Celebrity Eclipse, Oceana (II) & Le Boréal
Two usual suspects were in port on the 26th June 2010.  Celebrity Eclipse had arrived first for 5am, docking in City and Oceana for 7am facing out of Ocean.  But this day was a newcomer to our shores. A change of itinerary meant Le Boréal called here instead of Dartmouth.  Not complaining one bit!  I saw Le Diamant in 2007 and 2008 and liked her.  This one looked like a rich bastard plaything and not appealing in the photos.  This 10,700grt ship entered service for Compagnie du Ponant on the 6th May 2010 on a week-long cruise around the Med from Marseilles to Nice.  She was due to come here and dock in Mayflower for 1.30pm.  I was picked up at 10am and we went around the port first so I could take photos of the other two.
There were too many boats on the water making it difficult to stay reasonably flat.  We tied to a buoy for a little while and it made me dizzy as we rocked badly due to the washes.  Many of these boats were heading up to the Solent while jet-skis zoomed around the water.  After a while we made out way up to Calshot to wait.  Le Boréal was arriving via the Needles.  She came into view passing Calshot beach at 12.10pm.  As we waited, a large cruiser went by, creating one hell of a wave.  We also had to put up with it from the Red Jets, more ruddy yachts (at least they used sails for once instead of the usual motor)  and Southampton Patrol!  I decided not to straighten the photos since it was hard enough getting them at all out there at times.  But we were the only one out to welcome her.  No one else was bothered.  A couple of passengers on the top deck waved to us, as did a waiter when he popped out.
We headed back to the marina to drop me off, speeding up Southampton Water and being more bumpy than usual due to all those other boats.
We had to wait for two boats to head into the marina before we could go to the jetty, by which time she was rapidly catching us up.  She had passed the pier by the time I got off the boat, took the following shot from the pontoon then went up to the top for the rest, making a move towards home and snatching her beginning to pass Eclipse before walking back to the main road.
Eclipse left first later that afternoon because Oceana was delayed by ten minutes.  As soon as Eclipse had passed, Oceana pulled out of the terminal.  Le Boréal was a lovely addition and a contrast after Norwegian Epic earlier in the week.  Despite them saying on the VHF while we waited for her arrival she would sail at 10pm, she left at 11.27pm, nearly thirty minutes later than scheduled and headed for Honfleur to begin the next cruise with 145 crew to just 104 passengers.  Despite photos on the internet not being too flattering to her, I really liked Le Boréal and hope we see more of these ships.  Perhaps if ABP stopped obsessing about pointless container terminals on Dibden Bay and built cruise ones instead we may and many others which never or rarely call here.  

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© Patricia Dempsey 26th June 2010
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