Adventure, Countries, Cruising, Deals, Europe, Food, Food & Wine

Cruiseday Tuesday – have a bumper time

Everybody loves a bumper holiday – better still a bumper holiday at sea. Better still bumpers on sea.

For a feardie like me (I blame my brother for throwing me on the waltzer when I was a small kid) the bumper was always my go-to at the fare.

Only I knew them as dodgems, and they became part of my holiday experience.

With Tramore, Co. Waterford and Salthill, Co. Galway particularly fond memories.

With the crew

So what must it be like to be driving around in circles bumping your Mum while on a cruise ship?

Dip your toe in

A gondolier, anyone?

Asia, Cruising, Deals

Cruiseday Tuesday – Transatlantic

I think I’ve mentioned before that in the Fifties my three uncles swapped the metropolis of Glasgow for that little town on the Hudson, New York.

Their ship though wouldn’t have been the type of floating pleasure palace we have now.

Take Celebrity Summit and Click&Go’s www.clickandgo.com 15-night Transatlantic cruise from €2199pp.

Magical island: Iceland

Departing on August 16 from Dublin, Summit will visit Cork Akuyeyri and Reykjavik (overnight).

Before heading up to Prins Christian Sund and Qawortoq, Greenland and Sydney (I never knew) Nova Scotia and then Boston.

With an overnight stay in Beantown where I spent a summer living in the Combat Zone… you’ll be in the comfort zone.

Before being flown home.

All on board

Now I’ve been here before only Majorca was the destination rather than the starting point Smooth sailing around the Western Med.

TUI though are starting you off in Palma and zipping you around Piombino (for Siena and Pisa).

Temples everywhere: Bangkok

Back in Bangkok, you’ll jump onto a flight to Phuket and check into Paradise Resort on Koh Yao Island for the remainder of the trip.

The locals ought to know the way

You’ll have the services of a local English-speaking guide.

Air-conditioned support vehicle, bike hire, flight from Bangkok to Phuket, all entry costs and attractions listed on the itinerary.

Adventure, Asia, Countries, Culture, Deals, Food, Food & Wine

Oscar bravo to Korea

It’s the pinnacle of your Korea as an actor. OK that’s enough puns (he lied).

South Korea is on everyone’s lips after Parasite’s sensational Oscar triumph yesterday in Hollywood.

And it gave me a little thrill to see Hollywood in all its glamour after visiting last year… https://www.discoverlosangeles.com/things-to-do/the-beginners-guide-to-hollywood and www.visitcalifornia.com.

All the colours of Seoul

So Chughahabrida to Korea and it. may again hold the world’s attention…

If they are successful in their joint-bid with the North to hold the 2032 Olympic Games.

Seoul hosted a memorable 1988 Olympic Games which was attended by all after the boycotts of Moscow 1980 and LA 1984.

The South Koreans came a-visiting just last month at the Holiday World Show in Dublin.

And wowed us with their pitch.

You won’t need second helpings

For a country that boasts old Buddhist temples, hilly countryside, coastal fishing villages.

Traditional food (look out for the bibimbap with its distinctive raw egg and sliced beef on top).

Sub-tropical islands, the volcanic Jeju island, and high-tech cities such as Seoul, the world’s third largest island, of course.

While Busan City is the country’s second largest, with mountains, water, a super cool bridge, and the world-famous Jagalchi Fish market.

Neon glitz in Seoul

I’m reminded here of my two brushes, indirectly, with the two Koreas.

My old Northern Irish flatmate who taught English as a foreign language to the public back in the Eighties.

I fear the poor souls will be going around saying ‘howabite ye?’ ‘yer man’ and a ‘wee fry.’

While my Orlando www.visitorlando.com and Why I love The Donald host Cory relayed us with tales from her year there where she was warmly welcomed.

By a nation where more than 90% of the population is indigenous.

Blooming marvellous

The South Koreans http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/index.kto want us to come to learn more about their culture and we theirs.

G Adventures www.gadventures.com has eight days ‘the Best of South Korea’ from €1399, down from €1749.

