Arcadia (IV) & Aurora
Arcadia had sailed to Bremerhaven for her first refit on the 26th November 2008.  As part of it, more stern balconies would be added along the lines of her Holland America Line sisters, making the tiered stern more boxy and a few gt heavier.  She also had the new P&O Cruises logo rather than the letters.  She returned at 8.30pm on the 19th December and docked in the QEII Terminal.  Meanwhile the following day, Aurora arrived after her Winter Wonderland cruise and was in Mayflower.  Arcadia was due to sail at 4.30pm, but didn't do muster until 4.05pm, while Aurora was the usual 5pm.
As it got darker, Arcadia's  lights slowly came on, then some went off before being turned on again.  It was very funny to watch.  Meanwhile Aurora was still being refuelled.
It was very disappointing Arcadia's funnel wasn't lit.  Was it the shame of having a box bum now?  Or have they just run out of bulbs since it was off the day before?  Twenty minutes late, she pulled out and gave three blasts.  This made me wish in a way she had been Queen Victoria because at least she has a decent horn.  Not farting bagpipes.  She also has a proper funnel - when you can see it!  And hey, as she was for Cunard she's also a liner and not a cruise ship!  They forget that.  Anyway as she moved further away from the dock, she gave another three blasts which we hadn't expected.
As we were concentrating on Arcadia, we heard blasting from the other end.  Usually Aurora's horn is fairly quiet so we were shocked she was so loud.  She left to a light show but alas that didn't come out on the photos.
So that was the end of 2008's stalking and what an eventful and sad year it had been.  My heart hadn't been in it today due to still missing the QE2 since saying goodbye to her was the last time I'd gone and it was only the fact Arcadia was now looking different which made me go.  However once things started happening it was the same as usual and I got right back into things.  Roll on 2009!

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© Patricia Dempsey 20th December 2008
Not to be reproduced without permission