Oceana (II), Grand Princess & Farewell Sea Princess (II)
Sea Princess arrived in Southampton for the final time after more than five years on the 30th August 2008.  Since she, as Adonia, arrived with younger sister Oceana in April 2003, the people here have got used to them being around.  I was there for her maiden after being transferred back to be Sea Princess in May 2005 so I had to be there for her saying goodbye to her home all this time.  Sea Princess was in QEII, Oceana in City and Grand Princess starboard in Mayflower making it a Princess Day.  We only needed Ventura to make it complete but she was arriving the next day.
The weather was really nice, though a little windy at times, and the marina became pretty packed, most likely due to the publicity in the previous day's Echo.  Geoff and his daughter were there too as well as someone my dad knows.  All three were originally due to go at 5pm but Oceana was brought forward fifteen minutes.  As she did her eight bells at 4.15pm there was no way she'd go then.  She began to move shortly before the hour, while Grand Princess edged forward towards the turning circle a few minutes later.
Oceana blasted three times as she moved out and slowly moved forward once she'd got into the channel as Grand disappeared from view.
Sea Princess blasted at her sister which was reciprocated.  It was appropriate they were together for her last call as they arrived that way all those years ago.
A woman behind said Oceana was bigger than Sea Princess and said she couldnt see any balconies.  Her friend or whatever told her they're on the other side.  They also thought the cabins below the lifeboats were for crew.
Once Oceana had passed, Sea dropped a line.  Grand was still turning so it was beginning to look like she'd get out of there and the planned passing by Grand as mentioned by Keith Hamilton in the Echo wasn't going to happen after all.
Grand emerged from the turning circle and thankfully Sea was still there.  It was going to happen and with knobs on!  Once Grand was closer, she gave three long blasts.  Sea returned the gesture and they blasted simultaneously, as well as separately.  It was great.
Sea cast the remaining ropes and silently eased herself into the channel for the final time as Great Expectations fought against the wash Grand had created while passing Hythe pier.
So that was that.  The end of one era this year.  Although we still have Oceana as well as a visit in 2009 by Dawn Princess, it won't be the same without Sea Princess around the place.

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© Patricia Dempsey 30th August 2008
Not to be reproduced without permission