Lately it has been quite something to see the bulk of huge ships on the skyline of Weymouth and Portland, a sight that has been a rarity since the Navy was based here up until the Nineties.
Since the pandemic began, up to 10 cruise ships have moored in Weymouth Bay and Portland Harbour, to include Cunard, Carnival, Britannia, Azura, Ventura, Queen Victoria and most popular with ship-spotters, the Queen Mary 2 (which has six engines, two giant turbines and can power 30 knots into a head-on gale). They are empty (except for the staff who keep the engines ticking over and facilities maintained), hence being dubbed “The Ghost Fleet “.
Attracting locals and tourists’ alike, charters are running for people to see them close up, and as the anchored fleet is popular with dolphins and seals because the fish they eat cluster around the ships’ hulls, it is an exhilarating experience. A family of 3 dolphins often shows up alongside visiting boats.
With future cruises still uncertain, the ships are likely to stay a while yet. If you are interested in finding out more about the vessels there is a website tracking their movements – visit www.cruisemapper.com.