Queen Mary 2 Says Goodbye To Queen Elizabeth 2
The 22nd October 2008 was a very sad day.  Exactly six months earlier was Three Queens Day when QE2 met QM2 and Queen Victoria in their home.  Now it was time for Mary and Lizzie to say goodbye.  Never again would these two be in any port together as sailing ships.  They had completed a roundtrip transatlantic when Lizzie said farewell to her second home all these decades, New York.  Mary had arrived first at 5.50am, docking starboard in Mayflower with a normal noon departure for refit in Hamburg.  Lizzie was the usual 7am, unusually docking starboard, but in QEII.  The last time she had been that way was the 18th April after returning from her final world cruise before being taken by tug up to 105 for her wet dock.  Ever since they began to reverse into the Itchen back in June when Pam and I were on Boudicca, I wanted this for Lizzie.  When they successfully did it twice with with Mary in August, I wanted it even more just once before she left.  The HAD to do it.  The 30th September originally listed her as starboard but they changed it to port.  I was very disappointed so was determined not to get my hopes up this time until she was really like that.  I was doing my last cruise on her but first had booked a harbour tour since it was a monumental maritime day so we went over earlier on the ferry.
We got a taxi to Ocean Village.  I was allowed to leave my case in the Blue Funnel portakabin which really helped.  It was even warmer now.  Loads of people turned up by coach to do the tour.  We got chatting to a couple as we waited to board Ashleigh R.  The tour was 11am-12pm and with Mary off to Hamburg at noon, we remarked we'd booked the wrong trip!  A lot of people, including the couple, had no idea she was off so early.  We set off slightly late, passing another vessel with Southampton on the stern so that must be a Classic Cunarder as well.  The commentary was quite a bit wrong but he was enthusiastic, bless him, and good at the jokes.
When we returned to Ocean Village, we shared a taxi with the couple and went to Town Quay for Mary's departure.  We'd been told on the boat she was now ten past twelve so that, plus having to turn her huge bulk, gave us time.  It was a little crowded and became chilly by the time she moved off after twenty past.
Once she was out, she blasted three times and she picked up speed and made her way towards the waiting crowd.  It was even more cold and windy but no one complained.
She certainly knew how to please the masses as she blasted another three times as she turned by Mayflower Park to get into the shipping lane.
Mary blasted another three times as she passed us.  She was certainly very entertaining today and a fitting successor to Lizzie, despite needing liposuction to make her as sleek.  Thank goodness there's only one of her.  The Vistas will never really take their place in history as she will because there's too many of them across the brands.
As she neared Lizzie, she gave three blasts.  Lizzie responded with a disinterested grunt.  So Mary tried again with the same response.  She had one more crack to get her sister to reply decently after she'd passed only to be completely ignored.  For the final time they would ever be together this turned out to be a major disappointment and I was beginning to wish I'd gone to the QEII instead.  There were a couple of Americans from California there, one of whom knew Amy!  There were also several more going to Lizzie after this farewell.

That was Mary then.  Time to head to the terminal while my dad got the ferry home until it later that afternoon.  But before we did that, we ended up arguing with a man who insisted Lizzie would go to the turning circle because they always do and he's seen it loads of times.  Wouldn't have it she could be reversed and they'd already done it with Mary and Victoria so clearly doesn't see it THAT often when they've reversed each ship docked starboard for the past two months.

While I was on Lizzie preparing to sail on my last cruise aboard her, my dad was at the marina.  Originally when Amy was doing the eastbound transatlantic, she had booked Blue Funnel tickets for sailaway for her, Jason, Karla, her mum Carolyn and my dad.  But with them having to cancel that didn't happen.  As Lizzie had to turn it would have made for great shots, albeit probably full of people!  Lizzie was due to sail at 5pm as usual.  She had Lyndhurst on her bow with the terrible twosome aft - Bentley and his twin, Lady Madeleine!!!  Lady Madeleine had been one of the tugs on my very first Lizzie cruise so it was apt she was now.  Just a shame I was unable to get photos since I was on the Observation Deck.  The last ropes were thrown just before 5.20pm and after three short blasts, she very slowly moved away from the dock and went BACKWARDS!!!!!!!!  I do hope that man was there and saw we were right!

Before she was dead on pointing at her fans at the marina, Lizzie gave one long blast on her whistle as she continued to turn.
Once she straightened and was on her way past Hythe pier after successfully turing 180 degrees, she gave another three blasts.  She did three more to the Blue Funnel ferries a few minutes later.
So off she went into the sunset on the penultimate roundtrip from her home port.  She would be back on the 27th but docked port, so this was the only time she would reverse.  For the review of my cruise, click here.

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© Patricia Dempsey & Kevin Dempsey 22nd & 28th October 2008
Not to be reproduced without permission