Travellers are being advised to act fast to enjoy one of the final chances to sail on board one of the last working Royal Mail Ships in the world, which was due to be retired this summer.
The RMS St Helena is to continue serving her remote South Atlantic island namesake until July 1st 2017, the St Helena government has announced, with berths expected to fill up quickly.
The news comes as the tiny British-controlled island in south Atlantic Ocean continues to struggle with technical issues surrounding its new airport.
The RMS passenger and freight service will continue to operate between Cape Town, St Helena and Ascension Island with the extended schedule confirmed last week.
Seen by many as an integral part of a visit to St Helena, the voyage takes five days by sea from Cape Town and three days from Ascension, and affords the opportunity for passengers to embrace a slower pace and become immersed in island life before stepping foot on the rocky outcrop.
The RMS St Helena marked 26 years of service last month with a farewell visit to London where she was visited by a number of past passengers, including the Princess Royal who was guest of honour at a reception on the ship where she thanked the crew for their many years of service.
Currently the RMS St Helena is the only regular means of access to the UK Overseas Territory of St Helena.
St Helena director of tourism, Chris Pickard, welcomed the announcement: “This is very positive news both for Saints and for tourists, who can now continue to plan to visit our beautiful, remote island.
“It also provides the opportunity for anyone who felt they had missed out on experiencing life on board the RMS St Helena to seize one of these last chances to do so.
“But don’t delay, due to her popularity, which was reflected in the recent visit to London, we’re expecting berths to be in high demand.”
The extension of the RMS St Helena service also allows the island more flexible planning as it prepares for the introduction of commercial flights to the island.
Currently the airport is open for private flights and medical evacuation services.