Balmoral & Azamara Quest UK Debut
A new visitor for Southampton on the 10th June 2013 when Azamara Quest called.  This 30,277grt ship has a familiar design to Sotonians as she is the sister to the current Adonia, actually entering service in 2000, a year before her, as R Seven.  There are eight of these ships and Royal Caribbean own two of them.  When the parent company, Renaissance Cruises, went bankrupt in 2001, she was laid up until 2003 when she was chartered by Delphin Seereisen and renamed Delphin Renaissance.  In 2006, she was sold to Pullmantur, becoming Blue Moon but this was shortlived due to the takeover by RCCL the following year.  Originally, they planned to add her and her sister, Blue Dream, to the Celebrity fleet as Celebrity Journey and Celebrity Quest.  Shortly before their maidens and after all the publicity, Royal Caribbean created the elite line, Azamara Cruises (now Azamara Club Cruises) and transferred them to that.  They have had three liveries under Azamara, the current blue being the most recent in 2013.  She was due to sail at 5pm while Balmoral was the usual 4.30pm.  It was quite funny because just over a year prior, Balmoral and Azamara Journey had been the in the berths in Southampton, having both arrived from France.  Quest was one of two sisters I didn't have so was glad they scheduled her to visit.  Balmoral's time was originally changed to 6pm before being brought forward half an hour.  It was cool in the shade but at least not as windy as the previous few days.  Around 4.55pm I thought I saw a splash at the stern on Quest and she moved shortly afterwards, confirming I wasn't going mad - well, more mad!  If she blasted we didn't hear it.  The marina was lovely and peaceful with only a handful of fairweathers out for both ships, though some went after this one.  Balmoral ended up not going until almost 6.15pm in the end but was so slow because of the Hoegh St Petersburg leaving at the same time while the seagulls had become incredibly noisy and sun in our eyes as we watched her move.
To see photos of Balmoral meeting Azamara Journey in 2012, click here here.

Back to Stalking Index

© Patricia Dempsey 10th June 2013
Not to be reproduced without permission