Destination London – Choose to Cruise
The first cruise ship arrival early on the Spring Bank Holiday created a stir amongst local riverside residents and visiting tourists who thronged into Maritime Greenwich in the glorious sunshine.
The Port of London’s floating cruise terminal was spick and span back in its summer mooring just off Deptford Creek, known as Greenwich Ships Tier; believe it or not, tidal waters flush out a suitable deep water mooring. ‘Welcome’ was a homemade job created down at the PLA’s yard at Denton just downstream from Gravesend, created out of a floating barge with added accommodation reception areas so that passengers can board ship-to-shore tenders in an orderly manner.
‘Viking Sun’ – a Norwegian cruise ship – was the first of the seasonal visitors, followed by ‘Silver Cloud’. She stayed over the weekend and was indeed my birthday treat. To top that, two other medium-size cruise ships followed in taking moorings up in the Pool of London, one alongside HMS Belfast, the other cruised up toward Tower Bridge and turned about aided by a tug at the stern to saunter down to ‘Welcome’ on the evening ebb.
The proposed new ‘London City Cruise Port’ development at Enderby Wharf has run into political objections from the Green Party at the recent local elections. Objections are to the constant 24-hour power generator from ships’ engine rooms polluting the already suspect air quality. I kept a wary eye on the visiting ship funnels to see the effect during this surprisingly hot weather. Journeying in y car from Kent we noticed low-lying pollution over our part of town, even more noticeable as aircraft approached City Airport through a murky haze.
My recommended birthday treat is to meet the family down at Faversham’s Creekside ‘Italian’, an old brick warehouse set by the tidal creek and Thames barges, and to be served a delicious luncheon with a friendly atmosphere. (Posillipo at Provender Mill, Belvedere Road, Faversham)
An early departure down the M20 to Hollingbourne where one climbs up and over the Downs through lanes winding through valleys and orchards in fresh bloom, a gentle descent down to the marshes of the Swale and dinghy sailing adventures of old – to beat the traffic returning to our Thameside home and then to watch the splendid departure of a great ship passing by into the sunset on an ebb tide… ah me! 85 isn’t that bad!!