Anthem of the Seas & Explorer of the Seas
A rare event in Southampton on the 22nd April 2000 when two Royal Caribbean ships were in port together.  It was only the third time it had happened, and each time with a brand new ship.  The first was when Navigator arrived for her season in 2007 and Liberty headed off to the US after her showcase.  That time they had Liberty turn then pull in front of Navigator, blasting horns with each other.  Second was last November as debutante Quantum and older sibling Adventure were together but there was no meeting as Quantum left more than an hour after Adventure. Now we had Anthem of the Seas preparing for her maiden voyage while Explorer made a welcome return nearly fifteen years after her debut fresh from the shipyard.  It was ironic she was again straight from a yard, albeit after refit in Cadiz rather than Turku this time.  Alas, I didn't take any photos back then, only took video of the arrival from the house, so was glad to have another go.  I was meant to be working and my dad recording this memorable event solo, but the nurse decided to send me home because my knee was swollen and bruised.  He still thought he could manage photo and video but it was incredibly windy so I was roped in so he didn't break my camera.  As we headed to the marina slowly due to my pain and limp, we noticed Uriah Heep, the replacement for Hotspur IV, off the pontoon and seemingly having trouble, particularly in the wash after something passed and wind.  Meanwhile St Helen, the Wightlink ferry, was at Solent Refit after being sold to Delcomar, where she would join her sister GB Conte (former St Catherine).   Explorer's time kept changing, eventually left at 3.15pm but she was a bit after that.  It was far too windy by half, which was annoying.  A few people were out for her return and I wondered how many thought it was her first time.  As she was docking, we headed to Boots to try and find something to hep my knee so I could go into work the rest of the week then returned to await Anthem's departure at 5pm.  As we waited, I overheard someone say Anthem was a Celebrity ship while someone else reckoned Mayflower Terminal was "the new cruise terminal" when she was just being revamped.  Tug Phenix came up from Fawley to give her the send off.  She went astern and held position after turning so the photos could be taken.  There was a very funny horn battle but unfortunately the cameras couldn't pick it up well due to the wind.  Less than an hour later, Explorer moved to her summer home of City Terminal, where she would remain until her first cruise on the 24th.
To see the photos of Anthem arriving, click here while a video of Explorer's previous visit in 2000 is here.

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© Patricia Dempsey 22nd April 2015
Not to be reproduced without permission