Arcadia (IV), Queen Elizabeth (II), Queen Victoria, Queen Mary 2 & Rotterdam (VI)
The end of the Mary and Betty worldies culminated in a rendezvous with Vicky for Mary's 10th birthday celebrations on the 9th May 2014.  Vicky had returned on the 28th April and was on a Canaries cruise when she met with her fleet mates in Lisbon three days prior.  Rotterdam had also been there, as was I and my Norwegian friend Oskar.  There were loads of people already aat the marina after 4am.  The fairweathers had no idea 1) Arcadia wasn't a Cunard until she got close and 2) she was coming at all!  Betty was the first of the Cunarders, docking portside in 40 briefly.  Vicky was next, starboard in 38/9 temporarily, giving four blasts on her whistle once she passed Hythe pier.  The birthday girl made her entrance, just as the sun did.  Talk about perfect timing!  The annoying fairweathers were out in force, blocking people's view as the girls approached.  One had his SLR set up with a massive lens but preferred using a hand held around it.  I wasn't the only regular getting annoyed.  Grrr!  Rotterdam was coming too, which some were interested in.  Once she'd passed, Vicky followed as she docked in 101 and Rotterdam in 102 while Betty moved forward to 38/9.
Rotterdam sailed at 11am while Arcadia was due at 5pm, which we went back down for.  Janet Knight from Facebook and Twitter was there briefly, as was the lady from Essex whose name I've forgotten but we met at the first three Queens in 2008.  Bentley was attached to Arcadia's bow and she made sure no one forgot her as she passed each of the Queens, since if things were different, she'd have been Vicky.  It was the first time I'd seen the balcony additions since the refit.
We were back down Hythe by 8.30pm and found Vicky moving to 40 berth.  It was absolutely packed, including an estimated forty coach parties, but thankfully Denny Jones was there with her daughter and saved us a space.  Someone wondered why the water was moving, another said all the ships were the same size while some had no idea they would be sailing.  Mary moved later than the 9.30pm scheduled time and the fireworks began shortly after 10pm.  The crowd began to disperse once they'd finished though several stayed for Mary to sail before following the rest.  A few spots as Vicky was leaving but thankfully no squall.
Denny gave us a lift home and as we drove out of the marina, it began to rain a bit heavier.  For photos of the Queens and Rotterdam in Lisbon on the 6th May, click here.

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© Patricia Dempsey 9th May 2014
Not to be reproduced without permission