Caribbean, Countries, Cruising, Culture, Europe, Food, Food & Wine

In defence of… cruises

The world is a book. And those who do not travel read only one page – ST AUGUSTINE

And I don’t remember the page where it says pandemics were God’s message to us to stop travelling.

In defence of Travel

So while we are confined to barracks let me get some things off my chest and address why Travel is essential to our very existence in my Defence of Travel.

Despite what the naysayers, who are dancing a jig because some dolphins have been seen in the Grand Canal in Venice, are saying.

You’d think cruise ships were parking at the Rialto Bridge than far off.

While I know one or two who would only be too happy to discuss cruise ships too… and you’d want to keep your social distance for your own safety.

We’re all of us seafarers

Of course those of us who are Travel professionals, and those for whom it’s their life investment, are in the frontline when it comes to this release of schadenfraude.

Cruises: There is a fanatical, almost religious zeal which drives those who want to remove cruise ships from the face of the earth.

Who mock cruiseheads as ‘overfed, newly-wed and almost dead’ and guess what cruise chiefs have a sense of humour snd cams up with that themselves.

It’s not a sin to have fun

While they moved on from that years ago and we now have cruises for every age and every niche…

While also providing the best food, drinks, entertainment, activities, shows and stop-offs.

And for whom the sight of cruise companies docked in port and suspending operations because of Coronavirus was seen as vindication.

Dolphins in Venice

And which reached fever pitch with the return of those dolphins to the Venice lagoon, seen by many as divine retribution for the ‘sins’ of cruising.

I never have felt stained by taking the decision to cruise, and nor should you.

Because don’t we celebrate the journeys of Odysseus My Greek odyssey, Sinbad, Marco Polo, Drake, Magellan, Columbus Messi around on the water, Francis Chichester, Ellen MacArthur.

And we should never forget today’s sailors…

Let’s hear it for the crew

The crew’s untiring work, their distress at the loss of passengers, the 24/7 work done back at base to compensate customers and the loss too of their livelihoods.

And that people are at heart seafarers… after all didn’t we all come from the sea anyway, haven’t we been harvesting it since the day dot?

And for all those divine retributionists I guess they would have been screaming for Health & Safety to burst down the doors of Noah’s Ark.

To arrest the oul’ fella and release the animals two by two.

#DontCancelPostpone

So #DontCancelPostpone, and support our cruise companies.

Be rest assured that I’ll be hopping on board to promote cruise companies when we get back on board with…

MSC https://www.msccruises.co.uk and https://www.msccruises.ie, Celebrity Cruises https://www.celebritycruises.co.uk and https://www.royalcaribbean.com/gbr/en. http://www.princess.com

All of whom I’ve sailed with… The call of the fjords, I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out To Here and A Royal Party.

While I’ll also flag up those I haven’t sailed with, but you have, and I will.

I love a dolphin too

And now to show you that I love a dolphin as much as the next man, or woman, I’ll talk to you tomorrow about how we can tackle Flygskam, or ‘flying shame’.

I hope you’re reading, Greta Thunbetg.

MEET YOU ON THE SEAS

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Holiday Snaps – Cruise extra

It’s in midwinter that we start looking to the new year and where we’ll go, and for many of us that’s a cruise.

And that’s what Celebrity Cruises http://www.celebritycruises.ie were thinking too when they invited us all out to the Ivy in Dublin https://theivydublin.com.

To talk about their 2020 vision, and the launch of Apex.

Apex will make her debut from Southampton in April.

There will be six diverse roundtrip sailings around Northern Europe before moving to the Mediterranean.

Apex is the second ship in Celebrity’s new Edge Class.

The Edge

And remember what we all thought of Edge with its Magic Carpet, Eden lounge, Kelly Hoppen finishes, all highlighted by her innovative Godmother Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai.

When we went out to Fort Lauderdale to join the €1bn game changer on the high seas… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/im-a-celebrity-get-me-out-to-here/ 

Celebrity is also spending $500m bringing elements of Edge Class to more of its fleet, with many ships already updated. 

Godmother: Malala

Which they’re calling the Celebrity Revolution.

They’re also reminding us that they have this offer…

Of free drinks and $300 onboard credit.

Plus free flights to Europe from selected airports or gratuities included for guests 1 and 2 on sailings from Southampton when booking an eligible Ocean View stateroom or above.

