My Favourite Sailaway Ports


There’s a saying “I’ve not been everywhere, but it’s on my list” and strangely enough, my travel list looks and sounds a lot like that. There are various online articles across the internet that talk about the best sailaway ports, but I’ve not been to all of them (yet), so how can I make comment on places such as Sydney or Singapore? I can’t, so I decided to go off in my own direction and comprise a list of my favourite sailaway ports. I hope you enjoy it. Don’t forget to share your favourites with me in the comments section!

New York City, New York

New York City, one of the most famous places in the world and one that offers a spectacular way to arrive and depart. I arrived at dusk and the Statue of Liberty was glowing in the distance. It’s a sight that I will never forget. The Manhattan skyline looked incredible with a wash of orange behind it. For those that arrived many years ago, it meant freedom and the beginning of a new and better life. The view is iconic and it could NEVER become boring.

Venice, Italy

Big cruise ships visiting the port is still a delicate topic for many, but one thing everyone would agree on is that the arrival and departure from Venice is one of the most unique on the planet. There’s nothing else quite like it and the view of the city stays with you forever. You can clearly see Piazza San Marco, the Bridge of Sighs and the Patriarchal Cathedral Basilica of Saint Mark before you even leave the ship.

Miami, Florida

Miami had to make the list, it’s not only a great place to visit, but the sail in and out of the port is also quite spectacular, especially if you manage to do one in daylight and one at night. Sailing side-by-side with the highway, you glide into the very heart of this destination while being treated to magnificent views of the city’s skyline, Miami beach, South Beach, and the many privately-developed islands lined with luxurious mansions that dot Biscayne Bay. It’s incredible, to say the least.

Dubrovnik, Croatia

I still remember the sail in and out of this port like it was yesterday. It was a blisteringly hot summers day, so hot in the morning that there was a thin haze for as far as the eye could see, which somewhat dimmed the view. However, when we left the port in the afternoon, the haze had vanished and the sun was blazing down on us. The scenery was magnificent. There were various little islands dotted here and there, the ocean was a glistening blue and the air smelled like sun lotion – it was just perfect. At that exact moment, there was nowhere else on earth that I wanted to be.

Kusadasi, Turkey

OK, I know some people are going to be reading this and screwing their faces up, but just hear me out. So, it might not be Sydney or Hong Kong, but what I loved about Kusadasi was the sound. I was out on deck and the call to prayer from the local mosque was flowing out across the city – it was hypnotising and incredibly beautiful. We also had a wonderful sunset on departure and it cast an impressive light show across the city.

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Now, don’t mistake the port of Amsterdam for Ijmuiden, they’re very different. To reach the city of Amsterdam, the ship must go through a series of lock systems and it is so much fun to watch – it’s like the Panama Canal but on a MUCH smaller and far quicker scale. The climax is docking in the very heart of one of Europe’s best destinations.

Stockholm, Sweden

I think all I need to say about this is ‘Stockholm Archipelago’ – it needs no further explanation.

New Orleans, Louisiana

There’s nothing quite like sailing the grand Mississippi river and arriving in NOLA (New Orleans), but having spent a few incredible days in this amazing city, there’s also nothing quite like a dusk departure. It’s a sad time, but also one that leaves you knowing it won’t be long before you’re right back for more. You wave goodbye to the glowing city, the American Queen steamboat (if you’re lucky), Natchez, the French Quarter and so much more before once again heading along the Mississippi and out into the Gulf of Mexico.

Eidfjord, Norway

Eidfjord reminded me of a toy town and that’s exactly why it has made my list. It’s probably not the best sailaway port in Norway, but I loved it. The small houses dotting the landscape, the snow-capped mountains with rivers of water flowing down them and the ships wake as she slowly makes her way back down the fjord. It really is an incredible experience and although there’s isn’t a huge array of things to do in this port, I’d go back again just for the arrival and departure.

Southampton, England

Probably not on most lists, but I’m adding this to mine as in 2018, I’ll sail from Southampton on the trip of a lifetime: a 108-night cruise around the world, therefore this is about to be one of my favourite sailaway ports! 😉

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Posted in General Cruise Articles, New To Cruising

MS Europa And MS Europa 2 To Undergo Scheduled Updates At Blohm+Voss

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ luxury ships are to be given a facelift: in September/October 2017, both the EUROPA 2 and EUROPA will dock at the Hamburg shipyard Blohm+Voss for scheduled maintenance. As well as receiving various technical upgrades, the ships will also undergo renovations and redesigns in certain areas.

