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.




Countries, Cruising, Deals, Europe, Ireland

Ireland Iceland Island Fireland

The financial joke was that the difference was one letter and six months, but we’re not the only ones linking Ireland Iceland Island Fireland.

Although it has taken our friends at Celebrity Cruises to make it a cruise route.

Celebrity is offering 11 nights for €1,684pp, on Apex, departing Southampton for Cork (Cobh) on June 27.

Love me tender: Celebrity Apex

And taking in the pride of Iceland, Reykjavik, Isafjordur, Akureyri and making a detour to Kirkwall (Orkney Islands).

They are also offering up to 75% second guest, saving included.

Up to $200 to spend onboard and free parking in Southampton.

Navigating the waters

Now these may be uncharted waters for even the most experienced of cruisers.

But one of the most famous explorers of them all sailed this way 1,500 years ago.

Yes, only the first Westerner to reach America.

No, not that one, Christopher Columbus.

But St Brendan the Navigator who called Iceland the Land of the Smiths on account of the volcanoes.

Now Smithsland would, of course, have been a very different place.

But they’re right about something, there is a light that never goes out in the land of Ice and Fire… and the Northern Lights.

On-board luxury

Ship shape: Celebrity Bandanaman

You’ll enjoy five days at sea when hopefully you’ll get to see sharks just like Bren did back in the 6th century.

So you’ll be able to relax at the cabanas, disconnect at the art gallery.

Play Jenga on the rooftop garden, dance away at the club or pamper up at the salon.

And among the entertainment and culinary spaces we have happy memories of Eden from Celebrity Edge off Florida.

So follow in the footsteps of one of the great seaman, St Brendan the Navigator.

And make this your summer cruise next year… Ireland Iceland Island Fireland

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.



America, Countries, Cruising, Deals

Cruise through the American Civil War

They’ve come a long way from the ironclads, and luxury liners are by far the safest way to cruise through the American Civil War.

American Cruise Lines have launched a history tourist’s dream, a 35-day Civil War Battlefields Cruise.

Where you’ll get to travel in the footsteps of the flower of America from the Union and the Confederacy.

The first shots: Of the Civil War

ACS will bring you to every significant battlefield of the Civil War and 13 states.

So you’ll visit Fort Sumter, Shiloh, Vicksburg, Antietam and more.

And you’ll sail along the Mississippi River, the Tennessee River, the Potomac River, the East Coast Intracoastal Waterway and Chesapeake Bay.

All on board American Melody, American Symphony and American Eagle.

In the footsteps 

The Virginian: At ‘Stonewall’ Jackson’s statue in Manassas

Of course, as much as we’ve absorbed of the American Civil War from our history degree.

And visits to Manassas and military hospitals in Virginia, and Tennessee, Mississippi and the buffalo soldiers in Texas.

There is nothing quite like being guided by someone with family history in the fight.

Davis’s boy

On a pedestal: Jefferson Davis in New Orleans

With the theme cruise led by Bertram Hayes-Davis, no less, the great-great-grandson of President of the Confederate States, Jefferson Davis.

Civil War buffs will get to experience the Anaconda/Vicksburg Campaign, the Western Theater, General Sherman’s March, Union Advantage/Naval Power, the Eastern Theater and the Battle of Gettysburg.

Cruise ship routes are connected via motor coach, with all transfers included.

The Big Easy

Honest Abe: At Gettysburg

And you’ll get the added bonus of a complimentary pre-cruise stay in New Orleans, The Big Easy.

Hotels between your cruise, daily excursions and entertainment and all meals and drink.

And we know from our previous Battlefields and Booze adventures in these parts that the soldiers of the day loved their liquor.

So you’ll leave New Orleans on May 4, and end in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on June 6.

Where, we’d be disappointed if you didn’t channel your best Abraham Lincoln and deliver these immortal lines…

‘Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.’

Signing up: For the Civil War

All of which freedom is priceless though alas for the rest of us you’ll maybe have to dig into the exchequer.

