After a string of technical issues and bad weather in 2016, the MV Balmoral is due to set sail on her main summer cruise next month.
At 68 years old, the National Historic Ships’ flag ship of the year isn’t ready to retire yet and has been nipped, tucked and undergone a complete refit and new paintwork ready for the launch on July 26.
The 736-tonne coastal steamer will depart from Clevedon’s historic pier and other South West locations, including Weston, Minehead and Ilfracombe.
The trips will see the Balmoral carrying Bristol’s name across the UK, with stops along the South coast, the River Thames and the River Clyde, to name a few. The ship will travel at the steady pace of 16 knots using twin screw propellers and diesel engines.
With the ability to carry up to 600 passengers, there’s room for everyone on the Balmoral. Hop on and stroll around the ship’s stores, which are packed with wine, beer, food and souvenirs.
Captain David Howie has been busy training the 22 crew members on the important safety drills to ensure the ship is fit for a king and passengers will certainly be in safe hands as the Balmoral has served as a royal yacht twice.
It hasn’t always been plain sailing for the Balmoral though. 2012 saw the vessel laid up by the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society, resulting in no trips being made in 2013 and 2014.
Since then, the ship has been bought by the MV Balmoral Fund for just £1. Over three quarters of a million pounds has been raised through public subscription and Coastal Community Fund grants. It is thanks to these contributions, she has been able to continue to provide passengers with spectacular day cruises.
Tickets can be purchased online. Day ticket prices start from £10, depending on the route. Keen sailors can get their hands on season tickets which provide passengers with unlimited excursions on the Balmoral.
There are 33 days to choose from before the closing weekend on October 1 – 2. Gift vouchers for a trip on the vessel range from £10 to £50 for any seaworthy family members or friends.
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