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Pacific Memories, Chapter II

The Royal Viking Star had by no means visited all the former theaters of war in the South Pacific yet. So let's continue our journey in the sea of tranquility.


Skald Party in the Galaxy Club. (Skald Club for repeat guests)

Cruise Director Peter Longley, guest, Chief Steward Klaus Riezler, Social Hostess Carole Klein.

Royal Viking Line had a very high percentage of repeat passengers. Special cruises were sold as SKALD trips. Then there was always a big party in the Bergen Lounge.

A tin of Beluga Malossol caviar at the buffet.

One should not turn back time, but the Soviet Union also had its good sides.


To get us all in the proper RVL mood here comes the second half of Naki Ataman's Piano concert 'Around the World'.


Saipan, Marianas.

The Battle of Saipan was a major battle in the Pacific War during World War II. It took place in June 1944 as part of the U.S. Marine Corps' conquest of the Mariana Islands on the main island of Saipan, which had been heavily fortified by the Japanese defenders under General Saitō Yoshitsugu. On July 9, the island was reported secured, although scattered Japanese units continued the fight. Traces of the battle can still be seen on Saipan today and are visited by Japanese and American tourists and veterans.

American supply troops on the advance.

US Marines.

Over the course of the 20-day battle, nearly 44,000 people lost their lives: among them were about 24,000 soldiers of the Imperial Japanese Army and about 3,500 Marines and GIs of the U.S. Armed Forces. In addition, there were an estimated 12,000 Japanese civilians and 4,000 Korean forced laborers.


8. April 1987.

Saipan, Mariana Islands. dock: 8:00 - 17:00 hours.


Purser Staff.

1 Chief Purser, 1 Hotel Purser, 1 Crew Purser, 1 Assistant Crew Purser, 1 Concierge , 6 Purser Assistants, 2 Bell Boys.


Guam, Marianas.

The Battle of Guam was a battle between United States and Imperial Japanese Army forces during the Pacific War in World War II. The battle took place on the island of Guam between July 21, 1944 and August 10, 1944: American Marines and Army troops landed on Guam on July 21 and met fierce Japanese resistance until the island was reported secured on August 10. The capture of Guam was part of the Battle of the Mariana Islands.

Lieutenant General Obata's new defense plan was based on defending the central mountainous region of Guam. Therefore, he withdrew his surviving troops from the south of the island with the intention of stopping enemy conquest through guerrilla tactics. However, with Japanese forces cut off from supplies by U.S. naval and air superiority, Obata was able to delay the inevitable conquest of the island for only 5 days, with casualties among Japanese soldiers exceeding 3,000 men. Rainy weather and the dense jungle of northern Guam made the Marines' advance difficult, and the last Japanese defensive positions were overcome only after an assault on Mount Barrigada, in which Obata was killed. It was not until 10 August that Guam was considered secure.

US troops.

Japanese prisoners of war.


9. April 1987.

Guam, Mariana Islands. dock: 8:00 - 17:00 hours.

The port of Guam.

Hotel Manager Hannes Furlan had left the ship here and flew to Manila. He had to prepare a banquet for 800 people at the Manila Hotel. For a few days I rose to number 1 in the hotel hierarchy on board.

The next 2 days were at sea on the way to the Philippines.


Shore Excursions Manager John Bender, Concierge Lena Wickstrøm, Chief Steward Klaus Riezler, Executive Housekeeper Bruni Amann.


A fixed point in the Royal Viking Line calendar was the Norwegian day.

It started with the cold and warm buffet in the Bergen Lounge.

Our breakfast cook and waiter Michael Richards in a traditional dress.

In the evening there was a Norwegian gala menu. Here is a menu from a previous cruise with the same program.

Afterwards there was a show in the Bergen Lounge of the in-house folklore group, consisting of officers and crew.

And between and afterwards der was Skol, Skool, Skoool, Skooool.


Tacloban, Leyte, Philippines.

The Battle of Leyte took place during World War II within the Pacific War. It was an operation by United States forces under the code nameKing II, a sub-operation of Operation Musketeer. They were supported by Filipino guerrilla forces. Their objective was to capture the central Philippine island of Leyte. The battle was thus the beginning for the reconquest of the Philippines. The fighting lasted from October 17 to December 31, 1944. During the fighting, the Allied troop units were under the command of General Douglas MacArthur, while the Imperial Japanese Army was led by General Yamashita Tomoyuki.

