Asia, Caribbean, Countries, Cruising

Yacht join the fast set like Beyoncé

We’re working ourselves up to the David Geffen or Diddy class and we imagine you’re the same… really, yacht join the fast set like Beyoncé.

One of the many advantages of travelling the world is getting wined and dined in exotic locations.

Where the super rich have been before.

Here’s to us; Nylon Pool, Tobago

And royalty, with Princess Margaret (Queen Elizabeth’s party-loving wee sis) christening the sea around Tobago on her honeymoon Nylon Pool.

As it’s so clear it resembled nylon stockings.

While we stood on that Caribbean sea bank Mags had probably done and can Geffen or Jeff Bezos or Barry Diller or Diddy.

Well, probably but we reckon if you’ve got the facilities of the world’s most expensive yacht, Geff’s $590m superyacht, you’ll stay on board.

Yacht to party with us

Stars are out: Beyoncé

Of course, you don’t have to have the keys to a super yacht to enjoy yourself.

Or be the king and queen of hip hop like Diddy and Beyoncé to enjoy a good oul’ sing song.

Because give me a captain’s hat and a boom box on the Bosphorus and they say my name, say my name.

I’ll be your driver: On your superyacht

While whether you’re Bandanaman, Joe or Joanna Public or a diva the sunset is still the same around the Maldives.

And would you get a superstar going off piste and trying to cross disputed territory between Jordan and Israel on the Red Sea?

Geff’s gaff

Ship shape: Geffen’s yacht

But because we know you want to look through the keyhole to see how the super rich play we’re jumping on board with Ritzy Charters.

RC scoped Geff’s gaff to show us 82 (count them) rooms.

The yacht can accommodate around 18 guests and 55 crew members.

With a basketball court, wine cellar and an impressive luxurious cinema.

Yacht to see the others

Furst among equals: Fursty fashion

Bezos’s tub on the sea is second most expensive at $500m and is the largest sailing yacht on the planet.

The Y721, also named Koru (Māori for strength, new life and peace) boasts a great-sized pool on its deck.

And accommodation for up to 18 guests and 40 crew members with Māori art to the fore.

Diane von Furstenberg and Barry Diller have a $200 million Eos super yacht rippling the waves.

Now if you’re lucky enough to be one of their 14 guests you’ll be bowled over by their glass staircase, a 14-foot world map, a jacuzzi and a figurehead of Diane.

Now for only $120m the VENUS yacht of Steve Jobs’ widow Laurene Powell ticks all the boxes.

The superyacht can accommodate up to 12 guests in six cabins and 22 crew members in 14 cabins.

And eek, the vessel’s annual running cost is around $10-$15m!

The Diddy of them all

Loadsamoney: Diddy

The fifth most expensive celebrity-owned yacht is The Maraya, owned by Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs’ and Beyoncé’s Maraya is only fifth dearest.

And guess what, he rents out the $65 million superyacht for $300,000 per week.

But you can always split that among your 12 guests at a time in six cabins.

And as you’d expect there’s all mod cons such as a sundeck jacuzzi, gym and wellness area, not to mention its very own chef.

Really, yacht join the fast set like Beyoncé.

But if you can’t make the most of what you’ve got.




Asia, Countries

Eastern & Oriental Express

We doubt Hercule Poirot would be invited (well, would you?) so the Festive Indonesia And Eastern & Oriental Express already has that over the European route.

I mean, yes you miss out on sharing carriages with Albert Finney, Lauren Bacall, Sean Connery and Ingrid Bergmann but your holiday isn’t disrupted.

Finney games: Poirot

And there’s zero risk of being stabbed multiple times in your drug-induced sleep like Ratchett (Richard Widmark).

And unlike the Orient Express you get to explore further than Istanbul, wondrous city of the world that it is.

So you can immerse yourself in Singapore and Malaysia.

Cruise it, train it

Roll with it: On your plush train

The ROL Cruise incorporating the Eastern & Oriental Express runs out of Singapore and is new for this year.

Travelling through Kuala Lumpur, Langkawi and Penang, you’ll mix on-board luxury with inspiring exploration off the train.

This magnificent trip includes snorkelling, island exploration and cultural tours.

Set sale

Highest tea: On your dream train

It’s a 22-nighter departing on December 5 next year so plenty of time to save.

And what’s more ROL have a sale on with savings of up to £3,000.

Our rail buddies are also offering an additional offering of £1,000 per booking.

High Seas: ROL

Off the advertised fares when you book by 8pm, September 17, someone’s anniversary around these parts.

