Princess Royal is manouevered into the slings at the Penarth Quays Marina boat-lift to be hoisted out of the waters of Cardiff Bay for the last time

The “Princess Royal” – the big long yellow waterbus in which thousands of Penarthians have travelled across Cardiff Bay over the last 18 years – has been hoisted out of the water at Penarth Marina for the last time

The boat has been sold to a Liverpool passenger vessel operator and will shortly be on her way North for new career in the  Albert Dock  – now one city’s main tourist attractions.

The Princess Royal‘s departure was an emotional occasion today for the owner and founder of the innovative Cardiff Bay waterbus business Mr Steve Critchley and for his staff .

Steve Critchley (left)  owner of Princess Royal and the founder of the waterbus company which operated her on Cardiff Bay (left) with Mike Hancock (right) who has now bought the vessel to operate tourist excursion cruises on Albert Dock in Liverpool

Mr Critchley said the offer for Princess Royal had come from Liverpool cruise operator, Mr Mike Hancock. Steve Critchley said the deal had all come about in a matter of just two and a half weeks – so quickly in fact  that – even as Princess Royal was being lifted out of the water of Cardiff Bay for the last time – it had all seemed a little unreal .

He and his staff were this afternoon  bidding farewell to a boat which has been part of their lives since the turn of the century.


Over the last 18 years the Princess Royal’s propeller has notched up innumerable miles with thousands of passengers aboard cruising around Cardiff Bay

High and dry Princess Royal will now be prepared for a new chapter in her career

Powered by a single diesel engine, the 55 foot long Princess Royal is so long she needs precise handling skills of the highest order to turn her through 180-degrees in the narrow confines of the Marina and around the landing pontoons of Cardiff Bay.

Princess Royal is the last of three vessels operated by Mr Critchley’s firm in Cardiff Bay – all of whom – with this latest deal –  have now gone on to operate in other venues under new owners .


Princess Royal on the low-loader which is taking her North to Liverpool (Photo Philip Rapier)

A final glimpse of the waters of Cardiff Bay for Princess Royal (Photo John Clark)


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Penarth Daily News email address dmj@newsnet.uk . Penarth Daily News is an independent free on-line fair and balanced news service published by NewsNet Ltd covering the town of Penarth in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales, UK. All our news items are based on the information we receive or discover at the time of publication and are published on the basis that they are accurate to the best of our knowledge and belief at that time. Comments posted on the site by commentators reflect their opinions and are not necessarily shared, endorsed or supported by Penarth Daily News.
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  1. whatsoccurin says:

    Bon voyage-great to see the passenger ships in the Bay and Marina but often wonder how they all make a profit. Our loss is Liverpool’s gain and hopefully they can now replace the quirky “yellow duck marines”. with something a bit safer!

  2. Philip Rapier says:

    We shall miss the First Lady of the Cardiff and Penarth Bay and wish her Bon Voyage. We trust this will not be the last of the “Grangetown Gondoliers”
    55 ft is quite a vessel but me (Deck Officer) and Skipper (Mrs R of course) handle 42 ft on the Norfolk Broads quite ship shape and Yarmouth fashion. thank you.

  3. snoggerdog says:

    my son & i had some really good trips on this specially one where,were it today it would have been cancelled

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