Thomson Spirit
The weather certainly had changed on the 17th September 2007.  The wind was strong and it was freezing despite the odd bit of sun.  We went down the marina to see Thomson Spirit.  Like her sister, Thomson Celebration, this 33,930grt ship began life as Nieuw Amsterdam (III) for Holland America Line in July 1983 after a series of mishaps delayed her maiden voyage.  She sailed for them until 1999 when she was sold to American Classic Voyages.  The took possession the following year in a ceremony at sea where she was renamed Patriot and became the first foreign-built vessel to have a US flag to do Hawaiian cruises alongside Independence.  However after 9/11 the company got into finacial trouble collapsed in 2002 resulting in her being laid up.  Uncertainty ensued as Carnival were owed nearly $80 million so they took her back, renamed her Nieuw Amsterdam and then announced she was for sale.  Louis Cruise Lines took her, chartering to Thomson Holidays that same year where she joined their already successful charters as Thomson Spirit.  So after a couple of years seeing Thomson Celebration, we now had her sister.  Originally listed to sail at 5pm it was put back an hour.

A few people were also down there to see the ship despite it being bitterly cold.  A car carrier was heading towards Eastern Docks so when the Thomson moved away from 101 she did so very slowly. Once the car carrier was safely out the way, she headed off, giving three loud blasts.

So that was that and time to go home and defrost.  For photos of her sister Thomson Celebration in Southampton back in 2005 click here.

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© Patricia Dempsey 17th September 2007
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