musings while allatsea

Musings of a curious individual

Tag: vessel

A last farewell

This post is one that I have dreaded for quite some time, and the time has finally come to make it. However, there is much more to it than a mere farewell, because it is really the culmination of many parts. It really starts way back in the in 1992 when I first saw the newly built RMS St Helena in Cape Town from the Canberra. Both of these vessels are legends, but at the moment we are more interested in the RMS. and this was the first photograph that I took of her. 

Because her prices were in £ she was very expensive to sail on, and a short cruise was not easy to get because she ploughed a long furrow between Cape Town, St Helena, Ascension Island and finally the UK. She was amongst the last passenger ships doing a dedicated line voyage and was also amongst the few ships left that flew the Royal Mail pennant. 

RMS at St Helena. Image courtesy of Sabrina Harper

By some weird piece of luck I heard about spaces being available on board her for the voyage to Tristan da Cunha  that was happening in  1993, and I took a chance and booked passage. It was not cheap by any means and I am thankful for my travel agent who helped me with my booking and the associated flights to and from Cape Town.

Naturally sailing day was a long drag away. I was stuck in a dead end job with a company I loathed, and was only too glad to get away from them for awhile. Around about the same time I picked up issues with my health and ended up having to lug a stash of pills on board with me. There was no way in hell I would be stopped by aches and pains. The report of my voyage exists on allatsea so I am not going to repeat it, suffice to say I enjoyed it thoroughly; Tristan was a fascinating destination, but the ship was so much better. She is really a hybrid passenger and cargo ship and of course does not have the glitz and glamour of the modern cruise ships, if anything she really came from a much nicer era of travel. Her crew were composed of a mixture of “Saints” and ex Union-Castle staff and of course that meant that I was experiencing just a tiny piece of the legacy of the glorious  Union-Castle mail ships. 

I was very fortunate to get that opportunity of a voyage and I kept an eye on her as much as was possible in the intervening years. At some point she stopped calling in the UK, and she was managed by Andrew Weir Shipping as opposed to Curnow Shipping. Work was started on an airport at St Helena and that was really the death knell of my favourite ship, although it was still a number of years away. 

A number of years have passed, the airport was ready to open and it was announced that the RMS would make one final voyage to the UK, arriving in June 2016. At first I thought “Who do I know that can get me pics?” And then I decided I would get them myself and set out for London  on the 7th of June to see the RMS for the last time.   I have told that story before and you can read about it on the blogpost.

The airport was not without its problems though and the RMS was granted a reprieve for another year and a half. 

A year and a half has passed, and sadly the RMS has sailed from Cape Town on her last voyage. The moment that all of her many fans dreaded has finally arrived. 

What of her future? she is came into service in 1990 so is already over 27 years old and is already in the zone where a replacement should have been on the table. She has always had engine issues, and recently had to return to drydock for repairs in Simonstown. The odds of her finding a reputable buyer is really very small, and the odds of her becoming a static hotel in St Helena is even smaller. Unless a buyer can be found she will make one last voyage to the beach, and that will be incredibly sad. However, rather she gets broken up than stuck in some backwater and left to rot.  I am a realist, and preserving ships in a very costly business, even one as small as her. 

I remember many years ago a print advert for Union-Castle that showed the inside of a jet aircraft and a view from the window. It more or less said: “From (date unknown) this is the view you will see when you go to England (or South Africa).” That is now also true of those who wish to visit St Helena Island. 

She will be sadly missed, there will never be another like her. 

The end of the era has come.

Glenn Kasner took photo’s of that last sailing and these images are copyright to him. I am using them with permission.

Sadly she had somewhat of a poor send off, but thanks to the tug for showing some respect.  And while Cape Town hardly budged from their torpor the same could not be said about her send off at St Helena. These images were kindly sent to me by Sabrina Harper and are used with permission.

