FAQs

We hope this page puts your mind at rest to any questions tha you may have!

If your question is related to a booking, please click here.

  • Tell me why I should take a cruise on Shieldhall

    Shieldhall is the largest operational steam ship in Europe, possibly in the world, so you can experience the travel of a bygone age, one known by many generations up to about 40 years ago. She provides a unique experience of the conditions of that time and the crew will always explain all you need to know. On our cruises, we often view the large new cruise ships as they depart from Southampton, many of our cruises in late afternoon are designed to see these huge ships.

    Our passengers frequently tell us they have had a truly memorable day with us, and many travel on our cruises time after time. See their comments on TripAdvisor where Shieldhall is listed as “Number 1 Thing to See and Do in Southampton”.

  • Where is the ship berthed & how do I get there?

    Visit the page www.ss-shieldhall.co.uk/find_us for all the information you need.

  • Will you let me know if there are any changes to a planned cruise?

    Yes! If you supplied an E mail address, or a phone number when booking, then we will endeavour to contact you when we know of any changes. This can be at quite short notice. We recommend you visit the Shieldhall website www.ss-shieldhall.co.uk in the days leading up to your cruise to check latest cruise information. Our ticket manager can be contacted by emailing tickets@ss-shieldhall.co.uk or by calling 0844 357 2329.

    On the day of your excursion, please call the number that has been given to you in your joining instructions.

  • What food and drink will be available?

    The ship has a licensed bar and a galley. The bar sells a wide range of alcoholic drinks (including a range of “Titanic” beers), soft drinks, tea and coffee and ice cream.
    The galley will produce, for sale, a range of hot and cold food appropriate to the time of a cruise and the length of that cruise. Vegetarian food will always be available. Downloadable menus are available from our website. We support local suppliers including the Flack Manor Brewery, New Forest Ice Cream and Caymanas Rum Cakes. If you have any questions relating to the food/drink, please contact catering@ss-shieldhall.co.uk

  • Are there toilets aboard?

    There are Mens and Ladies toilets (called “heads” in nautical parlance), located on the main (lower) deck. The Ladies is located on the starboard side, midship area, the Gents on the opposite (port) side, also midship area.

    “Starboard” = right hand side viewed from aft.
    “Port” – left hand side viewed from aft.

  • Are there facilities for children?

    YES!

    We have activities for children of various ages including a Shieldhall Passport which can be followed around the ship – it’s a great way for children to learn about Shieldhall’s operation. Look out for special activities on board, and cruises especially for families, such as  our popular 2hrs family dock cruises.

    Our volunteers take delight in showing families the working parts of the ship!

  • When can we board the ship for our cruise?

    We open the gangway for boarding one hour before departure, and we ask passengers to be aboard no later than 15 minutes before departure.

  • What facilities exist for disabled passengers?

    We are pleased to offer an accesibility guide on our website. Click here to view/download

    In summary, Shieldhall is an elderly vessel, built for the conditions of the time and built to do work. Therefore, she does have very steep stairs, and high cills (approximately 12 inches, 300mm) on entrance doors. Thus, people in wheelchairs can experience some difficulty when aboard. Our boarding process usually takes place onto the upper (boat) deck, depending on the state of the tides at the time, and that deck does not have any toilets. Our main gangway does allow a wheelchair to be pushed along it.

    However, if in any doubt, please do either ask further questions or, better still, come and visit us to see for yourselves what facilities exist. There are crew aboard every Wednesday and Saturday to advise you. Please arrange any such visits with the ticket manager by emailing tickets@ss-shieldhall.co.uk

  • Is there shelter from the weather?

    Shieldhall  has a saloon, which can accommodate approximately 75 passengers, and an awning facility on the boat deck, which can accommodate a similar number of passengers. There are other covered areas on the ship, so all passengers can shelter from the sun/wind/rain if need be!

    In fine weather, there are extensive seating areas on the main and boat decks. Click here to view different areas of our ship

  • What can I see onboard?

    We encourage passengers to go down into the engine room and boiler room, where the main steam engines and boilers can be seen at work, and where the crew will be pleased to answer any questions.