Landing of General MacArthur.

The campaign on Leyte was the first decisive operation in the American reconquest of the Philippines. It caused American casualties of 15,584 men, of whom 3504 fell in action. Australian troops recorded 30 killed and 64 wounded when a Japanese kamikaze aircraft hit the heavy cruiser HMAS Australia during the Battle of Leyte Gulf.

The campaign on Leyte was the first decisive operation in the American reconquest of the Philippines. It caused American casualties of 15,584 men, of whom 3504 fell in action. Australian forces recorded 30 killed and 64 wounded when a Japanese kamikaze aircraft hit the heavy cruiser HMAS Australia during the Battle of Leyte Gulf.

The toll taken by the Japanese Army on Leyte, on the other hand, was far higher. Among Japanese combat troops, estimates put the losses cost by the unsuccessful defense of Leyte at about 49,000 men. They lost a total of four divisions plus various other combat units, while the Japanese Navy lost 26 large warships and 46 large freighters and merchant ships in the campaign. The battle reduced the strength of the land-based Japanese air force in the Philippines by over 50 percent and forced the leadership to base its strategy on further kamikaze operations. On Luzon, the Japanese were left with a force of 250,000, but the loss of air and naval support on Leyte diminished General Yamashita's options and now forced him into defensive and near-passive defensive measures and grueling battles of attrition on Luzon, the largest and most important island in the Philippine archipelago. Already the victory over the Japanese in the Battle of Leyte is considered decisive for the war. On the other hand, the Allies had succeeded in wresting from the enemy an important bastion from which to easily cut off Japan from resources outside their country.


12. April 1987.

Tacloban, Leyte, Philippines. anchor: 8:00 -17:00 hours.

On the market in Tacloban.

The white beach of Tacloban.


The Seamen's Choir became more and more female.

A part of the Bar team.


13. April 1987.

Manila, Luzon, Philippines. dock: 16:00 hours. overnight. sail: 16:00 hours.

Hotel Manager Hannes Furlan was already waiting at the pier. We had a meeting and last preparations were made for the big banquet in the evening at the Manila Hotel.

The crew had their fun, as many could take the evening off and enjoy Manila's nightlife.


The Manila Hotel and General MacArthur.

Here was 1944 the US head quarter of General Mac Arthur.

The bombed hotel in February 1945.

MacArthur inspecting the ruins.

Manila 1945.


Das Manila Hotel in the eighties.

A part of the McArthur Suite.

A classic in the international hotel business. The Champagne Room at the Manila Hotel.

At the banquet, 800 guests were invited to the grand ballroom. 720 passengers, our ship's officers, generals and important people from Manila. And no, Imelda Marco was not there.

I was allowed to supervise the service.

The Royal Viking Star spent the night in Manila.

The following morning there was a wreath-laying ceremony for the veterans at the American military cemetery in Manila.

I have always been fascinated by the beautifully converted jeeps.

President Marcos palace.


Pastry Man Hermann Geiger from Au and Pastry Chef Franz-Bernhard Fuchs from Mellau in the Bregenzerwald.

Also on board was Provision Master Luis Moosmann from Sulzberg - Thal in the Bregenzerwald.

1. Baker Bernhard Meusburger from Mellau in the Bregenzerwald.


16. April.1987

Hong Kong, Great Britain. dock: 8:00 - 22:00 hours.

The Royal Viking Star was docked at the Ocean Terminal

On this day the proud Norwegian flag was taken down. From now on, the Royal Viking fleet sailed under the Bahamas flag.


In Hong Kong, some passengers had left us. Instead, about 20 Japanese guests joined us.

Hostess Carole Klein and Staff Captain Reidulf Maalen.

Die Skyline from Hong Kong Island.

The Royal Viking Star departed at 22:00.


However, the Royal Viking Star left without me. My contract was over and I was ready for vacation. Also waiter Roman Feurstein from Mellau left the ship with me.

Roman on the left in the picture.

My brother Norbert Riezler and Roman Feurstein.

In the afternoon we went shopping at the Ocean Center. We spent the night at the Harbour View Hotel. For the evening we had booked a table at Gaddie's. The French restaurant at the Peninsula Hotel was one of the best in the world at that time.