**Update 2018**

10/02/2018. The RMS sailed from St Helena for the last time. The ship, which has supplied the island since coming into service so long ago was expected to reach Cape Town on the 15th of February (Since revised to 17 Feb) where they will disembark the last passengers who sailed on the ship. Thereafter she will go into lay up or alternatively head off to her next destination, whether it is the beaches of Alang or a new career. The Master was unable to reveal what the final destination of the vessel will be as he would only find out while en route for Cape Town. Once I know more I will post it here too. 

Farewell RMS, fair weather for your final journeys. Thank you for the experience of real sea travel the way it used to be.

**Update 17/04/2018**

It was announced that the RMS has been sold to Tahiti Shipping, a subsidiary of MNG Maritime, bought the ship for an undisclosed amount. Under the name MNG Tahiti she is to be based in the Gulf of Oman, and used as a floating armoury, packed with automatic weapons, bullet-proof jackets and night vision goggles, all stored for maritime security operatives who keep vessels secure from piracy attacks. At this point there has been no announcement as to when she will sail from Cape Town for the last time. 

DRW © 2018. Created 25/01/2018. Cape Town sailing images are by Glen Kasner © 2018 and last 3 by Sabrina Harper and are used with permission, updated 15/02/2018, additional images added  18/04/2018

Updated: 18/04/2018 — 18:44

More Triang Minic

Following on my post from 24 January 2016, my collection has expanded a bit more with some new acquisitions. 

To go with my RMS Ivernia, I have also acquired an RMS Carinthia, as a sister ship. I have also outfitted both ships with cargo gear and mainmasts.

Because the masts and cranes are pricey, I decided to remove the gear from one of my C4 Mariner Class cargo ships and use those on the two Cunarders and convert the C4 into a early container ship iteration. Fortunately I had a duplicate Volunteer Mariner so she ended up donating her cargo gear. 

The containers are left overs from my P&O City of Durban and I filed down the crane housings till they were level with the hatch covers and pasted the containers onto a false deck and glued that onto the hatchcovers. I stayed with only one stack of boxes though, too many would have left them with no view to the bow. I also added a foremast but  I am not quite done with this ship yet, and of course she does not have a name, but is more of a generic interim vessel.  

My other major acquisition was the “Might Mo”: USS Missouri,
I have also been working on and off on the HMY Britannia. This model was available in the Royal Yacht livery as well as in a hospital ship livery. She was built to be easily convertible to a hospital ship in the event that she was needed, but she never fulfilled that role in her long career. Triang Minic used to sell the model as part of a boxed set  
In 2014 I bought a Revell 1/1200 QE2 model, the intention being to waterline it and add it to the collection. 
I bought the paint and brushes and packed it all away and never built it, and like the original ship  it has been languishing in limbo until last month when I got it back with the rest of my collection from storage in Lichfield.  Last night I attacked it with a saw and cut away the underwater part of the hull and started to build it. The big problem is trying to find the sheer line as it is not really marked on the model. I also used gloss black instead of matt black as the matt paint is really lousy.I am probably going to have to give it a 2nd coat so will see how the matt works on it.  By this morning the QE2 was looking somewhat odd.  
It is not a very complicated kit, but the painting is a pain. the upper deck has not been glued down yet, but the fore and aft decks have. And the funnel has had its first coat. This is very close to the livery that I saw her in in 1986, although she did have a few changes in her stern area then. 
Alongside Ocean Terminal in Durban 1986

Alongside Ocean Terminal in Durban 1986

I will try get more pics of her before I glue down the main deck,  at the moment I am waiting for paint to dry.
I have a 1/2000 QE2 model that was bought for me on board QE2 in 1994. It does not have any makers identification on it and I have been looking all over for an answer and finally found it on the 2nd day of 2017!  The model was made by S.R. Precision in the UK, and was available with a blue hull too. Unfortunately it is not a very good likeness and it does not fit in with my 1/1200 and 1/1250 fleet, but it is an interesting keepsake. 

