From March 14th, 1938 until August 26th, 1939, the Wilhelm Gustloff took over 80,000 passengers on a total of 60 voyages around Europe! From March 23rd, 1939 to August 29th, 1939, the Robert Ley took almost 30,000 passengers on a total of 19 voyages. Over the course of the past 13 years, I have been working on a list of each liners voyages - an ever-changing work in progress. Currently, I only have a few small areas where gaps seem to occur as to where exactly each ship was at a given time. The Robert Ley's voyages have been much more difficult to track compared to the Gustloff's for some reason. Shown below is the most up-to-date list on all of the voyages of the Wilhelm Gustloff and Robert Ley. If anyone has photos of menu dates or ticket book covers they would like to share, please send them to the email at the introduction. Be sure to include any other dating information found on the pieces. Your support is appreciated! As I was compiling the lists, I wondered what it would be like to sail on board one of these ships during a standard voyage. Intertwined with the voyage lists are original home videos taken aboard both liners during their 1938 and 1939 cruising seasons.
Beautiful stern shot of the Wilhelm Gustloff - Norwegian Cruise.
For those who want to just view the color footage of the Wilhelm Gustloff.
Posted by: Karl Hoeffkes
The Wilhelm Gustloff & Cap Arcona in Hamburg Harbor.
The Wilhelm Gustloff at sea. Colorized by the
Above Left: An original 1938 Gustav Werbeck advertising poster for Hamburg and the KdF Fleet. Featuring the Wilhelm Gustloff, Monte Olivia, and Oceana. Above Right:Wilhelm Gustloff Conductor Gustav-Adolf Weissenborn and Artistic Director Horst Braun review sheet music in the Music Hall.
Voyage -7: Hamburg / North Sea Trials March 15th - March 16th, 1938
Voyage -6: Unofficial Maiden Voyage March 24th - March 26th, 1938 Voyage -5: Test / Inspection Run March 26th - 27th, 1938 Voyage -4: Blohm + Voss Workers & Family Trip March 29th - March 31st, 1938
Voyage -3: North Sea / Pegaway Rescue April 1st - April 5th, 1938
Voyage -2: London Polling Station April 8th - April 12th, 1938
Voyage -1: Osterfahrt (Easter Voyage) April 14th - April 19th, 1938 Voyage 1: Maiden Voyage of the Wilhelm Gustloff - Madeirafahrt April 21st - May 6th, 1938 Voyage 2: Norwegian Cruise May 8th - May 14th, 1938 Voyage 3: Norwegian Cruise May 15th - May 21st, 1938 Voyage 4: Norwegian Cruise May 22nd - May 28th, 1938 Voyage 5: Norwegian Cruise May 29th - June 3rd, 1938 Voyage 6: Norwegian Cruise June 4th - June 10th, 1938 Special Voyage: 4th National Rally of the National-Socialist Fellowship KdF 1938 June 9th - June 12th, 1938 Special Voyage 1: Italian World Congress Trip to Rome June 14th - June 27th, 1938 Voyage 7: Returning to Hamburg from Italian World Congress Trip June 29th - July 14th, 1938 Voyage 8: Norwegian Cruise July 15th - July 22nd, 1938 Special Voyage 2: Blohm + Voss Joint Business Trip July 23rd - July 24th, 1938
Voyage 9: Norwegian Cruise July 25th - July 30th, 1938 Voyage 10: Unsere Gemeinschaft nach Norwegen 100 Jahre Peter Kaiser Schuhe G.M.B.H. July 31st - August 7th, 1938 Voyage 11: Norwegian Cruise August 7th - August 12th, 1938 Voyage 12: Norwegian Cruise August 14th - August 20th, 1938 Voyage 13: Norwegian Cruise August 21st - August 27th, 1938 Voyage 14: Norwegian Cruise August 28th - September 3rd, 1938
