Artemis, Queen Elizabeth (II), Independence of the Seas & Queen Mary 2
There were three ships scheduled for the 8th November 2010 - Queen Mary 2, Independence of the Seas and Queen Elizabeth.  However we ended up with an unexpected extra - Artemis!  Some very strange things were happening in the Port of Southampton over the weekend.  First of all the original three babies (okay so two massive babies who could probably compete in Sumo wrestling!) were all listed to sail 4.30pm with Mary in Ocean starboard and QE in Mayflower starboard.  Indy was in the normal City and her departures had been creeping to that time during the previous few cruises so it made sense really.  Then on the 6th, Mary was suddenly changed to QEII and port.  Well Artemis arrived on the 7th as scheduled and docked in Mayflower.  Sometime during the day it was decided to move her to Ocean head first at 4.45pm instead of sailing to Vigo but would be leaving at 3pm the next day.  This actually took place just after 5pm with the assistance of Sussex and Sarah.  P&O claimed the bad storm heading our way, which would have made sense with Mary arriving early at 2am if it wasn't for what normally happens when this occurs and the fact Artemis has had problems since her refit in April.  But we left it at that.  QE docked with the assistance of Maddie and Sussex just before 7am, so about thirty minutes late but Indy docked afterwards and was two hours late!  The wind was very bad at that
time but abated a few hours later.  As the day progressed,
Artemis's departure was changed to 4pm.  This had been on my list already, since it was the first cruise of Indy's winter season and from this day forth (until RCCL change their minds) she's OURS all year round!  Also Mary was in which is always great.  So the timings went 4.30pm for the Cunarders with Indy forty-five minutes later.  I had surgery at long last on the 4th so was in some considerable discomfort and general agony but was also waving my friend Harry Cotterill and his parents off on Mary.  James Dawson from Facebook had come down from Nottingham but at Town Quay and my mobility was sorely limited to getting a taxi to the marina.  I started off alone, since my dad was waiting for the Asda order.  Just after 4pm I received a text from James saying he'd spoken to Harry who told him Mary was now sailing at 5pm.  Grrrr!  Quite a few people turned out, some not believing the weather excuse about Artemis either.  But at least it was fairly mild for November.
Artemis cast her ropes around 4.10pm and was silently assisted by the tugs as she reversed out of the terminal she'd never docked at since it opened.
Once she had straightened and moved forward, Artemis blasted to Mary, who then replied.  The air was so still it echoed and was very loud.
My dad arrived just after 4.30pm which I was delighted about.  I had almost blacked out with the pain.  Mary's time was changed yet again to 6pm and while 5pm came and went, Indy moved silently but QE didn't.  Zilch when she passed Mary too.  I had given the new Vista a nickname - Flat Betty, and she probably only moved at 5.15pm because they got the AA out!  A few left by then but the rest were clearly there for the Cunarders rather than ships in general.  My dad had to leave by 6pm and get home for the evening visit by the carers to my mum so I was back doing everything on my own, hoping I wouldn't collapse or worse.  He was torn both ways, worrying about the pair of us.  QE blasted to Mary when she was practically on top of her.  These photos are the best of the bunch because it was difficult to concentrate due to the pain.
I'd told my dad to look for Mary passing the house and then call a taxi to pick me up, which he did.  By now it had become very cold.  There had been a few odd spots of rain, most notably when I changed my batteries just as Indy was passing Mary, but thankfully it held off a couple more hours.  Indy and Artemis are both due back on the 18th, having both been to the Canary Islands, although Artemis will probably skip Vigo.  I'm looking forward to seeing them again.  It's wonderful now not saying goodbye to our RCCL ship in November until April but instead seeing her come back home again and again from her winter Canaries and Med cruises until Indy's summer season begins at the end of April.

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© Patricia Dempsey 8th November 2010
Not to be reproduced without permission