Uncategorized

Cruiseday Tuesday – My Princess

It’s a couples’ dream… cruising. The lingering glances over dinner, the dancing, the spectacular shows, the moonlight walk on the top deck.

Of course, we wouldn’t be human if we didn’t occasionally disagree. I find the best advice is the one She gives: ‘When I want your opinion I’ll give it to you.’

So cruising has the advantage too of being big and varied and entertaining enough to give you both enough space to calm down if you get tetchy with each other. Best not have a quarrel on the top deck though, it can get slippy up there sometimes!

I owe Her a trip to the Bahamas after having had a spin around there last December and Sunway and Princess Cruises have the very thing.

They are offering a seven-night Bahamas & Virgin Islands Cruise on board the Regal Princess on February 29…. and you know what that means – Leap Year and all you loved-up ladies can propose to your gentlemen.

You’ll get all-inclusive drinks – Ocean Medallion (I’ll tell you more about that when I get on a Princess Cruises ship in Dublin later this month), wifi, gratuities and $200 onboard spend.

Price is €1599pp and includes return flights from Dublin, one night pre- cruise hotel stay, plus seven night cruise based on two sharing an interior stateroom, all taxes and fees. Transfers are extra. Visit http://www.sunway.ie/cruise-holidays or call (01) 231 1868. Visit http://www.princess.com.

Sand and sea

Dubai reaches for the skies: Photo by Aleksandar Pasaric.

Cruising always leaves you wanting more.

We had a choice last autumn of MSC cruises – the beautiful fjords or dazzling Dubai and the Emirates. We don’t regret catching the fjords, of course, but as the mist and rain drew in I did give a thought to how sunny Dubai would have been. And I settled on doing both.

Temperatures in Dubai hover between 23 and 33 degrees in December which is when you’ll go with Abbey Travel and MSC.

Leaving on Wednesday, December 11 and paying €589.00, you’ll get:

  • 11 nights cruise on board MSC Lirica in an interior cabin.
  • Free tea, water and coffee package and Wi-Fi Social Package.

Add on a Fantastica package from €30pp.

To book call 01 804715, visit http://www.abbeytravel.ie. Flights are extra but enquire at time of booking. Visit http://www.msccruises.ie.

Here’s a reminder of how good MSC cruises are from that fjords trip. https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-call-of-the-fjords/(opens in a new tab)

Ich bin ein Hamburger

As I famously said when I visited Hamburg last year at the end of that fjords trip.

Hamburg is a city that was very much to my taste and I’m sure you’ll be the same.

Royal Caribbean International is offering a seven nights’ Dutch and French Adventure on Explorer of the Seas, departing October 18 from Southampton, taking in Hamburg, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Paris/Normandy and Le Havre.

From €649 per person based on two people sharing. €1,298 for two guests. Sailing on October 18. Flight required.

And, of course, you’ll get the chance to walk on water with FlowRider which I road tested (again) on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas recently in Barcelona and which I’ll tell you more about real soon. And much, much more. Visit http://www.royalcaribbean.ie.

And get your teeth into Hamburg… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/hamburgers-and-ships/(opens in a new tab)

Your cruise

So just tell them what you want. It should be easy, right?

Norwegian Cruiselines and American Holidays know it and are tailoring your trip to your needs with their Feel Free at Sea deals.

Design your own bespoke holiday adding your choice of valuable benefits and luxuries.

For example I’ll be catching up with my friends from the Deep South tonight and tomorrow here in Dublin and have a particular itch to scratch… New Orleans.

Among its packages, NCL and American Holidays offers New Orleans Stay and Western Caribbean Cruise from €1,869 per person for next February. From €1,869pp.

So you’ll get all flights including one checked bag per person round trip.

Three nights at Le Pavilion Hotel, New Orleans. Seven nights cruise on-board Norwegian Getaway (based on Guarantee Ocean View Stateroom – add on Free at Sea upgrade from €120pp). Based on two sharing.

Call (01) 673 3804. Visit http://www.americanholidays.com. Visit http://www.ncl.com.

And you will, I know, but New Orleans breakfasts are gumbo and Sazeracs. You’re on holiday and on a cruise so there’s no point in being dry.

MEET YOU ON THE SEAS

Uncategorized

Holiday Snaps

I have spent so much time in bunkers that I got rather good at making sandcastles.

But not quite as good as the craftsmen who created this work of art on Downpatrick beach just down the road from Royal Portrush where the Open Golf Championship will be played from July 18-21.

To help you out it depicts five Northern Ireland icons: Titanic Belfast, the City Walls and the Guildhall in Derry, the Dark Hedges, Rory McIlroy swinging a club and the direwolf sigil of House Stark from Game of Thrones.

Of course you couldn’t argue against any of these spots but there’s more than enough beach for the Carrick-a-Rede bridge, I’d hazard. You get a good oul’ swing there.