Voyage 15: Norwegian Cruise September 4th - September 10th, 1938
Voyage 16: Norwegian Cruise September 11th - September 17th, 1938
Voyage 17: Norwegian Cruise September 18th - September 23rd, 1938
Special Voyage 3: Anniversary Trip of Gefolgschaft Deutscher Ring September 24th - September 27th, 1938
Voyage 18: Norwegian Cruise October 2nd - October 8th, 1938
The Wilhelm Gustloff begins her winter route cruising around Italy. Voyage 19: Madiera, Tripoli, Naples, Genoa. *Longest voyage of her career. October 11th - November 1st, 1938 Voyage 20: Italian Cruise November 2nd - November 12th, 1938 Voyage 21: Italian Cruise November 15th - November 24th, 1938 Voyage 22: Italian Cruise November 26th - December 6th, 1938 Voyage 23: Italian Cruise December 8th - December 18th, 1938 Voyage 24: Italian Cruise December 29th, 1938 - January 9th, 1939 Voyage 25: Italian Cruise January 10th - January 20th, 1939 Voyage 26: Italian Cruise January 22nd - February 1st, 1939 Voyage 27: Italian Cruise February 3rd - February 12th, 1939 Voyage 28: Italian Cruise February 14th - February 25th, 1939 Voyage 29: Italian Cruise February 27th - March 9th, 1939
The Wilhelm Gustloff returns to her summer route cruising through the Norwegian Fjords. Voyage 30: Genoa, Naples, Tripoli, Madiera March 11th - March 30th, 1939 *Voyages 31 through 34 are estimated as I have never seen anything from these voyages. In addition, footage in April of '39 from the Robert Ley shows the Wilhelm Gustloff in dry dock at one point. In 2022, Ulf Bollmann of the Hamburg Archives sent me the following information about port arrivals from the Commercial Statistical Office Files from 1939*: Voyage 31: Norwegian Cruise March 31st - April 6th, 1939 Voyage 32: Norwegian Cruise April 7th - April 13th, 1939 Voyage 33: Norwegian Cruise April 14th - April 20th, 1939 *Arrival from the North Sea after a voyage in Hamburg. Voyage 34: Norwegian Cruise April 21st - April 27th, 1939 *Arrived in Hamburg on April 30th from Medina under Capt. Bertram. Special Voyage 4: Norway Trip of Joint Business - The Rune / German Property Insurance - Hamburg April 29th - May 4th, 1939 Voyage 35: Norwegian Cruise May 6th - May 12th, 1939 Voyage 36: Norwegian Cruise May 13th - May 19th, 1939
Voyage 37: Legion Condor Voyage May 20th - June 2nd, 1939 Voyage 38: Norwegian Cruise June 3rd - June 8th, 1939 Voyage 39: Norwegian Cruise June 10th - June 16th, 1939 Voyage 40: Norwegian Cruise June 17th - June 23rd, 1939 Voyage 41: Norwegian Cruise June 24th - June 30th, 1939 Voyage 42: Business Trip of the Firm Bernward Leineweber of the Dockyards July 1st - July 7th, 1939
Voyage 43: Norwegian Cruise July 8th - July 14th, 1939 Voyage 44: Travelling to Stockholm, Sweden July 15th - July 16th, 1939 Voyage 45: Special trip to Stockholm, Sweden for Lingiad - Floating Dormitory July 17th - July 25th, 1939 Voyage 46: Travelling to Hamburg, Germany July 26th - July 27th, 1939 Voyage 47: Norwegian Cruise July 29th - August 4th, 1939 Voyage 48: Norwegian Cruise August 5th - August 11th, 1939 Voyage 49: Norwegian Cruise August 12th - August 18th, 1939 Voyage 50: Norwegian Cruise August 19th - August 25, 1939
Voyages of the M.S. Wilhelm Gustloff
Voyages of the E.S. Robert Ley
Voyage -4: Sample Voyage to deliver the Ley for the DAF March 23rd - March 24th, 1939 Voyage -3: Special Voyage with Hitler & Dr. Ley - Launching of the Tirpitz March 31st - April 3rd, 1939 Voyage -2: Voyage out of Hamburg April 4th, 1939 - April 6th, 1939
