Oriana (II) & Navigator of the Seas
The 5th November, as well as being the country's annual bonfire night (though people have been known to set fireworks off weeks before and after), it was also the day Southampton bid farewell to Navigator of the Seas after a successful summer season.  Oriana was also in.  As it was the only chance to get Navigator lit up, we decided to go to Mayflower Park and also the last time to take photos of her docked the correct way round.  It was a gloomy day and very cold.  As we crossed on the ferry, Oriana's flags were being taken down, though you can't see them at an angle in the following picture.
Navigator was listed to sail at 4.45pm which would be a first as she's never gone on time all season.  Oriana was the usual 5pm.  4.15pm came and went despite several announcements we heard and no sign of lifeboat drill.  Oriana, on the other hand, gave her very loud eight bells.  We expected Navigator to follow.  A crew member came out to prepare to starboard docking platform to be taken up.  Some lights were suddenly switched off.  Well at 4.30pm eight very, VERY loud blasts came from her to signal muster.  It's loud from the marina but close it's deafening.  By now a small crowd was building up, including a teenage boy about 15/16 mad on ships and who cruised Navigator to the Caribbean back in January and absolutely loved her.  He and his uncle had come from Portsmouth despite car trouble.  An elderly couple were doing their first cruise next year on Ventura.  And some people came all the way from Warrington to wave friends off.  No one cared about Oriana except us.  Awwww.
As we thought, not a sign of movement from Navigator at the designated time.  It's a shame as the most beautiful sunset suddenly appeared through the clouds, turning the sky over Marchwood a rich crimson which would have been a marvellous backdrop for her as she sailed.  By the time Oriana got blast mania at 5pm as she eased away from the dock then again as she began to move forward it was gone and getting dark, not to mention freezing cold.
After getting stuck in those barriers left over from Saturday's Southampton Round Table and Southern Daily Echo firework display, I moved a bit further down to get some unobstructed views as Oriana headed towards the Solent.  Navigator had thrown her ropes and begun to come out.  I caught my dad on camera filming Oriana but Navigator had to stay put as a Maersk container ship had crept out behind Oriana.
Finally at 5.15pm Navigator was able to set off so I prepared to get stuck again.
Disappointingly Navigator was silent as she sailed away back to Fort Lauderdale.  We did see her nearing Fawley from the ferry as we headed back to Hythe.  Bye, Navigator!  It's been a pleasure having you here this year and cruising on you back in June.  I just wish I could have done longer like that young lad.  In 2008 Navigator will be based in Barcelona while we get her brand new larger sister, Independence of the Seas to replace her.  I hope she's as popular.

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© Patricia Dempsey 5th November 2007
Not to be reproduced without permission