You’ll get a two-night pre-cruise, a 4* hotel stay in Singapore including 14 nights full board cruising on board the 5* Noordam.

14 nights full board cruising on board the 5★ Noordam.

A three-night journey on board the Eastern & Oriental Express.

Return flights from London (regional and premium class flights may be available on request) and overseas transfers.

An exclusive complimentary upgrade to a an Ocean View Stateroom outside is down from outside £10,099 to £8,999.

Poirot, zut alors!

Tunnel of love: Asian delights

So let loose on an ROL cruise and let the train take the strain.

And if you do see a wax moustachioed fussy Belgian detective in the queue maybe mention it to the ticket-collector.

Asia, Countries, Cruising

Abu Paddy’s Day’s Irish pub crawl

And that’s got your attention Abu Paddy’s Day’s Irish pub crawl.

Yes, it does exist, because after all you’ll find an Irish bar up the highest mountain, down the deepest valley.

Our Abu Paddy’s crawl starts in PJ O’Reilly’s, recommended for its reasonably priced drinks and live bands.

Double tops: PJ’s

Want to watch the football or the rugby McGettigan’s has all the best live sports.

But you might want to cheer when Manchester City score… the Abu Dhabians own them.

While the Irish Vickers offers you the best of Irish fare, stew, bacon roll, proper chips and Magners.

And what they call black beer but what we all know as Guinness.

Arts of Dhabi

Gulf in class: Abu Dhabi

Of course you’ll want to take in the arts, museum, culture, culinary and clothes of the Gulf too.

All of which we’d explored when an opportunity arose for a move out to Abu there back in the day.

And besides there will be plenty of partying going on on-board your MSC Opera seven-nighter from €1509pp.

Pitch Cassidy

Luxury: A night on the Opera

When you book with our pals at Cassidy Travel… and MSC will look after you just fine, take our word for it.

You’ll get a Junior Interior Fantastica Cabin, full board including Premium Drinks Package and gratuities.

Price Includes: return flights, checked in luggage and transfers.

You’ll sail from Dubai visiting Oman (overnight), Abu Dhabi, Sir Bani Yas Island & Dubai (overnight).

So enjoy your Abu Paddy’s Day’s Irish pub crawl.

Because there’s always an Irish pub just around the corner anywhere you go in the world.



Asia, Countries, Europe

Tom Cruise’s Fiat de Resistance

Have you watched the latest Mission Impossible and Tom Cruise’s Fiat de Resistance… well, I’ve been there.

Trying to kick a Fiat Cinquecento into life.

Does my car look big in this? A Fiat 500 in Cannes

In my case it was Cannes, in Tom’s and alter ego Ethan Hunt’s, the Spanish Steps in Rome.

Copwatch: On the Spanish Steps

Where an albeit handcuffed Ethan and Grace faffed with the dashboard.

Before they got the hang of the classic car to clatter down the steps and through the streets of Rome.

Italian batallion

Anyone for Venice: The adventure begins

And, obviously, for our delectation past the Colosseum time and time and time again.

Of course, we have to remind ourselves for all Tom’s stunt boastery, this is all just great CGI.

I mean, whoever got through Roman traffic unless on a Vespa or Lambretta.

Or down the Venetian alleyways which for the first time in history were empty!

All revved up: Ethan Hunt

And all without a guide book compass, and yes you can thank me later.

Which makes you wonder how Ethan and Grace found the Ponte Minich, or Minich Bridge, so easily.

As they both admit in a cheesy moment that it was their first time in the water city.

Surely an omission for any international man of mystery.

An Alpine hand

White delight: In Soll in tbe Alps

It would, in truth, be mission impossible for Ethan to have to find the golden key anywhere as random down the back of the couch.

Because that wouldn’t showcase the favourite familiar scenes we know from MI and Bond and others.

With (spoiler alert, though really) the climax plays out in the Austrian Alps.

With Innsbruck as a backdrop for the Melodrama on the Orient Express (naturally).

Although truth be told it’s actually the Kylling Bridge in Norway.

And other pit stops

Dam good: Amsterdam

Amsterdam too is featured, and again it’s popular for movie chases.

Despite busy canals and pathways and despite his derring-do I wouldn’t advise even Ethan to take on the angry Amsterdammer cyclists.

He’s on safer ground, or sand in the deserts of Abu Dhabi.

For the rest of us we can only aspire to Ethan’s feats of incredulity.

Floating: On air

But it’s reassuring to know that he too struggles with classic Italian cars.

Of course, he comes through to make it Tom Cruise’s Fiat de Resistance.