While I sipped my vodka martini, the new shoes I'd bought that afternoon pinched. Discreetly, I took them off and parked them under the bench. Then it was time to order the food. We chose a surprise menu and ordered the wine to match the food served, course by course. When the first bottle of Batard Montrachet was out, fish courses were still coming. So we ordered a second one. Then a bottle of Chateau Petrus and for dessert a small bottle of Chateau d'Yquem. We both had exhausting months behind us and had earned this.

With the espresso we ordered a double Remy Louis XIII and with the cheese we had a glass of port.

Then I asked for the bill. In a worldly manner I let my credit card disappear in the fat leather case and the waiter left us after three bows. A little later he came back totally embarrassed and told me that my card would not be accepted.

Of course not, because I had accidentally given him my crew card.

It looked exactly like this one.

After I found my shoes and barely got out from under the table, we wobbled back to the hotel in good spirits.

The next morning we went to the airport in Hong Kong, where we could look into the bedrooms of the residents during takeoff and landing and flew home.


The Japanese guests on board were not exactly greeted warmly by the Americans after 3 weeks of General Westmoreland telling them about the atrocities committed by the Japanese in WW2. Luckily they barely understood English.

Cruise Director Peter Longley took care of the Japanese and arranged a symbolic wreath laying ceremony on the ship for the fallen Japanese.


The following 2 days the Royal Viking Star was at sea.


A very popular entertainment for the guests was the Sundt Shop Boutique fashion show on board. The officers, staff and crew were the models. The colorful and non-iron dresses from the Diane Freis label from Hong Kong were particularly popular with the American ladies.


Especially on these voyages the All American Dinner was very popular.

Again, the Royal Viking Sky helps us out with a menu.


Okinawan, Japan.

The Battle of Okinawa (Allied code name: Operation Iceberg) began on April 1, 1945 with the American invasion of the Japanese island of Okinawa and ended on June 30, 1945. The battle was part of the Pacific War campaign in World War II. From the Japanese perspective, Okinawa was the last line of defense standing in the way of an Allied invasion of the main Japanese islands. Accordingly, the Allies planned to use Okinawa to provide air support for the planned invasion of the main islands.

With coordinated suicide attacks by Shimpū-Tokkōtai units, the Japanese Naval Air Force attempted to deal a decisive blow to the American Pacific Fleet. The prelude to this battle was the Allied air raids on Kyūshū on March 18, 1945.

The fighting on Okinawa continued until June 30, ending with the capture of the island by American forces. In the course of the battle, more than two-thirds of the Japanese defenders died. Civilian and American casualties were also high. However, it was also the first time that Japanese soldiers surrendered by the thousands.


19. April 1987. dock: 11:00 - 20:00 hours.

Naha, Okinawa Japan.

The Shuri palace.

The US military base on Okinawa.

A last day at sea the next day on this cruise.


The hardcore waiter gang.


Tokio, Japan.

Doolittle Raid is the name of a surprise attack on Tokyo by U.S. Army Air Forces on April 18, 1942. This World War II operation during the Pacific Warwas named for its military leader Lieutenant Colonel James H. Doolittle. It was the first attack on the Japanese home islands in that war and was primarily for psychological warfare.

Lieutenant Colonel Doolittle and Captain Mitchner.

The six massive area bombings that were flown against Tokyo in 1945 are the most devastating air raids that took place during World War II. In terms of casualties and destroyed urban area, they far eclipse the heavy air raids in Europe on London, Hamburg, and on Dresden. The human casualties of the air raid on Tokyo on March 9/10, 1945, even exceeded those of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki five months later.

The bombed Tokyo.


21. April 1987.

Tokyo, Japan. dock: 8:00 hours.

Tokio, Waterfront.

Another great cruise had finally come to an end.


In 1988, the Royal Viking Star made its last Pacific Memories Cruise. This time the voyage lasted 21 days.

Hotel Manager: Hannes Furlan, Chief Stewards Klaus Riezler and Arnold Deutschl.

World War II expert and speaker was Admiral Moore from Australia.

The legendary Ink Spots provided the right groove.

Maxine Andrews of the Andrews Sisters made several appearances in the Bergen Lounge.

There was also a grandchild of US President Roosevelt on board this trip.


15. March 1988.

Sydney Australien.

We departed with a full load of interested guests at 18:00 hours.

For the next 2 days we cruised north along the Queensland coast.

After the Captain's Welcome Dinner, I admired the Ink Spots in the Bergen Lounge.


Townsville, Queensland, Australia.