“During our ships’ docking periods, not only do we carry out the necessary technical maintenance but also complete various renovations on board that then have a direct impact on our guests and enhance their cruise experience – whether this involves adding a new bar, redesigning the spa, or giving another area a makeover. When implementing this work, we take into account what our guests want and need, however, we also follow current trends,” explains Karl J. Pojer, CEO of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises.

The work to be carried out on board EUROPA 2 this September will include redesigning the Herrenzimmer on Deck 4: the popular gin bar will be given a new look and renamed Collins. For the future, the current Jazz Club will be renamed as Club 2. The Belvedere on Deck 9 will be given a complete makeover: this cosy lounge at the bow of the ship, which provides panoramic views in the direction of travel, is set to include access to the library and a coffee bar.

Projects planned for the EUROPA’s docking period include renovating and redesigning the entire spa area and equipping it with the latest treatment facilities. The 36 suites without verandas will be fitted with new bathrooms, and an Azipod drive-motor computer will be replaced – a complicated undertaking.

After her stay at Blohm+Voss, EUROPA 2 will set off on a five-day cruise to Scandinavia on 27 September.

Once EUROPA has left the dock, she will embark on a twelve-day cruise on 13 October, travelling along the coast of western Europe towards Bilbao.

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Silversea Announces Build Of New Sister Ship

Silversea Cruises and Fincantieri have announced the signing of a contract worth approximately 310 million euros for the construction of a new ultra-luxury cruise ship. The ship is due to join the Silversea fleet in 2020.

The new ship, tentatively named “Silver Moon”, will be the sister ship of “Silver Muse”, which was delivered in April 2017 at the Fincantieri shipyard in Sestri Ponente (Genoa).

At 40,700 gross tons and with a capacity to accommodate 596 passengers on board, Silver Moon will maintain the small-ship intimacy and spacious all-suite accommodation which is the hallmark of the Silversea experience.

The new build will expand Silversea’s fleet to 10 ships and will significantly raise the bar in the ultra-luxury segment with a wealth of enhancements to the onboard experience, while satisfying the uncompromising requirements for comfort, service, and quality of the world’s most discerning travellers.

Among the highlights of the new ship, the “Green Star 3 Design” will be a stand out feature. It is assigned to ships that are designed, built and equipped in order to prevent air and water pollution. Furthermore, the “COMF-NOISE A PAX” and “COMF-NOISE B CREW” are assigned on the basis of the noise levels measured on the ship. Results have shown that new-builds assigned these standards offer the very best levels of comfort to guests on board.

Since 1990 Fincantieri has built 78 cruise ships, 55 since 2002, of which 31 are currently being designed or built in the Group’s yards.

BONUS VIDEO: Silver Muse in Southampton on September 11, 2017 – her inaugural call

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QE2 A 50th Anniversary Celebration

Chris Fame and Rachelle Cross have done it again. They’ve brought us another book detailing and honouring the life of yet another remarkable vessel, the great QE2.

I received a copy of the new book recently, titled QE2: A 50th Anniversary Celebration and I wanted to give you an idea of what you can expect, as I know there are many people out there who would love to read it and reminisce about this wonderful vessel.

Fifty years ago, the last British-built transatlantic liner was launched. Christened by HM the Queen on 20 September 1967, the 963ft-long vessel was named Queen Elizabeth 2. By the end of that same day, she was already known by her famous nickname: QE2. Fast, smart and sleek, the QE2 sailed over 5.6 million miles and carried more than 2.5 million passengers, during a magnificent career spanning nearly forty years. Put simply, she carried more people further any ship before her and remains the longest-serving express liner in history.

Having sailed as both a liner and as a cruise ship, served her country in the Falklands conflict and undergone multiple makeovers, she also has one of the most fascinating histories of any vessel and remains one of the best loved and most celebrated.

With stories from captains, crew and passengers, and an unparalleled collection of photographs, Chris Frame and Rachelle Cross bring the majestic QE2 to life in the commemorative tribute.

QE2 on her final World Cruise Frame/Cross

QE2 departed on her first passenger service on 22 April 1969. The voyage was an eight-day round-trip cruise to the Canary Islands. Following her return to Southampton, she was made ready for her first transatlantic crossing.

The day before QE2 departed on her first transatlantic voyage, the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh visited the ship. They were shown around by her captain, Bill Warwick, and also partook of lunch.

