Fun, sun and seasickness - your memories of life on the school ship

The Nevasa gets ready to leave port in 1968.
The Nevasa gets ready to leave port in 1968.
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Life on a educational cruise ship was a mix of fabulous memories, wonderful music – and dubious food.

That’s according to the dozens of you who responded when we posted a photograph of the SS Nevasa on social media.

The SS Nevasa gets ready to sail in 1968 - this time to Stockholm, Leningrad and Copenhagen.

The SS Nevasa gets ready to sail in 1968 - this time to Stockholm, Leningrad and Copenhagen.

It showed the ship getting ready to sail in 1968. It was scheduled to leave the River Wear to take Durham County schoolchildren to Stockholm, Leningrad and Copenhagen.

It reached an audience of more than 35,000 people and the comments were a wonderfully descriptive reminder of what life was like for children, many of whom were enjoying their first ever trip away from home.

Maurice Alderson said: “Yeah I was on Nevasa in 1970 with Monkwearmouth School. Great places to visit although most of our fun was on board. Made lots of good friends from all over Sunderland.”

Ann Stuart-Heath was another to comment and said: “Yes I was on that one too and have never forgotten the smell of the dining hall. Lord how we suffered through the Bay of Biscay but were told afterwards it was so bad that even some.of the crew were sick too. What a brilliant experience it was though. I was at Broadway School at the time.”

We toured the Baltic, Kiel Canal, Gdansk , Copenhagen and Kristiansand. It sort of grew on me and I still remember the amazing scenery but the canteen smell will live with me for ever

Patricia Morgan

Barry Walsh was on board in 1972 and said he still remembers “the wake up songs in the morning - Cat Stevens Morning has broken, Jethro Tull, Life’s a long song, and Moody Blues, Question.”

Kevin Johnson said: “Penny Lane in 74.”

Plenty more of you remembered the food and not all of you thought it was bad.

Carol Stoker said: “I was on the 1970 school cruise with my sister with Castle View School. I remember running past the kitchens because the smell made me feel sick. I was 14.

Red House schoolgirls in 1974.

Red House schoolgirls in 1974.

“We went to bed at 9, the older ones were allowed to stay out till later.”

Carol added: “I found the food okay. I remember you could have a cup of Orange juice and a piece of ginger cake for your supper if you wanted it. It was a really fantastic time made loads of memories.”

Thanks also to Brenda Robson who said: “I was on 1968, had my 15th birthday on her. Still got the writing pad cover with her picture in the front. Got a few photos of us Red House Comp girls in our mini blue and white stripy dresses.”

Norman Tyler commented: “Was on that 1970 if I remember correctly, Dampier dorm travelled to Tenerife, Madeira, Casablanca and Lisbon.”

Gillian Shadforth was another former Monkwearmouth student to be on board and said: “Remember more about life on ship than the ports we visited!”

Brian Carmody said: “I was on it. I think Hansen dorm” while Catherine Atkinson Dennis chipped in with: “I was on it. Jellicoe dormitory.”

Alison Curry commented: “OMG bringing back so many memories x.”

And Sharon Ely added: “Think I went on this ship, but went to Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Bergen and Kristiensand. Cannot remember what year, maybe 1971/2? Just remember throwing up a lot xx.”

Sandy Baars said: “Went on school cruise on Nevasa in 1967 to the Mediterranean. Wonderful experience.”

Graeme Lish said the photograph “brings back so many memories” and explained: “Was on the 1970 trip from Ryhope School. Remember the 9pm bedtime (was 14!) but if you acted up they sent you to stand up on deck - which was lovely! Great places to visit, especially Casablanca!”

Jean Readshaw Canning went to venues including Coruna, Gibraltar and Lisbon and said: “Dorm was called Dalrymple. Never forget the Bay Of Biscay so many people sea sick :(“.

And Alison Curry also had memories. She said: “I was on a school cruise in 1973. We visited Tangier Lanzarote Madeira and Vigo, can’t remember the dormitory name but the classroom was Bacon.”

Lynn Oyston’s memories were of the days and weeks leading up to the adventure – as well as of the trip itself. She said: “I was on SS Nevasa in 1968, we went to Bruges, Coruna, Lisbon and Tangiers. We used to queue up outside the school office (Broadway School) every week to pay 10 shilling a week to pay for it.”

Patricia Morgan sailed in the early 1970s and said: “We toured the Baltic, Kiel Canal, Gdansk , Copenhagen and Kristiansand. It sort of grew on me and I still remember the amazing scenery but the canteen smell will live with me for ever.”

Watch out for more memories in Wearside Echoes next week.