While for other international men of mystery it’s a Fiat de Persistence.


Africa, Asia, Countries

World Sand Dune Day

It’s World Sand Dune Day so let’s get ready to rumble.

If you’re lucky enough to live by the sea then you could have sand dunes next to you.

Slide rule: Sandboarding

Ours are a 9km circular trek, part of the John Muir Way, the West Bay in North Berwick, east of Edinburgh and Gullane Bents.

Of course, the quickest route and the one we all first took was a forward roll down dunes.

Over the dune

Pyla sand: Europe’s biggest dune

We were fortunate to spend those summers in Ireland and play in the Portsalon Dunes in Co. Donegal.

And the biggest in the country is another stomping ground, Tramore in Co. Waterford, at 85ft high.

Big, but not as big as the Great Dune of Pyla.

Head just over 37 miles from Bordeaux, and you’ll find the tallest dune in Europe.

It’s more than a mile and a half long and stands over 360ft above sea level.

Come one, camel

One hump or two: Camel riding

Or as towering as the 500ft tall, 30-mile long Erg Chebbi Dunes in south-eastern Morocco.

Now I’m not sure which part of the desert Larsson (I kid you not) the camel took me to.

But, of course, I did the roly-poly thing down a dune.

Moroccan rollin’

Keep ‘em truckin’: In Jordan

Only to feel my tummy really rumble, on account of a dodgy tagine up in the Atlas Mountains.

But don’t let my mishap put you off, sand dunes are to be played among.

And while the camel is, of course, the ship of the desert.

If you want to get there quicker and like a thrill, you can hit the Jeeps as we did in Jordan.

Sand surfing

Footsteps: In the dunes

Of course wherever there’s sand, or you can build sand, then you can go sand boarding or sand surfing.

So islands here, like Britain, are framed by dunes.

With our friends in the duning club pointing us towards Balmedie, near Aberdeen as Scotland’s best.

Of course, as there’s a World Championships for everything and a world day too…

Then check out the Sandboard World Cup in Peru.

So get on a roll this World Sand Dune Day… just be careful what you eat first.

And insure yourself with Imodium… and InsureandGo.




Asia, Countries, Deals, Europe

The AI you need to embrace

Now it’s the media bogeyman du jour but there is an AI you need to embrace.

We’ll all remember our own first experiences of an all-inclusive holiday.

Now I’ve never taken for granted all those comped trips around the world.

What I accurately call working assignments but The Scary One tags ‘holidays’.

Although she has been a beneficiary from cruises to ski, Portugal to Germany.

Obrigado: Scary One in Portugal Centro

And even George and Amal’s favourite hotel in Amsterdam.

As seductive as all-inclusives are we should always bear in mind local hospitality and go out and enjoy and keep their trade buoyant.

And you’ll never really get the true flavour of the Caribbean by just staying in behind the gilded gates.

Helpfully our friends at Irish travel providers Cassidy feel the same and have guided us to these belters.

Caribbean dream

Let’s talk about Mex: Larger than life

5* Rui Cancun – Mexico

Now having sampled the Tex-Mex life on my recent travails around San Antonio I now need to delve further south.

Cassidy is offering seven nights AI travel from July 10 from €1,549pps with flights.

Riu Cancun is set on a white-sand beach just 15 minutes walk from the nightlife.

They have three outdoor pools surrounded by sun terraces,

A swim up bar, poolside restaurant and a la carte dining options.

Aye, aye cap’n

The high seas: A born pirate

3* Pirates Village – Majorca

And I’m reminded here of a Hungarian, who we called Puskas, who played the pirate in kids club (yes, adults stayed too).

Cassidy is offering a week AI in Majorca from September 9from €1,862 (two adults and one child) with flights.

Pirates Village Bay boasts swashbuckling escapades and a pool play area complete with slides and water cannons!

Make a splash

Pool fun: In the Canaries

4* Paradise Island – Lanzarote

And it’s always child’s play when there’s a waterpark.

And Cassidy have just the thing with a seven-nighter from November 4 from €2,100 (2+1) with flights.

Playa Blanca in the cool Canaries features a waterpark with slides and a splash zone for children.

And a go-karting track, soft play, and four pools.

With two buffet restaurants serving up Asian and Italian cuisine.

Coast to coaster

Sail away: On the Bosphorus in Istanbul

5* Land of Legends – Turkey

Now all holidays have their ups and downs, better then if rollercoasters are your thing.

Thrillseekers look up now, Cassidy have seven nights from August 27 in Turkey.

From €4,808 (2+1) including flights and accommodation.