    We also encourage passengers to visit the bridge where they can see how the ship is operated, and can ask any questions of the captain and bridge crew.

    There are approximately 20 other steam engines around the ship which can be seen working. A helpful orientation map will be given to passengers on boarding the ship. There is very interesting scenery whilst sailing from both Southampton and Poole and a commentary given.

  • Will I feel sea-sick onboard?

    This is very unlikely. Shieldhall usually stays in calm waters and, in any case, is very steady and quiet when underway. She is a remarkably stable ship.

  • How is the ship propelled?

    Shieldhall has twin 800 HP triple expansion steam engines, powered by twin oil fired boilers, providing steam at up to 180 psi. Each engine drives a propeller.

  • What is the speed of the ship?

    Shieldhall is capable of travelling at a speed of approximately 12 knots in still water, but hardly ever travels at that speed, due to the cost of fuel to do so. Our average sailing speed is between 8 – 9 knots.

  • Do you have a commentary during the cruises?

    Yes, we do, and this will provide details of the sights seen as we pass by, and other interesting and relevant facts such as details relating to cruise and container ships. The areas we operate in have a great many things of interest, and we ensure that we inform passengers of these. Our commentary can be heard at most areas of the ship.

  • Where do you go on a cruise?

    We have a variety of sailings ranging from 2 hour to all day cruises!

    Please visit the individual event page for more information on each sailing. Click here to view.

  • What should I wear?

    This depends on the weather. It is usually colder out on the water than ashore, so do bring something to cope with that. But, on a sunny day, the sun can be very strong, so do bring hats, sun cream etc.

  • Do you accommodate groups?

    Yes, we certainly do, and all members of the group, of 10 or more participants, get a 10% discount on their ticket price. We have a number of packages specially designed for groups. These are called Group Packages and these events can all be found under the booking page using the filter “Group Packages”.

  • Is it safe for toddlers?

    Yes, young children will be offered a life jacket to wear whilst onboard if parents wish. We do request that children are supervised by an adult at all times whilst onboard.

  • Can we bring a baby?

    Yes, you can, and we have nappy changing facilities in the ladies heads.

    Please note that a ticket is required for any child above the age of 1. This can be booked through our online ticketing system.

  • If I come with my fiancée, can the captain marry us?

    Regrettably not – no British registered ship can do this now.

    We can, however, provide you with a unique venue for your wedding reception, either with the ship alongside its berth, or you can charter her for your special cruise.

    If you would like to enquire, please email operations@ss-shieldhall.co.uk

  • Can you provide for a special occasion?

    Yes! We would be pleased to discuss your special requirements. We often welcome quests with special birthdays and anniversaries.

    If told in advance, we can arrange for photo’s with the captain and special greeting cards to be prepared.

  • What happens if a cruise is cancelled?

    If we need to cancel a cruise (as happens very occasionally in the case of bad weather) ticket holders will be informed and given a refund, or given the opportunity to switch to another cruise.

  • Can Shieldhall be chartered?

    Shieldhall is available for charter for up to x 200 persons – if you are interested in this possibility, please visit our bookings page and use the filter “private hire” for more information. You are able to fill in an online form on this page and our operations manager will be in touch with you.

    You can also email operations@ss-shieldhall.co.uk

  • Can I bring food or drink aboard the Shieldhall?

    We allow picnics on the Shieldhall but request that no alcoholic drinks be brought aboard. The Shieldhall has a fully licensed bar and serves hot and cold food and snacks on all cruises. We kindly ask that any passengers that bring their own food onboard refrain from consuming this in the onboard Saloon.

  • Where else can I visit in Southampton?

    There is plenty of things to keep you occupied whilst on your visit to Southampton! Visit www.visitsouthampton.co.uk for more information

  • Is someone from the Shieldhall available to give a talk to my group?

    Yes, we have volunteers who would be delighted to give a talk on Shieldhall and her history. Please contact the Ticket Master in the first instance at tickets@ss-shieldhall.co.uk or call 0844 357 2329