Saturday, 18 January 2014

Other ships from last week

Here are some of the other ships I saw last week. I didn't photograph many of them simply because it was dark and, occasionally, raining.

CMA CGM Marco Polo, in the Solent, just off Cowes. Photographed from Red Osprey.

Hyundai Speed is on her way in to Southampton as CMA CGM Marco Polo leaves the Solent

Small container ship Aurora at Rotterdam, seen from Norwegian Getaway

Dettifoss inward on the New Waterway on Monday evening.

The following morning, at Southampton:

Black Watch

Cornelis Zanen

Eurocargo Salerno

Hartland Point

NYK Virgo departing Southampton

And that's it for a few weeks, unless something crops up in the meantime. I am back at work now for 8 weeks until I go to Australia on an astronomy/birdwatching trip (with ship-spotting thrown in for good measure!) in mid-March, although there is the Ocean Liner Society's Ship Show in Southampton on 22 February.

Friday, 17 January 2014

Making a Getaway

Back in October, me and my friend Patricia booked a trip on Norwegian Cruise Line's new Norwegian Getaway, sister to Norwegian Breakaway. While Breakaway appeared in April, Getaway's debut on the world stage was due to happen in the rather less clement month of January.
To cut a long story short, me and Patsy arranged to meet at Town Quay, Southampton, before heading to the airport to fly to Amsterdam where we travelled on to Rotterdam. We stayed overnight in a hotel near the cruise terminal and joined Getaway the following day, January 13th.

This post will be just photos of the ship. Subsequent posts will show some of her interiors as well as the other ships I saw (not many, because of the long hours of darkness at this time of year).
On the morning of the 13th, we got up at the hideous hour of 0400 and walked across the Erasmus Bridge to watch the ship dock after a one-night cruise into the North Sea. As PD will no doubt remind me on Facebook later, I whinged about stupid o'clock excursions and the fact that it was cold enough to freeze spherical objects off alloy simians, but it was worth it when I look at my photos which came out pretty well.

Later that morning, on our way to the terminal, we stopped on Erasmusbrug again for photos of the ship in daylight, where we could see her gaudy hull art in all its glory. Personally, I quite like it on the ship (although it would not be the sort of thing I'd hang on the walls here at home) and it certainly livens up what would be yet another boring white cruise ship. Traditionalists may splutter into their beards about both the art and the ship's looks, but I think she looks great and I love her.
The Butlins-at-sea on the uppermost deck is a bit crap, as is the shite pop music (One Direction, Maroon Five, etc. - and I only know who they are thanks to being subjected to local commercial radio at work! Luckily I had brought my iPod with me.) blasting from the speakers, but this is easily avoided by not going up there and the rest of the ship, inside and out, is superb.

Obviously, being on the ship at the time, I have no photos of her arrival in Southampton, although plenty of my ship-photographer friends were in Mayflower Park on Tuesday morning and one friend, Gary Davies, was on a RIB. Check out his website 'Maritime Photographic' for the photos of Getaway in Southampton Water.

The next opportunity I had for photos was after disembarkation on Thursday (yesterday) morning at the City cruise terminal (Berth 101, next to Mayflower Park), as we were walking back towards our respective ferries at Town Quay.

It was then that the heavens opened, with (yet another) heavy shower as we exited on foot through Dock Gate 8. Fortunately, this had stopped as we got to Mayflower Park so we could get some photos from there, as well.

As I waited for the 0915 Red Jet home, I took a couple of long-distance shots from Town Quay, always an activity fraught with cluttered peril because that disgrace of a burned-down and partly-collapsed Royal Pier is in the way.

The interior shots and pics of other ships will follow sometime over the weekend.


In some very interesting news, P&O Cruises are changing the appearance of their ships. The funnels will become blue with a golden rayed sun on them and there'll be a Union Flag on their bows. The artists rendering shows the new Britannia, due in spring 2015, in the new colours but, as I understand it, the whole lot are getting the Union flag as well as the new funnel colours. Interesting, and a move which will no doubt cause the traditionalists to have kittens. They already hate the hull colours on the likes of the NCL ships so they'll have a collective meltdown over a traditional company like P&O adopting this approach. Me? I am looking forward to it!

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Other ships at Southampton, 10th January 2014

Mostly cruise ships in, not much of anything else.

Queen Elizabeth

Cornelis Zanen

Queen Mary 2


Saga Pearl II

Farewell sweet Ruby

Just over a month ago, I thought that this would be my last-ever photo I'd take of Saga Ruby...

...but, having spent the best part of two months complaining about endless gales and rain, the recent storms actually did me a favour. In early December, I went over to Southampton to see Saga Ruby just before she departed on her final cruise, thinking I wouldn't be seeing her again because her final arrival and departure at Southampton was scheduled to be on 7th January, a Tuesday, when I would be stuck at work.
However, the recent series of storms thought otherwise, delaying Ruby and Saga Pearl II which subsequently both arrived in Southampton late on the 9th. Happily for me, that meant Saga Ruby's departure would be delayed until the afternoon of the 10th and, because I don't work Fridays, I could go over and watch her leave for the final time.

Yesterday morning was pleasant and sunny on the island but, as I approached Southampton on Red Falcon, ominous black clouds could be seen in the direction of the city and, sure enough, as I got to Mayflower Park, the heavens opened. Fortunately for me my friends Patricia Dempsey and Kev Webber were there and Kev - braving the horrendous Southampton traffic (roadworks near Dock Gate 4 are causing serious problems, with traffic backing up as far as Totton) - had his car with him so we could at least shelter from the worst of the elements (thanks Kev...). Ruby's departure time was initially 1500, then it was brought forward to 1400 before being put back to 1500 again. It was just as well, because the worst of the rain was at 1400 and had she gone then, we'd have been a group of drowned rats. As it was, it rained on and off, fortunately much lighter than it had been around 1400. It's annoying the sun couldn't stick around but, that said, I am not going to complain too much because I'm grateful to the storms for delaying her meaning I could see her!

There was a bit of a delay because the pilot had got stuck in the traffic chaos but another pilot was brought to the ship on one of the Southampton patrol boats. Also, another tug was requested. The traffic caused another delay when one or more gangway operators were also stuck in traffic but she was soon on her way.

I headed straight back to Red Funnel for the 1630 back to East Cowes but, halfway down Southampton Water, I could see Ruby in the far distance, passing Ryde. I took a highly ambitious photo at ISO stupid-thousand and 2 stops underexposed and hoped to salvage something in DPP, which I did.
Here is the award-winning prize shot, underexposed, noisy, over sharpened and compressed...

My final view of her was as I drove home along the Downs Road on the Island, heading back to Newchurch, and I could see her passing Sandown Bay. She now heads to Gibraltar before going to Asia - rumoured Burma or Singapore - where she will be used as a hotel.

Here is a short video of her departure.