S.R. Precision QE2 Model

Meanwhile, back at the building dock QE2 is looking more like QE2 every hour. 
First coat on funnel and fore and aft decks painted. Lifeboats are still not on. Big problem is that the davits were all black at this particular part of her career, but frankly painting them black was a lot of work, and I decided to leave them white. I may do it later. The other question is, what colour was the roof of her bridge and the suites as well as around the funnel?
Lifeboats are added, most of the superstructure elements are in place and I am starting to look at the fit onto the hull. It was not a good fit. 
But eventually I got it on and started to fit the bridge and their wings as well as try to make sense of her sheer line, as you can see it is wobbly as can be. I will sort that once all is built and when there is better natural light. I did give it a coat of matt black and it looks better. Now to fit forward cranes and mast and touch up paintwork 
Mast is on, cranes are on. I have not given the funnel its final coat as I have white drying in the funnel area. She is more or less completed now and she just needs touching up, the sheer line needs finalising, and of course I have to add colour to the lifeboats, at one point their superstructures were orange and I do not have orange paint. I have also seen her with green above the bridge. The QE2 changed many times over the years, and this model has her original thin funnel which puts this before 1986, and probably just after the Falklands when they gave her the traditional Cunard funnel livery. I was also considering giving her a false flat bottom, but must first complete her properly and then she can join the fleet. Gee, I enjoyed that bit of model building.
A postscript. 
QE2 and Canberra were contemporaries, and that is partly one of the reasons I bought the model; to see them together once more, but on 1/1200 scale.
I was also able to buy a 1/1250 Oriana to add to the collection, and while it is a small scale it does fit in well with the QE2 and Canberra. The model is by Mercator and it sold for £20 on board the ship when we sailed on her.

(B-F) QE2, Oriana and Canberra

(B-F) QE2, Oriana and Canberra

My newest addition is really one of two similar vessels operated by the French Line.  The ill fated SS Flandre, or SS Antilles were both lost to fire. My particular model is numbered M714 “Flandre” so I will stick with that. Incidentally, she was also known as the “Flounder”, and was lost to fire in 1994.  

I acquired a pair of Ton Class Minesweeper. Actually I now have two of them,  the ship on the left (HMS *.ton) I got from The Triang version (HMS Repton) is on the right. 

A finally a particularly rare beastie came my way: SS France. I repainted her and added in masts and this is the end result. Unfortunately she never joined the other major liners that were re-introduced in later years from Hong Kong and tends to be hard to find. Her funnels do not have their distinctive wings though, and I believe that this was the original funnel design.  

One of the more rare Triang ships out there is HMS Albion in her “Commando Carrier” guise.  I had a spare scrap HMS Bulwark laid up so decided to convert her into an HMS Albion. Here the pair of them are together, Albion being in front. I bought 5 x 1/1250 Westland Wessex helicopters for her and am busy trying to make rotors for them, Ye gads, what a job that was! 

Other acquisitions are:

TSS Vikingen (Triang MInic)

Since repainted and with masts and cargo gear, although I am not too enamoured by those overly heavy masts. I may rethink those (since replaced).

And SS Varicella

USS Spruance (DD963), the lead ship of the  Spruance class destroyers.

USS Bunker Hill (CG52), a Ticonderoga class guided missile cruiser

HMS Gloucester (D96), a type 42 batch 3 destroyer

USS Guardian (MCM5) An Avenger Class mine countermeasures ship

HMS Bangor (M109), a Sandown Class minehunter. I also have her sister HMS Penzance (M105)

and finally a Hunt class mine countermeasures vessel. She has no pennant number, although I do have her sister HMS Brocklesbury  (M33)

At this point my Minic Ship collection really becomes a small part of my much larger waterline ship collection which started to grow alongside it, eventually overtaking it and leaving it behind. You can read about that collection here or by using the arrow below.
DRW ©  2016-2019. Created 05/03/2016. Updated 20/08/2016, 02/01/2017. Removed all links that point to the former triangminicships page which now has an error “Executing in an invalid environment for the supplied user” 14/07/2019
Updated: 14/07/2019 — 15:23

Triang Minic Ships

Many years ago. I had a huge collection of model ships and boats, including two radio controlled tugs. The smaller waterline diecast vessels I had never really indulged in because I did not know that they existed. A visit to the home of one of the friends of a friend opened my eyes because he had the three major liners (Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth and United States) in 1/1200 scale, and they were the start of my collection. The links in this page all point to the page, but it appears as if that page has “bit the dust” so I am going to remove those links. 
The first Triang Minic ship I acquired was the Aragon. She was in a poor condition and minus masts and half of her bridge wing. I repainted it and made masts out of pins and put her on my shelf as an oddity amongst my collection. I still have her today, bad paint job and all.

