Countries, Cruising, Europe

Cannes do attitude with Click&Boat

You don’t have to be as rich as Croesus to sail the Coat D’Azur just a Cannes do attitude with Click&Boat.

It helps, of course, to have amis, and speeding with the nose to the sky past Pierre Cardin’s Tellytubby House is a buzz.

But then it is all too fleeting.

With Click&Boat you’ll get to go at your own pace, island hopping with sailboats, motorboats, yachts, catamarans and RIBs.

And you can choose from, and select, the level of crew support needed.

Caters for everyone 

Go at your own pace: The French Riviera

All sailing skills can be catered to, from experienced sailors taking boats out alone to renters taking on a captain, crew and full catering staff.

Chic Cannes is the ideal starting-off point on the French Riviera.

From La Croisette, the Gulf of Napoule, and the Lerin Islands, there is plenty to see on board in Cannes.

And go-to destinations such ad Nice and Antibes are just a short cruise away.

Electrique dreams

Cool: On Cool Runnings in Barbados

Trimara Electrique – Orphie 29 is among the best.

And how!

It has a capacity for 11 people on board (skipper included).

Boasting large sunbathing areas on the XXL trampolines, it is an ideal boat for family and friends outings at sea.

Now adults are urged when you go out on your boats not to jump up and down on these trampolines.

Not that that would put eight-year-old Eric, the star of the Cool Runnings party whizz around Bridgetown in Barbados.

Riviera of dreams

Lie back and think of France: Click&Boat

Back to the French Riviera, and on your Click&Boat vessel you can go out to visit the underwater museum and the Lérins Islands.

With this electric trimaran itis an unforgettable experience for everyone.

Equipment includes paddle/kayak and snorkeling masks…. and years on from snorkelling mishaps I’m getting a hang of this.

The best option

Soak if up: The sun

Now, of course you’ll have your own idea of what makes a good trip.

But we’d always recommend jumping on the options… you can always scrimp and save later at home.

And the extras are…Scubajet Pro underwater thruster Paying option: meal service on board, packed lunches, DJ entertainment, cocktail entertainment, decorations, etc.

Ask us for a personalized proposal for your events.

Because after all it’s that Cannes do attitude with Click&Boat which will ensure smooth waters in the French Riviera.


Countries, Cruising, Europe, Food & Wine

Trollmops and Princess cruises

This gives you food for thought, a Scandi Culinary Cruise… trollmops and Princess cruises if you will.

Darina Allen, John Torrode and Matt Tebbutt are taking to the High Seas to reach us all how to cook.

Of course, not cook (except in my case) but cook better.

And where better than on a cruise, with the fruits of the sea under us?

And around Scandinavia and the Baltic where they love getting pickled, particularly those Trolls.

Enchanted journey

In the pink: John Torode with Gregg Wallace

Passengers on Enchanted Princess can watch live culinary demonstrations from a line-up of TV chefs in a new culinary-themed cruise.

The ‘Culinary Star’ voyage will be hosted on the UK homeport ship, Enchanted Princess, on a seven-night Scandinavia voyage departing August 26.

The cookies are:

  • John Torode – The straight-talking co-host and judge of MasterChef and regular guest chef on ITV’s This Morning.
  • Matt Tebbutt – Matt has been one of London’s fixtures at prestigious restaurants, including Marco Pierre White at the Oak Room, Criterion, and Alastair Little. He also presents Saturday Kitchen on BBC1, Best Bites on BBC2, and Food Unwrapped on C4.
  • Rachel Allen – And the Irish TV chef, bestselling cookery writer, and celebrated teacher at the world-famous Ballymaloe Cookery School.

For starters

Catherine the great: With Catherine Fulvio

Of course I would come equipped with inside knowledge from disciple and celebrated chef in her own right, Catherine Fulvio, of Ballyknocken fame.

Enchanted Princess joined the Princess fleet in November and will join Sky Princess, Emerald Princess, and Island Princess to sail out of Southampton this year.

Fare play

I’ll drink to that: Princess

All-inclusive balcony fares for the seven-night Scandinavia cruise on Enchanted Princess start from €1,044pp.

