Ocean Majesty, Rotterdam (VI), Aurora, Emerald Princess, Zenith & Princess Daphne in Saint Petersburg
Our first day in St Petersburg on the 10th July 2009 while on Jewel of the Seas.  I knew there would already be some ships in but the quesion was where were they and how easily could I see them from where we'd be berthed?  Aurora, Rotterdam, Zenith and Emerald Princess had arrived the day before.  Zenith and the Princess were others I hadn't seen.  Zenith began life under the same name for Celebrity Cruises in 1992 and comes in at 47,255grt.  In 2007 she was transferred to Pullmantur to replace the R ships.  Emerald Princess was the second of three (or four if you count Ventura as number three) of the latest Grand class Princesses.  That 113,000grt vessel made her debut in 2007.  Ocean Majesty was following us in.  I had got up at 5am to check out the lie of the dock land, even though my then partner, Patrick Patton, insisted I wouldn't see anything then denied he'd said such a thing when I showed him my pics.  Rotterdam and Aurora were together and we would be berthing behind the Princess.  Ocean Majesty would head to keep Zenith company.
I went back out afterwards for Princess Daphne.  I had read she was due at noon so was sat forward from 10.30am.  Princess Daphne is one I really wanted to see.  This 16,500grt beauty is the sister of Princess Danae.  She made her debut in 1955 as Port Sydney, a cargo/passenger ship, being sold with her twin in 1972 to become car ferries but they changed the plans and both were converted to cruising intsead.  She became Daphne from the following year for Delian Cruises which was a failure.  She was chartered to Lauro Lines 1978-9 then both went to Costa who bought them in 1984.  A joint agreement with Sovcomflot in 1990 to set up Prestige Cruises lasted a short while before the latter withdrew and in 1997 she became Switzerland for Leisure Cruises, who went bankrupt in 2001.  Majestic International Cruises of Greece became her latest owners and renamed her Ocean Monarch for a few years when she also underwent a few charters before being put up for sale yet again.  She was reunited with her sister under the Classic International Cruises banner in 2008.  Sadly, when CIC went bankrupt in 2010, Portuscale Cruises bought all their ships except Princess Daphne, who was owned by someone else.  As a result, she ended up being sold, renamed to just Daphne and sailed to Alang in May 2014.
When there was no sign at gone 11am I decided to give up to explore the ship.  I still kept an eye out of windows just in case but I didn't see her.  I hadn't noticed when I took the photo below at 12.25pm she was there on the left!  Never having been to St Petersburg before I had no idea where the smaller ones would be so didn't even look.  I can't believe I missed her!  But as she was due to sail the same time as us the next day I had another chance for some good shots.
Aurora, Rotterdam and Emerald Princess were all scheduled to sail at 6pm with Zenith an hour later so I went up on deck to wait like a hunter stalking its prey.  With the sun in my eyes it made it very difficult to see across to the other terminal but at eighteen minutes past, I noticed the HAL was moving.  I hadn't heard any blasting, unlike when Aurora moved less than ten minutes later.  Oh for the sun behind!
There was no sign of the Princess moving.  7pm came and went and nothing from Zenith either but at least I had Patrick for company as I waited.  Around 7.25pm I heard blasting and wondered if it was the Princess.  He said it was something else.  I went port to check and saw her square bum heading in my direction!  I dashed round to the other side as fast as my swollen feet could carry me, grabbed my bag and returned to port.  Patrick stayed a little while before going for a coffee.
I had a quick peek to see what was happening with Zenith and saw she was already on the move.  They don't half pick their moments!  She blasted when she began moving forward and it was lovely to hear her.
Patrick had come back from his coffee and waited while I finished taking photos of Zenith.  Time was gathering on so we went to the Windjammer for dinner.  It was turning into an excellent cruise for the ships.  To see some from the next day, click here.  To read the review of the trip, click here.

Back to Stalking Index

© Patricia Dempsey 10th July 2009
Not to be reproduced without permission
14th May 2014