TRANSVAAL CASTLE

Transvaal Castle

Transvaal Castle

First published in Hampshire Heritage Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Shipping & Heritage Reporter

By introducing the first hotel-class liner, Transvaal Castle, in the early 1960's, the Union-Castle Line brought a new attitude to ocean travel.

Out went the old divisions as there was accommodation for 728 passengers who all shared the public rooms and open decks.

As in any hotel ashore Transvaal Castle offered some luxury suites, which in 1961 cost £700, a sizeable sum in those days, for a 6,000 mile voyage from Southampton to Cape Town.

For the first time waitresses were also introduced on the ship which was built by the John Brown yard on the Clyde.

Later Safmarine, Union-Castle's operating partner, bought the ship and renamed her SA Vaal, and the liner went on to complete more than 100 voyages on the Cape service.

She was later sold to Carnival Cruises and underwent a major re-conversion to the role of a cruise ship.

In recent years the ship was put up for sale again and was operated as Island Breeze and became well known around the Mediterranean.

Recently the owners went into bankruptcy and now the ship awaits an uncertain future in the Bahamas.

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