MV Balmoral : The crew sleeps on board overnight in cabins below decks – but the accommodation comprises 1949-vintage cabins made with traditional varnished mahogany panelling

The pleasure ship MV Balmoral is facing another major financial hurdle following reports that all the crew-accommodation in the ship will have to be ripped out or renovated  before she can be re-certified for service next year.

After a run of bad weather – and bad luck  – this season MV Balmoral Trust ponders whether the little ship may have killed a metaphorical albatross.

An albatross – the seabird mariners say brings bad luck if killed.

Quoting from Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “Rime of the Ancient Mariner ” (which says the killing of an albatross portends bad luck) the Trust says   “With the amount of misfortune Balmoral has had already this season – there must have been a very large number of that wonderful bird killed.”

The Trust says “It’s ironic that when the weather has been good the ship has had mechanical problems and when really poor weather (and what a poor summer it’s been) she has been mechanically fine. Passenger numbers (when we have sailed) are up substantially and comments and feedback received has been very positive.”

The crew members of Balmoral live aboard and sleep in the wooden panelled cabins of the focsle

The latest problem to beset the little ship however is the condition of the crew quarters on board. New standards which the Maritime and Coastguard Agency is introducing from  2019 require that crew members – who sleep aboard –  can no longer be accommodated below decks in traditional wooden-panelled cabins.

The old crew cabins will have to have their varnished mahogany panelling removed and replaced to meet the new crew accommodation fire safety and welfare standards.

Balmoral at anchor  (signified by the black ball over the bow). The crew sleeps aboard.

The Balmoral Trust says “ What was acceptable in 1949 [ when Balmoral was built]  is far from ideal or comfortable now for our crew in the 21st Century. This could challenge some heritage elements of the ship and of course will have major cost implications.”

The Balmoral Trust has submitted a £1,800,000 application to the Heritage Lottery Fund – but the Trust has yet to hear whether the bid has gone though to Stage 2 of the grants process.

Balmoral is back at Penarth Pier on Friday September 29th 2017 10:00 for a cruise to Clevedon where passengers are invited to take in a movie at the “Curzon Community Cinema and Arts Centre”  and might well feel it’s a pity, since the closure of the Penarth Pier Pavilion Cinema that,  Penarth can’t offer something similar.

The programme continues until Balmoral’s final sailing of the year from Penarth on
Monday October 9th 2017 07:15 – which is advertised as a “Breakfast Cruise: River Avon & Bristol City Docks”. Passengers return by coach.

The full programme is on line on  https://www.whitefunnel.co.uk/c-15-penarth.aspx

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  1. AK says:

    I wonder how much the refurbishment will cost the charity.

    I’m sure the crew deserve a good standard of accommodation, but the MCA should realise that it is a heritage ship, not the Queen Elizabeth.

  2. whatsoccurin says:

    The ship does seem jinxed this year, having to cancel Severn Estuary trips due to rough weather and then taking a chance in calm Liverpool Bay only for the weather to turn nasty and having a torrid cruise asking heaving Scouse passengers to “calm down”-extra cruises from Penarth this month-what else could possibly go wrong?

  3. Johnmc says:

    As far as I can see, the trip tomorrow, and most of next week, has been cancelled, again.
    Really sad. Wonder why they cancelled trips when they could maybe have put crew up in premier inn or such like?

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