The newest majestic addition to Windermere has officially set sail.

Windermere Lake Cruises’ brand-new 300-seat boat MV Swift became the biggest boat to be launched onto England’s longest lake in 80 years, when it embarked on its first passenger-carrying voyage on Sunday.

Departing from Lakeside at 10.15am, MV Swift sailed up the lake to Bowness and Ambleside. Among those watching with delight was Bill Bewley, chairman of Windermere Lake Cruises.

He said: “After about 18 months of planning and constructing MV Swift, it was a real thrill to see her finally go into service - and a nice distraction from what has without doubt been an extremely challenging year for everyone.”

Clive Wilson, a director of the Lakeside Hotel & Spa on the Lakeside pier, added: “At Lakeside Hotel, we were fortunate to watched MV Swift arrive in sections and then gradually come to life in front of eyes.

“She looked magnificent on the day she made her way onto the water and now appears like she belongs - as if she's forever been part of the Windermere Lake Cruises fleet.”

After being told they were the first to travel on the vessel, the passengers revealed how surprised they were.

One of the passengers was Jean Crosbie, who thoroughly enjoyed the boat’s maiden trip.

She said: “It was the maiden voyage of the newly built Windermere Lake cruiser, it is fully accessible and I was their first disabled passenger.

“It is smaller and more compact than the Swan and the others but there is plenty enough space for me to get around in my electric wheelchair.

“The crew were great - helpful and welcoming [and] as I live just outside Hawkshead I will definitely be back.”

The boat was built at Lakeside by Damen Shipyards Gorinchem BV. Following the completion of an inspection and survey by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and the granting of the boat’s Passenger Certificate, MV Swift finally went into service.

Bewley hopes the boat’s completion will boost the Lake District’s economy following the Coronavirus pandemic.

He said: “While the launch of the vessel has come at a time of significant economic uncertainty due to the coronavirus pandemic, we are confident the Lake District’s visitor economy has a bright long term future and continue to believe that MV Swift will have an important role to play in the area’s economic recovery in the weeks, months and years ahead.”