Vision of the Seas & Arcadia (III)
After retiring the much-loved liner Canberra at the end of September 1997, P&O moved Star Princess (I) over from their American arm, Princess Cruises, as a replacement.  She made her debut as Arcadia (III) when she sailed into her new home port of Southampton on the 18th December 1997 in the early hours of the morning so no fanfare arrival.  Her maiden voyage was on the 23rd December in dismal weather, followed by her maiden world cruise was the 5th January 1998.  This 63,524grt ship was originally ordered for Sitmar Cruises as Fairmajesty to be delivered in 1989 but a subsequent takeover by P&O resulted in the ship being renamed Star Princess (I).  Arcadia (III) cruised for P&O until 2003 when she was transferred to their fledgling Ocean Village Holidays and based in the Mediterranean during the summer and Caribbean during winter.  On the 30th October 2008 it was announced Ocean Village Holidays would cease from 2010, with both ships joining P&O Australia.  Ocean Village Two would be first in 2009 while Ocean Village would follow a year later, becoming Pacific Pearl until 2017 when she joined Cruise and Maritime Voyages to be Columbus.  Royal Caribbean's 78,491grt Vision of the Seas entered service in the first half of 1998.  She debuted in Southampton on the 18th April 1998, remaining for the naming ceremony with her maiden voyage taking place on the 2nd May.  The following photos were taken on the 2nd May as Vision of the Seas prepared for her departure.  Arcadia took me by surprise as she was due to arrive a couple of hours later that morning.  As I made my way down to take pictures of Vision of the Seas, I looked around and there was Arcadia.  
I dashed to get to the marina but it's a hell of a walk to get down the front.  By the time Vision came into view after the toilet block,  Arcadia was already past and heading to 106.  I got a few photos but we didn't stay to see Arcadia dock.
And then Vision headed off, formerly residing in Los Angeles doing Mexican Riviera cruises until the 4th January 2009.  After that she went Santo Domingo for Caribbean cruises then Europe and was replaced in LA for two years by the larger Mariner of the Seas.  To watch a video of her arrival click here.  For more photos of Arcadia as Ocean Village click here and of Vision's long-awaited Southampton return in 2011 here.

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© Patricia Dempsey 2nd May 1998 & 31st March 2006
Not to be reproduced without permission
12th April 2017