Spirit of Discovery, Queen Elizabeth (II) & Britannia (II)
Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, all cruise lines suspended operations from various dates in March 2020.  The first of the ships to sail from Southampton for what everyone imagined would be temporary lay-up returned on the 24th September 2021.  Yes, Spirit of Discovery sailed back up Southampton Water in drier weather than when she left on the 15th March 2020.  She and Saga Sapphire (later Spirit of Adventure after Sapphire sailed to her new owners) spent the duration in Tilbury Dock.  Discovery's first cruise back was the 27th June and she remained in Tilbury doing Seacations until departing for the Med cruise on the 2nd September, which ended today.  She had a slight detour in the English Channel the afternoon before as Falmouth Coastguard asked them to retrieve a body, the Captain having to tell people to stop taking photos.  She then continued to Southampton, leading the way with Betty following.
To Calshot for Britannia's earlier arrival.  Her Seacation was originally due to end on the 25th but she came in for 3.45pm instead due to a technical issue.  She was due to dock in Mayflower Terminal for 3.45pm then turn around when the other two had sailed later.
To Hythe for the departures of Discovery and Betty, both down for 6pm so which would lead the way?  Neither sailed on time, despite the Saga throwing her ropes first before 5.55pm.  Betty's was ten minutes later followed by the Saga another five minutes after that, the entire process taking twenty minutes when she could have gone first  Since the Saga made me miss my bus, I watched them both for as long as I was able before going for the next.
For photos of Spirit of Discovery sailing to lay-up on the 15th March 2020, click here or to see the rest of the ships from that time, go to the 2020 and 2021 Southampton Stalking Index.

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© Patricia Dempsey 24th September 2021
Not to be reproduced without permission