Offer Ends 18 November 2019. T&Cs Apply.

Social butterfly

Does that work for you?

Now, onto the eight-night maiden voyage of Spain and Portugal on Apex from €1349pp, departing April 5.

Iberian campaign

You’ll take in Bilbao with its gastronomic delights and the Guggenheim and that Bilbao wow floral dog.

While Lisbon comes with its own Christ the Redeemer statue and there is no better place for a glass of port than in Porto and the Ribeira portside.

And if you like Portugal (and who doesn’t) then you might like https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/secret-portugal-classy-centro/. And https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/06/12/sportugal/

So check out http://www.visitportugal.com

Off for a sail

Of course The Ivy was the perfect venue for our get-together.

And there was plenty of celebrity-spotting too… I try to make a point of agreeing to every selfie request.

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Cruiseday Tuesday – Birthday celebrations

Cruises are cruelly tagged as for the ‘overfed, newly wed and nearly dead.’

Which is an outdated view of life on the high seas, if ever it was really true in the first place.

Cruises are popular, of course, with our senior surfers who will gladly return time after time.

While they are great as Three Generation trips to celebrate special birthdays or anniversaries.

A 100th birthday is always cause for a huge marker and Travel Corporation, the parent company for Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection and U River Cruises have not forgotten us in their celebrations.

The new Super Ship, the SS Bon Voyagein Bordeaux in 2020 with 30% savings

For new bookings made between today and 3 January, guests will save up to 30% off select sailings across most itineraries and room categories.

Such as these Uniworld itineraries: the new  Rhine, Moselle & Blissful Baden-Baden(starting at €2,799, savings of €1,200 per person).

Cruising down the river is part of German life… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/dresdens-renaissance-martin-luther/ 

Or Gems of Northern Italy (starting at €2,099, savings of over €900pp).

On one of Uniworld’s newest Super Ships for 2020, the S.S. La Venezia, for ten days overnight on the Venetian island Burano, a first for any cruise line.

Water is a way of life in Northern Italy

Cruising is the best way to see this part of the world…. https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/09/15/padova-city-of-frescoes/

The offer also applies to U River Cruises’ four new and updated itineraries for 2020. 

These seven-night itineraries visit hot European destinations like Amsterdam, Vienna, Brussels, Cologne and Belgrade.

Water babies: In Amsterdam

Amsterdam & Brussels Bound which is a great excuse for using this picture… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/pictures-of-amsterdam/

While they’re also flagging up Vienna Vibe , Rolling on the Rhine and Eastern Europe Esca.

Visit http://www.uniworld.com and http://www.ubyuniworld.com. And http://www.ttc.com.

Water oasis in the desert

Fun and game in Dubai

It’s blessed relief in the desert… water.

And listen up, cruiseheads here’s your favourite holiday with all kinds of attractions such as waterparks thrown in and a great deal.

Royal Caribbean International has a buy one cruise fare, get one 60% off and up to €150 off your stateroom which ends today. Visit http://www.royalcaribbean.ie.

And as you know I’m a big fan, let’s relive this… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/a-royal-party/

Breakfast of champions

Me and Edge off Florida

And I’ll also be having my annual breakfast with the high heid yins from Celebrity Cruises http://www.celebritycruises.ie later this week.

And I will report back to you on all that’s happening…

MEET YOU ON THE SEAS

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Cruiseday Tuesday – It’s a Boston Sea Party

Boston Harbor (without the u) was my backyard for a summer.

And I’d look longingly out to sea as I cleaned out the ice cream vats in Quincy Market in the humid heat.

I’d be daydreaming of those revolutionaries chucking tea into the water and blaming the Red Indians.

Back then I took one day off in 40 days and headed to Manchester, New Hampshire.

Instead of Cape Cod… I’d put it on the long finger and, like all things on that digit, I never got round to it.

So let me flag up American Holidays www.americanholidays.com to get you there.

And I reckon that if Cape Cod was good enough for the Kennedys!

AH’s Boston Cape Cod Stay and Bermuda Cruise is from €2,085pps.

You’ll spend three nights at the Midtown Hotel, Boston, with a seven-night cruise on Norwegian Gem.

