Scarlet Lady & Borealis in Portsmouth and the Solent

Unexpected ships in the Solent on the 17th July 2021 as we did the delayed 65th birthday sailing on Shieldhall in the shape of the brand new-ish Scarlet Lady and Borealis.  In 2017, Richard Branson announced he was going into the cruise industry, despite admitting he had never set foot on one.  The 110,000grt Scarlet Lady was their first, doing UK showcases in Dover and Liverpool in February 2020 before sailing to Miami after the New York call was cancelled.  Then the covid pandemic struck, closing down the cruise industry.  Scarlet Lady hung around for a while before sailing to Genoa for crew repatriation, arriving on the 6th July  When the UK government announced domestic Seacations from May 2021, Scarlet Lady announced sailing from Portsmouth, arriving on the 21st June.  

Meanwhile, Borealis was a new acquisition for Fred Olsen.  Originally Rotterdam for Holland America Line, they announced on the 15th July 2020 they had bought her and her sister Amsterdam for a bargain and excellent repayment plan from Carnival Corporation to be Borealis and Bolette respectively.  Rotterdam first arrived in Gibraltar on the 6th August then arrived four days later in the city which bore her name.  There she entered dry dock and eventually sailed to join the other ships in Rosyth, arriving on the 4th September.  They announced Borealis would sail from Liverpool, replacing Black Watch while her sister would be based in Dover to begin with, taking over from Boudicca but resumption of cruising kept being postponed.  They continued preparations though, with Bolette playing musical berths in the dock on the 21st June so Borealis could get out.  While she was tied up alongside Balmoral, her sister was put next to Braemar.  Borealis finally left on the 24th June and set sail on her maiden voyage on the 5th July.  With Scotland keeping the doors closed to ships, her Scottish itineraries had to be rejigged for the second cruise.  She arrived in Portsmouth on the 15th July and didn't leave, keeping Scarlet Lady out the following day.  The rest of that cruise was cancelled along with the next beginning the 17th and passengers sent home.  Scarlet Lady upped anchor from Charlie Anchorage as we passed on Shieldhall (on her postponed 65th birthday cruise to Nab Tower and back), blowing whistles to each other.  Borealis was towed out by Yorkshireman and Scotsman around 12pm, while SD Solent Spirit stayed with her until she took the Virgin ship's spot.  Borealis finally sailed to Liverpool at 7pm on the 18th.  The yacht Le Grand Bleu was anchored at St Helens while Triple Seven was at Cowes.

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© Patricia Dempsey 17th July 2021
Not to be reproduced without permission