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There was a buzz of excitement on our largest lake on 25 October 2020, as the biggest boat to be launched here in 80 years officially came into service.
MV Swift was built actually at Lakeside by Damen Shipyards Gorinchem BV and has been designed with accessibility and comfort in mind, complete with heated windows, electric doors and windows, toilets, USB and electrical sockets. She sits low in the water, with floor to ceiling picture windows giving passengers an unprecedented view of the Lake. Some traditions remain, however, and a coin was welded to the keel of the new boat, to bless MV Swift as a symbol of good fortune.
We caught up with Windermere Lake Cruises about the excitement the new vessel caused.
Sales and Marketing Director Jennifer Cormack, tells me: “We were so excited to welcome our first passengers onboard ‘MV Swift’ in October last year, who enjoyed her maiden voyage. At that time, we had just come out of the first lockdown period, so in the interests of health and safety, we ensured social distancing measures took top priority along with the doubling of our cleaning regimes. Although Swift can carry 300 people, we actually reduced the number of passengers on board to ensure everybody was able to enjoy their journey safe in the knowledge that we were operating in a Covid19-secure manner. Despite those challenges, Swift’s maiden voyage remained a real milestone for Windermere Lake Cruises and it was such a joy to see two years of planning and construction come to fruition. It was a real moment of positivity for everyone involved in the project – not to mention a great moment for our passengers who were finally able to enjoy a well-deserved day-out.”
Managing Director Nigel Wilkinson continued: “After so much work done on Swift’s construction at Lakeside, watching the vessel make her first voyage really symbolised everything we have worked towards for the lake and our visitors. Everyone across The Lake District is working so hard to overcome the challenges posed by 2020 and early 2021, so it’s a great achievement to be able to celebrate the launch of the biggest boat onto Windermere in 80 years despite the situation brought about by Covid19. MV Swift increases our fleet to a total of 17 vessels, from our larger ‘steamers’ to our smaller, traditional wooden launches. We’re incredibly proud of each and every vessel, all of which offer an elegant, timeless experience, now complimented by a 21st Century vessel which really gives our passengers another way to experience the lake when the time is right.”
Jennifer added: “Obviously, we couldn’t have predicted the events of the past year, but we are positive that when the world returns to something more normal, our valued visitors will be looking forward to a cruise along the largest lake in England onboard our beautiful new vessel.”
Nigel continued: “Looking ahead, we will continue to work in collaboration with other businesses and attractions around the lake and beyond to work through this challenging time together. We see the launch of MV Swift as a real symbol of that commitment, not only for the immediate surrounding area, but for the wider Lake District.”