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And Then There Were Two - Royal Daffodil - The Last Day

Photographs  John H. Luxton 2012

Saturday December 15, 2012 saw Mersey Ferries ROYAL DAFFODIL operate her final sailings. Her last sailing being the Merseytravel Staff Christmas Party Cruise scheduled to operate during the evening after the end of the public service. Built as the MV OVERCHURCH by Cammell Laird in 1962 for Birkenhead Corporation, she passed to the Merseyside Passenger Transport Executive (which later became Merseytravel) in 1968. She was extensively rebuilt and re-engined in 1999 at Manchester Dry Docks by Lengthline. Following rebuilt she was renamed ROYAL DAFFODIL. The rebuild provided her with extensive undercover accommodation which included a lower saloon dance floor and the capability to operate out into Liverpool Bay and to Llandudno. However, only one sailing was made to Llandudno Pier for berthing trails was undertaken and the proposed service never materialised. In recent years the ship has suffered from engine problems and her unreliability combined with significant losses on Merseytravel's Mersey Ferries operations revealed earlier in 2012 led to the decision being taken to withdraw her from service and lay her up whilst her future is decided.

During 2013 Mersey Ferries will operate SNOWDROP and ROYAL IRIS OF THE MERSEY on the Ferries services and Manchester Ship Canal cruises. There will be fewer MSC cruises, reduced ferry sailings at weekends particularly during the winter months and with the withdrawal of ROYAL DAFFODIL no more public party cruises.  

ROYAL DAFFODIL is seen departing from Liverpool on her 11:00 River Cruise and crossing the river to Seacombe on a fast flowing flood tide.
The upper promenade deck and passenger saloon is shown above. There appeared to be a pigeon in residence in the saloon.

When the ROYAL DAFFODIL was rebuilt she was fitted with rather nice brass signage. However, several years ago most of the brass signs were replaced by rather tacky plastic ones. However, the brass signs giving details of her engines and the part played by the European Union in part financing her rebuild were retained - left.

Approaching Birkenhead Woodside on her 12:00 sailing from Liverpool and passing the BEN-MY-CHREE
Gangway areaPorts side main deck aftStarboard side main deck aft
The lower passenger saloon with dance floor and bar - another pigeon appeared to be in residence there too!
 

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