The early years

Now safe and established on the water, the Queen of the Isles sought gainful employment.

Originally envisaged as a partner to The Scilly Islands Steamship Company's vessel mv Scillonian, the Queen found it hard to make a name for herself.

Operating for some of the greatest names in the British Charter Cruise industry, the Queen arrived as the leisure tastes of the British public changed. With it, came the demise of these Companies, leaving the young Queen without a purpose....

The early years were troubled ones for the fledgling Queen, originally intended by The Isles of Scilly Steamship Company, that the she should complement the service provided by the other company ship, mv Scillonian, many problems emerged during the early years of operation.

The ship was laid up at Hayle in Corwall during the winter of 1966/67 for various reasons seemingly unconnected with the vessel itself. Many passengers can­celled advance bookings leading to rumours that the ship would soon be sold just 18 months after her maiden voyage.

To try and recoup some of their investments and to find a purpose for the shinny new ship, the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company put her out on a range of charters that became many and varied, but again all too brief.

In early 1967 the Queen was chartered by the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board for a series of cruises to demon­strate to school children the facilities of the Liverpool docks. Various other routes were tried including a run between Llandudno and Menai Straits in Wales.  

In August 1967 the ship was chartered by the Commodore Shipping Company in the Channel Islands. Unfortunately, the charterers discovered that the cargo space was inadequate and that the ship was too large for Sark harbour particularly in bad weather. Local fishermen described the Queen as a 'big menace' and pettioned the local council to stop her operating in the harbour.

In late October, 1967 while on passage from Penzance, the ship ran into a 70 knot storm which forced her to return to port. During the early part of her career the ship was chartered on several occasions by national TV and newspapers to intercept around the world sailors and trans-Atlantic rowers. She was also utilised as a floating ballroom and has been chartered for company outings. She was used for many purposes, carrying daffodils as cargo between the the Isles of Scilly and Penzance at one stage.

Between 1968 and 1970, the Queen was chartered to P & A Campbell running excursion cruises as part of the famous White Funnel Fleet. Amongst others, she ran 3 day cruises from Wales to Ireland. 

As any ship lover with a knowledge of economics would agree, this was not the way to make money. A ship, particularly an expensive one with limited capacity for cargo and day passengers only, needs a steady run with healthy bookings on a regular basis. Despite the best efforts of the owners and agents, England could not support this magnificent craft. It was neither an efficient liner nor a dedicated freighter.

It was a hybrid built to service a particular trade. The own­ers started to look around for a prospective purchaser to unload their burden.


The Queen cruised the west coast of UK, for a variety of operators. She never really found her place

Pages to view:

A Princess born

Charles Hill & Sons


Early years pictures

Cold Iron

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