Monday, June 22, 2009
The Captain must surely have breathed a sigh of relief as his cruise ship squeezed through a canal with just inches to spare. The 2,850-guest Celebrity Equinox dwarfed the Rivers Ems in Germany as it passed through the locks backwards. At its tightest point along the course, there were just 4m - not enough room to park a London black cab - between each side of the 317m-long, 37m-wide ship and the riverbank. It was en-route from shipbuilder Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany, to Eemshaven, Netherlands where it will undergo trials before arriving in Southampton for its launch. Celebrity Cruises plan to put the 122,000 tonnes liner into service from July 31.
Equinox cruise ship on its way to Southampton - backwardsCaptain Apostolos Bouzakis had to wait until high tide, calm winds and the right tidal barriers before embarking on the tricky journey yesterday and said: ''The conveyance is an interesting challenge for any captain. ''The limited space available for navigation, the nature of sailing in reverse and the number of locks and bridges to traverse are all factors that cruise ship captains normally do not have to contend with. ''But a real benefit of this event is the opportunity to test the manoeuvrability of the ship at reduced speeds. ''With an average channel breadth of 111m it is a bit like taking a brand-new sports car down winding country lanes. ''It's exhilarating, but not without its share of trepidation.'' With sister ship Celebrity Solstice, the two are the largest ships to have sailed on the River Ems.