The next day, QE2 departed Southampton bound for Le-Havre and then New York. Many fireboats and other small craft congregated to celebrate the occasion. She was given a warm welcome in Le Havre with many onlookers turning out to see the new Queen.

The crossing from Le-Havre to New York was accomplished at an average speed of just over 28 knots. The total time was four days, sixteen hours and thirty-five minutes – a not unimpressive feat. Her arrival in New York did not go unnoticed. Dozens of pleasure craft, a coastguard ship and a navy destroyer came out to meet her. Press photographers were in evidence and various dignitaries, including the mayor, paid the ship a visit. QE2 spent two days in New York before setting sail for Southampton. 

Cunard could finally breathe a sigh of relief. Its new ship was a success.

QE2 in her Project Lifestyle livery in 1996

The book is truly a fascinating look at the life of the QE2. I’ve always been a big fan of the traditional ocean liners of yesteryear and she was undoubtedly one of the best and most interesting. The collection of images within the book is superb, I wish I could share some of them with you in my blog, but unfortunately, I can’t, so you’ll have to grab yourself a copy and you can do that by clicking –> QE2: A 50th Anniversary Celebration. You’ll find mentions from Captain McNaught (QE’2 final master), Captain Chris Wells, Commodore John Burton-Hall and Captain Nick Bates. You can follow the QE2’s story all the way from her construction to her final voyage and where she is today. It’s a fascinating journey, but one that I also found quite sad. To think that such a magnificent vessel is just sitting, waiting for what might come next.

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Posted in Cunard Cruise Line, General Cruise Articles

P&O Cruises Launches Summer 2019 Cruise Programme

P&O Cruises has launched its summer 2019 cruise programme with increased emphasis on appeal to newcomers and past guests alike. The brochure of almost 180 itineraries to popular destinations features a combination of popular mainstream itineraries and longer Discovery cruises to lesser known, charming destinations. The key features of the programme are:

  • Weekly seven-night Norway Fjords on Britannia, Ventura and Azura between April and September
  • Fortnightly 14-night Western Mediterranean cruises on Britannia, Ventura and Azura between May and October
  • Past guest oriented immersive cruising on Arcadia and Aurora
  • Discovery-led itineraries and scenic cruising opportunities on Oriana
  • A Malta Mediterranean fly-cruise programme on Oceana combining the best of the Mediterranean.

Pre-registration opens on September 4 and the programme will go on sale to Top Tier Peninsular Club members from September 11 and on general sale from September 12, 2017. Prices start from £199 per person for a two night cruise from Southampton. Lead in price for a seven night Fjords cruise on Ventura on May 5, 2019, N910 is £649 per person, leaving from Southampton ports of call include Stavanger, Olden, cruise in Innikfjorden, cruise in Nordfjord, Alesund, Bergen and Southampton.

In addition, past guests booking a Select Price 2019 summer cruise by November 30, 2017 will receive a 5% discount.

Theme cruises

Whether guests are fans of Strictly Come Dancing, Formula One or simply fabulous food, there will be some very special experiences for them on board.

  • Strictly Come Dancing: unique to P&O Cruises, each Strictly Come Dancing holiday features all the pizzazz of the TV show with professional dancers captivating guests with incredible, show-stopping routines. They also offer up close and personal interviews on board as well as photo and meet and greet opportunities. Dates to be announced in due course.
  • Formula One Monaco Grand Prix: One of the most high profile and glamorous races on the Formula OneTM It is also one of the most demanding tracks in F1TM, as it snakes its way through the narrow streets of Monaco. Guests can watch their favourite drivers go head to head at speeds of close to 200mph from trackside seats . Available on Oceana’s 14-night Central Mediterranean cruise round trip from Valletta departing May 16.
  • Food Heroes: P&O Cruises Food Heroes will once again take to the high seas to serve up some of the finest gourmet experiences to be had on land or water. The Food Heroes cruises are headlined by some of the brightest lights in the British culinary scene and are a fabulous opportunity for anyone with an interest in food to meet their own food hero, whether it is James Martin, Marco Pierre White, Olly Smith, Atul Kochhar or Eric Lanlard. Each cruise features masterclasses, book signings, Q&As and private dining with exclusive hosted dinners. There are also opportunities to join the chefs on one of their carefully crafted gastronomic shore excursions in handpicked ports of call. Dates to be announced in due course.