The itinerary sails roundtrip Southampton with stops in Oslo (Norway), Skagen (Denmark) and an overnight stay in Copenhagen (Denmark).

Fare includes all-inclusive premium drinks, unlimited Wi-Fi and crew appreciation.

Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a professional travel agent, or by calling 1800 939 608.

Or by keeping on here because this is the type of Princess I will bow to in deference.





Countries, Cruising, Deals

Keeping up with missus round the world

Now whatever and wherever I go I’ll be keeping up with the missus round the world.

Bandanini and Bandanettes, my regular visitors here, will know that she returned to the UK from Australia as a child on a working ship.

And she still has the coral necklace from Tahiti, while there are pictures galore from the Panama Canal crossing, Curacao and Portugal.

Sail the seven seas

A seafaring craft trip is still the quickest and most exotic way for globetrotters to see the planet.

And while rowing seems to be the most fashionable way.

And I discovered in Barbados last week that ‘everyone’ is now paddling across the Atlantic from Ireland and the UK, I’ll stick to cruising.

Our friends at Ambassador have the very thing.

120 days on the sea

For 2023/2024, Ambience will be sailing a brand new 120-night ‘Grand Round the World Cruise’.

It is the cruise line’s longest itinerary to date.

And for those who feel no place is like home then they have a new ship on the seas.

Ambition will depart from both Ambassador’s home  port of London Tilbury.

And six new regional UK ports… Newcastle, Dundee, Liverpool, Belfast, Bristol and Falmouth.

The Big Ship: Ambience

Ambassador are the first British cruise line to launch in over a decade.

And this will be their second ship Ambition’s inaugural season.

Ambassador pledges too premium value, authentic cruising experiences for the British market.

So they will be no-fly itineraries that are adult-focused.

And here’s the kicker… it’s primarily aimed at the 50-plus market.

Get back to me when I get there.

Nifty Fifties

Lounge around: On Ambience

Now for all you Nifty Fifties, get saving for January 6, 2024.

And if you’ve got a spare £10,000 then you’ll get change as it’s £9,229.

You’ll visit six continents, 24 countries and 34 ports of call, and the Panama Canal (OK, we know SHE’S been there).

This world cruise spans 34,759 nautical miles.

Where you goin’?

Full steam ahead: On Barbados

Sailing via the Azores and the Caribbean, Ambience will transit the Panama Canal.

You’ll call at beautiful islands of the South Sea and onto New Zealand and Australia.

Before you’ll explore Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.

Tropical Indian Ocean islands are more stepping stones to the excitement of Kenya.

Guests can also experience South Africa, and Durban and Cape Town, as well as Tristan da Cunha, the most remote inhabited archipelago in the world.

Cross the Atlantic to Brazil to explore Rio, before sailing home via Cape Vede, Casablanca in Morocco and Lisbon.

And there’s more

On a theme: The themed cruises

Both Ambience and Ambition’s 2023-2024 itineraries will offer a number of themed cruises.

As well as a selection of multi-generational sailings.

And this way you’ll be keeping up with the missus around the world.



Countries, Cruising, Ireland, UK

P&O no no, Stena’s who to know

We’re loath to diss operators here but there’s no defending torpedoing of staff… it’s P&O no no Stena’s who to know.

Like many of the Fiftysomething Irish-Scots variety I knew my way around a ship long before I stepped on a plane.

And Townsend Thoresen from Cairnryan to Larne were as familiar a transport provider to me as the 44 bus across Glasgow to school.

P&O took over TT in 1987 by which time I had disembarked to England and started flying to Ireland.

A different ship

Land ahoy: But one more for the road

And with Ryanair emerging to fly us at budget prices ferries were reserved for family holidays and house moves.

When Stena had emerged as the protectors of la famille Murty from Scotland to Ireland and back.

Now ships have certainly upgraded from the Seventies when I would run the toy cars on deck which I had bought from the ship shop.

I have been fortunate enough to be hosted by Stena in dock in Dublin, viewed their cabins and cinema hubs, bars and restaurants.

