Adonia (II) Maiden Voyage, Crown Princess (II) & Queen Victoria
Two days after arriving in Southampton, the second ship to be called Adonia set sail on her maiden voyage.  She had been named at 3.30pm the day before by Dame Shirley Bassey in a glittering deck ceremony followed by a party, a spontaneous burst of Diamonds Are Forever and fireworks at 10pm.  She was originally scheduled to sail at 5pm but it was brought forward an hour.  Queen Victoria and Crown Princess were also in, two days running she'd been in with a former Princess fleetmate!  Also, like the day before, the Princess was in the QEII Terminal, which is so rarely used nowadays it was probably thick with dust, cobwebs!  Well originally Adonia was due to sail at 5pm but it was brought forward to 4pm, Crown and hour later and Vicky sandwiched between.  Pity no one told Vicky that!  Her timing was put back to 6pm.  We heard Adonia's eight bells about 3.30pm, giving three blasts as she moved about about forty minutes later with the assistance of Sussex on the bow and Lady Madeleine in her usual place of bum guard.  Now fireworks are always great, daylight ones, can be a bit daft, but daylight when the ship has to turn around instead of actually on route is ridiculous!  There was a lot of blasting when she neared Vicky, with the Cunarder starting it, then again near Crown, though not as much.
Vicky did muster at 5pm then I began to get a strange sense of Grand class Princess deja vu as Crown began to single up just after 5.05pm but then, like her eldest sister Grand the previous day, sat there doing nothing for ages!  As a helicopter flew overhead just before 5.20pm her final lines were released and she began to shift it.  Also like her sister, the sailaway party was LOUD!  There were many comments around about how they could get better music when the usual YMCA blared out.  One of the local swans came for a look before disappearing again.  Crown left silently, not even a parp to Vicky.
Well we waited and waited and waited.  Despite the pilot being onboard since around 5.30pm and Huelin Dispatch sailing at 5.30pm, half an hour early, there was still no movement from the other occupant of the naughty corner.  The car carrier, Grand Venus, was also due to sail at 6pm as well as Verona.  Maddie and Sarah (who had returned after two months stuck in Hull the night before) went to work but weren't going to the Cunarder but Grand Venus!  We thought it would be like Friday when one moved and so did Ventura only it wasn't.  Vicky's ropes stayed firmly glued to the bollards!  Several of those remaining buggered off by now and I don't blame them.  The swan returned, probably to see if Vicky had gone!
I had been told by my friend, Tee Adams, that wind was the delay.  He had friends aboard who updated him via Facebook.  Yet once Maddie and Sarah finished with the car carrier, they went back to bed and not to assist Vicky!  Even earlier when none were doing anything, why hadn't they been called?  Yet only the week before, Silver Spirit had requested a tug due to wind and low tide, Maddie heading to help once she'd finished her current job.  It's even been known to bring up one of the Solent Towage tugs from Fawley if needed.  We had one on my penultimate QE2 cruise, along with Dolphin and two usual Svitzers and that was due to wind.  Why not this time if that was the problem?  We gave it until 6.20pm then went to get the bus because it went to one an hour after that.  She FINALLY cast off at 6.39pm WITH the aid of a tug!  Sarah had been sent to do the business.  What took them so long???  We made it home minutes before she passed the house
And that was the end of my three days in a row stalking Grand class Princesses in various livery and states!  To see photos of Adonia arriving, click here.  To see Dave Monks's fabulous video of Dame Shirley Bassey's spontaneous singing aboard Adonia just before the fireworks, click here.

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© Patricia Dempsey 22nd May 2011
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