Mein Schiff 2 (I), Maasdam (V) Southampton Debut & THV Patricia (III)
Early start on the 2nd August 2012 for Mein Schiff 2, who was arriving for 7am, and Maasdam an hour later.  Mein Schiff 2 wasn't a stranger to Southampton, having been the first call on her maiden voyage in 2011 (note to VTS and Cruise Southampton - that's 2 not II, look at the ship!).  Maasdam had visited the UK before but not here.  Like Rotterdam in 2011, she was a Southampton virgin making a call rather than turnaround.  She was due to sail at 6pm while Mein Schiff 2 was an overnight stay, sailing at 8pm the following day.  I had a visit to Maasdam, which I'd last seen in Plymouth back in 2006, so had to plan everything perfectly!  The TUI arrived first for 7am and a cool but nice morning.  She was due starboard in QEII rather than City oddly.  A fairweather sat in his car most of the time, driving to another parking spot when she was rounding the Hook then inspecting bushes as well as all along to the anchor before going back to the bushes again.  Rather than wait for her to dock in the QEII Terminal, I decided to head to the ferry, where I got the 7.45am one, while the fairweather buggered off too.  Oi, mush!  What about the HAL????  My friend Fay was already waiting having come over on the Red Jet, which zipped past the pontoon.  Rather annoyingly, Autostar was in berth 49 so would partially block the view when Maasdam arrived.  As we set off, it started to spit before drizzling a while.
Steve (hoppy82 on YouTube) and Fay were there under shelter.  Me and Fay grabbed some breakfast from Monsieur Hulot, since Maasdam's 8am arrival had been changed to 9am.  Afterwards we rejoined then Steve, who informed us Mein Schiff 2 was lowering her lifeboats.  At 8.29am, a mast came into view and it stayed dry!
And so off to Ocean Terminal by taxi, since we needed to be there for 9.30am.  It had stopped raining, though did a bit while we were looking around, meaning I could get a few shots of Mein Schiff 2 from Maasdam, inside and out.
We had to leave at 2pm and decided to walk back to Town Quay.  The weather was holding off, giving more photo ops.  And I finally found the renamed White Star Way, though am buggered if I know what it was before.  Fay decided she wanted to take the ferry over before returning for her Red Jet.  The stupid machine kept spitting out the money so just managed to get one and board before we set off, the view of Maasdam no longer ruined by Autostar, which had moved around 1pm to 105.
It was all aboard on Maasdam for 6.30pm and she cast off about fifteen minutes later, her 1167 passengers and, apparently, English Captain, heading to Plymouth as they continued on the journey back to Boston, where the cruise originated on the 14th July, ending the 18th August.
For photos of the Maasdam visit, click here.

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© Patricia Dempsey 2nd August 2012
Not to be reproduced without permission