Treat your staff well

Child’s play: Better than running toy cars

I pride myself on the courtesy I was taught by my parents never to look down on staff.

If only the same could be said for P&O.

Stena offers a sample three-day return from Cairnryan to Belfast from £119.

Alas, The Scary One insisted our last Stena trip to Scotland was a single!

If you tolerate this

Big kid: And I’m not getting off

So, if you want to protest against P&O, and in the words of Manic Street Preachers…

‘If you tolerate this, then your children will be next.’

Film on the sea: All the entertainment

Then sail with our go-to ferry company, you won’t be disappointed.

So from us it’s P&O no no Stena’s who to know.





Countries, Cruising, Ireland

St Padder’s Day on the Shannon

Covid robbed us of the snaking parade of a real St Paddy’s Day but a St Padder’s Day on the Shannon can be just as authentic.

The streets of our cities will crackle again with green felt-hatted and robed and ginger-bearded St Paddy’s Day on March 17

When, in truth, St Paddy did his work on the banks of Ireland’s longest river, the Shannon.

Legend says St Patrick drove the snakes (adders, get it and all) out of Ireland.

The uniform: For St Paddy’s Day

Although the Irish like to say they just moved to their parliament, the Dáil.

The last serpent was finally cast out along the waters of the Shannon.

When St Paddy was stopped on the river by a large snake which had twisted its way up from the sea.

Serpent time

Give ’em stick: St Paddy

St Paddy though caught the serpent and chained it to where the River Shannon meets at three points.

All of which you can imagine from your Le Boat self-drive river boat cruises.

The Shannon boasts 160kms of waterways leading visitors through historic towns steeped in Celtic heritage.

It’s marked by the ruins of castles and monasteries in the surrounding area.

Get off your boat and take in the green landscapes even more on a cycle ride along the country trails (and pubs).

Le Budget Boat

Best bar none: Toast to St Paddy

Le Boat is offering a 15% discount on all boats, valid on all departures in 2022 (not including 3-8 June).

For a minimum 7 nights, with the offer ending 31 March.

Try a seven-night self-catered cruise, starting and finishing at Le Boat’s base at Carrick-on-Shannon.

Snaking its way: On the Shannon

The Caprice Boat sleeping up to six people, arriving 28 March, is priced from £1246.15 per boat / £208 pp.

So that’s down from £1429 per boat, saving 15%).

Le Boat, who have 50 years of experience on the waterways of Europe and Canada, are giving away the prize of a dream break.

Runs from 17th March to 3rd April.

Life on the river

Dublin’s fair city: With my pal Paul

So if you find yourself stuck in a ten-deep line trying to get onto Grafton Street in Dublin with your pal who has chosen St Paddy’s Day for his flying visit…

Then you might like to know there’s a relaxing alternative.

St Padder’s Day on the Shannon.


Countries, Cruising, South America

Athy get it and its Shackleton’s Ship

Why is the county of Kildare like the leg of a fellow’s breeches? Because there is a thigh in it? Athy get it and its Shackleton’s Ship.

A welcome distraction from the war in Ukraine the discovery of Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton’s boat is a feat of human excavation.

And all power to British historian Dan Snow and the Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust for finding Endurance.

In 10,000ft of icy water near the bottom of the Wendell Sea nearly a century after it sunk without trace.

Kildare classic

Icy grave: Endurance

A long way from Shack’s birthplace of Athy in Co. Kildare in the east of Ireland.

It’s not the only thing that the town (population under 10,000 and 67kms south of Dublin) has in it.

You might know it too from the folk song Lanigan’s Ball.

Lanigan’s Ball

Athy’s the limit: And the joys of Joyce

Young Jeremy comes into money, throws a ball, learns how to dance, and invites high society.

‘Six long months I spent in Dublin, six long months doin’ nothing at all.

‘Six long months I spent in Dublin, learning to dance for Lanigan’s Ball.’

Only for the day to descend into a fight, as can be the wont at an Irish party.

It also drew the attention of James Joyce and his alter ego Stephen Dedalus, threading in the leg of a fella’s breeches joke.