With your cruise through the American Civil War setting you back from $24,700.


America, Canada, Countries, Cruising

New England and Canada is a cruise

What would our Fiftysomething iteration tell our 21-year-old self… well, maybe that New England and Canada is a cruise.

The only bells and whistles though back in 1988 when I took the high road from Boston to Canada were on the bus.

How times and my fortunes have changed in the intervening years.

Do do Prom Prom: Meraviglia

Embarking then on a scribbling career which 35 years later has afforded me the privilege of swapping buses for cruises.

Where you can take your time to get to your destination and relax when you get there.

Fall on good times

This way: Lady Liberty

Our old friends at MSC Cruises have released their autumn programme.

And they want to take North Americanophiles up the eastern seaboard on MSC Meraviglia.

You’ll get to disembark from New York and there’s the added bonus of Bermuda on your horizon.

MSC are offering 10 or 11-night cruisings this September and October from £629pp, which, of course, is their famed Fall.

The Fall in Central Bark

You dancer: Central Park

New York: And when in NY do like the New Yorkers and kick through the leaves in Central Park.

Imagine… well, you don’t have to. And pay homage too to John Lennon at his shrine within view of his Dakota Building home.

On the right Rhode

Art of the matter: Street art in Rhode island

Newport, Rhode Island: And a chance here to reverse my first views of Newport from the train looking out to the big yachts.

From the sea this time where you can channel your Gilded Age in the US’s smallest state.

Now one of the joys of cruising is a shore excursion or free time.

And memories of being tripped by trolls disguised as stones on our MSC Bergen stop-off come flooding back.

As we’re directed towards the historic Cliff Walk with a walking trail along the beautiful rocky shoreline.

Love of Common people

My cuppa tea: Boston Tea Party

Boston: And whatever New York does, their historic rival Boston claims to have done it first.

With Bostonians only too happy to tell you that for all Central Park’s appeal, Boston Common is the oldest public park in the US.

While for all that Yankee Stadium may be the House that Ruth built.

The Boston Red Sox had Babe Ruth first making home runs at Fenway Park, the oldest, at 111 years, in the States.

New Scotland

Nova Scotia: And when you’re done with New England then the natural progression is New Scotland.

The new Scotland of olde worlde fishing villages, beautiful beaches and captivating shorelines.

Guests can enjoy a stroll on one of world’s longest continuous waterfront boardwalks in Nova Scotia capital Halifax.

Neuw Brunswick

At the lighthouse: New Brunswick

New Brunswick: And if you were wondering then NB which is billed a maritime province is named after British royalty.

And George III, who was also the Duke of Brunswick.

For all New Brunswick‘s fish, and its inhabitants are mocked as Herring Chokers and there are whales and seals aplenty, look out too for its moose.

Maine event

Give it a lob: Maine’s famous lobsters

Portland, Maine: And what goes up must come down so cruisers will sail back via Maine, and New England again.

Make sure too to sample the local beer and try out the world-famous Maine lobster.

Specs appeal

Seaview: Cabin with a vista

At 315 metres long and 65 metres tall, Meraviglia boasts an impressive 19 decks and up to 5,700 guests.

There are ten different types of cabins to choose from, including solo cabins, popular balcony cabins, and stylish accommodations in the MSC Yacht Club.

A 90-metre promenade lined with shops, restaurants and bars with an LED sky screen… all for the big party.

Indoor and outdoor pools and hot tubs, together with a water park and ropes course.

And different theatrical extravaganzas in Meraviglia’s 985-seat theatre.

So much better than bussing it up the eastern seaboard then when we know New England and Canada is a cruise.


Caribbean, Countries, Cruising, Europe

Ride the breeze in a Princess’s playground

There’s no place to hide when you ride the breeze in a Princess’s playground.

So if you’re protective of your dignity (and your loose-fitting Stars and Stripes swimming shorts) then choose again.

And maybe lie back on your hammock (I need no invitation).

Aye, aye Cap’n: Everyone’s partying

Where are we? Out at sea, of course, on the new Sun Princess.