Western Mediterranean

The Western Mediterranean continues to be a mainstay of the P&O Cruises summer programme, with a variety of itineraries and durations designed to appeal to everyone. Six ships will operate 19 cruises round-trip from Southampton. Azura, Britannia and Ventura will deliver the classic 14-night itinerary visiting headline destinations in the region, including Rome (from Civitavecchia), Florence & Pisa (from Livorno or La Spezia), Barcelona and Monte Carlo. Oriana and Aurora itineraries will appeal to past guests with longer discovery cruises and calls to smaller and lesser frequented destinations. Highlights include Sorrento, Propriano, Olbia and Calvi.

Central Mediterranean

The Central Mediterranean has long been a popular P&O Cruises itinerary as it includes the iconic architecture of Venice and Dubrovnik in the Adriatic, and Athens (from Piraeus) in the Aegean. In 2019, P&O Cruises will operate five itineraries to this region on three ships –  Azura, Arcadia and Oriana. All itineraries are 19 nights and are designed to give guests a well-paced experience with a mix of highlight ports of call and relaxing days at sea. Azura will operate the only Aegean itinerary in September, including calls to Athens (from Piraeus), Mykonos and Santorini. Arcadia and Oriana will both operate the classic Adriatic itinerary, with all cruises featuring Venice and Dubrovnik, as well as calls to Corfu, Split and Messina.


As in previous years, P&O Cruises will provide guests with the opportunity to visit some of the very best cities on the Baltic Sea. Azura, Britannia, Arcadia and Aurora will all operate the classic 14-night itinerary from Southampton including a two-day call in St Petersburg. In addition, all cruises will feature calls to Stockholm, Copenhagen and Tallinn, offering guests the most popular destinations in the region.

Arcadia and Aurora will each operate a longer 16-night cruise, designed to balance some of the key destinations as well as lesser frequented ports of call. Both cruises feature the overnight in St Petersburg, but also offer calls to Klaipėda, Visby and Gdynia, while Arcadia will offer a maiden call to Fredericia in Denmark.

Norway Fjords and North Cape

The Norwegian Fjords continue to be one of the most popular itineraries, especially with those new to cruise. In 2019, seven-night cruises will be on Britannia, Azura and Ventura, and will run throughout the season from April to September. The programme has been designed around delivering the best possible Norway Fjords experience and includes a wealth of scenic cruising including one or both of the deep fjords, Flåm and Olden, or a call to the Norwegian town of Ålesund. All cruises feature calls to Stavanger and Bergen on the way to and from the fjords themselves.

Arcadia and Aurora will continue to offer a more immersive 12-night experience with plenty of ports and scenic cruising, including calls to Olden and Flåm as well as Geiranger, Skjolden and Eidfjord. Oriana will offer a unique 18-night Discovery cruise to the very top of Norway and beyond, including a sail-by of the North Cape followed by a call and scenic cruising in Longyearbyen in Svalbard. The cruise will also offer calls to Leknes and Honningsvåg.


P&O Cruises will continue to visit this spectacular destination in 2019 with three cruises throughout June and July. The key destination is Reykjavik, and both Ventura and Arcadia will offer an overnight stay here, as well as calls to Akureyri and Isafjördur. Arcadia travels to Iceland via the Norwegian Fjords, whilst Ventura includes a call to Tórshavn in the Faroe Islands, plus calls to Scotland and Northern Ireland. Oriana also offers calls to the headline Iceland destinations of Reykjavik, Akureyri and Isafjördur, and complements these with calls to Tórshavn, and Killybegs in the Republic of Ireland.

Atlantic Islands

The Canary Islands are a mainstay of the summer programme, delivering relaxation and sunshine in durations ranging from 11 to 16 nights. All itineraries include a strong mix of popular destinations including Madeira, Lanzarote, Gran Canaria or Tenerife.

Azura, Britannia and Ventura will cruise the classic Atlantic Islands itinerary in either 11, 12 13 or 14 nights, including calls to Madeira on the way to the Canary Islands, and either La Coruña or Lisbon on the return leg.

Oriana and Aurora will offer longer duration cruises of 16 nights, delivering either an immersive Atlantic Island experience including an overnight in Madeira, or a more expansive itinerary that includes two calls to the Azores, Ponta Delgada and Praia da Vitória.