The Land of Legends Theme Park and Hotel has a multi-sensory experience featuring 5D cinema.

A crazy river, wave pool, water coaster and a 1300 metres-long Hyper Coaster!

Custom-designed fantasy guest rooms offer dual-screen LED TV and Play Station!

Cassidy sure have thought of everything.

And I think you’ll agree, this is the AI you need to embrace.


Asia, Countries, Europe, Food & Wine

Water into wine in Israel

For fear of poking the Almighty an old joke about changing water into wine in Israel.

Jesus at the Marriage Feast of Cana and he announces he will change H20 into vino when St Peter pipes up.

‘No, you don’t, you’ll buy your round like everybody else.’

The wine was certainly flowing at the Travel Connection Group’s Media Getaway in Leeds this week.

And wine was on our lips too as we talked The Promised Land with our Israeli friends.

Holy wine

Where’s the vino? The Marriage Feast

A thought here the destination team around Israel then might have done with the likes of exhibitor Carla.

I mean ‘the home of vino’ would have been better than ‘the land of milk and honey.’

Because if you read the story of Jesus or listen to your preacher.

Or dwell on the centre point of the Catholic Mass, the transubstantiation, you’ll know how important booze is in Jesus’s life.

Because he’s still feeding the people, changing water into wine.

While at the back end of his life too he was using wine to promote his people, his life, at the Last Supper.

And so endeth the lesson and onto Carla’s message that the wine still flows freely at Eilat on the Red Sea.

Festival time

And soak it up: The Red Sea

Of course, we know that all too well from the Jordan side of the Sea, from cruising and snorkelling on our memorable G Adventures trip.

And they’re quaffing too over there in Eilat.

Every Friday to be specific with a wine tasting… and what better way to celebrate the Sabbath.

And this means you don’t have to wait until the Wine Festival Batzir in the Autumn.

Across the wine regions of Israel, the Golan Heights, Galilee, Coastal Plain, Judea, Central Mountains and the Negev.

Jerusalem juice

Or two: Let the wine flow

Of course along with with everything else in Israel all palm-lined roads lead to Jerusalem.

And from August 20 with the four-day Jerusalem Wine Festival.

Be one of the 20,000 gathering to sample the hundreds of wines.

Again there are free wine tasting opportunities.

Along with a culinary oasis of stalls offering cheeses, chocolates, olive oils, exceptional sauces, and jams.

Wine water of life

Glass act: Little wine drinker me

With the party getting started every night with two different live music concerts.

We do expect a lot, too much, at times from our hosts when we traverse the world.

But they will do everything for you, short of changing water into wine in Israel.

Because there’s plenty enough of the grape to go around for everyone.

Asia, Countries, Europe, Flying

Plane tips for flying toddlers

We were so grateful for the air steward’s unorthodox way of calming our screaming baby we thought it might make these plane TUI tips for flying toddlers.

You know, putting lukewarm teabags over your kiddie’s lugs to curb air pressure.

Babe in arms: With the Son and Heir in Liverpool

All of which meant we and the Son and Heir hit the ground running on that TUI trip.

Treat them to a new toy

Build it up: Lego

And also make sure you pack some of their existing toys (ours was Lego).

It’s even worth investing in a couple of new toys if you have a longer flight.

This tip alone can help to keep your little one entertained throughout the entire flight.

Let them watch out the window

Window to the world: A window seat

We can all remember feeling like we’re floating on a cloud.

On those first giddy flights as children.

Which is why we should treat our kids to a window seat.

And let them follow too the world map on the sensor to help your child identify where you are.

That’s entertainment

Quick on the draw: Colouring book

Dig your old colouring books out of the attic or garage.

While sticker books are always reliable and try theming it with your holiday.

Read them a book

Put it there: Bring a Potter book

Taking a flight with your child gives you a great opportunity to bond.

For the Son and Heir a memorable trip to Turkey saw him holding his place in his Harry Potter book as he walked through market.

In-flight entertainment

Screen time: Download movies

Not that we’re against modern technology.

Where there aren’t screens for films, you can download movies to a device they can watch.

Keep them refuelled

How bazaar: But we love a Turkish marketplace

So let’s start at the very beginning with babies.

It’s definitely worth taking a bottle of milk for the flight or breastfeeding on take-off and landing.

The sucking motion can help to stop their ears from popping.

You can carry more than 100ml through security and the cabin crew can heat it up for you on the plane.

If your child is older, try giving them a drink or something to eat instead.

So seeing that TUI has us covered on their planes let’s jump on this sample Turkey offer with a free child place.

