Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Crown Princess and Norwegian Breakaway

Norwegian Breakaway set off on her maiden voyage from Southampton this evening, so I went to East Cowes to photograph her passing by on her way to New York. I missed her arrival yesterday due to laziness and, in any case I overslept, as she was arriving at 0715, which meant me having to get up at 0500 to get to a suitable vantage point.
Before the Breakaway departed from Southampton, Crown Princess slipped away first, her time of 1600 having been changed to 1630, which suited me as I would have missed her because I couldn't leave for East Cowes before 1630.

Norwegian Breakaway wasn't far behind. Unfortunately it was this moment that the yachts chose to appear in droves in their usual irritating fashion, seemingly materialising as if by magic from thin air.

Bloody yachts.

I know the art work on the hull and the design are not everyone's cup of tea - and I can hear the traditionalists spluttering into their beards 'not a ship, doesn't look like a ship, grumble' - but I like this ship, a lot, and I didn't think I would. I wouldn't give the art house room but I think it looks good on her.

Before the cruise ships appeared, Hoegh Trooper arrived from the east, on her way up to the docks. She took me by surprise as I was putting the dogs back into the car and my camera was still in its bag.

Monday, 29 April 2013

A tale of two ships

We docked at Amsterdam on Friday morning and me and Patsy caught an early afternoon train to Rotterdam to see the new Norwegian Breakaway and hopefully watch her sail at 7pm. In the end we didn't hang around because the weather was vile, with almost constant rain, and it was cold. Of course, I'd left my waterproof coat in my bag on Aurora, so I was wet through and shivering as my light jacket didn't quite cut it and my longish hair was hanging in rats tails!

The photos were taken from the Erasmus Bridge, where the ship was attracting quite a lot of attention.

Norwegian Breakaway - awful name, by the way! - is a nice ship, externally, and I like the artwork on the hull, although I'll be interested to see how long it lasts when faced with the ravages of an Atlantic crossing, especially if it's a rough one. The position of the lifeboats is also an interesting one, surely having them positioned as they are is inviting storm damage; the ship is designed for cruising in nice exotic locations but she will run into storms, especially as she will be cruising between New York and sunnier climes further south.

Afterwards we went to find SS Rotterdam which is permanently moored about half an hour's walk away, and it was interesting to compare the two ships built 55 years apart (Rotterdam was launched in September 1958). No balconies on Rotterdam, of course, as she was built as a liner and not a floating resort, which is essentially what Norwegian Breakaway is.

We went aboard, which is free if you don't want to take a tour - we didn't have the time on this occasion - and had a look round those parts of the ship which are open. There was a conference on and she's used as a hotel, too, so she was busy. I have some deck and interior shots which I haven't processed yet and I'll add when I get round to it.

Because of the appalling weather, we decided not to watch Norwegian Breakaway sail and headed back to Amsterdam on a very crowded train, which fortunately largely emptied at Den Haag (The Hague) and Schiphol.

Typically the sun came out as we walked back to Aurora from the station, creating some lovely golden early evening light, so I photographed Aurora from the dockside (so that's really a tale of three ships!). From what I've heard, the weather down at Rotterdam only slightly improved, so we didn't miss a lot.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Aurora part 1 - Southampton to Zeebrugge

While I was on Oriana last summer my friend Patricia Dempsey asked if I'd be interested in doing a short trip on Aurora so I said 'Why not' and we booked it there and then. 24th April 2013 came around very quickly and we joined the ship for a short four-night cruise to Zeebrugge and Amsterdam.
I am not going to put a lot of text into the next couple of posts as there are tons of photos and this one will cover Southampton to Zeebrugge.

Aurora was waiting for us at berth 106.

The ro-ro ship Eddystone was on the move, from the container terminal to Marchwood and made an excellent photo from Mayflower Park

Car carriers Asian Vision and Hoegh Trader were also in Southampton...

...While refrigerated cargo ship Frio Mogami was on her way out, accompanied by the almost obligatory WAFI; the bugger ruined what would have been the best shot by getting in the way. I don't mind yachts being in the picture if they're not in the way but they're a pain in the arse when they get right between you and the ship, as this fellow had half a minute earlier.

Mein Schiff 1 was on berth 101 in the City Cruise Terminal.

We departed at 1700, passing Mein Schiff 1 and there was a frank exchange of views via the ships' sirens as we passed.

Tankers at Fawley oil terminal

My aunt drove to East Cowes to see us pass and took a few photos with an old compact camera of mine. The conditions were pretty awkward, with murk and mist and far from ideal for photography but the photos have not turned out badly, despite the fact it was a cheap old compact. We were standing under the aft lifeboat, not that we can be seen in the photo at this resolution.

We arrived at Zeebrugge early the following morning, although a bit delayed by dense fog which slowed us down and caused the ships' horns to be sounded at intervals throughout the night.
I woke up in the semi darkness of the cabin and I could hear an engine outside and, forgetting where I was, I was thinking 'Bloody car outside, left with the engine running' (which is one of my pet hates) when I realised it was actually a ship, so I went out on the balcony (we'd been upgraded) and took some photos of Cobelfret's Yasmine arriving and reversing into her berth...the first time I've taken ship photos while in my pyjamas!

Balcony cabins are ideal for ship photography and are perfect for the lazy photographer. Indeed, photos can probably be taken while lying in bed if you're really bone idle...

I spent the day taking photos of the comings and goings and generally not doing much else.

Bore Song arriving...

 Norsky arriving

Opal Leader and Schieborg also arriving

...as was Victorine

While Sea Cruiser 1, Toronto and Independence II departed during the afternoon.

The small container ship Hercules J leaves as Opal Leader arrives.

MSC Gaia was at the container terminal, but the light was awkward for photography as we left, which was the only time I could get an unobstructed shot.

Stena Carrier

Clifford Maersk

Local charter boat SC Lynx

Lysbris and Trans Pine

Trans Pine

Local tug Union Coral

We sailed at 1800 as Norstream arrived

Chem Nicholas

Gas Cerberus was on a parallel course as we headed towards the Wandelaar Pilot Station

As was Ionian Trader

It was very misty again as we headed out into the North Sea. The small container ship Elvira is met by the pilot vessel Weilingen

NYK Arcadia partly obscured by mist

Ships in the mist

The pilot boat, a Swath catamaran named Weilingen, comes by to pick up the pilot from Aurora.

We made our way along to coast over night as we headed towards IJmuiden, the North Sea Canal and Amsterdam, where we were due to arrive early the following morning.