Steamship Shieldhall marked her 65th birthday this summer, but was unable to celebrate in style as planned with a trip to the Nab Tower. However, behind-the-scenes work on Shieldhall means that Southampton’s heritage steamship is in excellent condition, with volunteers looking forward to a full 2021 sailing programme. Earlier this month Shieldhall launched a new website, www.ss-shieldhall.co.uk, and has now unveiled her 2021 sailing programme.
Shieldhall’s 2021 sailing will commence in May and carry through to September, with a mixture of 2hr, 3 1/2hr, 4hr, 6hr and all-day cruises. Special trips held over from 2020 will be staged, including the sailing to the Nab Tower and a cruise to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the first steamship to leave Southampton, the Prince of Cobourg, in 1820. Also included will be trips to view the Round the Island and Fastnet Races, and the Bournemouth Air Festival. There will be special themed cruises including a Titanic based cruise, and music cruises with tribute bands RU40, the Soulcatchers and Shieldhall’s house band the Stompers.
Initially, a limited number of tickets will be available as Shieldhall introduces COVID-compliant measures on board during the autumn and winter. A Government Heritage Emergency Grant awarded during the summer has assisted Shieldhall’s volunteers in carrying out essential maintenance works on the ship and alongside, which continues in earnest. The new website offers passengers the chance to further support the Shieldhall Charity by becoming members (and entitled to a 10% saving on all tickets purchased) and to purchase Gift Tickets for Christmas, birthdays and other special occasions. Steam enthusiasts should look out for opportunities to purchase single day or two-day ‘Steam Experiences’ on board, whilst two Heritage Adventure Training Days at Sea for youth groups will be staged, together with two ashes scatterings at sea. A popular outing for groups, Shieldhall has once again teamed up with SeaCity Museum, Solent Sky and the SEE Southampton tour guides to offer full day packages for parties of 10 or more on the themes of the Titanic, the Spitfire and the Mayflower. These will be available when coinciding with 2hr and 3 ½ hour sailings.
Lewis Folland of Shieldhall’s marketing team noted: ‘We have published next year’s programme earlier than ever. Many of our guests unable to sail with us this year have offered their support and encouragement by holding tickets over to 2021, and we cannot wait to welcome them and other passengers on board. The distinctive sound of Shieldhall’s siren and whistle may have been missing from Southampton Water and The Solent during 2020, but we look forward to once again becoming a regular site on this most historic stretch of water, keeping Shieldhall ‘Alive and Steaming.’