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It's definitely spring

How do I know this? Is it the (very pleasant) weather we’ve been having this week, or the way that the leaves seem to be on their way? No, I’m afraid I have a different indicator – the return of the migrating ships.

This last winter, like every year, P&O have had little activity out of Southampton. Three ships (Azura, Oceana and Ventura) have been providing fly-cruises in the Caribbean; three others (Arcadia, Artemis and Aurora) have been on world cruises or grand voyages since early January. Only Oriana has been cruising out of Southampton, and even she has been on longer cruises and thus visiting Southampton infrequently. But all that is changing. The world cruises and grand voyages are coming to their end – all thee of those ships are well on their way home now. More significantly, today saw Ventura’s return after her last Caribbean cruise (though this one, like the winter season starter, featured an Atlantic crossing as much as the Caribbean). But this morning at about 7:30 she slipped into Southampton’s Ocean terminal, 3000 no doubt unhappy passengers – unhappy at having to get off the ship, that is – disembarked, and a few hours later another 3000 passengers – keen and excited, I’m sure – embarked for their cruise. At about 4:45 this afternoon Ventura eased away from her berth and took that slow familiar passage down Southampton Water and out into the Solent. Which exciting and exotic port was she heading for, to mark her return to the glories and history of Europe? Zeebrugge, actually – she’s starting her home season with a two-night part cruise.

Ah well, it’ll get more interesting as the year goes on!

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