This trip embraces, rather than skirts, Korea’s troubled history with an excursion to the Demilitaised Zone separating the two Koreas.

Temple culture

You’ll visit spectacular Seoul, folk villages, temples and the bustling markets of Busan.

G Adventures can help point you in the direction of flights…

This offer is for departure date on March 13, and also March 20.

While there are 15% reductions for April 17 and March 30-June 7.

I can recommend first hand how interactive and how immersed in the local culture G Holidays are.

Shopping heaven: Traditional markets

With the best hosts… take a bow Zuhair.

From my visit to Jordan… The water of life, Petra, and the sands of time and www.visitjordan.com.

So maybe this year your G Adventures trip will be to Korea… better start practising your Gangnam Style.

Countries, Cruising, Deals, Europe

Cruiseday Extra – Loyal to my Princess

Princesses are straight out of fairytales, and Berkshire schools (mine too), and they also rule the waves.

But the crown can sit heavy and at the moment as Princess Cruises has had to wrestle with the Coronavirus that hit Diamond Princess in Asia.

Princess www.princess.com has shown transparency, empathy and professionalism in dealing with the crisis.

And they should know that the many happy and loyal passengers who have sailed with them over the years will see them through these choppy waters.

Beatling around the Baltic

Hamburg stop: on our cruise

We’ve all had our disappointments, our rejections, but how do you get over being dropped from The Beatles?

The sun is breaking through

He will give a 45-minute Q&A and a meet and greet.

The other Princess celebs are: Judge Robert Rinder, Bruce Grobelaar, Shaun Wallace and Patrick Aryee.

It’s poignant that Best will be sharing his stories on a Baltic Cruise as it was nearby Hamburg where he had his best days.

Stefanie Hempel will give you the best three hours music tour with her Beatles-Tour… Hamburgers and ships.

Taster cruise

Gracias Barcelona

The Scary One got a taster for cruises with MSC in the fjords The call of the fjords and she wants more.

Click&Go www.clickandgo.com has a two-night Mediterranean taster cruise from €299pps on board MSC Splendida for November 10.

Which will take in Barcelona, Marseille and Genoa.

Anyone for Venice

Ah, sigh!

Now so many of us arrive in Treviso on our way to Venice but the best way is by river.

Travel Escaper and Cruisescapes is offering four nights on board the MS Michelangelo.

You’ll get to visit Murano and Burano, obvs, and the seaside town of Chiogga and one of my own faves, Padua.

It’s pitched at €929pp (main deck cabin)/€1039pp (upper deck cabin). Visit https://itaa.ie/2020/01/20/the-gems-of-venice-river-cruise/. Depart March 9.

MEET YOU ON THE SEAS

Countries, Deals, Europe, Ireland

Holiday Snaps – At your fingertips

Football scores have changed… not the actual scoring system but the way we hear them.

I grew up with Teletext, the teleprinter, and live Saturday evening Sports papers…

I worked on The Green (green paper) and was editor of The Pink (pink paper).

But we all branch out, add new life skills and reinvent ourselves and I now give you Teletext Holidays https://www.teletextholidays.ie.

Have your choice of Spanish islands… a week in Majorca or Tenerife for two.

A window to the world: Majorca

Majorca – 5* Blue Sea Los Fiscos – All Inclusive – Was €450pp – Now €330pp – SAVE €120pp

https://www.teletextholidays.ie/serp-es#/overseas/Lanzarote/2020-05-07/Any_Ireland_South/boardtype=allinclusive/nights=7/adults=2/minstars=3/preferredhotelkey=8029

An island of contrasts: Tenerife

Tenerife – 4* Gran Bali Hotel – Half Board – Was €486pp – Now €367pp – SAVE €119pp

https://www.teletextholidays.ie/serp-es#/overseas/Spain_-_Benidorm/2020-05-06/Any_Ireland_South/boardtype=halfboard/nights=7/adults=2/minstars=3/preferredho.

