Celebrity Apex, Queen Victoria & Westerdam (III) Southampton Debut
Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, most cruise lines suspended operations in March 2020.  Celebrity Apex was due to sail on the 23rd September 2020, having arrived from the yard the day before.  She was joined in port by Vicky and Westerdam, which was making its debut.  Entering service in 2004, the 81,811grt ship was the third Vista class for Holland America Line, tonnage increasing to 82,500grt during a refit in 2007.  She is a sister to Arcadia, which had originally been ordered for HAL but transferred to Cunard to be Queen Victoria before Carnival changed their mind and transferred again to P&O.  It was a shame Arcadia wasn't in that day.  Westerdam had sailed from Gibraltar on the 10th September, arriving at anchorage outside six days later before setting sail for Southampton.  Due to the rain, I nicknamed her Wetterdam!  Both Westerdam and Apex were listed to sail at 5pm, with Vicky staying overnight, but the Celebrity left fifteen minutes late.  Westerdam headed to Torbay while Apex joined the Royal Caribbean ships in Poole Bay until sailing towards the Caribbean on the 29th.  My friend, David Trevor-Jones picked me up and we went for the departures, leaving Hythe for Calshot after the HAL had passed Hythe pier.
For photos of the cruise ship comings and goings during lay-up, check out the 2020 list in the Southampton Stalking Index.

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© Patricia Dempsey 23rd September 2020
Not to be reproduced without permission