The Göta Canal is one of the most fascinating canals in the world and one of the communication links between Stockholm and Gothenburg. The cruise through the heart of Sweden takes 4-6 days where you will make several cultural stops along the way.
Today Göta Canal is considered one of the 7 natural wonders of Sweden. Travelling onboard one of the historical ships is a unique experience and feels like journeying into another world.
Distances: The Göta Canal is 190 km long and most of it is dug out by hand. It runs from Sjötorp in the west to Mem in the east. Between 1810 and 1832 as many as 58 000 soldiers helped removing 300 000 cubic meters of rock and earth in order to create the three meter deep and approximately 14 meter wide canal. It was Baltzar von Platen who was the man behind Göta Canal, a naval officer and politician who believed it would boost trade and improve Sweden’s defense system.
Cabins: All cabins are on the outside and above the waterline with a porthole. The cabins are located on the lowest deck (main deck) out of the three decks. The cabins open into the hallway.
The cabins are charming and tastefully decorated, but small! With the exception of the cabins on the main deck (lower deck) on M/S Diana (and some special cabins on the other ships), they are fitted with bunk beds and are about the size of a sleeping compartment on a train.
The cabins are fitted with a washbasin with hot and cold water. None of the cabins have private facilities. However, showers are provided on all decks (except shelter deck / middle deck on M/S Diana), as well as toilets.
Facilities: The ships are designed to fit the narrowest lock on the canal. Juno built in 1874, Diana (1931) and M/S Wilhelm Tham (1912) have been listed, meaning that the National Maritime Museums consider them historically important.
The ships are furnished in a period style. Much has been done to preserve the right atmosphere on board, with furnishings that match the period spirit. The dining room and lounge are found on the middle deck and the upper deck offers a covered aft deck with a perfect view. In the dining room Swedish delicacies are served each day. The tables are made up with white table linen and crystal. There is also a small library and shop onboard.
The aim is to create a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere; there is neither radio nor TV on board any of the ships. It is also recommend that you don’t use your mobile phone on board – there are plenty of opportunities for that when the ship lands. On bridge deck you will find comfortable chairs for relaxing and warm blankets to huddle up in on chilly evenings. Here you will also find a bar.
The atmosphere onboard is very personal; the ship only takes up to 50 guests per trip allowing the guests to get to know one another. There is up to 12 staff, including one guide, on each cruise providing first-class service to all guests. The guide speaks at least three languages; Swedish, English and German. Included in all cruises is your own cabin, full board (breakfast, lunch and dinner, excl. drinks), various excursions along the way and a guide onboard.
Description of the ships:
- M/S Wilhelm Tham:
The M/S Wilhelm Tham is the company’s next oldest ship and sails on most 4-day cruises. Like her sister Juno, she was built at the Motala shipyard and was launched in 1912. There are 25 cabins on three decks providing space for around 50 passengers. The M/S Wilhelm Tham has bunk beds for two in all cabins with a few exceptions. On the main deck (lower deck), there are two “honeymoon cabins” each with a 120-cm wide, queen-size bed, and there is also a 4-bed cabin.
- M/S Juno:
Built at the Motala shipyard and launched in 1874, today she is the world’s oldest registered ship with overnight accommodation. M/S Juno has 29 cabins on three decks and sails on most 6-day cruises. All cabins are tastefully fitted with brass details and attractive textiles. They are small and cosy, giving an impression of how people once travelled. The M/S Juno has bunk beds in all cabins with one exception, a “honeymoon cabin” on the main deck with a 120 cm wide, queen-size bed.
- M/S Diana
The M/S Diana is the youngest of the company’s ships, built at the Finnboda shipyard outside Stockholm and launched in 1931. She had been ordered in anticipation of a wave of Swedish-American guests during the Tercentenary Celebration and was designed to travel the Göta Canal between Gothenburg and Stockholm. There are 28 cabins on three decks. The M/S Diana has bunk beds in the cabins except for the cabins on main deck, which are fitted with twin beds. All cabins on the lower deck are newly renovated.
Good to know:
- Boarding takes place at the earliest one hour and no later than 30 minutes before departure. The tour guide welcomes you at the gangway, after which the crew will help you with your luggage and show you to your cabin.
- Daily information meetings are held in three languages (Swedish, English and German). The tour guide tells you what is going to happen during the day, describes the history of the canal and the local sites, and also provides practical information.
- The tour guide is available throughout the cruise and even leads some of the trips ashore.
- The cabins are small and charming. With the exception of a few cabins, they are fitted with bunk beds and are about the size of a sleeping compartment on a train. Medium-sized luggage fits under the berth. Large suitcases can be stored in a luggage room on board.
- As the beds vary in length, please tell us in advance if you are above average height.
- All cabins have a washbasin with hot and cold water. There are showers on all decks (except for shelter deck on M/S Diana), and toilets on all. All cabins have 220V outlets.
- In the ship’s lounge you find a varied library containing non-fiction in Swedish, English and German, including material on the canal, its history and its surroundings. The library is supplied with Swedish newspapers. There is also an onboard souvenir shop with maps, books, postcards and souvenirs.
- Mealtime drinks, purchases from the souvenir shop and bar expenses are put on your cabin number. The bill is cleared on the last day either in cash (SEK) or using the most common credit cards (VISA, American Express, EuroCard, Master Card and Diners Club).
- The kitchen staff is superb and serves a fixed menu for lunch and dinner; two-course lunches and three-course dinners. A breakfast buffet is served every morning, except on the first day of the cruise.
- If you should need any special food on board (e.g. vegetarian, diabetic or allergic), please notify us at least four weeks in advance so we can still give you the best culinary experience.
- Most of the guided excursions are on foot and require a normal walking pace.
The old towpaths alongside the Göta Canal offer many wonderful opportunities for walking or running. You can also borrow one of the ship’s bicycles for explorations along the waterway.
- Daytime wear should be comfortable since much of the time is spent outdoors. To be on the safe side, bring something warm and a windproof jacket, in addition to your summer clothing.
- We recommend walking shoes for the excursions. Traditionally, guests change to something a bit more elegant for dinner, but a dark suit is not essential – smart casual is enough.
- Children travelling must be at least seven years old and sleep in a separate berth. There are no child discounts.
- The ships are charming but old, which means that thresholds are high and stairways steep. In addition, most shore excursions are on foot. For this reason, if you are physically disadvantaged, you should indicate this when booking and bring along a personal companion.
- Smoking is allowed at dedicated outside areas.
- Alcohol: the ships are fully licensed.