During World War II, the city became an important location for the military to repel a possible invasion of Australia by the Japanese army. During that time, about 70,000 troops were stationed in and around the city, and the infrastructure was developed for military purposes. Three air raids, in which no people were harmed and only minor damage was done to the land, took place on Townsville with a few Japanese aircraft.


Since I have hardly any visual material from this trip, I will instead present the beauty of the island world in the South Pacific.


18. March 1988. dock: 8:00 - 18:00 hours.

Townsville Australien.

The port of Townsville.

Those who go to Townsville actually go to the Great Barrier Reef.

Our guests went to the military cemetery and laid a wreath.

I had trained the cruise before Arnold Deutschl to be Chief Steward. From Sydney he had taken over and for me it was time to go home.


The next 2 days were spent cruising the Coral Sea.


A typical Royal Viking Line Lunch Menu.


Showtime in der Bergen Lounge with the Royal Viking Singers and Dancers.


21. March 1988

Honiara, Guadalcanal, Solomon Island. dock: 8:00 - 18:00 hours.


The following day one could relax with a day at sea.


Dress code and gala dinners.

Shorts and sandals were frowned upon inside the ships. So you had to dress properly for breakfast before going on a shore excursion in often hot areas. That was never a problem either.

Otherwise, the dress code was written mainly for the men. The women were always well dressed.

In the 80's a normal cruise on Royal Viking Line lasted 14 days. Then there were 4 Formal Nights, always on sea days, or when you left already in the afternoon. The dress code was tuxedo, or at least a dark suit and long evening dresses for the ladies.

The gala evenings were always Captain's Welcome, Norwegian Night and Captain's Farwell.

On the 4th gala evening they served the French dinner.

This menu is also from the Royal Viking Sky.

On these longer trips, we had 6 Formal Nights. That was never a problem as long as the occasion was right. Even then, cruise ships were one of the last bastions where you see so many elegantly dressed people in one bunch. The ladies could finally wear their jewelry and it made a nice, cohesive picture.

The casual dress code with shirt and long pants was always on the first and last night of the cruise. Casual was also the order of the day for overnights, or if you left after 6:00pm.

All other days were informal. That meant jacket and tie for the gentlemen. This dress code increasingly led to conflicts. The well-heeled businessmen who went to the office every day at home in a suit and tie were expected to wear the same on vacation. Especially when silk shirts with stand-up collars became fashionable, the Maitre D' and head waiters had a hard time asking for a tie at the entrance to the Dining Room.

Officer Table Hosting.

The Royal Viking Line ships had the largest dining rooms on the 7 seas at the time. 720 passengers in one sitting were fed at one time.

The four- and three-striped officers had a fixed table in the dining room. The best regulars and passengers from the VIP list, which came from the main office, were placed there by the Maitre D'. The passengers had 'their' table for the entire voyage.

My table of 8 as hotel director on board the Royal Viking Sea with Miss Austria Marielle Moosmann from Mellau.

The officers dined with their guests every day, except on the first and last day of the voyage, during overnight stays in port, or when we departed after 6 pm.

So the officers met their tablemates for the first time at the Captain's Welcome Dinner. That evening, the officer chose the wine in the upper third of the price scale. So you set the marching orders. If passengers didn't comply, there were all sorts of comments from tablemates.

With Royal Viking Line, passengers could pre-book table size preference. Tables of 2, 4, 6 or 8 were available for selection. Many of the passengers requested large tables as they wanted to meet other passengers. The Maitre D' then made the table plan on board and the guests had their table for the trip.

Table for Two by the Window was a rare commodity and smart Maitre D' made a buck doing it.


23. March 1988

Rabaul, Papua New - Guinea. anchor: 6:00 -13:00 hours.


24. March1988.

Mandang, Papua - Newguinea Dock: 13:00 bis 20:00 Uhr.


The following day then Royal Viking Star was at sea.


Bar waiter Jamie Don and Bar Keeper Norbert Riezler.


26. March 1988.

Jayapura, Netherlands - Newguinea.

Operation Reckless was a 1944 Pacific War enterprise by the Southwest Pacific Area Headquarters under General Douglas MacArthur during World War II. It included the landings at Tanahmerah Bay and Humboldt Bay and the subsequent battle for Japanese-occupied Hollandia in Dutch New Guinea.

General Mac Arthur.