Three nights Cape Codder Resort & Spa Hyannis with three days car hire.

Travelling April 2020.

Like Cape Cod I was on my way to the Bahamas but we didn’t get there… you will though.

Still it did give me more time on board Celebrity Cruises’ Edge, above… I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out To Here. www.celebritycruises.ie.

My little Princess

It’s an occasion, the naming of a new ship.

And you have my permission to name the latest Leviathan Bandanaman after my ashes are one day scattered on the Seven Seas.

Princess has named its new ship Discovery which being of the Scottish variety gets the thumbs-up from me.

Discovery was the ship Captain Scott took to the Antarctic and can now be found in Dundee which titles itself City of Discovery.

Princess Discovery’s inaugural voyage is a seven-day Mediterranean and Aegean cruise from Rome to Athens next November 3.

It can be combined with the subsequent seven-day Athens to Barcelona voyage to form a 14-day Adriatic & Aegean Medley sailing.

Of course Rome, Athens and Barcelona are among the world’s great cities.

Here are some thoughts… Small roads lead to Rome, https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/09/10/cruiseday-tuesday-11/.

And https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/23/surfing-the-seas-in-barcelona/.

And here’s a video on the naming of Discovery…. https://we.tl/t-iwpoCxuCYU. Also visit http://www.princess.com.

MEET YOU ON THE SEAS

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Hungry and Thursday – playing with your food

We’re all told from an early age not to play with our food… but heck, that’s half the fun.

Doesn’t it make your flesh crawl when you see some foodie snob at work?

Pursing their lips, noses upturned, inspecting their food like Hamlet does Yoric.

It’s food, there to be eaten and, if you’re lucky, enjoyed.

And that’s exactly what you get with Le Petit Chef. Sounds fun already, eh?

I met the Wee Cook and his pals at Le Grand Bistro on the inaugural Celebrity Edge on the high seas to the Bahamas last year.

Now we’ve all been around open kitchens but this takes you from farm to fork.

TableMation at Le Grand Bistro on the $1bn ship sees the food prep played out on your table top by a cast of mini-animated characters.

They are beamed onto your plate with our little friends rounding up their animals from in this case the Italian countryside.

Fun and games: With Eric

The detail, the chatter and the humour will have your captivated.

And then magically the real human waiter, the one you can pinch, takes the food they have prepared to your plate.

I have never had so much fun with ravioli.

Equally they have Chinese and French tableaux to enjoy too. See http://www.lepetitchef.com, http://www.celebritycruises.ie,

And my review of Edge, https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/im-a-celebrity-get-me-out-to-here/

Cruise ships have food at their heart and they’re fun when you’re not in a bun fight at the breakfast buffet.

I’ll have the lot

Filipino chef Eric had us all playing along on Independence of the Seas with the Teppanyaki.

He makes egg fried rice and all sorts, using his chef’s hat as a prop to bring chicks out of the hat.

The cherry on the top: Izumi

And rattling those pots and pans and leading us all in a sing-song.

And the food tastes all the better for it. See my review https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/a-royal-party/.

And follow http://www.royalcaribbean.ie and http://www.royalcaribbean.co.uk.

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Holidos and don’ts: kids on holiday

You can’t live with them… you can’t leave them behind on holiday. Your kids.

One of the biggest stress points on holiday is the need to entertain your children.

Which does not come cheap.

I mean you have to feed and water them, and they’re not like plants, these guys are always grazing.

Big kids too

I’ve no evidence for this but I think boys are worse.

I remember well one city break in Rome when we were on a tight schedule.

And had to be at the Vatican for a tour of the Raphael Rooms by a certain time.

When the Son And Heir decided, nay demanded, that he get fed.

Chess, who’d have thought it? In New York

Not just a pezzo either (a small piece of pizza) on the go, but a sit-down two-course meat dinner and dessert at a trattoria,

And don’t think you can turn to Herself. She’ll always support Him.

So when I anxiously looked at my watch and opined that if he didn’t hurry up I’d gladly throw him in the Tiber…

She told me to stop making a scene and that people were watching.

Now we could be in Outer Mongolia and She would still be worried that people’s first concern was our business.

Swings and roundabouts

And so when we arrived at the Vatican She decided that she was no longer in the mood.

And I had to plead to every one of those saints to intercede and get her to change her mind.

