Celebrity Eclipse, Queen Victoria, Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth (II) & AIDAsol
Another year, another Cunard rendezvous when all three were together in their home port.  It was the second meeting this year, seventh in Southampton and eleventh in total.  Celebrity Eclipse and AIDAsol were in too.  We were down as Eclipse was arriving in the rain but at least it wasn't windy with it.  She was the real early bird.  Scheduled for 5.15am, she was docked by 5am.  Vicky was next, due for 6am like Mary while Betty was fifteen minutes later.  Well she wasn't playing the game, docking just after 5.30am while the others were still coming up Southampton Water.  Mary led the way, taking such an age to turn and go astern, Betty was forced to slow down a bit.  Both were in around 6.30am.  We didn't stay for the AIDA since that was 9am.
Back down for the departures and it was become cooler and windier.  Every ship bar AIDAsol was due to sail at 4.30pm.  Eclipse was the first to go five minutes early, surprisingly having a horn battle with Mary and Betty.  For a while, we thought Seagreen would be permanently blocking the view but it appeared they were just raising something from the seabed for the Hythe ferry people.  Looked like the anchor for Uriah Heep, which had been running in the morning but the Blue Funnel boat, Ashleigh R, took over in the afternoon.  Vicky finally moved around 4.55pm and had to go up to turn while Betty went at the same time but to the Lower Swinging Ground where she killed time waiting for her errant sister to catch up.  Mary left just before 5.50pm.  Since the AIDA was scheduled for 9pm we went home.  As it turned out she left after 10pm.
For pictures of the Cunard Queens setting off together on their world cruises in January, click here.

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© Patricia Dempsey 10th May 2016
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