Built in 1949 in Southampton for the Southampton, Isle of Wight & South of England Royal Mail Steam Packet Co., MV Balmoral operated in their Red Funnel fleet for twenty years. Moving to Bristol, she became the last vessel purchased by P&A Campbell for the pleasure steamer services down the Bristol Channel and across to Wales. As well as service in the South West, she was used in North Wales too, even making sailings to Douglas in the Isle of Man, where she was used to serve as a tender to Swedish American Line Kungsholm. P&A Campbell ceased trading in 1980 and, after a short lay-up, MV Balmoral moved to Dundee to become a floating restaurant. This move was unsuccessful and she was purchased for use as a pleasure steamer again. In1986, she returned to service and to the Bristol Channel where she still operates today. In 2002 she was fitted with new engines that have increased her lifespan considerably. In conjunction with her stable-mate, the paddle steamer Waverley, she also operates on the Clyde, the Thames, North Wales and from Southampton and the South Coast. Balmoral and Waverley, two ships, markedly different, but built within two years of each other, are a reminder of the heyday of coastal cruising, when many such ships took holidaymakers on day trips to resorts the length and breadth of the country. Alistair Deayton and Iain Quinn bring together, in words and pictures, a celebration of the first sixty years of MV Balmoral's career as a sea-going pleasure steamer.
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