Her Majesty and I have more in common than you might think!
I love smaller ships, I don’t need a choice of 14 restaurants, multiple bars and lounges, rock climbing walls and ice-skating rinks, if anything it is too much choice and I find you end up flitting from bar to bar all evening, not settling in one place. Give me a Fred Olsen ship with one bar, one lounge and one theatre and I have all I need thank you very much.
A couple of years ago I had the chance to visit the Hebridean Princess, the little ship that has been chartered by her Majesty for family holidays a couple of times. Unfortunately my back went as I was putting my boots on as I was about to leave home so I missed the opportunity. I was gutted to be honest as it is very rare that agents get the chance to experience the ship. A missed opportunity to bounce on the Queens bed!
On Friday night last, with a dearth of anything to watch on TV, I noticed a new series starting called Secrets of the Royal Yachts. This episode was to feature HMY Britannia, the Queens much loved personal yacht, a good chance to have a nosey around – perfect!! Britannia, launched by her Majesty on 16th April 1952 and commissioned on 7th January 1954 was so much more than just the Royal Family’s holiday home. Over the years she was the base for many overseas State visits, she rescued refugee’s from Aden, she opened the sSt Lawrence Seaway in 1959, took part in the 50th Anniversary of the D-Day celebrations with an unprecedented number of Heads of State on board, and her final Royal Duty came in 1997 when the Prince of Wales presided over the hand over of Hong Kong to China. This tiny ship sailed 1,087,623 nautical miles during her service, conducted 696 overseas Royal visits and 272 in home waters. Many business deals were also said to have been done on board over the years. A ship that truly earned her keep, but sadly due to increasing running costs she was decommissioned in December 1997 and since then has been based in Edinburgh as a floating hotel. On the day of decommissioning the Queen was visibly upset, the one and only occasion I can remember her being so, and I can totally understand why. Britannia was such a lovely ship, or yacht, most of the interiors designed by the Queen. I love a small ship and would always choose a small ship over a large ship.
It was such an interesting programme to watch that I’m really glad there wasn’t anything else on or I might have missed it! If you get the chance to watch it on catch up TV then do so. You will hopefully enjoy it as much as I did.
Until next time folks, Happy Cruising!