Atlantic Coast

The Iberian coast and the south of Spain offer a wealth of mainstream and discovery ports to appeal to past guests and newcomers alike. Azura, Ventura and Oriana will all operate a 12- or 13-night Iberian cruise stretching to southern Spain, with Azura travelling as far into the Mediterranean as Valencia. All cruises also offer calls to Cartagena and Gibraltar, as well as either Lisbon or La Coruña. Oriana will also operate a longer 16-night cruise which calls into three Balearic Islands: Mallorca, Menorca and Ibiza.

British Isles

Oriana will offer a holiday experience a little closer to home in 2019, with a 13-night British Isles cruises in June. Oriana’s cruise will offer calls to Scotland and Ireland, including Glasgow (from Greenock), Lerwick, Cork (from Cobh), Dublin and Killybegs, as well as stretching beyond the British Isles to Tórshavn in the Faroe Islands.

Canada/North America

P&O Cruises will once again provide guests with the opportunity to witness one of the most iconic seasonal changes in the world; the autumn colours of Canada/New England. Aurora and Arcadia will each operate a cruise in September 2019, with Arcadia offering a new immersive 24-night Canadian itinerary, including an overnight in Quebec. Meanwhile, Aurora will offer a longer 30-night itinerary with a series of Canadian calls followed by three full days in New York.

Arabian Gulf

The Arabian Gulf is a new and exciting destination for P&O Cruises and is the first new programme since the introduction of fly-Med in 2014. As part of the planning for summer 2019, four new extended repositioning cruises will be added to the programme, combining the unique Arabian Gulf positioning from Dubai to Malta cruise via the Suez Canal, with the start of Oceana’s Med fly-cruise programme.

No-fly Caribbean

P&O Cruises range of long Caribbean cruises in the winter provide guests with the opportunity for complete relaxation without the need for a long-haul flight. Embarking in Southampton, Arcadia will operate the first of these winter cruises, departing at the end of October for 28 nights, and offering a selection of the very best Caribbean islands.

Mediterranean fly-cruise programme

Departing weekly from Malta, Oceana will once again deliver a Mediterranean fly-cruise programme, offering a choice of Western, Central and Eastern Mediterranean itineraries throughout the season and offering calls to the very best that the Mediterranean has to offer. The Central Mediterranean itineraries will continue to feature the headline destinations of Venice and Dubrovnik, as well as calls to other Adriatic ports such as Zadar, Hvar, Kotor and Split. The Eastern Mediterranean itineraries will offer a wealth of Greek destinations, including Athens (from Piraeus), Katakolon and Heraklion, as well as a call to Sarandë in Albania. The Western Mediterranean itineraries will all offer two headline Italian ports, either a combination of Rome (from Civitavecchia), Florence/Pisa (from Livorno) or Naples. There are also calls to the French Riviera or Sardinia and Corsica across the programme.

Short breaks

Short cruises are a staple of the P&O Cruises programme throughout the year, providing guests with an opportunity for a short getaway or celebration. The majority of short breaks are Bruges (from Zeebrugge) and St Peter Port in Guernsey, which feature across the two, three and four night durations. In addition, Azura will offer a four night cruise in March to Amsterdam, including two full days in port.

More evening and overnight calls

To allow guests to experience the vibrant nightlife in a destination, P&O Cruises is offering evening calls in 15 ports and overnights in nine popular destinations including Amsterdam, Boston, Dubai, Madeira, New York, Quebec, Reykjavik, Rotterdam and St Petersburg.

Maiden calls

Le Verdon (for Bordeaux), France; Fredericia, Denmark.

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Saga Sapphire’s SECRET Cruise

 All ports of call are hush-hush but there’s no disguising the added value of all-inclusive meals, drinks, entertainment and excursions

Saga passengers throw caution to the wind when they join Saga Sapphire’s sparkling new three-week Secret Cruise because they have no idea where they will be sailing! Passengers are kept in suspense, with no clues to the itinerary, and it is only when Saga Sapphire moors in each port that the destination is announced.

While the cruise is fun-themed, the savvy passengers are guaranteed some seriously great-value inclusions:

  • Sail from Southampton and enjoy Saga’s return chauffeur service to and from the port
  • Selected wines at lunch and dinner, house-branded spirits, draught beer and lager, non-alcoholic cocktails and soft drinks served at no additional cost
  • Excursions included at every port
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • All gratuities

This cruise with a difference begins with a welcome cocktail party but anyone looking for clues to their destinations during the evening will find the captain’s lips are sealed.

