Queen Victoria, Artemis & Arcadia (IV)
A Southampton first on the 1st August 2010 - both Queen Victoria's were together!  Of course, the original Cunard Queen Victoria ended up being transferred to P&O in April 2004 to be Arcadia while another version was ordered.  But since QV2 had entered service in December 2007, they had been kept apart in their home port.  However, after P&O took over running Cunard from 2008 they changed that and this was the first of three times.  QV1 was in Mayflower, QV2 in Ocean facing out and Artemis in City with all due to sail at 4.30pm.  The number of times Arcadia and Artemis had been together during this year will set tongues wagging!  As I was still suffering the pain I'd been in for months, I decided to catch the 4.10pm bus so I wasn't upright too long, since that caused the most agony.  Well the bus was late.  Ten minutes after it should have turned up, my dad called for a taxi and THEN the bus arrived about five minutes after that.  We'd never make it in time so waited for the taxi as we heard QV2 blast.  She was going and we were stuck at the bus stop!  My dad called about the taxi at 4.30pm only to be told it was on its way and then hung up on.  Charming(!)  Well the driver finally arrived at 4.35pm, saying he'd just come on his shift and found the job.  Apparently many times people phone and ages later it's put out.  We decided to go to Shore Road, a place we hadn't been for years and where I was captivated by France during her final departure in 1974.  We agreed if there was something moving, we'd be dropped there.  If not, to the marina.  Well, he spotted something big and Vista coming our way came so we pulled over!
We heard something blast from inside the docks, possibly Arcadia, as QV continued on her way down towards the Solent.  As much as we enjoyed being there, giving us different angles to the norm, it was frustrating not being able to see what was happening up the other end.  My phone internet hadn't been working since the night before and I was lost without the AIS to see where the other two were.  It really was just like the old days!
As QV neared Fawley and the noise from her deck sailaway party grew quieter, we heard some more blasting which was definitely Arcadia.  Meanwhile ship number two poked her nose out - Artemis, followed a few minutes later by Arcadia.
Both QV and Arcadia headed towards Copenhagen for their Baltic cruises.  They would separate on the 3rd, when Arcadia sailed from Copenhagen to Stockholm while QV stayed overnight but meet up on the 8th in Saint Petersburg then again on the 12th in Oslo when Arcadia would be there 8am-6pm and QV 1pm-7pm.  They would be in tandem through Kristansand to Southampton, where they arrived on the 15th.  It was nice being in an old haunt to watch the ships and we discussed going there again some time as we walked up the road to the taxi office then came home.

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© Patricia Dempsey 1st August 2010
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