A huge thank-you to our crew of 2016 for all their hard work, enabling the ship to operate a longer summer season of trips and visit many new ports and harbours!
Below is the annual crew photo, the position of the sun hampering our attempt at the traditional style!
All summer MV Balmoral volunteers on board ship have been selling raffle tickets for our Grand Prize Draw, drawn on our last day of sailing this 2016 season. We are now pleased to announce the winners of some amazing raffle prizes!
First Prize - Ticket Number 09735
Winner of a 13 day cruise for two to Madeira, Lisbon & the Canaries with Fred.Olsen Cruise Lines. Sailing on the international cruise liner Balmoral – namesake of our MV Balmoral.
Second Prize - Ticket Number 04951
Winner of two MV Balmoral 2017 Season Tickets.
Third Prize - Ticket Number 01799
Winner of a framed limited edition print of MV Balmoral leaving Worthing Pier. Original by and also donated by Tony Horn.
Please note that prize winners have been informed and prizes claimed.
In excess of £8000 was raised through ticket sales, this money going directly to help keep MV Balmoral sailing into 2017. We would like to thank all passengers who purchased tickets as well as our hard-working volunteers for their support of the ship and the provision of UK coastal pleasure cruises for future generations.
Congratulations to all winners, we hope you enjoy your prizes!
First Prize winners Owen & Eluned Rook being congratulated by the Ship's Master David Howie. Enjoy your cruise!
On Thursday 11 August, Balmoral offered passengers the opportunity to cruise up the River Usk at Newport and to view the impressive Transporter Bridge, one of only eight still in existence.
Balmoral has recommenced visits to Watchet this year which have proved particularly popular with our customers. Many passengers who have never visited this charming little West Somerset coastal town have been impressed at what it has to offer the visitor. Not only is there an attractive harbour and easy access to the West Somerset Railway, which links in either direction to Minehead or Bishops Lydeard, but also the Market House Museum and an intriguing boat museum with examples of local craft now no longer in use. There is an interesting range of shops, cafes and restaurants, including an award winning cider bar, Pebbles Tavern.
White Funnel have also promoted a holiday offered by the Yarn Market Hotel, located in nearby Dunster, arriving at Watchet on Balmoral from either Penarth or Clevedon, with onward transport direct to the hotel meeting the ship at the harbour. What better way to start your holiday rather than at a busy airport terminal or stuck in traffic jams for hours on a motorway? For further information https://www.whitefunnel.co.uk/news.aspx#p52
On Tuesday 16 August Balmoral offered a return sailing from Ilfracombe to Bideford, having departed from Swansea earlier that day. This was Balmoral's first visit to the historic port town of Bideford for over 10 years. The weather for this rather special trip was near perfect with sunshine the whole way, a warm breeze and a calm sea.
Passengers were able to view the North Devon coastline, designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty since 1960, as the ship hugged the coast past Lee Bay towards Bull Point lighthouse. After Bull Point the ship turned to the south giving a superb view of the wonderful sandy beaches so popular with families and surfers of Woolacombe, Croyde and Saunton, passing Morte and Baggy Points on our way.
Balmoral arrived slightly ahead of time in Bideford Bay and whilst we waited for the pilot boat passengers had a good view of Westward Ho! and the Burrows of Northam and Braunton, either side of the river entrance. Once the pilot was onboard we steamed slowly over the Bideford Bar, a sandbank which limits access to the rivers Taw and Torridge for most vessels of any size apart from near high water. Once inside the entrance we turned to starboard and made good progress up the River Torridge and soon the familiar Bideford Long Bridge was in sight.
Waiting for us at the quayside was a welcoming party including the Mayor and Mayoress of Bideford and the Town Cryer, who were later invited onboard to meet the Captain and ship's crew.