Reports that residents of Torbay were woken by a blaring car horn came in this morning as the P&O Arcadia cruise liner returned to the bay (April 21). Cruise ships have gradually become a familiar sight in Torbay as, following the Covid-19 outbreak, the bay has become a temporary home for dozens of the world’s luxury cruise ships awaiting orders to navigation.
Many locals became fond of ‘ghost ships’ and at times there were as many as 11 ships manned by small, skeletal crews of around 100 people instead of the normal 3,000 on board. Speaking to Devon Live, a resident was delighted to pull back the curtains to see the cruise ship Arcadia return to the bay today.
The eyewitness said: “I just woke up this morning with Arcadia’s horn in the bay. It’s so good to see a cruise ship in the bay again.” The Arcadia’s return comes just months after residents bid it an emotional farewell in October. Crowds gathered to say goodbye as the last ship passed over the horizon.
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Arcadia nurse Rhianne Buckland, from Exmouth, told her Facebook followers: ‘Sadly now is the time to leave you, and it is all the more heartbreaking as we are the last ship from.”
Rhianne Buckland wrote on the Ships in Torbay and Lyme Bay Facebook page: “On behalf of Arcadia Captain Ashley Cook and all officers and crew, we would like to thank the people of Torbay for your kindness, your enthusiasm, your generosity and your warm welcome, during 18 very difficult months.
“Since our arrival in Babbacombe last year you have gone out of your way to make us feel so welcome – the Christmas gifts were so thoughtful – and it was truly touching to see your enthusiasm and enthusiasm surrounding our movements and our noises!
“I don’t think Arcadia has ever been so photographed! You provided us with a safe and beautiful place to shelter while we waited for the green light to sail again and we absolutely loved our time here as much as we wanted to travel the world.
“We have really enjoyed being part of your community, and as an Exmouth girl myself, I am happy that two weeks ago some of our guidelines changed which allowed a lot of members of our crew to go ashore and experience the brilliant hospitality of Devonshire up close. I’m sure all ships that have passed here share my sentiments as well.
“We are heading to Newcastle to start preparing the navigation again. Around 2 p.m., we hope to be able to say goodbye properly with a passage of sail and a few whistles from the ship. If any of you come to see us off, we’ll wave to you. Thanks again everyone, we will miss you!”
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