Three Cunard Queens in Lisbon - 6th May 2014
On the 6th May 2014, Cunard's fleet would be in Lisbon three days before arriving in Southampton.  My Norwegian friend, Oskar Osmundsen, and I discussed being completely crazy in January.  He was working the 5th May and needed to get the day off so we could fly over, as his normal break began the day of the event.  In March, he was given it so we got booking our flights and hotel.  We decided to stay at the Hotel Vila Galé Ópera, the other side of the bridge, as our original plan was to watch the arrivals from the shore nearby.  However, five days before the event, Fernando Santos invited us onto the press boat for either arrival or sailaway and for the ceremony with the Mayor and Commodore Rynd.  I was in Leixôes on a cruise and Oskar working on the Color Line ferry in Oslo so not easy to get details but I managed it, also opting for arrivals boat having done both in Southampton.  Boarding was at 5.45am on the Fantasia, and we were there just after the hour thanks to our taxi being early.  Also on the boat were some people from Cunard (we joked about how it rained when events were heavily advertised but dry when not), the official photographer, James Morgan (who would also be doing the 9th May in Southampton), Antonio Manuel Silva, a lady from the port of Lisbon who looked just like my friend Stella Eaton, Luis Miguel Correia and loads of others, including Portuguese television.  Fernando and his colleague were making the official DVD, which he wanted me to be interviewed for.  Dawn was breaking as we headed out to open water where the girls were in the distance, led by Vicky with Mary lagging behind.  Vicky gave one blast as she passed us but the other two were silent.  When the fuel bunker decided to get in on the act, there were curses in Portuguese, Norwegian and English!  With so much going on, it made it difficult to find time to eat.  We had left the hotel too early for breakfast so finally managed to get a roll on the boat and had to multi-task.


© Patricia Dempsey 6th May 2014
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without permission