No, seriously it brought the house down back in the day!

Burns’ ballad and big cars

On the road again: Athy racing

And it is also credited with the song, the Curragh of Kildare, the first song said to be curated by Scots bard Robert Burns.

And while the focus now is rightly Antarctic explorative ships, Athy too is the home of British and Irish motor racing.

Early petrolheads, the Automobile Club of Britain and Ireland, sought out Athy to run the Gordon Bennett Cup race.

As road racing was illegal in Britain.

And the origins of racing green began.

Shack’s ship

The mission: Endurance22

But as Shackleton’s Ship comes in so too does fresh interest for Shackophiles in Athy’s Shacketon Museum.

As it houses the only permanent exhibition of all things Shack.

If, of course, the excavation of his ship at the foot of the world has piqued your interest then you’ll want to explore the Antarctic.

And Silversea

Ice one: Silver Cloud

Which of course you can do, and in style, aboard a Silversea cruise ship.

They’re offering a 20-day package on Silver Cloud, departing November 7, door-to-door Buenos Aires to Ushuaia, from £21,000.

And taking in Elephant Island, the Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands and Drake’s Passage.

And a cruising tip

The eyes have it: Ernest Shackleton

And I’m happy to share a tip which will help you through the choppy Drake’s Passage passed onto me by the experts who disembarked in Dublin to see us.

Put a bandage behind your ear.

Sounds Irish doesn’t it?

Just like Athy get it and its Shackleton’s Ship.


Caribbean, Cruising, Europe

Royal Caribbean wonders never cease

It’s one of the most common questions I’m asked… what are cruise ships really like, and of course they’re wonderful and Royal Caribbean wonders never cease.

And now that we’re all getting back on the water the most exciting news of all is that RC has taken possession of the world’s largest cruise ship Wonder of the Seas.

From the building yard of Chantiers d l’Atlantique shipyard in France, where the big ships are built.

Seeing the wood and the trees

Everything in the cruise garden is… Royal Caribbean

Among the stat attack that is obligatory with cruise ships, it can sometimes be difficult to see the wood for the trees.

And yes they have trees too as I found out a few years ago in Barcelona with Oasis.

The ship that is, not the band, though I dare say RC could get them to reform.

But there are eight neighbourhoods!

Some might sea

Riding the waves: With Royal Caribbean

Wonder of the Seas is the fifth instalment of RC’s Oasis class (where has the time gone?)

Now what’s 8,000 gross registered tonnes between ships when you get to 236,857 which is the weight of Wonder?

It’s 1,188ft long and 210ft wide, and as with most long distances I compare them with athletics distances.

And that means nearly a mile long and more than half a track broad.

Plenty of space then for the near 7.000 passengers the 2,300 crew cater for which by my reckoning is three staff for every person on board.

Florida sun

The future’s bright: Fort Lauderdale

Now from one cruise capital to another and RC will make its official sailing in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where you can forget about north Europe’s Storm Malik, and soak in the sun.

All of which I did, of course, on RC’s sister Celebrity Cruises and Celebrity Edge.

Where every guest is treated just like that, a Celebrity.

I did though take some of the attention off Alesha Dixon, Julien Macdonald and Malala on that maiden journey.

Wonder sails out of FL in March, starting with seven-night cruises to the Caribbean.

Fun on the seas: With Wonder of the Sea

Before heading to Barcelona and later Rome with its summer cruises season.

Yes, we’re all getting back on the seas… and you should too as Royal Caribbean wonders never cease.

Adventure, Asia, Countries, Cruising, Europe

To have and to have yacht

To have and have yacht… that is a question because the most expensive don’t look like yachts at all I know them, you know the ones with floaty sails.

So I’m admitting that that’s the first thing which came into mind when I was sent a list of the world’s most expensive yachts.

Now if only it came earlier… I’ve already bought the Scary One’s Christmas present.

And so I have been doing my homework has left me little clearer other than to discover that they are originally Dutch and need to be fun and racy.

I also discovered King Charles II returned back to England on a jaght.

And that he loved to compete with his brother James along the Thames.

