Balmoral, Independence of the Seas & Celebrity Eclipse
Party time on the 28th September 2011 when Indy and Eclipse met for the first time in their home port.  If memory serves, it's also the first time ever a Royal Caribbean has been in with a Celebrity.  Eclipse was in the naughty corner for possibly her only time.  But Southampton's RCCL day had a gatecrasher in the shape of Balmoral sitting in Mayflower.  She had been due to sail at 6pm the day before but instead was moved from City to Mayflower at that time, new departure just pm on the 28th.  She changed from port in City to Starboard in Mayflower, conducting a drill just after 7pm, lowering the lifeboats to the portside embarkation deck, finishing at 9.30pm.  Meanwhile the stars of the show arrived for 5.15am, Indy first since she had farthest to go.  Balmoral was listed to sail at 12.30pm so I went to the marina and waited and waited and waited.  At least it was sunny and dry, albeit a bit chilly with haze.  She had been taken off the movements, as they do once something's underway, only hadn't budged.  I gave up at 1.30pm because, despite her time now being 2pm, I couldn't wait due to timings later in the afternoon for the other two.
As soon as I got through the front door, that bugger was on the move.  Not only that, but was so fast, she was down here in the usual length of time instead of taking fifty minutes.  I could have stayed after all and still got back in time to do stuff before heading out again.  Grrr!
I had a nice cup of coffee and painkiller for my back before changing my shoes and heading out again.  After being a bit cold a couple of hours earlier, I took my jacket and a cardie only it was flipping hotter!  There were a few people down the marina when I arrived but I was being picked up at 4pm so hobbled past them.  My back was going to play merry hell with all the activity today so I hoped it would be worth it!  The anti-whaling boat, Steve Irwin, of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, was still in, having arrived a few weeks earlier. Indy singled up at 4.23pm and, a few minutes later, asked if it was clear to go.  She would be steaming off Ocean Dock, her and Eclipse putting on their best cheesy grins for the RCCL publicity department as the helicopter buzzed overhead.  The only problem was, despite Indy's bridge calling Eclipse, the Celebrity head first in the naughty corner failed to respond.  Someone got flustered and called Eclipse of the Seas!  Only a matter of time.  Even when VTS tried they met the same stoney silence to the point they were getting frustrated.  Indy had blasted at Eclipse but I couldn't hear if she replied with that but was told she had, which makes the other silence curious.  Indy clearly got fed up so gave another blast at the tiered-bum upstart in an apt place since she was being naughty, and buggered off on her way, trying several more times to call Eclipse but each attempt was futile.  I make no apologies for any skew-whiff photos since it's hard to get them perfect when you're bobbing up and down, especially when other vessels leave a wash like evil Red Jets.
Like Balmoral earlier in the afternoon, Eclipse had been removed from the movements so I had no idea when or if she'd leave.  I caught the bus home, since I wasn't going to wait indefinitely with my back, only she left at 6pm - as I was almost home on the bus!
So as usual, we could always rely on Indy.  Well after her initial arrival far too early in the morning and then ignoring Brilliance the next day!  But she was young then so can be excused.  I hope RCCL have these two in again together sometime then Eclipse can do it properly instead of being Celebrity Party Pooper!  It turned out thorough cleaning after a norovirus outbreak during the previous Med cruise was to blame so we can forgive her this once.

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© Patricia Dempsey 28th September 2011
Not to be reproduced without permission
30th September 2011