The 21-day sailing offers inspiring experiences as well as the opportunity to enjoy Saga Sapphire’s exceptional cuisine with a choice of waiter service in the Pole to Pole restaurant and East to West Asian fusion restaurant or casual dining in The Grill, on the Verandah Deck and by the Beach Club pool.

Nightly entertainment and a programme of daytime activities are also included in the cruise price so all passengers must do is turn up, enjoy the fun and look forward to days of discovery!

View the Saga Sapphire Secret Cruise online.

If you want to do something fun and different, then this is the cruise for you. I was lucky enough to join Saga Sapphire in 2016 on her 3-week ‘Mystery Cruise’ and it was one of the BEST cruising experiences that I have ever had at sea. Every day was a surprise and just when you thought you may have figured out your next port, you were completely thrown off course. It was wonderful and I highly recommend to anyone that is happy to just see what happens.

Visit the Saga website for more information on Saga Ocean Cruises.

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MSC Cruises And Fincantieri Celebrate MSC Seaview Float Out

MSC Cruises and Fincantieri celebrated the float out of MSC Seaview yesterday at the Monfalcone shipyard in Italy.

MSC Seaview is the second of MSC Cruises’ Seaside generation of cruise ships, based on a highly-innovative prototype designed to bring guests closer to the sea than ever before, for warmer climates and the ultimate sun and sea cruise experience. She is set to come into service in June 2018, just six months after MSC Seaside will first come into service in December 2017 with her Grand Voyage from Trieste, Italy to Miami, USA in December 2017.

MSC Seaview will sail her inaugural 2018 summer season in the Mediterranean, offering holidaymakers the chance to experience the jewels of this region like never before on a cruise ship. Guests will discover seven different lively ports from four countries, all without unpacking a suitcase – Genoa, Naples, Messina, Valetta, Barcelona and Marseille.

Following this inaugural season, the ship will follow the sun to Brazil and the Southern hemisphere for the winter 2018-2019 season, with an itinerary that includes Santos, Ilha Grande, Buzios, Porto Belo and Camboriu.

The float out is a key milestone in the construction of a cruise ship, as it is the moment when the vessel is first touched by water as her dry dock is flooded and the ship is moved to a wet dock for the final phase of her construction. The exterior of the ship is now complete and work moves to complete interiors, fixtures and furnishings.

At 323 metres-long with a 154,000 GRTs, the ship will feature a maximum capacity of 5,179 guests. MSC Seaview is the second of two identical ships in the Seaside class. Her sister ship – MSC Seaside – is set to enter service later this year in November.

MSC Seaview will be the third next-generation ship coming into service in just 12 months, following on from MSC Meraviglia (June 2017) and MSC Seaside (December 2017).


Posted in Cruise News, MSC Cruises

New Friends And Different Cultures With Larry Lamb And Thomson Cruises

You may have seen Larry Lamb on your TV screen in favourites such as Eastenders, I’m a Celebrity and Gavin and Stacey, but he most recently popped up aboard Thomson Cruises newest ship ‘TUI Discovery 2’ and set off across the Mediterranean to uncover the beauty and interesting local people of Barcelona, Palma and Ibiza.

Larry’s journey was recorded every step of the way and three short films highlight his experiences in each port. The challenge was to meet a diverse mix of local people, in a world-first study conducted by Thomson Cruises and The Human Nature Research Lab at Yale University. These people would have a story to tell and would be known as ‘Cruise Mates’. The theory behind the study was that Brits who bond with up to five new people from different cultures whilst on holiday can experience a happiness boost of 10%, so they put that theory to the test. It might sound crazy, but I would have to agree with this. People are a big part of every cruise I embark upon. I want to see new places, experience new cultures and meet new people, so I was instantly interested in this little project and decided I had to share it with you.

Larry’s Cruise Mates: Barcelona

In cosmopolitan Barcelona, Larry set off to discover the city’s most authentic arts and culture. He explored the world-famous Boqueria market, where he began chatting to Junaito, the owner of Bar Pinotxo, which he runs with his nephew. Junaito then recommended Larry head to Palau Dalmases to discover the most authentic arts and culture scene. After a stroll down Las Ramblas, Larry was greeted by Christine Blanco Eslava and Raphael, who practice the traditional art of flamenco dance and music.

This was the video I could relate to the most, as I have been to Boqueria so many times. It brought back some great memories. If you are ever in Barcelona then please add the market to your list of things to see and do and be sure to buy some of the caramel almonds – delicious!