The haves and the have yachts

It seems then that yachts are fast fun boats for filthy rich people.

And that’s just what PayDayLoansNet have given us.

Supreme yacht

Plain sailing: History Supreme

The most expensive yacht in the world is History Supreme costing $4.8 billion.

And it belongs to Malaysian Robert Kuok, who we guess must live on it as he is domiciled in Deep Water Bay in Hong Kong.

At 100ft long, and weighing in at 220,462 pounds the yacht is covered in 100,000kg of gold, platinum and jewels.

It took over three years to produce, the yacht includes:

A deck, dining area, rails, anchor, all crafted from precious metals.

The vessel’s base is wrapped in a thin layer of gold.

With the master bedroom featuring a statue made from genuine Tyrannosaurus Rex bones.

Almost as old as Bob, who has young bones and is still going strong at 98.

Well, you would with all that luxury around you.

Roman’s empire  

Roman luxury: Mr Abramovich’s pad

Chelsea FC owner doesn’t normally settle for second as his multitude of managers will testify.

But History Supreme eclipses Roman’s Eclipse.

It costs an eye-watering $1.5 billion.

The luxe yacht is spread across nine decks, featuring two helipads, two swimming pools, 24 guest bedrooms, a disco hall and a mini-submarine.

The facilities aboard Eclipse include a gym, dance floor, underwater lights, beach club, wifi connection, beauty salon, tender garage and deck jacuzzi etc.

Monaco mariners

See you on the yacht: Roman

Now if you want to be part of the Monaco fast set you want to take to the waters which I did on our speedboat on the Cote d’Azure.

And we passed by the mansions of the Great and the Good and their harbours.

Roman, who it’s fair to say likes a yacht, is said to be the billionaire backer of this super yacht.

The Streets of Monaco is said to have cost $1.1 billion.

And it is designed to encapsulate the beautiful streets of the French Riviera onboard.

The 508-foot-long superyacht includes an onboard casino, racetrack, three swimming pools and a mini-submarine helipad.

There are seven guest suites, a mini waterfall and a restaurant with an underwater view.

All of which have stylised interiors that mimic the city’s iconic surroundings.

Azzam bam

That’s Azzam craft: The yacht

The ‘Azzam’ is a deluxe yacht that flaunts incredible complexity in its detail and design costing $600 million.

The superyacht can accommodate up to 36 guests with a crew of 60 people is required onboard to maintain the yacht.

At 180 metres in length, it is the longest private motor yacht in the world.

So in a world where the divisions are growing wider it is worth reflecting.

On how the rich live and where you’re only worry is… to have and to have yacht.

Countries, Cruising, Sustainable Tourism

Ambassador for the seas

What would qualify you to be an ambassador for the seas? An empathy for those who live in it, obvs.

Doh! But it’s taken Ambassador Cruise Line to put the fishies first.

Ambassador has teamed up with marine conservation charity ORCA and they have launched the first cruise line anti-whaling campaign. Ambassador’s CEO (and

I guess we call him Ambassador then) Christian Verhounig has written to the Faroese Prime Minister Barour a Steig Nielsen that…

If there are recurring incidents of the dolphin hunt that took place last September that he will reconsider Ambassador’s three future sailings to the islands.

The cruise line is also keeping an eye on the Faroese’ commercial whaling policy and will reserve the right to cancel such ports of call.

A little more conservation

The big ship: Ambience

Ambassador is going even further by deciding not to include any oceanariums or experiences that include captive marine mammals.

ORCA will also be placing two Ocean Conservationists onboard Ambience in 2022 and 2023 on 11 sailings.

The Ocean Conservationists will visit countries such as Iceland, Greenland and sail the Iberian coast, Black Sea and Irish Sea.

Two of the 11 cruises will be Ambassador’s multi-generational cruises in the summer of 2022.

Playtime: Our friends where they belong

ORCA will be providing a multi-generational focused education programme.

They will also be working with families to teach them about the marine environment.

And this will involve them in some conservation projects on the ship.

The charity will also have a permanent presence on Ambience.

