Finally! a ship that looks like a ship. I have to admit (once again) that I was never too keen on these vessels when I first started looking at cruise ships. There were originally three of them, built for what was then Royal Viking Line, all had the prefix “Royal Viking” and they were Sea, Star and Sky. I had seen Royal Viking Sea in 1986, and she was the second cruise ship that I ever saw. She did not endear herself to me. Today she operates for Phoenix Reisen as Albatros.
The ex- Royal Viking ship that was in port yesterday was the former Royal Viking Star, and she operates for Fred Olsen Cruise Lines as Black Watch. She had arrived by the time I got to the harbour, and was sitting at Southampton City terminal. And, she looked different to everything else I had seen sail from this port. Unfortunately the morning weather was ghastly so all the pics from here are from late in the afternoon when was scheduled to sail at 4.30pm.
But as sailing time approached there was no sign of her actually sailing. In fact there were problems with keeping the ship alongside the quay as she kept being blown off it by the wind (and hail. did I mention it actually hailed while the sun was shining?). The gangway kept retracting as the ship moved away and passengers could not be embarked safely. Her sailing was now put off for 6.30pm, and Queen Victoria would sail as scheduled at 4.30.
I left for Town Quay just as the Victoria was turning and just after the bunkering tanker had departed. I had to rethink my original plans to watch Queen Mary 2 because it was not viable to go home and then return an hour later. I decided that I would rather go through to Hythe and watch her sail, and then Queen Mary 2 before returning on the 08.10pm ferry, hopefully in time to see AIDAstella sail too.
By the time I got to Hythe Marina she was about ready to go, and when I looked again she was moving.
Being somewhat of an oldie she does not have the luxury of stern thrusters too, so a tug was in attendance. Most of the sailings and arrivals that I had seen this past month had not had tugs attending.
She made a nice change from the boxy top heavy modern cruise ships, but I don’t know how much longer she will be with us, given the age of the three sisters (about 40 years old). They were all lengthened during the seventies and have seen very good service over the years.
And then she was past and heading towards Calshot. Not a bad sailaway, but the odd weather did mess with lighting. It was nice to see a ship from my past again, even if it is not the exact one, but something similar.