RMS St Helena to sail for yet another year

2017-01-20 12:06 - Louzel Lombard Steyn
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Cape Town - While a long-anticipated airport on the remote island of St Helena is causing a massive headache for developers and airlines, nostalgic travellers are delighted that one of the last working Royal Mail Ships in the world, the RMS St Helena, will continue serving the remote South Atlantic island for yet another 12 months.

The news comes following the indefinite postponement of the opening of an airport on the island. 

The airport cost £285 million to build and was due to open in May 2016, but due to unforeseen and severe wind shear conditions at the newly built airport, commercial planes can not yet land on the airstrip.

The development left the isolated South Atlantic island without a clear economic future, not to mention that UK taxpayers will have to cough up multimillion-pound bill to the yet-to-be-functional airport. 

Late last year, the St Helena Government has reopened the process to procure to secure an air service provider or providers to the Island in the South Atlantic Ocean.

SEE: Delays drag on as St Helena opens tenders for commercial flights again

Once scheduled commercial air services are fully established the RMS service will terminate, though there is currently no scheduled date for the airport to open.

Following the delays, the St Helena government has now announced an extension of the RMS St Helena schedule, with sailings bookable to February 2018. This means that this bucket-list cruise experience is a must for travellers wanting to visit one of the most remote islands on the planet.

The trip, which takes six days by sea from Cape Town, offers visitors the chance to immerse themselves in the island’s slower pace of life prior to arrival, and mingle with returning St Helenians or ‘Saints’.

The 155-berth liner is a unique blend of a passenger ship and cargo vessel. Passengers are well looked after with two bars, full-service dining room, a sun deck, shop, swimming pool, gymnasium and library.

The nostalgia found on board the Royal Mail Ship is a world away from the modern cruise liner, with traditional deck games, informative talks, quizzes and film nights offering the taste of another era.

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