Ventura, Arcadia (IV), Celebrity Equinox & Crown Princess (II)
The 31st July 2009 was going to be an interesting day.  Ventura would be in with her elder sister Crown Princess.  Arcadia would join them.  Then, due to Celebrity Equinox being early and them bringing the maiden voyage forward, we ended up with four.  Celebrity say the following cruise on the 8th August is the official maiden, while this is a 'soft launch'.  She had been named two days before, the bottle smashing on the X of her funnel.  Disappointingly they kept the two Grand class Princesses apart, with Ventura hidden in the new Ocean Terminal while Crown was starboard in Mayflower.  Arcadia and Ventura was down to leave at 4.30pm, Crown at 4.45pm and Equinox on the hour.  After the dismal weather over the previous couple of weeks it was glorious for once and the marina was packed!

Arcadia was taking her flags down as we got there at 3.30pm, Ventura following suit not long afterwards.  Ten minutes later a car carrier was pulled out from beside Ventura.  Both have flat backsides so you had to do a double take since they blended into one.

As usual nothing goes to plan at sailaways!  Arcadia began muster at 4.15pm with three blasts then you just heard the bells.  No way she'd go on time.  A little while later we heard some blasting up the other end and presumed it was the Princess.  I checked the VTS and sure enough the timings had been changed.  Ventura was now 4.45pm with Arcadia on the hour.  Hmm.  Not good when you wanted the Princess twins in shot together!  Just before 4.40pm Ventura threw the first of her ropes then just sat there.

Many people including us saw the crane in front of Crown's funnel had disappeared and thought she was moving.  Turned out she wasn't.  They must have just been loading her up even though VTS had her off the movements.  Grrrr!  Meanwhile ten minutes after the first ropes went, Ventura had lost the rest and she was on the move after some muffled blasting.

Then we found we had a party pooper in our midst!  Just before the hour I noticed Arcadia's ropes slackening.  The mean cow!  Carnival UK were really spoiling the party, first by not having the Princesses together and now no passing between even P&O ones!  You can seriously go off some ships.  Arcadia did do quite a bit of blasting but the P&O Princess was mute.  And who knows what was going on with the Princess Princess?

While Ventura had a touch of blast mania, Equinox edged away from the dock but there was still no sign of the Princess shifting.

Equinox gave three blasts but they sounded like farty bagpipes.  I had thought the wind the Sunday before was the reason for barely hearing it but it's just quieter than we're used to.

Finally, just before 5.30pm, Crown Princess was ACTUALLY moving!  No hallucination caused by a disappearing crane this time.  However it was getting on a bit and she would be some time coming down so we decided to go after Equinox had passed.

Before the last-minute addition of the X to the funnel on Solstice, the chi was on the glass.  I'm guessing they did the same on Equinox, even though I have yet to actually see it.  They really need to add one to the other funnel, just like the original Chandris liners.  It will make her look slightly better instead of like the other fell off.

We started heading out along with quite a few people but many stayed.  We could be home before Crown got down the the pier.  As we went along, I saw the lady who I'd spoken to from Essex at the Three Queens Day in Mayflower Park last year and I'm very sorry for not recognising her when she called me.  I hope she enjoys her cruise next month on Indy!  Arcadia was still just about in view so I got some last shots of all three before we got a taxi and went home.

Through the door, things down, upstairs and a few minutes later Crown began to appear over the middle house (if you stood on the bed!).  We only just beat her after all that!

There really is no doubt the Princesses are the better looking ships.  Ventura (and sister Azura from 2010) are just horrible as P&O ships.  In fact, as I was watchingthe gorgeous Equinox, Amy sent me a text saying, "Arcadia needs a T-shirt or flag that says, 'I'm with ugly'."  Equinox returns on the 8th and then it's my turn on this new lady of the seas!

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© Patricia Dempsey 31st July 2009
Not to be reproduced without permission