Balmoral, Saga Pearl II, Saga Sapphire & Queen Elizabeth (II)
Four ships on the 8th December 2017 with Saga Pearl II in Mayflower, Saga Sapphire in City, Queen Elizabeth in Ocean and Balmoral in QEII.  This was the final meeting of the Sagas in Southampton as from January 2018 until leaving the fleet in April 2019, Pearl would be operating out of Portsmouth and Dover.  Pity since she began all three maidens (SP2, Quest For Adventure then SP2 again) from Southampton.  Balmoral would be going first as it was her turn for refit.  We went to Calshot for that.  The weather was bitter and my foot was still hurting from Sapphy's post-refit departure on Monday, which looked like Plantar fasciitis caused by my hernia and 8 month overdue surgery.  My knee was buggered from the weight due to the delay.  It hailed as we waited for the bus and got ourselves comfy but gradually the clouds moved away to reveal sun.  Balmoral sailed at 11.20am so by the time she reached us it was lovely.
Back down for the odd funnelled couple now Sapphy returned to Saga roots.  Pearl was first in for 7.30am, first out at 4pm with Sapphy half an hour later with both.  Queen Elizabeth was annoyingly 8pm, which they've done a few times if they're going on a short hop.  It was nice seeing Lomax sail by QE since she passed the prone Höegh Osaka in the Solent in January 2015 resulting in Lomax ending up with a bent antenna.  The Saga ladies were both originally 4pm but Sapphy was put back half an hour.  Pearl left ten minutes late.  Sapphy followed her late lead.  Betty had been brought forward to 7.30pm and I couldn't risk catching a cold or flu before my surgery the following week, I got her from the house.  She left almost at 8pm after all as she waited for NYK Remus to pass.
I'm really going to miss these two together here.  They became part of the furniture like Saga Rose and Saga Ruby - and I bloody froze for them too!  To see the photos of Sapphy when she returned from refit, click here.

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© Patricia Dempsey 8th December 2017
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