MSC Opera & Aurora
MSC Opera and Aurora were briefly stalking each other, beginning in Bergen on the 18th June 2011.  Opera left four hours before Aurora and it was only at Folkestone the following night, Aurora took the lead since she was due to arrive home on the 20th for 7am with the MSC an hour later.  The weather had been wet, cold, windy and generally horrible for what seemed like a lifetime but it was dry when I took the following photos in the morning.  I noticed a new City Cruise Terminal sign covering the faded Windward Terminal one at the Dock Gate 8 entrance.  I have no idea when it went up but hadn't been there when I visited Opera on the 27th May.  It's a definite improvement.
Then it was time to return to Mayflower Park for the departures.  Opera was her usual 4pm with Aurora half an hour later.  I was joined by my dad after running errands in town and Peter Godliman of the Ocean Liner Society who gave us an interesting insight into cruising on a car carrier.  Typically, contrary to the useless Met Office forecast which said it'd be dry by 4pm, it poured!  Opera decided to slip off twelve minutes early while we sheltered under the, er, shelter.  Still got dripped on though because the wind was coming up!  We'd though the tug Surrey was going to Opera but she attached to the car carrier, Grande Bretagna, which was originally scheduled to sail at 6pm so it was nice to get a decent view of Aurora at last!
Squalls came and went.  It even brightened over Aurora but it was still raining so an illusion.  Meanwhile, as she set off seven minutes late, the entertainment arrived in the form of an elderly couple of P&O loyalists.  They were sailing on Adonia the following day, were dressed up fancy (he was wearing a suit), and thought Aurora was their favourite, Oriana despite them sailing on the elder of the two about eight times!  It was only when the Goddess was almost on top of us did they notice it wasn't.  Oh but it had to be Oriana because their P&O calendar said it was but that was the following day too so it beggared belief they didn't know she was in when they went cruising.  They should get a new P&O calendar, preferably one with ship names!
And that was that, with the bitch taking the rain with her!  Well, only temporarily as it started again on the bus home, but she could have made it stop sooner.  The next time these two are together I board the gorgeous Aurora with Juanita (Chilean volcanos behaving themselves long enough to let her fly over from Australia that is!

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© Patricia Dempsey 20th June 2011
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