The Göta Canal Steamship Company was founded on February 27, 1869, under the name Ångfartygsaktiebolaget Motala Ström. The first boat was used, and they refurbished it to be able to hold 48 guests, calling it Motalaström. The new operation exceeded expectations, and two more boats were built, called Venus and Juno. Juno, which was delivered in 1874, is still in operation and is the oldest registered passenger boat with sleeping accommodations.
A Unique History
Two years later the company entered a partnership, and eleven boats, both cargo and passenger, came about as a result. After a break during WWI, business resumed in the 1920s, and in 1931 the new boat Diana was delivered. Just before and during WWII, the tourism economy was weak and the boats were laid up for the duration of the war. For a while, the company was run by different owners, but in 1957 Helge Källsson bought it and the company was renamed to Rederi AB Göta Kanal. The three remaining boats were restored and modernized, and in 1986 Källsson’s daughter took over the shipping company.
How Many Passengers: From 44 to 59 passengers.
Personality: The three river ships are very old – the newest was launched in 1931. Amenities and interiors have been updated, but many features were kept historically accurate so some spaces will make guests feel like they’re stepping back into time. Since the vessels are so small, there’s a very intimate atmosphere onboard.
Fellow Passengers: Generally, you’ll find a mix of ages on their ships. Because the cruise line offers shorter getaway cruises, it attracts young professionals looking for an upscale break from the daily grind. Older, seasoned cruisers enjoy the history ships and the peaceful canals.
Cabins: All cabins are outside-facing, and are decorated with brass details and elegant fabrics. They are small, and somewhat resemble the sleeping compartments on a train. Most have bunk beds, but a few have queen beds, and all have a sink with hot and cold water. Toilets and showers are shared, and there are facilities on each deck.
Dining: Meals are usually served in the dining room, but occasionally will be served in the more casual lounge area. Breakfast is a buffet, lunch is a two-course affair, and dinner is three courses. On one evening per cruise, there is a special Captain’s Dinner where the captain joins guests for the meal.
Amenities: The ships include lounges, a library, bicycles for on-shore use, and covered, open-air decks for picturesque views. There are guided tours in ports, which are optional but of course, recommended, and daily informational meetings for details on the day’s events, tours, and information on that day’s port stop.
Best For: Those looking for a destination-centric experience, those who enjoy a smaller ship and more intimate, quiet atmosphere onboard, and those who are looking to make friends onboard.
Included Alcohol: None; drinks are added to the final bill
Where They Go: The Göta Canal