The second arrival of 15 June was Crystal Symphony, and, like so many other arrivals the time given was not the time she arrived. In fact she was already alongside at QEII when I arrived at 5.30. I had seen her fleetmate Crystal Serenity in 2008 in Hong Kong and she has been to Durban before so is no stranger to South African waters.
Technically the ships are not sisters, as they were all built in different places, and the original Crystal Harmony has since moved on. Crystal Serenity is a later 2002/2003 French build. My early bird was due to sail at 18H00 tonight, but this was the first glimpse of the vessel.
After finishing working on Queen Victoria I was able go home and change before heading down to Town Quay. The wind was howling, and QV was still in the turning basin and it was already past 17H15. My Crystal boat was still alongside so I wasn’t too concerned and watched the Victoria sail past after my very interesting day loading luggage on her. Then Ventura decided to leave, as did the car carrier in front on the Crystal Symphony. Everybody was deserting her! The sun however was peering between the clouds which augered well for some decent photographs.
The question was, would they swing her in the swinging grounds or back her into the Itchen River? I would have preferred the swinging grounds as the ship is closer to Town Quay, but they chose the latter instead. And the tugs soon had her off the wall and backing.
The car carrier was awfully close to her as she was pulled away, I could not quite understand why she got preference, but then there was bound to be a reason.
She is not an ugly ship inspite of her modern appearance, and the Crystal Cruises ships are consistently rated as being amongst the best cruise experiences around.
And given how the wind was blowing I am sure the tug masters were having a great time working a cruise ship, something that seems to happen less often.
And then we all went home. The harbour was empty and hanging around was pretty pointless unless you wanted to watch a ship disappear from site.
DRW © 2013-2022. Images recreated 08/04/2016