Hold on tight: The Carrick-a-Rede bridge

We will, of course, be hoping and expecting that Rory McIlroy will be keeping out of the sand at Royal Portrush on his way to lifting his second Claret Jug.

Of course the golfing world and his caddy will have booked up early but you may strike lucky and if you do it’s because of the good services of http://www.discovernorthernireland.com. And for all things Open-related it’s http://www.theopen.com.

A toast to the peaks

While the world’s best golfers will be aiming to hit the peaks in Royal Portrush you may prefer to get your highs on the mountains.

I’ve just returned from the Pic du Midi in the French Pyrenees where I was wined and dined at the highest restaurant in Europe, Le 2877. And I will be sharing that with you on this blog soon. Visit http://www.picdumidi.com.

There’s a certain satisfaction and reward after scaling the mountains (in a cable car of course).

Morzine offers two cracking micro-breweries Ibex which specialises in mountain ales including a 5% IPA Cabin Fever and which this year celebrates its fifth birthday and Bec Jane which is known for its wheaty beers and porters.

You’re in? A seven-night stay in the three-bedroom Apartment 101 in central Morzine, arriving August 17 is priced from £1,436 per apartment/£239pp based on six people sharing. Visit http://www.moremountain.com. And also see http://www.morzine-avoriaz.com.

And check out http://www.skyscanner.net for best flight deals.

A rare insight

Andy had spent a year abroad in of all places the frozen north-east of Scotland before going home to America and becoming a cowboy in the Wild West, and teaching Limeys how to ride horses.

We’d propped up the same bar and probably at the same time 30 years previously, but these two former Aberdeen University students only found each other in the Colorado plains.

If you want to channel your own Roy Rogers our friends at Insight Vacations will be only too happy to introduce you to the Wild West.

Insight Vacations threw a launch party for their North America brochure, appropriately on July 4, and among its other goodies is a Wild West trip.

Ten days Wonders of the American West for this summer from £2,850. Bookended by Las Vegas, you’ll feel right in the middle of a classic Western movie set. Overnight at rustic lodges inside the National Parks. Visit http://www.insightvacations.com.

And would Andy swop the bracing winds of Aberdeen for the clear blue skies and sun-baked Colorado plains? Go figure!

Get your baubles out

I’m beginning to look a lot like Christmas. And only 272 sleeps to go.

And TUI has only announced day trips to Lapland direct from Dublin. Departing on December 7 and 14.

Adults prices from €749 and child prices from €599. Use code WINTER for an extra €100 off your winter getaway.

And check out http://www.tuiholidays.ie for late sun deals because it’s still summer.

Let’s go fly a kite

Photo by Quang Nguyen Vinh

No, I’m not going all Mary Poppins on you although I did get a prompt to watch the new one when I was on board the Etihad 787 Dreamliner http://www.etihad.com at Dublin Airport this week when I saw it featured on the screen and they told us about their flying nannies.

No, this is kite-flying over at the five-star Castlemartyr Resort where young guests (why only young?) will be given a free kite and you’ll get the run of many Blue Flag beaches.

Let’s Go Fly A Kite at Castlemartyr Resort costs from €249 per night for a deluxe room for two adults and a child up to 12, and is based on two nights B&B with one evening meal in the Italian restaurant Franchinis and that kite kit.

You’ll also get a family entrance ticket to Fota Wildlife park or Leahy’s Open Farm in Midleton. Visit http://www.castlemartyrresort.ie.

You’ll never beat the Irish

Wild and wonderful: Photo by Steven Hylands.

Congratulations to us!

Ireland has been voted Best European Destination for groups beating Prague, Germany, Belgium, Cyprus and Switzerland at the Group Travel Awards in London.

Visit http://www.tourismireland.com.

Minnie me

It’s always great to hear from old pals I’ve met on the road… yes, Minnie, but also Paula, although they’re both gorgeous.

Finn Paula who now lives and works in Glasgow and sounds more Glaswegian than me, told me that she did a stint in Disneyland Paris but was not allowed to be one of the characters (don’t tell the kids) because she didn’t have enough French.

Out of costume: Paula

Eh, aren’t they all non-speaking? But perhaps the French Minnie needs to have an insouciant shrug!

Abbey Travel is offering a Disneyland Paris deal from €1,699 for a family of four for next year.

You’ll get up to 25% off and free half-board meals.

Three nights in Disney’s Hotel Santa Fe which is themed around the Cars films. And you’re only a 20-minute walk walk or short shuttle bus from the parks.

Visit http://www.abbeytravel.ie or call (01) 804 7160.

Quake watch

Ross, our Starline Tour driver and guide, had told us that LA was due an earthquake.

There were tremors in Downtown LA from this week’s quake in SoCal, Southern Calufornia. I don’t know though if the Walk of Fame shook.

Still nothing major is affected Travel-wise. Aer Lingus flies Dublin to LAX. With pre-clearance. Visit http://www.aerlingus.com.

I’ll keep you posted on developments.