Then things went quiet until I picked up an advert in a local newspaper for somebody selling a collection. There were 2 Cunarders in it, as well as the Queen Elizabeth and two tugs and a light vessel and some bits and pieces of harbour. This was in the pre internet days so there was no real way of finding out what was available. He also wanted R500-00 for it, and given my dead end salary it was really out of my price range. I came very close to buying it, but never did. Awhile later I picked up a slightly used Queen Elizabeth and added her to my collection too. She was resprayed by a friend and her funnels need a lot of work.

I have recently found masts for her, and one day will do something about the funnels.
That was the sum total of my collection for many years. There were rumours of a huge collection being sold out of the country, but I had no way of knowing what was available apart from the two Cunarders I had seen and the three major liners. Nothing happened for a long time but I used to haunt the hobby shops hoping to build onto my collection and at some point I managed to pick up a Queen Mary.
The model above is not my original Queen Mary though, this one I found in Salisbury in 2014.  
I also found a mint United States in South Africa which was really surprising. By now we were in the internet era and I would haunt the net looking for more ships, the problem was no longer a lack of ships, it was more about an exchange rate that made them very expensive and postage that was never guaranteed.   
My last South African acquisitions were on a local auction site, namely the Aquitania which does need a lot of work. 
as well as a Canberra in a poor condition
and a mastless model of the NS Savannah
I have since replaced my Canberra with a better one and found white metal masts for the Savannah. 
Triang also had a range of warships, and while I did not really look for them I would buy them if they were affordable, and I managed to acquire a DKM Bismarck
as well as an IJN Yamato
When I left South Africa in 2013 I left my ships behind, but hoped to get them back with me at some point and to add to my collection until then. 
In 2013 I attended the Maritime Festival in Southampton, and on display there was an almost complete collection of Triang Minic ships and I was able to see what I was missing (and there was a lot).  My first acquisition in the UK was the Queen Mary pictured above as well as a Naval Harbour Set.
That set included HMS Bulwark and HMS Vanguard.
I also started watching ebay and buying modern warships that interested me. Including HMS Daring, HMS York,  HMS Chatham and of course HMS Ark Royal.
I also picked up three very nice C4 Mariner class cargo ships. 
and even bought a Ellermans container ship: City of Durban
and a thumping great bulker too.
I brought my collection across in 2014 and it was still small compared to what it could be.

The 2014 Maritime Festival in Southampton once again had a Minic collection on display and I did quite a lot of drooling over it. 

More importantly, I was able to add the Caronia to my collection, she has since had her upperworks painted in a lighter green. 
and bought a Canberra in a better condition to replace my existing one. 
My most recent acquisitions were DKM Scharnhorst 
as well as SS Nieuw Amsterdam 
and RMS Ivernia 
Sadly she is in need of a lot of work, but considering that she is quite an oldish model I was lucky to find her. Those missing Cunarders still haunt me though (Carinthia, Carmania, Franconia, Sylvania and Saxonia), but considering how many years it has taken to get to this point anything can happen. I am also on the lookout for an SS France to complete my major liner collection. 
and I would like to add an American battleship to my battleship collection
But that is for the future. Anything can happen in these collections, it seems to happen in spurts and bumps, and who knows what I will have tomorrow.

My passenger ship collection.