Voyage -1: Osterfahrt / Easter Cruise to the Norwegian Fjords April 7th - April 10th, 1939
Voyage 1: Maiden Voyage of the Robert Ley. Madeira, Tenerife, Lisbon April 18th - May 9th, 1939
Voyage 2: Norwegian Cruise - Deutsche Technic May 10th - May 16th, 1939
Voyage 3: Business Trip for the Ustrawerke Chemical Firm - Hamburg / Helgoland May 17th - May 18th, 1939 Voyage 4: Legion Condor Voyage May 22nd - June 2nd, 1939 Voyage Unknown June 4th - June 6th, 1939 Special Voyage: Bochumer Firma Eichoff June 7th - June 11th, 1939 Voyage 5: Norwegian Cruise June 14th - June 20th, 1939 Voyage Unknown June 20th - June 26th, 1939
Voyage 6: Norwegian Cruise(I have also seen this listed as Voyage #9). June 28th - July 4th, 1939
Voyage 7: Business Trip: Leipziger Leichmetallwerkers Rackwitz July 4th - July 10th, 1939
Voyage 8: Norwegian Cruise July 12th - July 18th, 1939
Special Voyage 9: 5th Empire Conference, KdF July 21st - July 30th, 1939 Voyage 10: Unknown August 2nd - August 8th, 1939 Voyage 11: Unknown August 9th - August 15th, 1939 Voyage 12: Ostseefahrt der Gaue-Wein, Saarplatz, und Hamburg. Voyage of the Baltic Provinces - Vienna, Saar Palatinate, and Hamburg August 16th - August 22nd, 1939 Voyage 13: Norwegian Cruise August 23rd - August 29th, 1939
Images of the Wilhelm Gustloff & Robert Ley during one of their voyages.
Wilhelm Gustloff Painting #2: Original watercolor / gouche painting with frame and backing. 25cm x 32cm painted by A.F. Muaker? Back tagged Hermann Herforth, Kunsthandlung, Vergolderei, Altona E Konigstr 142/144. Purchased from the B. Niggl Gallery of München, Germany.
Wilhelm Gustloff Painting #1: Original oil painting on wood. Still in the original frame and backing. Another beautiful 70cm x 60cm painted in 1941 by A. Stehning. Inscription on the back reads: "Gustloff leaving Hamburg Docks, Painting. Copy of Prof. Hans Bohrdt." The original Hans Bohrdt painting is shown in the smaller image for reference. His painting was used countless times in books, documentaries, etc, about the Gustloff. In 2016, it was offered for sale from the original family who owned it. As of 2017, it was sold, but its new home is unknown.
Wilhelm Gustloff Artwork #3: 18cm x 27cm ink drawing with color. Artist unknown. Framed in its original frame.
Wilhelm Gustloff Voyage Journal:
Mit KdF in südliche Meere Reiseeindrücke und Reiseerlebnisse zwischen Kassel und Palermo. Mit Motorschiff "Wilhelm Gustloff" in der Zeit vom 28. Dezember 1938 bis 9. Januar 1929 I'm sonnigen Süden. Reisebericht: Wilhelm Bleitner, DAF Kassel.
With KdF in the southern seas. Travel impressions and travel experiences between Kassel and Palermp with the motor ship "Wilhelm Gustloff" in the period of December 28, 1939 to January 9, 1939 in the sunny south. Travelogue: Wilhelm Bleitner, DAF Kassel.
This complete journal is available to read in my book The M.S. Wilhelm Gustloff - Voyages.
Continuing to work on my colorization skills, granted I still need to work on my skin tones.
Below: Passengers sunbathe on the bow of the Gustloff in Italy. Middle: The Wilhelm Gustloff during the brief time she had a pale yellow funnel.
Right: Either 2nd Officer Schuermann or 2nd Officer Vollert with 4th Officer Kohl.
Wilhelm Gustloff painting by the late Michael "Mike" V. Ralph. Acrylic on canvas panel, 4/17/2011.