For selected dates in March, April, May and June and include return flights from Dublin.

And here’s a taster of what Majorca and Tenerife have to offer… Smooth sailing around the Western Med and A walk through the ages… Tenerife.

OK, Valentine’s is coming

There was food too

Everybody has their favourite romantic spot…

I know a very good chippie, the Chip Chik-Inn in Glasgow Hungry and Thursday – Gone Fishing.

The Scary One thougb has more exotic tastes and Rome is high on that list and mine… Small roads lead to Rome.

While I’m sure she’ll be giving me a nudge in the ribs again for Berlin.

Here’s what Click&Go www.clickandgo.com is tempting us with:

Valentines in Rome from €229pp

From €229pp for the 4 Star Best Roma Hotel. Price is per person based on 2 adults sharing for travel in February.

Magical: Rome

Price includes: 

  • 3 nights in the 4 Star Best Roma Hotel, Rome, Italy
  • 1 x double room on a Bed & Breakfast basis
  • Return flights from Dublin to Rome

Airport taxes & charges

Link to offer:https://www.clickandgo.com/design-your-own-holiday/customise/2020-02-12/3/2::0/BB/DUB/0/6785/356/273?search=all/Rome/2020-02-12/3/2::0//DUB/0.

Funky: Berlin

Berlin for Valentines Weekend

From €259pp for the 4 Star Berlin Mark Hotel. Price is per person based on 2 adults sharing for travel in February.

Price includes: 

  • 3 nights in the 4 Star Berlin Mark Hotel, Berlin, Germany
  • 1 x double room on a Room Only basis
  • Return flights from Dublin to Berlin

Airport taxes & charges

Link to offer: https://www.clickandgo.com/design-your-own-holiday/customise/2020-02-14/3/2::0/RO/DUB/0/7239/12386/253?search=all/Berlin/2020-02-14/3/2::0//DUB/0

*All prices include flights, accommodation,taxes and charges!

One that got away

It’s the small touches

No, not an old girlfriend! But a prize which, with time and my move back to Scotland, I didn’t take up.

From my friends at Red Carnation Hotels https://www.redcarnationhotels.com/our-hotels?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIorKhj9fB5wIVi7TtCh2kGwfgEAAYASAAEgLCb_D_BwE

Hideaway in Ireland at Ashford Castle

The 800-year-old Ashford Castle overlooking Lough Corrib in the west of Ireland.

And for a more secluded stay, the lakeside Hideaway Cottage, formerly the Castle’s boathouse.

Guests have access to the same thoughtful service and amenities of the five-star Castle hotel.https://www.ashfordcastle.com/rooms-and-suites/hideaway-cottage.

 

America, Countries, Deals, Europe, Flying, Ireland

Flyday Friday – Shannon’s Irish Coffee?

I’m indebted to one of my Bandaninis, (as I’ve Christened this site’s followers) Michael Kelly.

For raising the rival claim of Shannon Airport to Jackson’s Hotel, Ballybofey, Co. Donegal as the birthplace of Irish Coffee.

Forger the coffee, Just whiskey for me

After reading Thirteen years an Irishman – My five Irish homes my farewell to Ireland as I return to Scotland.

The Shannon story, which is said to date from 1942, goes that a woman arrived in the middle of Ireland on a wintry night needing warmed up.

And chef Joe Sheridan came up with the bright idea of putting whiskey in her coffee.

The Jackson’s tale dates also from the War years and surrounds a merchant seaman, Joe Jackson.

Joe’s corner says he adapted a Mediterranean recipe and was already making it in 1946 after buying the hotel.

A last look at Belfast… hope it’s not an omen

And that an article in a Scottish newspaper, which hung in the hotel, backed this up.

So I’m happy to give both claims their due, particularly as it bigs up Shannon Airport.

And the excellent work Declan Power and his staff are doing there.

Shannon www.shannonairport.ie has two new routes for 2020, to Paris and Barcelona.

And you can check out some thoughts here on the Catalan city… Smooth sailing around the Western Med.

