Saga Sapphire & Mein Schiff 4 Southampton Debut
German market ships old and new on the 21st September 2015 with a Royal Caribbean connection.  In the red corner was Europa (V) coming in at a sprightly 37.071grt, currently refreshed and exceedingly popular as Saga Sapphire.  Before being sold to Acromas to become Saga's flagship, she sailed as Bleu de France for Croisières de France - a Royal Caribbean brand.  In the blue corner was the new kid on the block, Mein Schiff 4, coming in at 99,500grt and sailing for TUI - in partnership with Royal Caribbean.  It's such a small shipping world!  MS4 debuted in June 2015 and was on the last call of a Round Britain cruise before returning to Hamburg.  It was the first of two visits this week but as I would be away for the second I went down this day.  Originally Sapphy was listed for 5.45am and Mein Schiff 4 at 7am then both were changed to 6.30am.  It's a shame in the 21st century we still change the clocks because if we stayed on GMT year round, they'd have arrived with a gorgeous dawn.  Sapphy led the way, turning round in the Middle Swinging Ground before Wyestorm pulled her astern to Mayflower Terminal then Mein Schiff 4 turned and docked at City.  The sun was rising as we left and the heavens opened!

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© Patricia Dempsey 21st September 2015
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