MV Balmoral

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The Balmoral arriving at Bristol
Career (UK) Civil Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg
Name: MV Balmoral
Owner: Waverley Steam Navigation Co. Ltd
Operator: Waverley Excursions Ltd
Builder: John I. Thornycroft & Company, Woolston
Launched: 27 June 1949
Identification: IMO number: 5034927
Status: In service
General characteristics
Class and type: Coastal excursion vessel
Tonnage: 688 grt
Length: 203 ft 6 in (62.03 m)
Beam: 32 ft 0 in (9.75 m)
Notes: [1]

The Motor Vessel Balmoral is a historic excursion vessel owned by the Waverley Steam Navigation Co. Ltd, a preservation charity, and operated on their behalf by Waverley Excursions Ltd. Her principal area of operation is the Bristol Channel, although she also operates day excursions to other parts of the United Kingdom.[2][3]

The Balmoral was built as a ferry by John I. Thornycroft & Company at Woolston in 1949, for the Southampton, Isle of Wight and South of England Royal Mail Steam Packet Co. Limited, more normally known as the Red Funnel line. As built, the Balmoral could carry up to 10 cars on her aft car deck, and she normally operated on her owner's ferry service from Southampton on the English mainland to Cowes on the Isle of Wight. From her introduction she also occasionally performed excursion duties, but as dedicated car ferries were introduced to her main route, her role became more focussed on offering coastal cruises around the South Coast.[1]

Red Funnel ceased operating excursions in 1968, after which the Balmoral was acquired by P&A Campbell. She moved to the Bristol Channel, where she became part of P&A Campbell's famous White Funnel Fleet until 1980, by which time she was the last working member of the fleet. Balmoral moved to Dundee to become a floating restaurant. This was unsuccessful and the ship was placed for sale again.[1][3]

At this time the Waverley Steam Navigation Co. Ltd were looking for another vessel to operate alongside the world's last seagoing paddle steamer, PS Waverley. Balmoral was purchased by them and subjected to a major refit. As part of this, her car deck was enclosed to form an area that is now in use as a dining saloon.[citation needed]

Balmoral returned to the Bristol Channel in 1986. Since then the ship has operated a summer season of excursions around the Bristol Channel, with visits to most areas of the UK. In Winter 2002, Balmoral received new engines, partially funded by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.[3]

Today Balmoral can comfortably accommodate up to 750 passengers and has a self-service restaurant on board, along with two licensed bars, a heated observation lounge and a souvenir shop.[citation needed]


External links

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