It’s been a funny old year for me, most notably because only did TWO cruises! Since my back, which has been bad since June 2010, was a good 90% better, it was time to start looking for a job and the DWP hate you going away when signing on. I also broke my foot which was no help since then I had the time but not the mobility.
So January began saying goodbye to Saga Ruby. She so far hasn’t gone to the breakers but often just sits in Sattahip as Oasia. Saga Pearl II gave her a loud send off.
That night were the usual world cruise fireworks for Arcadia plus QM2 and Queen Elizabeth.
Three days later it was boarding Norwegian Getaway in Rotterdam with my friend Fay. I also met up with Danielle Fear, better known as CruiseMiss.
It was pretty quiet until April when a non-cruising thing happened, although it has a tenuous ship connection as my dad’s sister married an American and went to live in Louisana, first crossing from Liverpool to New York on Cunard’s Britannic in 1956. My second cousin Kelsey Laster, was at Oxford and her parents, Paul and Melanie came over from the States. It was the first time I had met any of them and it was amazing how much my cousin Paul and my dad looked alike.
Shortly after that I flew to Rome for my second and final cruise of the year when I joined Voyager in Civitavecchia for her repositioning to Portsmouth.
The day after returning, I flew to Lisbon with my Norwegian friend Oskar. A special mention has to go to British Airways. Oskar’s first flight from Oslo to Heathrow was late due to a fuel leak. Although he made the connection in time, he wasn’t allowed to board due to his luggage not being transferred across from Terminal 5 to Terminal 3. They offered to put him on their last of the day but it was too late really, especially with me waiting at the other end for him, so instead moved him onto TAP, meaning he arrived in Lisbon just after 9pm.
We had a very early start on the 6th May for the ships having been invited onto the press boat by Fernando Santos, who was doing the official video. Porto and Lisboa were alongside anyway awaiting charters. Silver Whisper was on a charter and would be anchoring, her next cruise taking her Southampton bound. Rotterdam and Ruby Princess were also en route to Southampton, with Rotterdam arriving with the Queens and Ruby Princess later.
The 8th May was the return of Royal Princess as she called on the way to Copenhagen for summer. I was invited to the media event by Olivia Braddick where they announced The Cruise Ship, a four part behind the scenes documentary for ITV1.
The Queens returned to Southampton on the 9th and shared the port with Arcadia and Rotterdam.
The 17th May were not only six ships, but also Independence of the Seas returned for her 7th and final season. In 2015, she is replaced by Anthem of the Seas. Andrew Pate was filming for Meridian News in Mayflower Park and he even filmed me. Afterwards, I met Facebook friend, Jeff Chaffee and his friend, JP.
A quick trip to London in July.
A low point in July and August. My 9 year old springer spaniel Louise was diagnosed with spleen cancer, which is silent and rapid. My 11 year old cocker spaniel Barbara also had 4 possible cancerous lumps. On the 1st August, just as I was about to collect Barbara from the vet after her operation, Louise quietly died 2 weeks after diagnosis. Barbara had 2 fatty lumps and we didn’t want to know if the other 2 hard ones were malignant cancer or not. As a result, Barbara became ship stalker dog. The only problem is she wants to carry on walking and hates stopping.
A major non-shippy event on the 30th August when I saw Kate Bush at the Hammersmith Apollo. Being a fan since 1978, her performing a series of concerts ever again were something no one ever imagined would happen.
On the 20th September I got to say my own goodbye to Indy when I visited with Virgin Holidays. I’d done her maiden and returned for a Canaries cruise. I’d hoped for one more but it didn’t work out that way.
It was Bristol for the final weekend in September for a Doctor Who convention. I also got to visit Great Britain as I waited for my friends to arrive and waved Discovery off on her farewell cruise the Saturday night.
10 days after visiting Indy, I was visiting Saga Sapphire again.
The following day I had an accident which resulted in breaking my foot. It wasn’t diagnosed as such so I hobbled out on crutches to see Oasis make her docking debut on the 15th October, almost 5 years to the day since she should have originally. It was a very foggy start where you could only hear the fog horns. It slowly began to lift when Saga Sapphire arrived and still lingered by the time Oasis did a couple of hours later.
My foot was diagnosed broken on the 20th, put in a non-weight bearing cast 21st and told I could walk on it the 24th but not given a shoe to cover it. Typical NHS! So I had to try and keep it dry since it wasn’t worth buying one for a couple of weeks. I improvised when I went for the arrival of the brand new Quantum of the Seas on the 29th. Saga Sapphire was in and so was the fog again!
The 30th I visited Saga Sapphire complete with crutches. Thank goodness the decks aren’t slippery when wet! Unfortunately I had to go by bus because the ferry jetties would be hell. Quantum was berthed with Eclipse.
The 1st November we said goodbye to Independence of the Seas as she returned to Florida for the final time. Barbara was itching to go home since it was cold and the usually bang on time Indy was half an hour late.
The following day I met up with Oskar and we went on Ocean Scene for the departures of Adventure of the Seas and Quantum of the Seas. Adventure was leaving us after two seasons, replaced by Explorer in 2015, but is rumoured to return in 2016. Quantum was heading over to New York and left an hour late.
At the end of November I caught up with Rowan and Glen Graham after their cruise on QM2. I hadn’t seen since my mum’s funeral in December 2010.
So that is my highlights and lowlights of the year. 2015 aims to be even better with luck! So I’ll end this with more fireworks, this time Queen Mary 2 on the 12th December. If things had been different I’d have been onboard for my annual birthday cruise. Instead they decide to celebrate my not being there. 😉
Happy New Year!