TAP into this

And there are boats too
TAP Air Portugal tapairportugal carried 1.23 million passengers in January, 145,000 more than this month last year. Its biggest destination is, of course, Portugal but it also flies to Europe, North America and South America. Rio by the sea-o anyone? Of course we’re all big fans of Portugal around here… Secret Portugal.

Women’s Day in Iceland

Light up

Isn’t it just typical, I went and missed Bondadagur, the start of the Porri season (on January 24), again.

Bondadawhat I hear those of you who are not either Icelanders or Icelandophiles ask. Well it is Men’s Day and as luck would have it, for Herself, Women’s Day is still to come… on February 22. That’s Konudagur then and it’s when men pamper their women and give them flowers. Which maybe I’ll keep from The Scary One – she’s got Valentine’s Day coming. And I’ve already taken her out for a night this year… and it wasn’t even her birthday either.
Bobble hats compulsory

Icelandair http://www.icelandair.com flies daily to Iceland while it also has 18 gateways to North America.

Aer we went

Fly the flag

The good news (for me, heck and for you too) is that I’ll be back in Dublin in mid-March.

Don’t tell the Scary One but I’m hoping to be back a lot sooner. I’ll be flying Stobart Air, partners of Aer Lingus from Edinburgh and Aer Lingus, from Dublin to Miami. And when I can I always will. I’m only hoping that as a loyal Aer Club member and a proud kiltie wearer I can rack up enough points to earn me one of their super-duper new crew skirts. Anyhoos, back to their deals: London, Amsterdam and Paris from €27.99, Toulouse or Bordeaux and much more besides. Usual conditions apply. Visit www.aerlingus.com. And don’t you just know I’ve played and prayed all over these fab destinations… The London life, Pictures of Amsterdam and George Clooney and Amal’s Amsterdam hotel. And The Lourdes prayer and The Boat D’Azur.

And not forgetting Ryanair

Ryanair www.ryanair.com has just released its early bird summer fares. MEET YOU IN THE SKIES

America, Countries, Cruising, Culture, Deals, Europe

Cruiseday Tuesday – Hawaii alive-o

It’s a useful tool when hello and goodbye are the same word in a language… it means that you can get rid of unwanted people without being rude.

Like with Ciao in Italian and Aloha in Hawaiian.

Of course rudeness doesn’t come into the Hawaiian vocabulary.

See Hawaii for yourself on Cassidy Travel’s 15-day cruise with flight to Los Angeles and an overnight stay in the city this November 5 from €1829pps.

This is the life

You’ll sail on the Star Princess full-board and visit Hilo, Honolulu, Maui and Kauai before returning to LA via Ensenada in Mexico.

Herself could dig out her Pacific shell necklace from when she sailed back from living in Australia as a child… she doesn’t mention it much!

Me? I’ve always got my sarong from my own exotic island holiday in the Maldives. Check out https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/12/atoll-tale-the-maldives/. And visit www.cassidytravel.ie.

Majorca Jocka

My early Spring Clean dug up a copy of my first cruise, to Majorca, and I posted it up on the site.

But, of course, you keep something back just for yourself.

I had taken my full dress kiltie out on cruise… and yes, it took up a fair bit of my suitcase.

Jump in

My international colleagues were too polite to point out that I’d forgotten my sporran.

And of course a Scotty man never reveals what’s under the skirtie.

This is how it all worked out for me when I was but a cruising tyro…. https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/01/21/smooth-sailing-around-the-western-med/

My old friends at TUI have Mediterranean Medley, Dublin- Majorca on the Marella Dream for May 5.

For seven nights all-inclusive inside cabin. From €928pps.

Or Cork-Majorca for May 16. Marella Discovery – Cosmopolitan Classics. Inside Cabin, all-inclusive. From. €1159pps.

Deals, Europe, Food, Food & Wine, Ireland, Wine

Guten Morgan Valentine

Home is where the heart is which is why we spend Valentine’s Day here in Ireland.

Although I reckon Herself hankers after Venice, Rome, Paris, New York.

