Ventura, Oceana (II), Silver Whisper & MSC Opera
National Geographic Explorer was scheduled to sail on the 13th May 2012 after a twelve day wet dock alongside berth 202.  Ventura, Oceana, Silver Whisper and MSC Opera would be in too.  Ventura was an early bird, arriving by midnight the previous night and tucked up in Ocean before the rest got here!  Info was rarer than an England World Cup victory but there had been talk they needed something to cool before working on it in the morning.  She left at 8.30pm on the 26th April due to mechanical issues, hasn't had a refit since she arrived in April 2008 and not due one until next year.
Oceana was in for the usual 6.30pm and in Mayflower, Silver Whisper was 7am in QEII while MSC Opera arrived for a rather late 11.30am and berthed in City.  So departures were as follows allegedly - Oceana and Ventura 4.30pm, Opera 5pm and Silver Whisper 6pm.  Oceana did muster at her departure time while Ventura started to single up about ten minutes later.  It was quite windy despite the sun and very busy.  As Ventura backed out, I overheard two old blokes behind me.  One said everything above the Promenade deck are penthouses and have patios.  I'm surprised he didn't mention barbecues or flowerpots.  Oceana blasted around 5.10pm and edged away while Ventura was still getting herself straight after almost half an hour.  Opera let go after Oceana had safely passed.  Silver Shadow began to single up as Opera neared, using Bentley on her bum to help her out eight minutes early after Opera was clear.

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© Patricia Dempsey 13th May 2012
Not to be reproduced without permission