The Triang Minic ships are nice momentos for a ship buff like myself, but once again, they are only of worth to a collector like myself, and not to somebody else. So hands off my stash!  (I have images of my 2016 expanded harbour available too)
There is a part 2 to this post which may be found here 


DRW ©  2016-2019. Images migrated 02/05/2016. Added pointer to part 2 of the post 20/08/2016, added “open in new tab” option to links and unbolded them. 12/11/2018. Removed all links that point to the former triangminicships page which now has an error “Executing in an invalid environment for the supplied user” 14/07/2019.
Updated: 14/07/2019 — 15:21

Things I have learnt as a baggage handler.

Recently I have been working as a baggage handler at the cruise terminals in Southampton, it is really manual muscle work as opposed to brain work. I have also traveled as a passenger on aircraft and ships and may never view my luggage in quite the same way.
The views in this post are my own and reflect no official policy in force.
I have worked 7 shifts already and my muscles keep on reminding me that this is hard graft. However, I do get a vicarious thrill out of it for a number of reasons. The most important being that I am near ships.  Standing at Town Quay wielding a camera is great, but there is something even more special when you stand at the quayside and watch a large ship berthing. The vessel is so close that you could almost reach out and touch her. You can hear the noise of her engines and bow thrusters, and see the berthing crews standing at the hawse pipes with the  lines ready to come ashore.
Crown Princess

Crown Princess

Once the vessel is alongside a well oiled machine takes over. The airbridge is attached, the crew and services gangway is raised, shelldoors open and platforms are extended, forklifts move hither and thither moving conveyors, trolleys, bridges, cages, and all manner of things inbetween. On the night before the passengers luggage has been moved to central points on board from where it gets moved by conveyor or cage onto the quayside and then into the baggage hall where it is laid out in some sort of logical (and often illogical sequence). It is a frenzied period of activity which seems mocked by the quiet serenity of the ship alongside.

The passengers are many decks above the dockside level, and often peer down at all this organised chaos. I have stood in their position myself so know how it feels, although when I was cruising things were a bit more disorganised.

Queen Elizabeth

Queen Elizabeth

By the time the passengers have started disembarking we have sorted the luggage and moved onto other tasks, usually portering or trolley recovery. Given how most ships carry in excess of 1000 passengers, there could be anything between 1500 and 5000 items of luggage moving between ship, baggage hall, and passenger. It can been chaotic as passengers look for their luggage, but as time passes the hall becomes less crowded and some sort of normality starts coming about. (On 8 August I worked Ventura, for’ard conveyor, and counted in 1900 + items of luggage. There were was another conveyor working aft)


Of course while we are scurrying about like ants on shore, on board the ship things are happening too. The vessel must be fueled, and stored, and cabins prepared for the next round of inbound passengers. Every ship photographers bugbear will attach itself alongside and start loading fuel and offloading garbage, crew will paint and wash windows, and some crew members will go ashore to shop or look around the city.

Oriana in the background,  Whitonia alongside Celebrity Eclipse

Oriana in the background, Whitonia alongside Celebrity Eclipse

There is a lull at this point, and we reconfigure the system to handle inbound passengers. My favourite terminal has conveyors that lead into the baggage hall, and inbound luggage is stacked next to the conveyor entrance where it will be loaded once the embarkation starts. From there it will be moved onto a cage and transferred onto the ship, either via a conveyor or cage. On board ship it will be sorted and distributed to decks and cabins.  This is a hectic time because the ship has to sail, and cannot be held up while we load bags, and, as has happened before, the priority changes as sailing time gets closer.

Adventure of the Sea

A well managed embarkation will ensure that passengers arrive in a steady flow as opposed to huge amounts at once.  We will work constantly while around us passengers move from their transportation to the queue and finally onto the vessel. It is hoped that by the time the vessel sails their luggage will be at their cabin, but often that is not the case, and I expect some passengers get their luggage long after the ship has sailed. 

At some point we will see the pile getting smaller, and the queues shorter. Coaches stop arriving, taxi’s become less, and we start closing conveyors. The cage loaders will start seeing gaps in the queue too, and it takes longer to find 25 bags to fill a cage. Then we get the signal to pack up and sign off.

