The history of the Vltava steamboat

The history of the Vltava steamboat dates back to the 1930s, when the Prague Steamboat Company decided to renovate and modernise its fleet, which over the previous 40 years had been supplemented only with the purchase of older boats.


The history of the Vltava steamboat


In 1937 a project of extensive fleet renewal thus began, during which among others the large paddle steamers and two saloon steamboats were repaired, one of which, the Vyšehrad, is still used for passenger transport today. Already during the construction of these large cruise boats, however, the company began to think about building smaller crafts that would be directly adapted to the specific conditions of the Vltava River. Thus the construction of the Vltava steamboat was begun, which due to wartime complications took until August 1940. Immediately after it was first launched on the water – an important event in which a number of eminent personalities of the time participated – the Vltava was deployed as a special express line for the Prague–Štěchovice route, which made only a few stops and was intended to speed up traffic on the route.

In 1960 a quite extensive reconstruction took place on the boat, which was intended to make the saloon smaller, which eventually succeeded only partially. The new-look Vltava again returned to the Prague–Štěchovice route, which in the meantime had been extended to Slapy. In the 1970s the engine of the steamboat was rebuilt to run on liquid fuel instead of solid fuel, which significantly facilitated the work of the stokers. In the late 1980s, a number of steamboats of the Prague Steamboat Company were decommissioned by the state as unfit for service. The Vltava steamer was one of the last to remain in operation. In 1989, however, it was also shut down after a tragedy that took place on board due to an accident in one of the boilers.

After renovation in 1991, the steamboat served as a restaurant boat and following an extensive renovation in 2007–2009, aimed at restoring the boat's former lustre, it has operated as a luxury cruiser for regular cruises in Prague, which today can be enjoyed just as our ancestors did in the last century in the glorious era of steamboats on the Vltava River.