Deal us in

Hats off: To Turkiye

And because Turkey is the ideal destination for kids and big kids here’s what’s on the radar.

Seven nights self-catering at the Club Candan on August 21 from €1,849 (2+1), €2,439 (2+2).

Asia, Countries, Sport

Car Lead Qatar

And they’re off.. our friends in the Gulf have a winning formula for Grand Prix fans, this open all areas Car Lead Qatar offer.

And because we offer you here the best sporting deals out there we’re happy to share the love.

Desert stormer: Qatar

Pre-register for priority access to the best front-row seats at the Lusail International Circuit for a 20% discount on tickets.

Plenty of vroom

Out in front: The racetrack

The Qatar Airways Qatar Grand Prix runs on October 9.

And the airline has a three-day package with flights from your nearest airport to Doha from October 6.

And that’ll give you the Formula 1 practice rounds, qualifying, the 100km sprint and the main race.

They have dangled a range of deluxe desert hotels in front of our noses from £1,418pp.

So £2,835 for the two of you to join the fast set.

Souk it and see

Looking up: The Kingsgate Doha

The Kingsgate Hotel Doha we’re told is in the vibrant old city of Al Ghanim.

And within walking distance from Souq Waqif Metro Station and Doha’s highlights.

The genuine Gold Souk is a minute away, while the Souq Waqif, with its spices and perfumes, is a short 10-minute walk from the hotel.

And whether it’s your first souk or you’ve enjoyed their charms from Marrakech to Istanbul then you’ll know it’s more than just shopping.

A world of sport

Revving it up: The Moto GP

Now following on from the success of the football World Cup last year the Qataris are clearly accelerating to extend their sporting footprint.

Beyond football and Formula 1.

All of which means that you can enjoy Moto GP, basketball, tennis, and golf and much more.

And as we’ve got our ears to the ground we’ll bring you the best deals first.

Just like we’ve given you a jump on this Car Lead Qatar offer.

Asia, Countries, Sustainable Tourism

Adopt a coral on Tahiti

It may be atoll order to regenerate our oceans but you’ve got to start somewhere and the Polynesians are helping by encouraging us to adopt a coral on Tahiti.

And for those of us who aren’t natural sea dwellers and are clumsy on our feet then this probably applies to us.

Because if floating on the surface of the sea to snorkel and watch the fishies has you floundering then you’ve probably ended up spoiling the coral.

The natural inclination is to try to stand up on the seabed.

And not even the hurt of cut feet comes close to the real damage, that you’re destroying the coral.

Thankfully there are proper snorkellers out there, and conservationists.

Coral group

New wave: Tahiti locals

Located on Moorea, the Coral Gardeners have made giving back much easier for travellers through their Adopt a Coral programmes.

Where guests can adopt, personalise, track and plant a coral in the nurseries scattered through the atoll.

Additionally Te Mano o Te Moana has carried out incredible work to rescue and rehabilitate species of tea turtles which can be visited at the Turtle Rehabilitation Centre in Moorea.

A word to the wise too, and you will be reminded constantly if you visit an atoll anywhere, do not take any of it home as a souvenir, even in your foot.

Bedside manner: And leave it how you found it

Rather purchase home-made products, like here in the South Seas Made in Fenua keepsakes produced by the artisans and craftspeople.

Tahiti holds a prominent place in the world of sustainability with the largest marine sanctuary in the world.

While they also encourage give-back-packer tour operators which offer beach clean-ups.

As well as various coral reef preservation experiences, solar-powered boats and even resorts which run on coconut oil.

Native charms

Playing to the balcony: Taoahere Beach House

The best way to enjoy your Tahitian trip is by staying in a native guesthouse managed by a local family.

Guesthouses provide a unique opportunity for visitors to get immersed into a more authentic visit, a personalised experience.

And a chance to connect with local people and the islands.

Owners and on-site managers assist with guiding through local excursions.

Such as pearl diving, snorkelling hiking and more.

And a reminder for those who remember Tahiti from The Bounty but are trying to place it again our Polynesian pals helpfully sent us their USP.

South Pacific

Brush strokes: And challenge your inner Gauguin


Like straight out of a film, they’re located in the South Pacific and consist of 118 islands and atolls.

Made up of the Society Islands including Tahiti and Bora Bora, Tuamotu Islands, Gambier Islands, Austral Islands and Marquesas Islands.

All of which drew the attentions of artists Paul Gauguin and Henri Matisse.

The current Embraced by Mana campaign highlights their diversity.

Access from the UK is usually via Paris or Los Angeles with connections from Air Tahiti Nui.