Drink up

I was back there today to follow up with post-Holiday World contacts… OK another excuse for morning Mimosas.

And to enjoy the Morgan hospitality… and, yes, I was sorely tempted to have one of their cocktails.

Don’t tell anyone but myself, The Scary One and Daddy’s Little Girl have all been back at various points.

Oh, I’ll have all three

The Morgan comes in at €162 for Valentine’s night. Check out https://mbe.bookassist.com/SelectDates?_ga=2.213394582.368839267.1580126964-851352647.1580126964&arrival=15&av_price=false&bp=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.themorgan.com%2Fen%2Freservations%2F%3Fprice_group%3D8%26kd%3Dy&ch=0&date_in=2020-01-27&date_out=2020-01-28&guide_id=1&hotel_group_id=0&hotel_id=271&nn=1&payment=All_charges_to_company&paymentOption=Guest_pays_hotel_directly&price_group=8&rp_vg_row=false&service_model=5&user_currency=EUR&user_language=en#/.

Temple Bar doesn’t have to be the Hen and Stag hub that it’s often portrayed as, although it is great craic too.

Laurie and a couple of Jims

You can though branch off and find cheaper drinks both across the Liffey and a couple of great pubs off Grafton Street…

Mary’s Bar & Hardware https://marysbar.ie/?utm_source=maps&utm_campaign=gmb on Wicklow Street (you’ll see why) which is tied in with WowBurger.

Mary’s Bar, Wicklow Street, Dublin

And also O’Donoghue’s Bar where folk gods The Dubliners were formed https://www.odonoghues.ie on Merrion Row.

But, of course, it is well worth keeping you in house at 10 Fleet Street Restaurant & Bar.

We did and I’ll dig out my thoughts and share them with you.

America, Countries, Cruising, Culture, Deals, Europe

Holiday World Snaps

I’ve been scooting around Holiday World in Dublin – quite literally.

And stopped off to see my friends from Topflight www.topflight.ie, the Italian specialists.

It is the quintessentially cool thing to do to ride a scooter in Italy… a la Roman Holiday.

As the organisers set up with this video.

And if you pop by the RDS today check it out and take part in the competition.

Driving a Classic Fiat 500 around the French Riviera is pretty cool too.

Only I got stopped from doing so on my trip to Cannes… find out why here The Boat D’Azur.

Does this car look big in me?

Now asking me to say which part of Italy I like best is like asking me to pick my favourite figlio.

But I’ll give you Puglia where Giotto painted his own ceiling which predates and tops the Sistine Chapel.

And Rome and the Lazio region with www.viafrancigena.com for Small roads lead to Rome.

Window to Sicily

Sicily was my first entry point into Italy on a day trip after I had got engaged in Malta.

And showing off, as I used to be prone to do, I ordered our meals in my schoolboy Italian from ten years before.

Only to get back a plate of cheese!

What about this Top Flight deal for Sicily which is on my radar this year?

Seven nights B&B at the 4* Hotel Ariston with return flights from Dublin for Saturday June 13.

With a saving of €100 which means the holiday is now €1,049.

Bella, bella!

Treated like a Celebrity

Even if you’re a Celebrity, or especially if you’re a Celebrity, you should treat everyone with class.

And that’s always the case with Celebrity Cruise with whom I sailed around the Bahamas.

On the inaugural voyage of the $1bn game-changing Celebrity Edge.

Social butterfly: On Edge

And here is Celebrity’s Head of Business Development Michael English who grabbed my hand warmly as I walked by.

Michael knows me of old and knows I love the Celebrity and cruise lifestyle.

So he was not in the least bit surprised to see me with cocktail in hand at 12noon.

Celebrity www.celebritycruise.com and www.celebritycruises.ie has its 2020 cruises on sale.

With up to 75% off and today’s special starts from $499pp, departing March 30.

And if you want a further recommendation then let’s relive life on the palatial Edge… I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out To Here.

Go USA

Come with me, Sir

All hiking aside, and I know I’m tempting fate here, but I’ve yet to be arrested in America.