Larry’s Cruise Mates: Palma de Mallorca

In Palma de Mallorca, Larry was keen to discover a selection of outdoor pursuits within the historic and vibrant city. As a world-renowned destination for cycling, Larry took up a local recommendation and met Thelonious, a Mallorcan born cycling and hiking expert. Thelonious is one of the islands specialists in scenic cycling routes, and recently returned to his roots in Palma to preserve the history of the capital.

I’ve also visited Palma de Mallorca many times and as much as Larry seemed to have a great time, I’ll leave the cycling to him and Thelonious. I am so unfit, a walk around the town is enough for me to contend with, especially in the summer heat.

Larry’s Cruise Mates: Ibiza

In Ibiza, Larry went in search of the freshest seafood on the island. After veering off the beaten track, Larry arrived at a typical Spanish fishing harbour and met local fisherman Miguel, a native Ibizan who grew up in a traditional fishing family who dedicates his life to the sea, catching a variety of seafood that is sold to local restaurants and markets. Larry was then introduced to Ibiza’s best kept secret – ‘El Chiringuito de Dona Maria’, commonly known as ‘the Fish Shack’ – to prepare and cook lunch with owner, Samar.

My favourite of all Larry’s ports. I’ve visited Ibiza many times, but never cruised there, so I found this interesting. I  loved the authentic dining and fresh seafood that was highlighted.

I watched all 3 videos and instantly wanted to pack my bags and leave. I’m so inspired by travel and I love seeing pictures from all around the world and the big, happy smiles that go with them. Someone once said that “travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer” and I completely agree. We don’t need “things” in life, we need experiences, experiences that allow us to connect as human beings and teach each another new things. We need to laugh, eat and drink together, and make the world a better place.

Inspired? Why don’t you step ashore and find your Cruise Mates!


Posted in Cruise News, Thomson Cruises

Where To Wine And Dine Aboard Saga’s NEW Ship ‘Spirit Of Discovery’

Looking to try something completely different? Spirit of Discovery’s restaurants and bars will mean you’ll be able to do exactly that.

Coast to Coast

In a first for Saga, Spirit of Discovery will have her very own seafood restaurant, serving British and locally-sourced fish, shellfish and other fruits de mer. Offering a modern seafood dining experience, Coast to Coast will focus on minimalistic cooking that allows the food to speak for itself. So whether you want the ‘catch of the day’ simply grilled or pan fried, or have a palette for more adventurous tartare, ceviche and shellfish dishes, all will be on the menu. Classic yet contemporary, this restaurant will also be perfect for extravagant seafood feasts – ideal for celebrating a special occasion in style!

East to West

In East to West, the exciting Asian venue, taste buds will be tantalised by the flavours of the Orient, thanks to an array of authentic dishes and a frequently changing menu. Just like the original East to West restaurant on Saga Sapphire, this venue will offer an exclusive, dinner-only service every evening. Impeccably presented, chefs will bring to the table the full diversity and vibrancy of Asian cuisine, from classic favourites to those with a contemporary twist, such as sizzling beef fillet in Balinese sauce and blackened tilapia with fennel.


The Terrace

Spirit of Discovery will have an elegant garden area, the perfect outdoor drinks spot. A beautiful al fresco setting to relax, from The Terrace passengers will be able to enjoy the fresh air any time of the day. The Terrace will offer easy access to Spirit of Discovery’s fantastic, full-length promenade which will encircle the ship and offer the chance to enjoy walks in the sea air.

South Cape Bar

In a tribute to Saga’s cruising heritage, the ship’s main bar has been named after the same space on Saga Ruby, though styled like a high-end hotel bar. With a relaxed, friendly ambience, the South Cape Bar will be the perfect place to meet up with friends, relax with a glass of wine, craft beer or cocktail, and to unwind after a busy day in port exploring another amazing destination. It will also be used for occasional live sporting events, thanks to its large television screens, along with a programme of light evening entertainment.

Spirit of Discovery will be Saga Cruises’ first bespoke-built ship launching in Summer 2019 from the UK.  The small, luxury, boutique vessel will carry fewer than 1,000 passengers and will feature design cues from London’s finest hotels and restaurants, redefining standards in British cruising.

Posted in Cruise News, Saga Cruises

Cunard To Set Sail For QE2 50th Anniversary Celebrations

Cunard is honouring the 50th anniversary of its longest serving ocean liner, Queen Elizabeth 2, with a special voyage onboard the luxury cruise liner Queen Elizabeth.

