Black Watch (III), Vision of the Seas, Celebrity Eclipse, Saga Pearl II & Ventura
A stranger to these shores on the 29th April 2011 when my favourite Royal Caribbean ship, Vision of the Seas, made a return visit almost thirteen years to the day since she left on her maiden voyage.  She had merely passed in 2009, en route to Harwich where I joined her, so I was overly-excited to see her back in these waters.  Now, talk onboard ALWAYS has her maiden as the 27th April.  NO NO NO NO!!!!!  2nd May 1998, sharing her birthday with QE2 (1969) and Indy (2008).  She was NAMED on the 27th and sailed on a jolly.  Even the RCI website lists the 2nd so no idea where they continually get 27th from. She was due to arrive for the ridiculous time of 5am and be in Mayflower.  At least she was facing the right way!  Eclipse was right up her Ducky bum.
Because Ventura and Saga Pearl II was south of the Isle of Wight, I went back to bed.  Black Watch was still in port, having been moved to 104 at 11.30pm the night before while she underwent repairs to her generator.  She was listed as finally sailing after two days but would she?  I headed over to town to meet my friend Fay and then we'd board the gorgeous Vision.
Black Watch was down to sail at 3pm and it looked like she was actually going to move this time.  Fay noticed an ambulance on the dockside as well as people disembarking.  Quite a few people were on our deck watching events too and once the ambulance drove off, the gangway was removed, ropes cast, one blast and she was off!  Because she was starboard, she has to pass us to turn.  It gave us great photo opportunities but also the sun right in our eyes.
My job was over since my dad missed it by going to Waitrose to get a drink! So the rest was down to him on the marina.  All times were 4.30pm, despite Vision being 4.45pm on the RCI itinerary and Saga Pearl II at 5pm according to theirs.  Having them sail off together would have been interesting if things had gone to plan.  Eclipse cast off first, a little before time and as she was moving, Pearly slipped her moorings and crept away.  Once Eclipse passed, Ventura moved her flat bum leaving Vision to play catch up just before the hour!  A shame the haze hadn't burnt off but it was typical, normal April weather.
Please, Royal Caribbean, bring her back again soon!  Maybe a round trip that time, even a short, before she heads off on a repo.  Be nice to sail out on her then come back home.  You can see photos of Vision's previous visit the day of her maiden voyage here.  The review of my cruise can be found here.

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© Patricia Dempsey & Kevin Dempsey 29th April 2011
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