They have been photographed as found, rather than all polished up. A small triangular company flag is featured on each with the traditional Costa “C„ in the middle as the “C„ was on the funnel.

Each handle has the “C„ flag on the handle, although on the

knife on the left it is hard to see


Obviously there has been some damage to the silver plating

as can be seen on the knife on the left, but there is also corrosion 


 As close-up of the Costa Logo


The coat hanger above is one of just a few found onboard the Doulos. My host Mr. Sven Benseler Manager of the ships media communications department was kind enough to give me this as a special gift and add it to my collection of memorabilia. I am so appreciative to him and I thank him for his thoughtfulness!

Please Note: The brochure behind the coat hanger is part of my own private collection, as I have many Franca C brochures as well as cabin plans and menus, etc. Some of these can be seen via this Brochure link.


Go to - Part Four - Doulos at Sea - Page Two - Aug 19 & 21 - Brisbane to Sydney

Return to the Author’s – MV Doulos “A Ship Like No Other” Main Index


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Photographs on ssmaritime and associate pages are: 1. By the author. 2. From the author’s private collection. 3. As provided by Shipping Companies and private photographers or collectors. Credit is given to all contributors. However, there are photographs provided to me without details provided regarding the photographer concerned. I hereby invite if owners of these images would be so kind to make them-selves known to me, that due credit may be given.

Copyright: “MV Doulos - A Ship Like No Other” is owned, protected under the International © copyright laws and is the property of Reuben Goossens of No part of this work including any of the images shown may be copied or reproduced by any means or reproduced by any format whatsoever, be it for private or commercial usage, without prior written permission from the author. is owned and © Copyright by Reuben Goossens - All Rights Reserved.