Crown Princess

Crown Princess

The terminal becomes a ghost town apart from the odd label blowing in the wind or the empty soft drink tins that line the area where we loaded. The baggage hall is now being filled with the detritus of baggage handling and the porters dollies start to fill their storage area once again. The ship, now full of passengers, starts to take on the chaotic role, but it will soon become a haven of peace as everybody settles down to their new home for the duration of the cruise.
Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria

We are also on our way home, in my case it is a long walk home and then a bath and supper. Or, in some cases, a dash down to Mayflower Park to see a ship sail. From my photographic vantage point  I will watch to see the lines being dropped and then taken in, and see that first puff of smoke from the funnel. And if we are lucky the vessel will blow her horn, and I will hear the safety announcements, which often sound like a sermon on board some of the vessels.


Queen Mary 2

Queen Mary 2

Then the ship will start to move, an independent floating city that will twinkle with light, and the sounds of music. She will pass all us shorebound photographers and our cameras will click away, trying to capture that perfect shot.


Then she will be past, and on her way down Southampton Water, and the Solent, and whatever destination she has after that. Occasionally one of the ferries will try get in on the act, but we are used to that.
Red Eagle and Oriana

Red Eagle and Oriana

Then it is time for me to go home, and I will have to process more pics and add them to my collection. I recall how in the days of film we would have to wait at least a week to see the results of our efforts, today I can edit images almost immediately.




And that was a look at my day as a baggage handler.

However there are a few things I would like to add, from the perspective of somebody moving luggage. It’s really only of relevance to people taking a cruise, or somebody moving their luggage for them. 

Crown Princess

Crown Princess

You will be shocked as to how many people don’t take many sensible precautions with their luggage. The tag that goes on your bag is supposed to refer to where your luggage is going. On board ship there are many places: Fore, Aft, Midships and any cabin and deck in-between. These tags do go missing, and so your luggage could end up somewhere it shouldn’t or in limbo. When we sort luggage we look for the fore/aft/mid designation and it gets shunted to a cage or pallet for that designation. If there is no tag it usually ends up midships. If your cabin/deck is not on that luggage then somebody has to try to find a list of cabin numbers and figure out just where you are. 
Queen Mary 2 at QEII Terminal

Queen Mary 2 at QEII Terminal

Which brings me to your name. Please add your name onto your luggage, somewhere. Preferably 2 different places. the more robust the label is, the more chance it will have of getting to you intact.
Ah, and the bags that survive the best are those that are strongly built. Many bags we see are really shoddy and do not stand up to the punishment of handling. The bags realistically move from conveyor to conveyor and then onto the ship. They are picked up by hand, and they have other bags stacked on top of them. Giant bags that weigh more than we do just don’t make the grade because often that giant bag is not meant to hold the kitchen sink and dishwasher.
Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria

Wheelie bags are great because they have many grabbing points and handles. A non wheelie bag only has one handle. Invariably wheelie bags are placed wheels upwards on the conveyor because the wheels tend to make moving the bag on rollers very difficult. The bags generally are placed flat on the conveyors and not upright. These hard cased bags seem to stand up to the punishment better, but from our perspective they tend to be bulky and heavy. You would be surprised to see how many bruises I have on my shins already from moving luggage.

Crown Princess (Mayflower Terminal)

Suit carriers are a major headache because they get stuck in the machinery. Many have hooks that will get entangled in something. Try to avoid those or carry them on yourself. Oh, and please don’t load your suitcase down with unprotected bottles of alcohol, wrap those bottles well and then put them in a plastic bag. Bottles will get broken, your clothes could end up smelling like an off license.  