On March 30-31, 1944, Task Force 58 carried out the planned attack on the Japanese base in the Palau Islands as part of Operation Desecrate One. The purpose of this attack was to eliminate Japanese ground and air units and to prepare for the Hollandia action. The latter was accomplished primarily by having the Japanese warships fleeing the attack move out of the area to the west. Land-based American and Australian fighters, meanwhile, flew long-range sorties from bases in eastern New Guinea and the Admiralty Islands on additional targets in the eastern Carolinas. In addition, quite a few Japanese air bases in western New Guinea were largely neutralized. In Hollandia in particular, more than 300 Japanese fighters, most of them still standing on the airfields, were destroyed.


26. March 1988.

Jayapura, Indonesia. anchor: 8:00 - 16:00 hours.


Die Royal Viking Singers and Dancers.


Biak, Netherlands - Newguinea.

The Battle of Biak was a landing operation by Allied forces on Biak Island in Dutch New Guinea, defended by Japanese units, during the Pacific War in World War II. The battle took place from May 27, 1944, to July 25, 1944, and cost Allied troops about 500 killed and several thousand wounded. The Japanese troops, fighting in isolation, on the other hand, lost almost the entire island garrison of about 12,000 men.


27. März 1988.

Biak Island, Indonesia. anchor: 13:00 - 18:00 hours.

A day that would go down in history. When the ship arrived in the early afternoon, the welcoming committee looked like this. The entire population of the island had come and they stayed until the Royal Viking Star weighed anchor.


The following day the Royal Viking Star was at sea.


Morotai, Netherlands - East Indies.

The Battle of Morotai, also called Operation Tradewind, took place between Allied forces and units of the Empire of Japan between September 15 and October 4, 1944, in the Pacific War during World War II. Scattered Japanese soldiers, as well as a newly landed regiment, were still engaged on Morotai until January 14, 1945.

The USS Wasatch.

Between September 15, 1944 and February 1, 1945, Japanese task forces flew a total of 82 air strikes against the runways on Morotai. Radio Tokyo therefore called Morotai the cemetery of the 13th Air Force.

A Japanese bomber drops its load.

In the eleven months on Morotai, the PTs undertook nearly 1300 patrols and special missions, destroyed more than 50 barges and 150 other assorted small boats, raided Japanese positions on Halmahera, and thus thwarted efforts to supply or evacuate troops from the Morotai garrison.


29. March 1988.

Morotai, Indonesia. dock: 8:00 - 17:00 hours.


The following 3 days the Royal Viking Star spent at sea.


2. April 1988.

Bali, Indonesia. anchor: 8:00 - 19:00 hours.


The journey was gradually coming to an end. But we still had 2 days at sea ahead of us.

On April 4. Easter was celebrated aboard the Royal Viking Star. Of course there was also a priest on board.


The Farewell Gala Dinner aboard Royal Viking Line.

The menu is from a different voyage.


5. April 1988.

Singapore. dock: 8:00 hours.

To end the trip, I chose the Marina Bay Sands Casino Resort because my brother Norbert is one of the big bosses at that company.

This was the last Pacific Memories Cruise that Royal Viking Line offered. Perhaps it was better that way. By now, all the islets had been canvassed and the last schedule was no longer as in balance as the two before.


As we found out, World War II raged in the South Pacific between 1941 and 1945. With the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Japanese Emperor finally surrendered on September 2, 1945.

Signing of the surrender document by Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu.

The bottom line.

As with all major conflicts, it is difficult to give concrete casualty figures. The figures given by historians and even by the official bodies of the individual countries vary considerably in some cases.

Most of the dead were in China. It should be noted that in the final months of the war, the internal conflict between Red and National Chinese also led to heavy casualties on both sides. A total of 4,000,000 soldiers died, and civilian casualties, among whom the Japanese carried out several massacres, amounted to about 10,000,000 people.

The Japanese lost about 1,200,000 soldiers and about 500,000 civilians, most in the two atomic bombings and the conventional bombing of Tokyo on March 9, 1945.

The military cemetery in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Allied losses (British, Indians, Australians, New Zealanders, Dutch) were about 150,000 dead. The U.S. lost about 130,000 men in the Pacific theater. The losses of prisoners of war under Japanese guard are included.

Furthermore, there were also countless civilian casualties among the natives of various Pacific islands who died in the invasions, displacements, and recaptures.

The military cemetery in Honolulu, Hawaii.