With our fellow revellers at Park19 which features nine engaging activities for the entire family.

Hanging out on deck

Lie back and think… of hammocks everywhere

Now, we’re told that Sea Breeze is hang gliding in a safe environment.

So that won’t be hanging off the side of the Rockies as our Coloradan friends would have had us do the last time this came up.

The Sea Breeze is the first Rollglider on a cruise ship and gives guests the high of panoramic views and ports of call.

Using an overhead track, guests are seated and harnessed to this electric ride with speeds of up to 11 mph during the 60- to 90-second experience.

So what about the other features?

High rollers

Hang on: To your shorts

On the Coastal Climb you’ll ascend from decks 19 to 20 through a series of obstacles.

Have a peak around at the top at The Lookout and then slide back down to the bottom.

If nets are your thing then you’ll want The Net, a series of unstable bridges, a z-shaped balance beam and cargo nets.

Princesses aren’t understated by their very nature and these cruisers are no different, promising an Infinite Horizon.

High rollers will love these leaning tilt walls cantilevered over the side and peer out from deck 19 to deck nine and beyond.

Of course you’ll want to make your own splash and Sun Princess has a splash area with pop jets and a water sculpture.

Fun and games

Disc dancer: Shuffleboard

While if your idea of a cruise ship is the traditional shuffleboard and they bring that too at the Recreational Court.

From ping pong, shuffleboard, Xponential Fitness classes and morning meditation Sun Princess has it all.

While you can also exercise off all those buffets and drinks packages without even knowing it.

The jogging track allows guests to walk, jog or run at their own leisure and pace, with 6.7 times around equaling one mile.

Renders of Park19 and other features can be found by clicking here.

Return of Medallion Man

Medallion Man: Look on the lapel

Like all Princess ships, Sun is MedallionClass helping families (and me around Dublin port) stay connected onboard via the OceanCompass shipmate locator.

With the most balconies on any Princess ship, guests can take in the Med or Caribbean from their cabin.

While The Dome is a transformational entertainment venue inspired by the terraces of Santorini.

And the three-storey Horizons Dining Room is sure to have everyone talking.

Inaugural 2024 Sun Princess cruises to the Mediterranean, Caribbean, Transatlantic and Europe are currently on sale.


America, Countries, Cruising, Culture

Friday nighters’ splash in San Antonio

So I dipped my toe in the water today on my Texas trip… and happen if I stay to the end of the week I’ll be joining the Friday nighters’ splash in San Antonio.

I got my feet wet but never my trademark Bandana with an early-morning swim in the open-deck pool at the Westin Riverwalk Hotel.

Before taking to the Riverwalk again… on foot.

Obvious you might think but weekend revellers have been known to end up in the drink.

Which we discovered on our excellent Go Rio Cruises jaunt down the San Antonio River.

Margarita time

Margarita o’clock: With Tara and April

Most of which I’ve forgotten… you’ll forgive me but booze had been taken, Margaritas in one of those plastic yard glasses.

So beloved in Sin City Vegas.

Now despite being named for a saint, San Antonio’s citizens and visitors here know how to sin with bars hugging the riverfront.

Just as well then that the river was named and blessed by a priest.

With its bridges a favourite vantage point for weddings and Jennifer Lopez and Sandra Bullock chickflicks.

Feathered chicks proliferate on the river, sleepy ducks, well you would be in this 30C heat.

And if you’re lucky you might get to see Mother Turtle and her offspring.

Or the caricature version for the kiddies.

Cruise San Antonio

Remember: The Alamo bridge

The riverboat cruise is an absolute pleasure with the knowledgeable guides breezing through San Antonio history.

And pointing out buildings which were physically moved from one point to another on stilts.

This being a river then naturally it has been at the mercy of the elements.

And you’ll learn of the challenges of a flood which rose to 10ft.

It pays then to have God on your side.

And San Antonians built ornate churches by the river complete with gargoyle grotesques carved into the exterior.

