Friday, 8 July 2011

The Royal Yacht Britannia.

2http://www.royalyachtbritannia.co.uk

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It was off into the city again for round two of the City Tour buses. First up was Majestic Tours who are the only one that includes the Royal Yacht “Britannia”. Edinburgh won the right to house the Yacht when it was decommissioned in 1997 as part of a redevelopment of the Port of Leith. A whole new shopping complex along with the Royal Yacht has made it the most visited tourist attraction in Edinburgh. The four levels open to the public are well displayed with plenty of information boards. What surprised us was the level of furnishings on board used by the Royal Family. We were expecting to find furniture that you see in stately homes and castles but it was quite the opposite. Regular furnishings that you could find in many a family home across the country although they may have been better quality in finish.

The bridge of HMY Britannia.The bridge of HMY Britannia.

HMY Britannia. Stern deck.HMY Britannia. Stern deck.

The Royal Family room with plenty of windows and her private deck and sun lounge.The Royal Family room with plenty of windows and her private deck and sun lounge.

The daily Rum ration until the Navy cancelled it.The daily Rum ration until the Navy cancelled it.

The Queens bed and bedroom. Quite simplistic really. The wall hanging above the bed cost £450.The Queens bed and bedroom. Quite simplistic really. The wall hanging above the bed cost £450.

The Duke of Edinburgh's bedroom. He preferred blankets rather than duvets.The Duke of Edinburgh's bedroom. He preferred blankets rather than duvets.

The crews quarters were a typical naval vessel where every inch of space is utilised. Depending on rank as to whether you had a cabin to yourself or shared two, four or six to a cabin with bunks. Originally the crew had hammocks but during a refit bunks were installed. The crew had a different lifestyle on Britannia compared with other naval vessels. When guests were on board they didn’t have to wear caps or hats so that constant saluting didn’t have to be returned. Work in what was the family area had to be completed by the crew early in the morning or if this was not possible then the crew had to complete the work in total silence. If a member of the family or a guest entered the area they were to stand to attention until the person concerned left.

HMY Britannia.HMY Britannia.

Officers Dining room.Officers Dining room.

The crew did have some fun. Two gifts to the crew were a toy Wombat that was used as mess room tennis where the toy was thrown into the blades of a ceiling fan and who ever caught it had to return the serve so to speak. The other was a wooden Monkey that was to be displayed in a glass cabinet and not to be touched. However every night the monkey would mysteriously move to a different location.

The wombat in the crew mess.The wombat in the crew mess.

This little monkey used to magically move every night.This little monkey used to magically move every night.

The State Dining Room. Around the walls are gifts from countries Britannia visited.The State Dining Room. Around the walls are gifts from countries Britannia visited.

Plush stairwells and a private lift.Plush stairwells and a private lift.

When the Queen was on board her day ran from 7am to 11pm and the crews days were not much shorter. Originally the Royal Rolls Royce was stowed on board on official tours but the only way it would fit in the garage was to take the bumpers off. Eventually this practice was stopped by sourcing suitable vehicles in the locations she was to visit and the garage space was converted to other purposes.

The operating theatre in case of emergencies.The operating theatre in case of emergencies.

The Queens Family room, comfortable but not lavish.The Queens Family room, comfortable but not lavish.

The baby grand piano in the family room which many members of the royal family played.The baby grand piano in the family room which many members of the royal family played.

Crews bunk room. They used to have hammocks prior to a refit.Crews bunk room. They used to have hammocks prior to a refit.

The engine room was spotless with 8 engineers being on duty at any given time. An American guest on being shown the engine room while the ship was still in service made the comment “OK that’s nice, now show me the real engine room”. He was obviously expecting to see dirt, oil and grease everywhere but that wasn’t the case. During the life of the ship everything performed perfectly and the equipment was basically as it was after being launched.

The P Class yacht built in New Zealand presented to the Queen in 1953.The P Class yacht built by David Marks in New Zealand in 1952 and presented to the Queen the following year.

Three hours disappeared before we realised what time of day it was. Congratulations must go to the Trust who are presenting the Royal Yacht to the public for a fantastic job. It was then back into the city for lunch before we took the fourth and final tour bus. This bus concentrates on the Old Town of Edinburgh around the Castle. We left this bus at the Castle and then walked down the Royal Mile which is actually 1.2 miles but hey, whose counting. By this time we were both in agreement that it was time to head home as it was almost 6pm.

Edinburgh Castle.All this and we haven't even covered Edinburgh yet, more to come tomorrow, I’m off to bed.

4 comments:

Paul and Elaine said...

Thank Christ Britannia didn't end up being owned by some Sheik!
She came to Sydney in the 80s and we went and had a look at her.
I would have been happy to own one of the lifeboats, they were fantastic.

Derek and Dot said...

Hi Paul and Elaine
Yes we agree but it is now owned by the Royal Britannia Trust and they have made a lovely job of having it on display. A real credit to them.

Carol said...

Great blog, very interesting.

Derek and Dot said...

Hi Carol
Thanks for that you know how hard it is keeping it up to date all the time. Happy cruising.
Regards Dot