Queen Elizabeth (II), Queen Victoria & Queen Mary 2
Another Royal Rendezvous not called that on the 13th July 2012 when all three of Cunard's ships were in Southampton again.  Betty arrived first, annoyingly starboard again in Mayflower regardless of them docking Vicky port for the Jubilee one!  Vicky was second and starboard in Ocean while Mary made up the rear, starboard in her rightful home - QEII Terminal.  Although I love her in City, why the hell they didn't use QEII in April when it was empty is beyond me.  It was the complete reverse of the Jubilee.  Now these were ordinary sailings, nothing tacked on to cash in, so many didn't know it was even happening.  So, if they can do it with no big party, they can do it at least once a year in their homeport.  Originally, the departures were all 4.30pm but the day before, Vicky was put back an hour.  On the day, Vicky became 5.15pm with Mary half an hour later.  Since I was on Mary for the last, very wet one, I'd booked a Blue Funnel for this, and we hoped the weather would behave.  It was a three hour dinner cruise, beginning at 3.30pm, but we and many others were just foot passengers.  So a quick trip across to meet my friend Fay at Town Quay.
A taxi to Ocean Village then join the queue.  They were also doing a one hour harbour tour at the same time on the Ashleigh R, while we had to put up with occasional drizzle before and after boarding Ocean Scene.  Thankfully, despite the attempts, the tour was mostly dry and sunny.  There was a lovely posh boat in Ocean Village.  Now, Mary was missing tender 16, damaged in February and removed in Australia.  Ever since, there has been a gap.  I noticed on the 3rd July, a tender 16 sitting forlornly near Empress Dock and it was still there this day.  We ambled around to the container terminal, which was empty, then people were called for their din dins, leaving the rest of us enjoying the rare yellow thing in the sky.  Betty slipped her ropes about ten minutes late, having already singled up.  We backed up to let her come to the swinging ground then turned to follow her down.  Rather annoyingly, the skipper kept moving the boat from one side to the other without saying he would do such and such so people could look, meaning there was a mad dash to each side, and also kept well back instead of going alongside or slightly ahead as others have done.


© Patricia Dempsey 13th July 2012
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