Three Cunard Queens in Lisbon - 6th May 2014
Mary continued turning to dock and much to our surprise, the boat went under the bow then pretty close to the side before getting them all together then returning to the dock.  We'd been on the water over three hours but it was fantastic!  Fernando and I finally managed to get a photo together by Mary's bow before the boat went into the Tagus for the three shot.  Cunard posted one of my photos of all three docked on their official Facebook page later that day.
After getting off the boat, it was time to make our way to the ceremony.  Since we had no idea where we were supposed to go at the port, we followed some people who had also been on the boat as they knew the way.  Once inside the building, we were left to our own devices and ended up being taken to the ceremony by one of the staff, which was on the dockside.  In Southampton it's on the ship unless it's a naming.  There were several Portuguese officials, including the mayor, who I assume was giving the speech when we arrived.  Commodore Rynd (Master of Vicky) also spoke before the plaque exchanging ritual with him, Chris Wells (in command on Mary) and Alistair Clarke.  Then we boarded Mary as visitors.  While the rest of Fernando's group were ushered up to the Commodore Club before lunch, I showed Oskar around the ship, since I'd been on eight times already (one visit in 2006 and seven cruises since 2011) so knew my way around and neither of us speak Portuguese.  It was an absolute dream come true for him, having seen at most two together in Stavanger, never imagining he would get onto Mary for a long time, and I don't think he stopped grinning from the moment he saw the girls in the distance that morning.  First port of call was the Purser's desk to get a Daily Programme and found comedian, Tom O'Connor there.  It's been almost six years since I'd seen him on Aurora and had to explain who he was to Oskar.  Lunch in Kings Court then more of the tour.  There were a few things missed when we left but he'd had a good day, making up for his Heathrow connection hassles the day before, which was the most important thing.
We changed our mind about where we would watch the departures from because we were exhausted, so returned to the hotel for a brief snooze before heading to where we'd planned to see them arrive which was a lovely area.  Cunard had told me a few months earlier that Betty and Vicky would sail at 5pm with Mary an hour later but it didn't work out that way - what's new with ships???  Instead, quite some time after 6pm, Mary was the first to move, followed by the other two so leaving was in reverse order.  Mary gave one blast going under the bridge, Betty was silent but after Vicky gave four before reaching it, Betty then responded with one.  We saw the press boat but as it headed back when it was a bit past us, we were glad we chose the morning to be on there.  We had seen them in open sea arriving and from the bridge as we returned after I got my coat and the bench near the shore, could see them there going the opposite way.
And then they were gone after a very long and exhausting day but absolutely worth it.  Many thanks to Fernando Santos for inviting us and Cunard for scheduling all three in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.  Next stop for the girls - Southampton!  For photos of them there, click here.
 
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© Patricia Dempsey 6th May 2014
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