Vision of the Seas, MSC Opera, AIDAsol Southampton Debut. Mein Schiff 1 (I) & THV Patricia
A very sad day for me on the 24th September 2013 when Vision of the Seas made her final call to the port she was named back in April 1998 and set sail on her maiden voyage from on the 2nd May that year.  She had been a very infrequent caller since that year, having spent a sizeable portion of her career on the west coast of the US (where I first sailed on her in 2008) but made a return in 2011, undertaking a short cruise to Copenhagen.  A year later it was Copenhagen to Southampton, three days longer, which I'd been on and this day was the same, three days longer than that.  Although she would only be going to refit before returning to the US to be based there year-round from summer 2014, it felt like she was going to the breakers after more than six years of sailing on her.  When I'd left her in Los Angeles, I didn't think I'd see her again.  Royal Caribbean had already announced she would be leaving the Californian port in January 2009 but at that time would be doing Caribbean cruises instead.  Imagine my joy when I was told she was coming to Europe.  Harwich first, so I did her and the only year I didn't was 2010.  Coming back here in 2011, where it all began and my home, was very special to me and now she wouldn't be back.  I would have one more cruise on her after refit, but that was still five weeks away.  Today was about my Ducky (as we called her during the Mexican Riviera cruise because she literally waddles) and saying goodbye from Southampton.  I was on deck for our arrival.  MSC Opera, AIDAsol and Mein Schiff 1 followed, all arriving from Le Havre.
And here it was.  Time to say goodbye to my favourite Royal Caribbean ship as she sailed away for the last time, bound for Cadiz for refit, when she was scheduled to sail at 1pm.  Dan Gosling, Stella Eaton, Anthony Marshall, Ciaran Culligan and John and Roz Kennedy were there too, as were quite a few down the marina.  Due to the fuel bunker, LS Christine, arriving late, she also finished refuelling later than scheduled, finally unhooking after handing over paperwork around 1.20pm.  Around 1pm however, Vision gave eight bells on her horn then let us know with three when she was off half an hour later.  Cutie Patricia was on her way in as Vision was leaving and disappointingly, she and Mein Schiff ignored each other.  Perhaps it was due to LS Christine attaching to the German ship.
As she faded into the mist, it was time to leave.  The review of my Vision cruise can be found here.

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© Patricia Dempsey 24th September 2013
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