For the second time in 2011 the port of Southampton played host to no fewer than six cruise ships on the same day. The facilities were stretched to the limit on 16 July, with severe congestion reported on the roads. The sailaway was led by Princess Cruises’ Grand Princess (107,517gt/3,300 passengers) at 1600, followed by Fred. Olsen Cruises’ 43,537gt/1,230-passenger Balmoral. Next to depart was the largest visitor that day, Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Eclipse (121,878gt/2,852 passengers), followed by P&O Cruises’ Ventura (116,017gt/3092 passengers) sailing from the new Ocean Terminal.
Next to set sail was Princess Cruises’ Crown Princess (113,561gt/3,114 passengers) and, once she had turned in the western swinging grounds, she passed the final vessel to depart, Artania, with the two vessels exchanging whistle blasts. Scheduled to sail at 1900, the 44,588gt/1,260-passenger Artania, now with Phoenix Reisen, was making her first visit back to her former homeport since operating as P&O Cruises’ Artemis. The six ships’ capacity totalled a staggering 14,848 passengers, with a combined tonnage of 547,098gt.