With a dedicated enrichment area which will include activities about whales and dolphins.

Watching the Orcas

Talk to the animals: In Orlando

Now in the interests of full disclosure I have sat in the stands at SeaWorld in Orlando and watched the orcas perform.

And I will only say that you should make up your own mind of where you stand on this.

Only to add that the keepers I met who looked after the critters must have been very good actors.

Because they looked to dote on their charges even down to taking the penguins home at night.

Although I did feel they had more space to waddle around off the coast of the Eastern Cape in South Africa.

Introducing the Ambassador

Marquee Theatre: The Ambassador’s party

The premium-value cruise line is the first new British chain of ships to be launched since 2010.

Ambassador which is aimed at the 50-plus market (and I’ll imagine myself in those sailing shoes) will sail from London Tilbury.

The first ship, Ambience, will sail next Spring and is designed to carry up to 1,400 guests in 798 cabins.

After completing its inaugural season in Spring the cruise line plans to extend sailings from additional regional ports.

With the inaugural voyage a short break cruise to Hamburg on Wednesday, April 6.

And yes, that’s a city where it’s all about the party animal.

And so we are glad to have met your acquaintance Sir and believe you are the perfect Ambassador for the seas.    

Countries, Cruising, Europe, Music

Malta’s Cirque de Soleil

Yes, they’ll be bending over backwards for Malta’s Cirque de Soleil, the first by the troupe in Europe since lockdown.

Now I’ve been entertained by the super-bendy acrobats on a couple of occasions and it was tickety-boo (I was told).

And in time-honoured fashion I’ll go around the subject, like Cirque de Soleil do, until returning to the matter in hand later.

At any rate the world’s leading producer of high-quality live entertainment, and Visit Malta have got together.

For a brand-new production created exclusively for Malta.

FIERI spectacle

A drop of Malta: Back in the day

FIERI will be presented in the capital, Valletta starting November 25.

And it’s the ideal backdrop for any production with Valletta harbour equal to any anywhere.

‘We are delighted to return to Malta, a country steeped in history, to pay tribute to this resilient nation and its people” said Diane Quinn, COO of Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group.

‘Now more than ever in our absurd world, Cirque du Soleil’s power to bring joy and hope to our audiences is not only welcome but necessary.

‘So I welcome you to this show and to the magic that descends as the artists take the stage.’

Special treat

Ship of dreams: And MSC and Cirque de Soleil are pals

Now magical it is and I’ve enjoyed their show on MSC Cruises stop-offs in Dublin Port.

And, of course, MSC is all about the entertainment as we found in the Norwegian fjords.

Back to FIERI and Malta is clearly thrilled.

From the sponsors

Night spectacle: Malta

‘FIERI by Cirque du Soleil will be another opportunity to showcase Malta’s credentials in the cultural and entertainment sector,’ said Minister for Tourism and Consumer Protection Clayton Bartolo..

While Johann Buttigieg, CEO of the Malta Tourism Authority weighed in.

‘Having a month full of uplifting shows inspired by the cultural roots of Malta is a stamp in quality for our country’s hospitality industry.’

‘The last time that the majestic auditorium of the Mediterranean Conference Centre welcomed audiences for a musical production was March 8, 2020.

‘Countless sacrifices were made since then.’

Return to Malta

I was scooting along: In Gozo and Malta

Now our Maltese friends have been holding court at the World Travel Market in London this week.

And they are backing all this up in a destination I know and love.

I did make a certain lovestruck young woman’s dreams come true there.

When I bent down to tie up my shoelaces after all and she screamed yes.

And I returned there to the Med’s jewel, alas without her, 20 years late.

And I found that the same restaurant still there although the free Champagne offer had lapsed.

It was all a dream

Back to our Cirque de Soleil pals and I must confess that I slept through their bells and whistles performance of The Beatles LOVE in Las Vegas.

In my defence my body clock was Back in the UK.

So do what I say rather than what I do… and get bending over backwards for Malta’s Cirque de Soleil.

Tickets for the 75-minute performances of FIERI by Cirque du Soleil in Valletta from November 25 to December 19 are available online at