Southampton Shipwatch 24: Grand Mistral.

Another interesting vessel that may have had  an influence on at least some of the ships afloat today. Grand Mistral was scheduled to arrive at 07H45, the last of the four ships that were due on the 15th of May 2013. I will make one comment, and that she is the squarest cruise ship I have ever seen. But enough of that.

Originally built for the now bankrupt Festival Cruises in the late 90’s she did not impress even back then. This ship does not have a lot of curves, except possibly on the artwork on her hull. She is operated by Ibero Cruceros, and can carry 1700 passengers.  I believe she was heading to Amsterdam from Southampton.

Oddly enough she was accompanied by two tugs and she does not have stern thrusters. She was due to berth at City and when the time came for her to go alongside it did take quite a bit of time and nudging.
I especially like the girl perched in the lifeboat recess. They should have tried to incorporate more of the figurines into the hull like that.

I have to admit I was really curious about her stern, would they have cut it of abruptly? were there any curves? and what about balconies??


Question answered. Because she was going so slowly I was able to take a walk up to Mayflower Park, something I had never been able to do with any other ship when they were between Town Quay and City. 

Sunlight unfortunately was sadly lacking on this fine morning, in fact it was downright miserable and cold. Aurora was sitting up at Mayflower and I was hoping to at least get a pic of her and Grand Mistral sailing if I had gotten home early enough.
When I got home I quickly changed and dashed off to the harbour. She was due to sail at 17H00, with Aurora scheduled for 20H00. First however, we had to see Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth off. They were both delayed by the arrival of  Hapag Lloyd’s Kuala Lumpur Express which meant that there was no way Grand Mistral was going to sail on time either. 
Even once the two Curnarders had sailed there was no movement up at City. And I was beginning to feel that it was time to leave myself. 
Typically, as the bus passed the Red Funnel Ferry Terminal I saw that she had finally started moving, but there was no way I was going to bail out and follow her. As I write this Aurora has just blown her horn to sail (08H07), but I wasn’t really in the mood to hang around for her. I will hopefully get her some other time.
Impressions of Grand MistraL? A forgettable ship, as far as I am concerned there was not a lot of designwork on her exterior, in fact if you looked really quickly you would probably be able to mistake her for a car carrier. 
© DRW 2013-2018. Images recreated 07/04/2016
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