Some of which look like me after a night of post-partying at IPW, the American Travel Fair, more of which later.

Fun on the water

Back at the pool: At the Westin Riverwalk

And with that I must return to dry land, another riverside bar or restaurant.

And listen to another mariachi band and keep an eye out for a floral parade which is sure to pass by.

Now taking a bend in thus here tale, much like the San Antonio river did I not set you some homework.

To tell me about a famous fortification where we will bring this party to an end tonight.

The Friday nighters’ splash in San Antonio will have to wait.

Tonight, I’ll get someone to hold my drink, I’m off to fight at the Alamo.



America, Canada, Countries, Cruising

On a Royal Caribbean poop deck

We all do it, live vicariously through our friends… your life might be poop but someone’s up on a Royal Caribbean poop deck.

That someone is an old Travel pal who’s only been rubbing it in on a Royal Caribbean Quantum of the Seas trip from Seattle to Alaska.

We’ll leave John and his lovely wife Karen to their reindeer sausage, wild boar burnt ends and Grizzly Poop (chocolate malt balls).

As they skirt the Eastern Canadian Seaboard and lyrical names like Juneau and Sitka.

And show you what you can get on your bucket list cruise.

Quantum solace

Walking on water: On Quantum

Quantum of the Seas is a seven-nighter Alaska adventure skirting towering glaciers and snow-capped peaks.

Of course this being Royal Caribbean there are special features on board.

From the North Star, the tallest viewing deck on a cruise ship to the RipCord by iFLY skydiving simulator.

Now we all know the old adage about cruise being for the ‘newly-wed, overfed and nearly dead’.

Spray it again: With Royal Caribbean

John, the oul’ romantic that he is is treating Karen to a special anniversary cruise.

And judging by what he’s been saying they’ve been loving the food… and who can blame them?

Food and fun

Poop up and away: Rockies fun food

Venturing into Alaska, Of course, there’s plenty of Americana fare.

Like Americana steakhouse and classics at Chops Grille.

And fresh hand-rolled sushi at Izumi…. watch out too for those funster chefs getting you involved.

And Tuscan favourites at Jamie’s Italian by Jamie Oliver.

Then cap off your meal with robot-crafted cocktails from the future at Bionic Bar.

Quantum offers original production Starwater.

As it dives into the nature of human emotion in a groundbreaking fusion of live performance and technology.

Top deck

Water trip: The Alaska trip

And if we know cruises and Royal Caribbean, and we do, and the Royal Parties

Then we know they’ll be only too happy to show you around and behind the ship.

So if your life is poop check out what’s happening on a Royal Caribbean poop deck.

Fly to Seattle with Aer Lingus and check out fares and dates online


Countries, Cruising, South America

Brazilliant brio and how we cruise

My first cruise captain would regale us with Brazilliant brio and how we all cruise.

He got to know our different nationalities well over steering the big ship and what we each want from a cruise.

An Italian by birth, he had become a naturalised Englishman but was like we all strive to be… a citizen of the world.

And he admitted he took it all on board and off it as his children would point out when he got home.

And he picked them up from school where they would point out his size, him putting on six stone while off on the type of long journey from the UK to Brazil.

Brazil pecs

Golden vision: Brazilians

Cap’n would tell us on our trip around the Western Med of his adventures on the high seas and the people he would meet.

Of the beauty of Santorini, his and many others’ favourite cruise stop, and of the pecadilloes of certain nationalities.

With Brazilians more image-conscious (his words).

And he would tell us that they would forgo the all-you-can-eat stations on board for the gym.

That you could always spot the Brazilians because they would be on deck posing, preening and pouting by the poolside.

And that was just the men!

A melting pot

Cruisey travellers: With the Scary One

It’s a similar story too with the Italians, as my old teacher would tell me with her male cousin taking his own vanity case around.

And spending more time in the bathroom than her.

The British and Irish would, of course, be at the buffet and the bar and partying into the night.