Not when my cousin gave me the wheel before climbing out of his car onto his roof and back in the passenger seat.

When we were 16 in New York!

And here I’m going to take to the American highway for the first time since then this Spring in the Florida Keys.

Philly charged: At Holiday World with Philly’s finest

Not even when I picked a fight with a Colombian in a Boston YMCA four years later.

Or when I stood in the kerb, drink in hand in West Hollywood, last year.

Among too many other indiscretions in between.

Give us a bell: Philly

These guys though at Visit USA www.visitusa.ie always look after me and they should be your first port of call.

And because my good pal Greg Evans who represents Philadelphia so finely for the British and Irish scribblers is here… for the beer.

American Holidays www.americanholidays.com has Philadelphia and Las Vegas from €979pps.

Two nights Philly and five nights Vegas, travel in November.

And I’m sure I’ve told you…

That I proposed to a transvestite in Vegas and fell out with a bus driver en route to Philly… Strip… the light fantastic and Philadelphia Freedom.

I’m heading back to Vegas in May… so is it the same again, Cami?

MEET YOU ON THE FLOOR

Adventure, Africa, Asia, Australasia, Countries, Deals, Europe, Flying, Ireland, UK

Flyday Friday – Holiday World

Must fly… I’m scooting around the 30th Holiday World.

The annual Travel Extra fair which has moved onto Dublin from Belfast and Limerick.

And I’m catching up with a fleet of Travel providers if that’s the right collective noun.

So that’s me with Colombia Charges D’Affaires Patricia Cortez Ortiz.

Colombia hat

In my Colombia hat. And you thought it was a Panama Hat.

Well Panama used to be a part of Colombia so it really should be called a Panama hat.

There are various ways to get to Colombia with a stop-off.

I’d recommend through Amsterdam with my old pals at KLM… www.klm.com,

And maybe stop the night… Pictures of Amsterdam and George Clooney and Amal’s Amsterdam hotel.

Free coffee: With Ethiopian’s charmingly named Free at Ethiopian Airlines’ stand

While, of course, here’s Free, my new Ethiopian pal.

Ethiopia and other destinations

And here’s some really good offers which are as good as free.

Ethiopian Airlines www.ethiopianairlines.com has a these destinations from Dublin…

Its capital Addis Ababa: From €501.

Victoria Falls: From €552.

Sao Paolo: From €804.

Kilimanjaro: From €519.

I got a headstart for this weekend of Travel networking at the Wendy Wu lunch Hungry and Thursday – Chinese Wu Year and www.wendywutours.ie yesterday.

Where I talked all things up in the sky and down on the ground.

All the world: Finnair & El Al, Wendy
Wu, Bandanaman. Emirates

With Wendy’s flight partners Emirates www.emirates.com and www.elal.com.

Emirates sale

Just a reminder that the Emirates sale ends January 26 which, through this funk of drink, I know is Sunday.

So Emirates has these round trip deals:

Bangkok from €519.

Dubai from €549.

Kuala Lumpur from €569.

Phuket from €679.

Perth from €1119.

Sydney from €1119.

The Promised Land

El Al of a country

The big news at El Al http://www.elal.com is the three non-stop flights from Dublin to Tel Aviv from May 26 from €326.

Now I’ve seen Israel from the Red Sea and the Dead Sea… and right up close with www.gadventures.com.

And personal, across the River Jordan The water of life, Petra, and the sands of time where the Israelis say John the Baptist baptised Jesus.

Although the Jordanians say it was further into their country.

And yes I’ve seen it too from atop Mount Nebo where Moses saw the Promised Land.

Next stop Israel

But couldn’t get in because he’d fallen out with God.

I’m making sure I’m staying on HIS right side as a Eucharistic Minister.

dQQQQÀ

So that I can fulfil a lifelong ambition to visit Israel https://www.touristisrael.com/visit-israel/.

Maybe this year, God willing, whoever He or She may be.

MEET YOU IN THE SKIES