The 50th anniversary of this much-loved ship will be remembered as Queen Elizabeth sets sail from Southampton on Friday, September 8 for a 17-night voyage. Departing guests will enjoy Venice’s iconic canals, mythical Mount Etna in Sicily and Corfu’s leafy beauty.

Celebrations focus on five special theme days, each of which will be accompanied by QE2 inspired menus, talks from special guests, historical snippets in the daily programme, past-passenger gatherings and QE2 quizzes.

Themes include Moving in Royal Circles which looks back at the unique and special bond between QE2 and the Royal Family; The Falklands which acknowledges the ship’s service as a troop ship in the 1982 conflict; Triumph of a Great Tradition examining the QE2’s remarkable career achievements and the long history of Cunard ‘firsts’, and World Flagship in tribute to QE2’s 26 world cruises that made her an icon in cities across the globe.

Celebrations culminate on QE2 Day – September 20, 2017 – exactly 50 years since the ship was launched by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Events will include a QE2 ball, and a historical retrospective of the ship’s service life to be hosted in Queen Elizabeth’s 850 seat Royal Court Theatre.

As part of Cunard’s renowned and award-winning Insights Speaker programme, a number of special guests connected to QE2 will be sailing onboard. One such guest is Captain Ian McNaught, QE2’s last Master, who said: “This voyage is a significant and timely tribute to the world’s best loved ship. QE2 remains the longest serving express liner in history. She carried 2.5 million passengers over 5.6 million miles; that’s further than any passenger ship – ever! This remarkable ship sailed alone on the North Atlantic for most of her career. She carried the Cunard tradition from the bygone era of the ocean liner and sustained it into the 21st century. The QE2 carried Royalty, celebrities and served in the Falklands War.”

He added: “What I remember most as her Master, were the passengers. Everyday people who saved up to experience life onboard the world’s best loved ship. Many came back time and time again. That is a tribute to the countless people who served as QE2’s crew, each one making the experience special and memorable. QE2 has been gone for nearly a decade now, however on her 50th anniversary the memory of her is strong. It is very fitting to be acknowledging the QE2’s remarkable career here onboard Queen Elizabeth.”

Other guests include Commodore R. W. Warwick who served as QE2’s Captain for 13 years; QE2 social hostess Maureen Ryan who served onboard the original Cunard Queens as well as Queen Mary 2; and maritime historian Chris Frame, author of a series of books about QE2 and Cunard.

The voyage departs Southampton on September 8 and returns September 25.

About QE2

QE2 was launched by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on 20 September 1967. The ship was the last large transatlantic liner built in the United Kingdom. During a service career of almost 40 years, the ship sailed over 5.6 million miles and carried more than 2.5 million passengers – record numbers that are yet to be broken. In 1982, QE2 was requisitioned for use in the Falklands War and sailed with 3,000 troops of the 5th Infantry Brigade. QE2 was a favourite of the Royal Family having entertained HM. The Queen, HRH. The Duke of Edinburgh, HRH. Prince Charles and HRH Princess Diana to name just a few. During the ship’s career, she sailed on 26 world cruises, carried celebrities and heads of state and attracted crowds in every port she visited.

QE2 Fun Facts

  • QE2 was very fast and had a usual service speed of 28.5 knots, with a top cruising speed of 32.5 knots making her the fastest passenger ship to sail in the 21st century
  • QE2 was launched by Her Majesty The Queen on 20 September 1967. The launch was celebrated in many countries of the Commonwealth
  • QE2 was the longest serving flagship of the Cunard fleet and the longest serving express transatlantic liner in Cunard’s 177-year history
  • QE2 was the last large express liner to be built in the United Kingdom and the final passenger ship to be constructed at the historic John Brown & Co. Clydebank
  • QE2 was requisitioned as a troop ship in the 1982 Falklands War
  • QE2 made 806 Transatlantic Crossings in her career
  • QE2 sailed over 5.6 million miles – the furthest distance by any passenger ship – ever
  • QE2 carried 2.5 million passengers
  • QE2 was the first ship to carry a reigning British Monarch as a passenger in 1990
  • Cunard’s first ship Britannia could have fitted into QE2’s Grand Lounge
  • QE2’s anchors weighed 12.5 tons each – one now resides on QE2 mile in Southampton
  • Each year QE2 used more than 3 million eggs and enough cling-film to wrap the ship many times over
Posted in Cruise News, Cunard Cruise Line
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