Steaming on the Solent in 2024 – Shieldhall releases details on sailing programme

December 13, 2023

The volunteers at Steamship Shieldhall in Southampton have released details of the ship’s 2024 sailing progamme. Commencing on Friday 3 May, with a final sailing on Sunday 15 September, there are a variety of 2hr, 3hr, 3 1/2hr, 4hr and all day sailings to choose from, including some returning favourite cruises and some all-new trips. Until 31 January 2024, a series of ‘Early Bird’ offers, with savings of up to 20% on selected trips, will be available.

New for 2024, Shieldhall will set sail for Sunset Cruises on Friday’s 5 July and 16 August with musical entertainment on board. D-Day 80 cruises are being staged on Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 June, showcasing the important role the Solent and its environs played in Operation Overlord. Shieldhall will also be supporting the Hampshire Food Festival, with a cruise inclusive of a two-course Hampshire inspired lunch on Sunday 7 July, whilst ‘Chef Sam’ will also be on board offering an exclusive ‘Captain’s Table’ dining event ahead of Shieldhall’s Father’s Day Cruise on Sunday 16 June.
Other trips will be returning due to popular demand, including two return trips to Portsmouth Harbour on Sunday 9 June (as part of D-Day 80 weekend) and Sunday 18 August. In addition to the naval ships, these trips give an exciting opportunity to view the dramatic skyline of Portsmouth, including Southsea; Clarence Pier; Spice Island and the Spinnaker Tower, from the water.
One of the beauties of steam propulsion is that Shieldhall does not tend to vibrate or roll, and as such makes a great viewing platform, perfect for photography. For 2024, Shieldhall will steam to the Solent to watch the spectacle of the Round the Island Race on Saturday 15 June and the racing at Cowes Week on Saturday 27 July. Then, in late August / early September Shieldhall plans to be in the very best position to see the impressive sights of the Bournemouth Air Festival. Details on the Festival – which may be the last unless sponsors can be found – have still to be confirmed, but there is an opportunity to ‘register your interest’ at this stage.
Musical highlights of the 2024 programme include the Selsey Shantymen performing on board on Saturday 4 May and Southampton’s own ‘Salty Sea Dogs’ on Sunday 28 July in addition to the 5 July and 16 August Friday evening music trips. Not forgetting Shieldhall’s own in-house jazz band, The Stompers, who will provide entertainment on her positional cruise to Poole on Bank Holiday Monday 26 August.
Shieldhall Chairman Martin Phipps noted: ‘We are delighted to launch our 2024 sailing programme, full of returning favourite excursions, but with a number of new trips, including the marking of significant anniversary events; festivals and special occasions. Plus some early bird special offers!’
 ‘2023 saw our volunteers faced with a difficult year, with exceptional cost pressures and a continued hesitation by many to book post Covid. Whilst our sailing season was a success the drain on our funds left us with a doubt over our ability to fund essential dry docking prior to the 2024 season. Thanks however to the generosity of our members and the success in securing additional funds, the pressures have eased and the ship is now booked to attend dry dock in May. Through the hard work of our volunteers the ship is looking better than ever and we can look forward to an exciting season. Operating a heritage steamship approaching her 70th birthday (to be celebrated in 2025!) continues to be challenging. However, our guests positive reviews and comments are always a boost to our volunteers, who are rightly proud of Shieldhall’s rating as ‘No 1 Thing to See and Do in Southampton’ on TripAdvisor.’ To view Shieldhall’s complete 2024 sailing programme, please visit: www.ss-shieldhall.co.uk. Trips currently scheduled for 2024:
Friday 3 May 2024 timing tbc, Queen Anne launch cruise
Saturday 4 May, Steam to the Solent Cruise with the Selsey Shantymen, 3.30pm – 7pm
Sunday 5 May, Rogation Sunday Port Cruise, 4.30pm – 6.30pm
Saturday 8 June, D-Day 80th themed cruised to the Solent (Lepe) 2pm – 6pm
Sunday 9 June, D-Day 80th themed cruise to Portsmouth Harbour 11.30am – 6pm
Saturday 15 June, Round the Island Race, 10am – 5pm
Sunday 16 June, Steam to the Solent and see the cruise ships depart, 3.30pm – 7pm
Friday 5 July, Sunset Music Cruise, 6.30pm – 9.30pm
Sunday 7 July, Hampshire Food Festival Cruise to the Eastern Solent, 12 noon – 6pm
Saturday 13 July, Steam to the Solent and see Cruise Ships depart 3.30pm – 7pm
Sunday 14 July, Cruise to see the Solent Forts, 12noon – 6pm NEW FOR 2024
Saturday 27 July, Cowes Week Launch Event cruise, 10am – 2pm
Sunday 28 July, Steam to the Solent Cruise with the Southampton Salty Sea Dogs Shanty Band
Friday 16 August, Sunset Music Cruise, 6.30pm – 9.30pm
Saturday 17 August, Cruise to The Needles, 10.30am – 6pm
Sunday 18 August, Cruise to Portsmouth Harbour, 10.30am – 5pm
Monday 26 August, One way trip to Poole, 10am – 4pm subject to confirmation
Thursday 29 August, Jurassic Coast Cruise with the Wareham Whalers, 11am – 4pm subject to confirmation
Friday 30 August, Bournemouth Air Festival, 10am – 7pm subject to confirmation
Saturday 31 August, Bournemouth Air Festival, 10am – 7pm subject to confirmation
Sunday 1 September, Bournemouth Air Festival, 10am – 7pm subject to confirmation
Monday 2 September, One way trip to Southampton, 10am – 4pm subject to confirmation
Saturday 14 September, Heritage Open Day Cruise, 4pm – 6pm
Sunday 15 September, Boat Show Cruise Steam to the Solent, 2.30pm – 6pm
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