Independence of the Seas, Aurora, Black Watch (III), MSC Opera, Oceana (II) & Balmoral
Six ships due on the 17th May 2014 and now the fruit shed is used for fruit rather than prospective terminal 5, it meant some doubling up as well as a bloody early start.  Two ships were returning for what would be their last Southampton seasons.  Indy, having been here since the start, was being replaced with Anthem in 2015.  Meanwhile Opera, a regular since 2011, wasn't being replaced with anything, though we'd have a call from Splendida.  I decided to go at the crack of night because my Facebook friend, Jeffrey Chaffee, was coming on Indy and we would be meeting for the first time when he and his friend JP disembarked.  Compared to when Cunard's three Queens were in, the place was deserted despite being only the third time in recent years when we had six ships (and Balmoral has been at all three).  The timings were Black Watch and Indy for 5.15am, Aurora for 5.45am, Opera and Balmoral were 6.30am with Oceana coming for 7am.  Well as usual nothing ever goes to schedule.  Indy led the way followed by Aurora, Black Watch, MSC Opera, Oceana (with Danielle Fear aboard) and Balmoral.  It was such a gorgeous dawn and sunrise making conditions wonderful for a change.  About four other people appeared around 6am, including two with a tripod, but didn't stay long.  Opera went into 102, behind Indy, while the Fred Olsens shared QEII Terminal and Aurora, for some reason, was annoyingly starboard in Mayflower.  Once they were all in, I headed to the ferry where I caught the first one at 7.10am.

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© Patricia Dempsey 17th May 2014
Not to be reproduced without permission