Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth 2, Boudicca & Oriana (II) in the English Channel & Solent
On the 6th January 2008 there had been four ships in Southampton, three of which were beginning their world cruises.  I was on Aurora coming back slightly early due to bad weather making us miss Lisbon but had been hoping to see them pass anyway.  Now I would see them nearer rather than off Dorset somewhere.  At 9pm, off St Catherine's Point, the very first of those began to come into view.  Queen Victoria, on her first world cruise and a tandem crossing with the QE2, who was twenty minutes behind.  The officer of the watch came on the tannoy to say they were coming on our port side but no mention of Boudicca who was following Lizzie.  Surprisingly very few people came out on deck and most would come out, get a quick pic, then go back in.  There was no blasting between us unless you couldn't hear it due to the wind.
Lizzie emerged around 9.20pm and disappointingly was very dark and her funnel wasn't lit.  My dad said it had been when she left.  Poor thing must be depressed at being relegated to second place.  I would have thought, with it being her final world cruise, she would have gone first.  No blasting between us again.
Once Lizzie was well past, I had to dash starboard to see Boudicca.  Having seen her former Royal Viking sisters in Funchal I was looking forward to getting the third of the trio for my holiday collection. Imagine my disappointment to see she was so far away!  If you peer very closely at the centre of the photo below you can just about see her.
Finally it was the turn of Aurora's older sister, Oriana.  Originally we had been planned to pass around 11pm off Fawley/Calshot but after slowing down due to the force 8 we were arriving later.  Oriana herself had been late, having it the same force 11 off Portugal we had.  So as we passed Ryde at almost midnight she came into view.  No announcement this time and definitely no blasting but apparently the captains did have a conversation on the radio, wishing each other a Happy New Year and our captain noted Oriana's windows had been unbroken!  There were a few people out but again not many.  Karen and her parents, who I met on the cruise, could see her from the warmth of their cabin.  Lucky things!
So that was the last of my holiday ships and those of the season.  Aurora left for her world cruise the next day.  To see photos of the four ships in Southampton click here.  To read the review of my cruise click here.

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© Patricia Dempsey 6th January 2008
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