A classic goes to the breakers

Today marked the end of the former Island Venture, or as she came to be known; Island Princess, and later Discovery. She was one of two sister ships built for flagship cruises, and her sister, Sea Venture became famous as the ship used in the TV series “The Love Boat”. The ships were not regular callers in South Africa, and I could be wrong but the call of Island Princess in March 1996 may have been the first for these ships under the Princess banner.

I was fortunate enough to visit her on this call, and I did a personal view of the visit in October 2012. They were handsome ships, with nice lines and a businesslike look about them. Unfortunately Sea Venture/Pacific Princess was not as fortunate as Island Venture/Island Princess was, the former not quite finding a niche to fill and being laid up for a few years in a deteriorating condition. She sadly went to the breakers in August 2013.  
Pacific Princess in happier times
Pacific Princess in happier times
As Discovery; Island Venture had a loyal following for many years, although the writing was really on the wall for her too. There were no last minute buyers for this old lady of the sea, she really slipped away from us and sailed on her last lonely voyage not too long ago. I always hoped she would call at Southampton but she never did, so I never got to see her again. 
Discovery in happier times. Image by Hugh Knapton
Discovery in happier times. Image by Hugh Knapton
Strangely enough the images I took in Durban of her sailing were not from the North Pier, but from the South, and while I did get unique images of her they were not the pics I wanted. 
Yet, there is one image that kind of says it all.
That last glimpse you get as a ship sails away, every departure means an arrival, and every arrival means a departure. Except when that departure is for the beaches at Alang. Farewell Island Princess, you will be missed.
DRW ® 2014-2020. Images recreated 21/04/2016

Southampton Shipwatch 41: Emerald and Dawn Princess

I detoured on my way back from Portsmouth on the 12th of July to grab some pics of Emerald and Dawn Princess that were both in Southampton. The former at Ocean Terminal, the later at QEII. Unfortunately they are not really unique ships, Emerald  is one of the “Grand Class” clones and was launched in 2006. Her sisters are Crown Princess and Caribbean Princess. So technically I have seen her before. 
She was due to sail at 16H00, but as per usual the concept of time keeping was missing from her sailing, she finally started to drop her lines at 16H25, which was problematic because there were three others due to sail at 16H30 (Independence of the Seas, Oceana and Balmoral). There was quite a crowd of rubber neckers, fishermen and the occasional shippie watching her leave. 
Somehow though I cannot get much enthusiasm for these ships, I was considering that 30 years down the line these may be considered to be “classics” but I know I will really struggle to ever consider them that. 
And then it was time to head to the other side of Town Quay to catch Indie. Leaving the Emerald Princess to sail past her fleetmate Dawn Princess at QEII. I have to admit to a certain fondness for this big vessel, she is quite an attractive beastie and she is very prompt about her departure.
She was followed by Oceana, another ship for which I do not have much affection. 
One of the reasons I remained behind after watching Emerald Princess leave was to see Oceana alongside Dawn Princess.
Unfortunately QEII is an awkward place to photograph ships, it is too far away from Town Quay and unless they back the vessel into the Itchen or turn her when she arrives you only really get stern shots. These are the only pics I have of this 1997 built vessel. Her sisters are Sun Princess and Sea Princess, as well as Oceana. Incidentally the flat vessel alongside her is probably the slowest vessel in Southampton. I can walk faster than she can sail. Dawn Princess was due to sail at 21H00 (which probably means 21H30)
Then I turned my attention to Balmoral that was still being turned, unfortunately, being a bit of an old lady (and a classic too), she does not have stern thrusters so still needs a tug, but soon she too was heading down the channel. 

She was definitely the prettiest of the 5 ships in the harbour, but I could not really hang around as I had to get to the station by 17H36 for my train (which only arrived at 17H40). It was fun to do shipwatching again, and there are a number of unique arrivals scheduled for September that I will go down to Southampton for, so watch this space!!!

Emerald Princess 26/07/2014.
On the return to Southampton on Shieldhall on 26/07/2014 Emerald Princess was in the harbour too and I managed to get other pics of her. 
© DRW 2014-2018. Created 13/07/2014, updated 27/07/201, images recreated 18/04/2016

Southampton Shipwatch 28: Royal Princess

There has been a lot of hype surrounding the maiden call of the new Royal Princess in Southampton that was to happen on 7 June, even the weather was looking great for the event. That is until the 7th of June.
When I woke up it was raining, and cold and not the sort of weather you want to see for a normal day, never mind a maiden arrival. The ship was due in around 12H00, but I headed off into the rain just after 10H30 because you never know with these things.

I spent my time trying to keep dry and not getting splashed by passing vehicles, and almost missed her arrival as she came around the corner by QEII, Of course being a white ship in the mist and rain means that photography is difficult and keeping the camera dry is the main priority.

However, dedicated ship photographers usually shrug this weather off and still get wet trying to take pics of things that float. I was already wet just from my walk down to Town Quay.
Best spot I could get to photograph her was through the fence, even in this weather the best spots were occupied. The ship was due to go in with her starboard side alongside, so she had to swing in front of us. Unlike the Norwegian Breakaway arrival we were destined to get lousy pics. Even the horde of small boats that were expected did not turn up, in fact it was a pretty dismal affair altogether. 
My first impression of her is bulk, she is high, and long but does not have the cluttered upper decks of Breakaway,  iif anything she is better looking than a lot of the ugly ships we see so often. 
Then it was time to head off home while she reversed into her berth, a bit of a damp squib? you bet. But she is in port until the 9th so you can be rest assured everybody will be there to see her sail, except me as I am working on that day.
I will try to catch her arrival on one of the other days when she is scheduled here after her shakedowns, although if I do miss her these could be the only pics I have of her, and they are lousy. 


The next day…..
I managed to grab a ticket for a trip with Shieldhall and we had to go past Ocean Terminal. The sun was actually shining so I did get some new pics of the Royal Princess. Unfortunately though I did miss her sailing, but am hoping to catch her later this week.

On my way home I snapped a quick shot of her from inside the harbour. A bit crowded, but it does give an indication as to what a ship looks like when she is alongside at Ocean Terminal.

Sailing 14 June 2013
rp 043

© DRW 2013-2018. Images recreated 08/04/2016