Sea Cloud, Balmoral, Independence of the Seas & AIDAbella in Madeira
Independence of the Seas arrived in Madeira on the 7th November 2012 .  ASea Cloud was already there, having arrived the previous day.  This was a new one for me.  Sea Cloud began life as the black-hulled, luxury yacht, Hussar in 1931, built at the Krupp shipyard in Kiel for American businessma, E.F. Hutton and his wife, Marjorie Merriweather Post (who designed the ship) and they sailed her until their divorce in 1935.  Following that, the yacht was signed over to Marjorie, who renamed her Sea Cloud.  In 1942, having remarried to Joesph Davies at the end of 1935, Sea Cloud was charted by the US Government for a dollar to help in the war effort.  In fact, there are five brass stripes mounted beneath her wheelhouse, one representing each year of active war service.  But by 1955 the ship was owned by Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Montinas, head of the Dominican Republic until his assassination in 1961, by now called Angelita. More changes of ownership with new names, Patria and Antarna until 1978 when she was bought by German, Hartmut Paschburg, and renamed her Sea Cloud.  Extensive renovations were undertaken in 1979, undertaking her first sailing after eight months.  She was taken over in 1994 by fellow Germans, Hermann Ebel and Harald Block, and was brought into line with 2010 SOLAS regulations at the end of 2012.  Balmoral was docking when I turned the info channel on so I headed up on deck.  It was raining so once it was our turn, I made my way to the Promenade deck to be dry.  As we were docking, I spied AIDAbella on the horizon so went for breakfast, returning on deck afterwards.
I took the shuttle into the town and was pleased Indy was using two gangways and not that awful cruise terminal one.  Rather annoyingly, the shuttle dropped you by the cable car instead of marina, which Royal Caribbean had failed to mention.  There was so much building work going on it was nigh on impossible to take photos at that location and there was no way I could walk to and from the marina with my back so I had to pay €12 for a tour bus, get off at the marina, take my pictures then walk back to the ship.  On the tour bus was an elderly couple from the Balmoral, who told me their shuttle also stopped by the cable car.  It was also their first stop on a thirteen night cruise which had left on the 3rd.  It rained on and off, which was frustrating.  Once I got off the bus at stop one, I got my photos then slowly snapped my way back to Indy.
Sea Cloud was due to sail at 1pm so I waited on the Promenade Deck.  Slowly she appeared, assisted by a tug, who turned her before parping and returned back to the dock.  A few people bothered to watch as she gracefully departed.
Our departure was 3pm but we left slightly earlier.  It was gloriously sunny, rain showers having stopped, but wind whipped up once we hit the open sea.  In the distance was Sea Cloud in full sail and it was a shame I couldn't have managed a better photo.
That was the last I'd see of AIDAbella from Indy.  Photos of her from our first Canary Islands port of Gran Canaria can be seen here.  The review of my cruise is found, here.

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© Patricia Dempsey 7th November 2012
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