Windermere Lake Cruises’ brand-new 300-seat boat MV ‘Swift’ has officially come into service, making it the biggest boat to be launched onto England’s longest lake in 80 years.
After being formally handed over to Winander Leisure Limited by Damen Shipyards Gorinchem BV earlier this month, the new vessel, operated by Windermere Lake Cruises Limited, carried her first passengers on Sunday October 25.
Departing from Lakeside at 10.15am on Sunday, MV ‘Swift’ sailed up the lake to Bowness and on to Ambleside. The passengers onboard were taken by surprise at being among the first people to enjoy the milestone cruise while adhering to social distancing rules.
Chairman of Windermere Lake Cruises, Bill Bewley says, “After around 18 months of planning and constructing MV Swift, it was a real thrill to see her finally go into service and a nice distraction from what has without doubt been an extremely challenging year for everyone. We hope local people come along and enjoy Windermere throughout the half term holidays and beyond, and in-turn, support many other businesses and attractions around the lake as we head into autumn and towards the winter. We also welcome visitors from further afield but do ask that the current Tier advice is considered when planning their visits.
“As I have said in the past, while the launch of the vessel has come at a time of significant economic uncertainty due to the Coronavirus pandemic, we are confident that the Lake District’s visitor economy has a bright long term future and continue to believe that MV Swift will have an important role to play in the area’s economic recovery in the weeks, months and years ahead.”
One passenger says, “To see this boat alongside the older, traditional boats is really great and it can only be a good thing for the area. I’m not an engineer but it’s clear to see that this is a real feat of engineering. It’s awesome and we’ll definitely be coming back in the future to enjoy another cruise on MV Swift.”
Clive Wilson, a Director of the Lakeside Hotel & Spa on the Lakeside pier, comments, At Lakeside Hotel, we were fortunate to watched MV Swift arrive in sections and then gradually come to life in front of eyes. She looked magnificent on the day she made her way onto the water and now appears like she belongs – as if forever been part of the Windermere Lake Cruises fleet.
“We are excited that our guests will have the opportunity to experience the Lake from the water, with this wonderful new vessel, embarking directly from the hotel front door.
The vessel was built at Lakeside by Damen Shipyards Gorinchem BV and has gone into service following the completion of a thorough inspection and survey by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and the granting of the boat’s Passenger Certificate.