MV Glen Massan

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Cruise line
The Majestic Line (River Cruises)

Current cruise:
N/A

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MV Glen Massan Review and Specifications

Specifications of MV Glen Massan

Year built 1975  /  Age : 42
Flag state United Kingdom
Builder Baltimore (County Cork, Ireland)
Class wooden fishing boat
Speed 12 kn / 22 kph / 14 mph
Length (LOA) 25 m / 82 ft
Beam (width) 7 m / 23 ft
Gross Tonnage 180 gt
Passengers 6 - 11
Crew 4
Decks 3
Cabins 6
Decks with cabins 2

Review of MV Glen Massan

MV Glen Massan and MV Glen Tarsan are traditional wooden fishing boats that have been ingeniously refurbished. Each accommodates a maximum of 11 travelers in 6 double cabins, despite the fact there is room for 12 passengers. Owners Ken Grant and Andy Thoms bought the ship in 2004. The vessel was constructed in Baltimore (County Cork, Ireland) in 1975 and re-launched in 2007. Both ships are small by the standards of most cruise vessels, which is why they can sail where other ships cannot.MV Glen Massan cruise boat

Both Glen Tarsan and Glen Massan have gold-painted funnels. they were built for the Irish fishing fleet by the Irish Government, but the Glen Massan ship was destined to be broken up when her present owners bought and save her from destruction. Then they decided to restore the vessel and transform it into mini-cruise ship. Glen Tarsan was introduced in 2007 after similar restoration. Glen Massan and Glen Tarsan offer 3- and 6-night round-trip sailings from Oban, Scotland to Argyll and the Hebrides. 

Majestic Line is a privately owned cruise line headquartered in Dunoon, Scotland. Established in 2004, it is named after fictional shipping company which features in Neil Munro's Para Handy tales. As of 2013, the cruise line was operating voyages out of Oban to the Islands of Clyde and Inner Hebrides. The company operates a fleet of two ships converted from fishing trawlers, as well as a 3rd, purpose-built vessel, which has the feel and look of “gentleman’s motor yacht” of the 1930s.

In 2004 two friends, Ken Grant and Andy Thoms purchased and converted their first ship, Glen Massan, to a mini liner, sailing from Holy Loch, close to Dunoon to sail the sheltered islands and lochs of Argyll. In May 2007 sister ship Glen Tarsan was introduced to sail from Oban for the Hebrides. The 3rd ship, MV Glen Etive is custom-designed newbuild which was ready to cruise for her 2016 season.

There is a truly Scottish flavour to the family-and-friends-run cruise company, which won Tourism Entrepreneur of the Year category in 2012 Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards. Scottish piper may pipe guests onboard Glen Massan or her sister ship Glen Tarsan, each with painted wooden hull and deckhouse that is topped by polished wooden wheelhouse. 

The two classic fishing boats are the cruising equivalent of restored steam trains. So, while a three- or six-night cruise onboard these ships is a truly relaxing experience, do not expect top-notch luxury or hotel-style suites. Instead, the ships have a home-away-from-home feel, with just four crewmembers who have probably sailed these waters all their lives. They will do almost anything to make your holiday enjoyable, such as buying you a replacement toothbrush or razor when they stock up each day at local shops, and fetching the morning newspapers. 

Both boats have a similar layout. The cabins all have double beds, with at least one usually reserved for solo travellers, and although they are not hotel-quality, each is dressed with freshly laundered duvets, a pile of pillows and tartan rugs at the bottom of the bed for extra warmth. There's also a small electric radiator in each cabin and fan recessed in the ceiling for summer trips. The walls are varnished wood panelling, and each cabin has a very small shower room with a toilet and washbasin, Arran Aromatics toiletries and a hair dryer. The cabins have very small built-in wardrobes, and shelves on each side of the bed have to be used for clothes that can't be hung up. Space is tight, and the cabins below deck only have tiny windows with no view. However, most of the time passengers are either off the boat walking in beautiful countryside, visiting quirky villages or exploring castles and the Gulf stream-warmed gardens the area is famous for. The rest of the time they are out on deck watching for passing porpoises and birds or sitting in the main saloon, swapping stories with fellow passengers, reading or eating. 

Tea and coffee are available whenever a crewmember is in the galley, but there is also a choice of either morning coffee or afternoon tea with home-baked cakes depending on the itinerary. Lunch might be venison sausages with onion gravy and mash, while dinner could be Argyle lamb or fish caught by the local Loch Fyne fleet. Wine is complimentary at evening meals, and there's a reasonably priced bar for pre-dinner drinks and nightcaps. 

Outside the saloon is a small wooden deck with a sizeable table and chairs, and there are wooden sunloungers on the top deck, with a bench on the small front deck. 

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