Maxim Gorkiy, Grand Voyager, Explorer & Le Diamant in Bergen
Bergen was the first port on the QE2 Norwegian Wonders cruise and also the final visit.  It would be the only port there were any other ships in.  We were due for 8am along with Grand Voyager.  Explorer had been removed from the list, Maxim Gorkiy would be for 9am while Le Diamant was noon.  Imagine my surprise when I saw the ship popping into Southampton with the QE2 on the 31st July was right behind us!  I haven't seen her for ten years.  I was having a real nostalgia-fest over the past twelve months, seeing ships I hadn't for many years.  Her charter will end in November as she is too expensive to run and she faces an uncertain future to date.
Grand Voyager (left) and Explorer were already in.  We would annoyingly be going to a different berth and they'd all be hidden by the trees.  These adorable sisters began life for the Royal Olympic Cruise Lines of Greece.  The 25,000grt Olympic Voyager came first in 2000.  She was renamed Olympia Voyager before the company got into financial difficulties and sold her to V-Ships who chartered her to Iberio Cruises.  She was renamed Voyager and adopted her current name in 2005.  From 2011 until 2014 she was Costa Voyager after Carnival closed Ibero Cruceros and is currently Chinese Taishan.  Olympic Explorer entered service a year later.  She was renamed Olympia Explorer the same time as her sister's name change and was laid up from 2003 when the company went bankrupt.  She was bought at auction in 2004 by Semester at Sea and renamed Explorer where she remained until 2015, becoming Celestyal Odyssey for Celestyal Cruise Lines.  From March 2016 she was Glory Sea so both ended up in China.  It was extremely rare these two were anywhere together so I was very happy.
Towards the end of the excursion I noticed we had been joined by Le Diamant and tried to get photos of the ships from the coach as we passed.  Luckily we did get a five minute photo stop and whereas most people took shots of scenery, the only scenery I was interested had engine and were homes from homes.
More photos can be found in my cruise review which can be found here.  To see Maxim Gorkiy and the QE2 reunited in Southampton a month later, click here.
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© Patricia Dempsey 27th June 2008
Not to be reproduced without permission
12th April 2017