The Gota Canal Steamship Company has been operating for almost 150 years. Founded on February 27, 1869, the company first rebuilt the vessel, Motalastrom, to take 20 passengers in first class, 16 in second class, and 12 in third class in addition to deck passengers. The company’s start exceeded expectations and soon the construction of two new boats named Venus and Juno began at Motala Werkstad Shipyard. The canal boat, Juno, which was delivered in 1874, still operates today and is the world’s oldest registered passenger boat with sleeping accommodations. In 1876, the shipping company entered a partnership with Thomas Cook & Co in London in a successful attempt to be the first Swedish company to attract tourists to Sweden. By the 1880s, the company had no few than 11 boats in service, several of which were combined as cargo and passenger ships.
After a break during World War I, business resumed in the 1920s and soon sped up again, attracting tourists from across the western world. However, in the 1930s, after the Diana was delivered, the world’s economic situation slowed down and eventually the company stalled during the outbreak of World War II. After the war, the company changed hands several times. In the 1950s, the boats Juno, Wilhelm Tham, and Diana were modernized and carefully restored.
Since 2001, the shipping line has been a member of the Stromma Group, a company oriented towards unique travel experiences and with a long tradition in the preservation and operation of historic vessels.
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