Thomson Dream UK Debut & Arcadia (IV)
A new caller on the 8th December 2010.  Thomson Dream arrived for 5.30am fresh from a month-long refit in Hamburg.  Arcadia arrived at her usual time an hour later.  The 55,000grt Thomson Dream began was life in 1986 as the 42,092grt Homeric (II), the very last ship built for Home Lines.  In 1988 Holland America Line took over Home Lines and she become Westerdam (II) from 1989.  HAL was subsequently taken over by Carnival Corporation.  After many successful years, she was internally tranferred to Carnival's Italian subsidiary, Costa Cruises, to be Costa Europa, where she remained until April 2010.  Tui/Thomson had agreed a ten year charter beginning April 2010.  However, on teh 26th February she hit the dock in Sharm al-Sheikh and was subsequently withdrawn from Costa service to undergo repairs.  She made her debut for Thomson in April during the volcanic ash problem, ferrying passengers from Palma to Barcelona before embarking on her maiden voyage.  Later that year, the BBC consumer programme, Watchdog, screened a report about bad plumbing and numerous other problems onboard.  These were meant to be corrected during her refit.  Arcadia was due to sail at 4.30pm while Thomson Dream had been put back from 5pm-6pm.  It had been my mum's funeral in the morning and to give us something to take our minds off things, we decided to go over for photos in the afternoon, get Arcadia (since she'd be earlyish) them go home.  She liked the ships (though was more fairweather than we were) so would understand so we caught the 3.10pm ferry across.  It was f-f-f-f-f-f-freezing despite the sun setting.  The tug Svitzer Kilroom was in 48, having been there some time.
We bought sandwiches and a drink then headed to Mayflower Park.  I had said to Steve (hoppy82) on YouTube I would be going over and we nearly missed each other as he was heading slowly towards the exit.  We had a brief chat then said we'd see each other at Town Quay for the P&O.  None of us was waiting for the Thomson!  She's a nice looking vessel but we couldn't believe the shoddy painting AND streaks of rust.  What did they do in Hamburg all these weeks???  It only took about eighteen hours to get here and the trip wouldn't cause that much rust so fast.
After eating our sandwiches we headed back towards Town Quay, bumping into Steve on the way out.  He'd decided to go home because it was just too cold.  Very wise!  We got there and I took a couple of shots then we waited for Arcadia - and waited and waited and waited and waited..........
After checking the movements again to see it STILL said 1630 when it was getting on for 1730, we decided to pack it in and catch the ferry.  There was absolutely no movement from the naughty corner except passengers milling about in their cabins and on deck.  We can only assume they were waiting for passengers from the even more Arctic north, who had to come through the snow.
Thomson Dream left around 6.10pm and for some reason went to the Upper Swinging Ground to turn instead of there.  Once she'd passed, Arcadia gave three blasts and backed out just before 7pm.

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