MV Glen Tarsan

MV Glen Tarsan Review and Specifications

Specifications of MV Glen Tarsan

Year built1977  /  Age : 41
Flag state United Kingdom
BuilderBaltimore (County Cork, Ireland)
Classwooden fishing boat
Speed12 kn / 22 kph / 14 mph
Length (LOA)25 m / 82 ft
Beam (width)7.3 m / 24 ft
Gross Tonnage180 gt
Passengers6 - 11
Decks with cabins2

Review of MV Glen Tarsan

MV Glen Tarsan and MV Glen Massan are traditional wooden fishing ships 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 Glen Massan 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 bigger ships cannot.MV Glen Tarsan 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.  And while a 3- or 6-night cruise onboard these vessels is a relaxing experience, don't expect hotel-style suites or top-notch luxury. Instead, the ships feature a home-away-from-home feel, with only 4 crew members who will do almost anything to make eveyone's holiday special. 

Both Glen Tarsan and Glen Massan have a similar layout. All cabins have double beds, with at least one reserved for solo travellers. Although the staterooms are not hotel-quality, each has freshly laundered duvets, pile of pillows and tartan rugs for extra warmth. There is also an electric radiator and fan recessed in the ceiling in each cabin. Each cabin boasts a small shower room with a washbasin, toilet, hair dryer and Arran Aromatics toiletries, as well as shelves on each side of the bed and small built-in wardrobes. The cabins below deck only have tiny windows with no view, but most of the time guests are either off the boat visiting quirky villages, walking in beautiful countryside, or exploring castles and the gardens the area is renowned for. The rest of the time cruisers are out on deck watching for birds and porpoises or sitting in the main saloon and swapping stories with fellow travellers or reading. 

Coffee are available whenever a crew member is in the galley. There is also a choice of either afternoon tea or morning coffee with home-baked cakes depending on itinerary. Wine is complimentary with evening meals, and there is a reasonably priced bar for tasty pre-dinner drinks. Outside the saloon is situated a small wooden deck with table and chairs, as well as wooden sun loungers on ship's top deck, with a bench on the front deck. 

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