And I can vouch from my own experience with MSC in the fjords that the Eastern Europeans love a jostle at the buffet table.

We like the idea of sharing a ship with Brazilians who leave the bar and the buffet to us.

Rio by the sea-o

Ole Brazil: Christ the Redeemer

Particularly as they’re heading back to Brazil.

Which is where Travel EscapesStay are offering.

With 16 nights on board the MSC Grandiosa from €2,089pp, travelling from November 7 and 23 (the latter a very important date on the calendar).

Sail away

Barca bears: And Messi might even return

Like many a cruiser, and like Columbus himself, you’ll set out from beautiful Barcelona.

Your first port of call is Malaga on the Costa del Sol.

You then cruise into the Atlantic to Funchal on the Portuguese island of Madeira before continuing your Atlantic crossing, crossing the Equator before reaching the coast of Brazil.

Your Brazilian adventure begins with a stop in historic Maceio before you cruise on to Salvador.

It’s known for its Portuguese colonial architecture, Afro-Brazilian culture, and tropical coastline.

Your cruise comes to an end as you sail into the iconic bay of Rio de Janeiro, under the watchful gaze of the iconic Cristo Redentor statue

 So why not check out Rio by the sea-oh. And look out for Brazilliant brio and how we all cruise.


Countries, Cruising, Deals, South America

World Earth Day on the seas

It’s never been plain sailing but our cruise friends at Celebrity Cruises have led the way to make this a World Earth Day on the seas.

Fuel-guzzling cruise ships have always been an easy target for the Greta Thumbergs of this world.

And the fartygskam crew, the shipping equivalent of flygskam flying shame… no sniggering up the back!

Now the cruise industry has been taking leaps and strides to clean up the seas afterwards.

Getting the Edge

Fab Four: Celebrity Edge

Celebrity are rightly excited about the fifth ship in their Edge Series.

The ship will be equipped with a new engine model, along with storage and delivery systems.

And listen up here Greta, it will give unmatched fuel flexibility.

With the ability to use three types of fuel, including methanol.

Piping hot: Entertainment with Celebrity

Now we’ve seen, and heard, first hand on the maiden voyage of Celebrity Edge to the Bahamas how committed they are to sustainability.

The bottom line is that they are hell-bent on achieving zero waste across their fleet.

And through their ‘Green Hub’ waste vendor programme, 85 per cent of their waste is recycled.

That and the whole gamut of scientific and technological advances they’ve made certainly gives them the edge.

Message for Greetin’ Greta

Windbag: Greta Thumberg

Now what Greetin’ Greta and her groaners have to say about the World Wildlife Fund endorsing Celebrity, well…!

Among the bigger shared initiatives, with the sale of merchandise available on select cruises. 100% of the net proceeds will help support WWF’s ocean conservation work.

While you can also join the ‘Walk For Coral’ activity on your next cruise.

And I do owe Coral after standing on her from the Maldives to Barbados and Tobago.

Galapagos glory

Turtley blue: The Galapagos

All around the world our natural world and those who live in its seas and earth depend on us.

And very visibly in one of the most authentic islands on Earth, the Galapagos.

Aboard the Celebrity Xpedition, Xploration, and Celebrity Flora, Celebrity have planned their Celebrity Galapagos experience in conjunction with the Galapagos National Park.

They’ve also established the Galapagos Fund, an onboard conservation program that gives guests the chance to participate in the ongoing conservation of the islands.

Be a Celebrity

Love me tender: Celebrity Edge and its floating tender

The most popular of Celebrity’s packages is their 10/11 Galapagos & Quito deal from £7,649pp. 

Even before you leave for your seven nights cruise to the Galapagos.

You can enjoy two nights pre-cruise luxury accommodations at JW Marriott Quito and a full-day guided tour of the city.

There are round-trip flights between Ecuador and the Galapagos.

And then one or two-night post-cruise luxury accommodations at the Marriot or EB Hotel (depending on guest flight schedules and/or package length.

So, we’re in safe hands on World Earth Day on the seas.