Royal Princess (III), Queen Elizabeth (II), Silver Cloud & Oriana (II)
After two days of showcasing to invited guests, it was time for the brand new Royal Princess to start earning some money!  Although the maiden voyage wasn't until the 16th, three days after the naming ceremony, Princess Cruises added revenue making two shorts, the 9th-11th and 14th-16th to Guernsey.  I'm on the maiden and was asked if I wanted to add the 14th onto my trip but as they were only selling balconies and suites which cost upwards of £700 for a single, I told them to forget it.  That was more than half what I'm paying for a week includng flight!  Even the cheapest fare was more than P&O and others for the same length so a definite money spinner.  She was due to sail at 5pm with many gloating they're the "first to sleep in the beds".  Oh no you're not!  1800 travel agents and Princess bods were.  It was the same attitude when P&O suddenly announced a two-nighter on Ventura before the maiden.  Betty was in QEII and the wrong way round, due to sail 4.30pm while the other two weren't until 6pm.  As we waited, we saw Harry Cotterill and his friend Gavin, who had visited the Princess that day so he could present his drawing.  They went to Calshot to watch the first two ships sail before returning to Colchester.  VTS had moved Royal's departure time to 4.30pm as well that day so we wondered who would go first.  Well one of them was doing muster at 4pm but there were men around Betty's ropes while none near the Princess.  The fairweathers were out in force despite the strong wind and cold.  One woman had clearly been down the previous day when QM2 went bow to bow with the Princess as she was telling someone, then saying Betty would do the same.  Would she?  No!  Never try to second guess a ship!  She began to single up seven minutes late and, after four blasts, she went astern.  It was like she wanted to avoid being Love Boat horned!  As they were both sailing out a week later, maybe that would short-lived!  An old bloke decided he was going to plonk himself in front of me, meaning I had to stand up, getting in other people's way.  Once Betty had turned, he returned to the wall where he'd originally been sitting.  Grrr!  Shieldhall was out again and blew her beautiful steam whistle to Betty who responded.  Meanwhile, Royal then chucked her ropes just after 5pm, giving two bursts of the Love Boat horn.  It was staggering how many thought it was just a random tune or associated it with the 1970s TV show, saying it was out-dated.  Clearly have no idea it's part of their marketing.  As she neared the pier, a bloke seemed offended when my dad asked him to move.  Said bloke left anyway!  How many of these idiots will be about for the maiden voyage on the 16th?  Bugger all, I expect, since they probably think THAT was it.  As Royal passed the pier, Shieldhall gave her the woo-woo treatment, leading to Royal Love Boating her.  We got that horn about five times and it can get very boring very fast.  Half the marina emptied then as the fairweathers pissed off and it was bliss having people there for the ships, not just because of something new.  Royal was still visible rounding the Hook and, as she did, Silver Cloud with Oriana letting us know she was on the move about fifteen minutes later.
And then we went home.  To see photos of Royal Princess arriving on the 7th June, click here.

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© Patricia Dempsey 9th June 2013
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