Small fiddly locks will come off, as will those ID straps that people festoon their bags with. Tags will come off, and the marker flower attached to your handle may come off too. If you must make your bag easy to see please be practical about it.
MSC Opera

MSC Opera

I know we often joke about bright pink or luminous green bags, they stand out, and they are the ones easily found by their owners, although explaining to somebody that your puce wheelie bag is missing will bog down when you try to describe what colour puce is. 
On many occasions we see bags that are not secured properly. We don’t have the time to sort that out, after all it is your responsibility. An average ship will have in excess of 1500 pieces of luggage to be loaded and offloaded. Some ships may have as many as 5000 items. The loading window is small, and sometimes the first to arrive is the last to get their bags, that’s because they get stored on board for final sorting and delivery by the crew. It does happen that your first bag on board is at the furthest point where the sorting is being done. We have no control over that aspect at all.
Enjoy your trip, and remember, we will be waiting for you when you get off.

Mein Schiff 1 and Norwegian Breakaway.

© DRW 2013-2018. Images recreated 08/04/2016 
Updated: 11/03/2018 — 09:20

Southampton Shipwatch 08: Azura

There was only one arrival scheduled for today, namely Azura. She is of the same ilk as Ventura so it is really difficult to take pics of something you saw the other day but with a different name. The weather was glorious for her sailing which did make a nice change, its just a pity she was running late.


When I saw her this morning the weather was seriously scary, but it had improved considerably by 4pm, and by the time she actually left it was cold, but windy and sunny (all at the same time).


At some point the door in her bow opened and they started taking in her lines, but then it stopped and they started putting lines back. The party on board was loud and we could hear it at Town Quay, but that ship wasn’t going anywhere. 


I occupied myself photographing the resident pigeons and zooming in and out of parts of the superstructure, but that wasn’t helping the ship sail. At one point I almost gave up but there was movement up near the far end of the harbour and I was curious to see what was going to come out from there. Eventually I moved my position where I was out of the wind, and just as I became even more restless her horns sounded and the lines started to be taken in. 


She was finally on her way. It was almost a repetition of the Ventura sailing, but with more light, so I didn’t shoot heaps of pics, but tried different pics instead.

azura 187


Even a token appearance by one of the Red Jet ferries, just to show that I didn’t cheat and just change the name on the ship.

That was Azura. She was barely out of sight when a container ship came past. CMA CGM Lavender.

 I believe another of the clones will be in later this month, I may have to try something else for that sailing.

22 April 2013 Southampton.

© DRW 2013-2018. Images recreated 01/04/2016
Updated: 28/12/2017 — 07:52

Southampton Shipwatch 07: Oriana

When I talk about Oriana I can talk about superlatives. She is probably one of the better looking modern cruise ships afloat (even though she is already over 15 years old). She is on a parr with ships like QE2, the type of ship that people like me look back on and ooh and aah over. She is also a one-off, she does not have a sister ship, and there are elements in her design that point to her illustrious predecessor, the one and only Canberra. I was fortunate enough to sail on her maiden call to South Africa, way back in 1997, and she was unforgettable. The one ship I was hoping to see again in Southampton was her.
She arrived on 14 April, and berthed up at the QE2 terminal which you can’t really see well from Town Quay.  I decided that the time had come for a trip out to Hythe with the ferry, and off I went. I did not see much of the trip though because all eyes were on her. 
The only real change that has been made to her was the addition of a ducktail to her stern, and that makes her look kind of odd from aft. But, she is still beautiful, in fact statuesque is a word I would use to describe her. 
Her sailing was scheduled for 16H30, and there were four ships to get out of the harbour, I expected she would have been the first to go, but it turns out that age came before beauty as Saga Sapphire was first out of Southampton. 
21 April 2013 sailing. 
Oriana was back in Southampton on 21 April, and berthed up at Mayflower. I watched her sail from Town Quay in a blustery and gray afternoon. As expected, she is as beautiful as ever.


And then she was past and heading out of the harbour. Such a beautiful vessel.
Oriana was a regular during my time in Southampton, and I even worked baggage on her at least 3 times, but she is terrible to work and it was always a mad rush to get the luggage on board before she sails. I also had lunch in her crew mess on two separate occasions, and got to take a look around her again while waiting to start. She is looking a tad worn, but is still beautiful on board. She is one of the nicer lookers around nowadays, and long may she grace the oceans.

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Updated: 28/12/2017 — 07:53
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