Hence the forced smiles here in the photos.

So, what to do with kids?

Leave them behind with their grandparents. Yes, if you’ve enough capital good will.

But if you HAVE to bring them with you then don’t think the Kids’ Club will save you.

Animals are magic

The idea of kids as fun-loving, gregarious and societal is for the movies.

Mostly they are sullen, complaining and suspicious of little Johnny or Mary, or, these days, Jaydon and Meghan.

But don’t despair, there are solutions at hand.

One I’ve written about recently and make no apologies in returning to is Hotel Magnolia http://www.themagnoliahotelqdl.com and The Campus in Quinta do Lagohttp://www.quintadolago.com in Portugal.

And I’d bet the kids will take to the sport of paddle, a cross between squash and tennis.

There are an abundance of sports camps out there.

They will tire out your kids and you might just get time to yourselves at the bar at night.

Alternatively why not try a cruise?

We’d made up by then. In the Vatican

Anybody who is new to cruising is always taken aback by their size.

Which means kids get a chance to run around aimlessly which is one of their favourite things to do.

And being limited by where they can go because there’s an ocean out there then they won’t get lost.

And there is helpful staff to tell you where everything is on the ship.

The permanent access to food takes away that headache.

While they’ll be in and out of the pools all day, they’ll love things like the Royal Caribbean FlowRider on Oasis of the Seas.

And the water chutes and ziplines.

Choose from Royal Caribbean http://www.royalcaribbean.co.uk, Celebrity Cruises http://www.celebritycruises.ie and MSC http://www.msccruises.ie for good clean family fun while I’ve roadtested the Princess Cruises’ OceanMedallion http://www.princess.com magic key.

And I reckon it would open up a magic kingdom for me.

And here’s a few trips to get you in the mood https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/im-a-celebrity-get-me-out-to-here/ https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-call-of-the-fjords/http://A Royal Party

While of course every Tuesday is Cruiseday Tuesday. Here’s the latest offering https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/20/cruiseday-tuesday-transatlantic/ and me as Medallion Man https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/07/30/cruiseday-tuesday-the-princesss-medallion-man/

So that’s the kids sorted out… now for an even bigger challenge.

NEXT WEEK: WIVES

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Holidos and don’ts – souvenirs

Now the only thing you need to know about souvenirs is this…

The answer is a fridge magnet.

They’re small, cheap (no, don’t blame me) and easy to pack away.

And they provide a picture, or pictures, of the place you’ve been to.

Let’s not flip-flop around the issue: https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/malta-easer/

Of course, they range in price.

I paid €2 for this one in Barcelona, outside La Sagrada Familia.

And I was spitting to discover that I could have got the same one down a side street for €1!

Catch of the day. https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/12/atoll-tale-the-maldives/

These are a few thoughts on that great city and that weird church. https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/06/30/hes-from-barcelona/ https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/07/13/holiday-snaps-la-sagreda-familia/ And visit http://www.barcelonatourisme.com.

And here’s the said magnet in the main pic.

That reminds me. I will bring you my review from Barcelona with Celebrity Cruises on the FlowRider on Oasis of the Seas. http://www.celebritycruises.ie

This Memphis magnet tilts into Elvis: https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/elvispresley-the-king-of-kings/ And how about Philly https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/philadelphia-freedom/ and Boulder and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/go-west-denver-buffalo-bill/

So let my Barcelona experience be a lesson for us all.

Watch out… don’t buy your magnets in a tourist trap, and Las Ramblas is the same. Or an airport.

Magnetic pulls

The ones below remind me of more poignant trips.. on the Via Francigena into Rome http://www.FrancigenaWays.com on https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/small-roads-lead-to-rome/

And finding my Great Uncle Willie among the War dead https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/firstworldwar-in-flanders-fields/

Fridge magnets are fun and funky and sometimes functional.

Here’s a recipe. And a review of nearby Washington. https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/home/easy-dc-2/

You get the bottle openers, the mini-notepads, the ones that will hold a photo.

And a matchbox one that one of my guys broke… you owe me big time!

A bit screwy, but: And here’s my Dresden review https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/dresdens-renaissance-martin-luther/

So, some snobby folk will look down their noses at you when they see the collection on your fridge.

But stuff them, these keepsakes will cheer you up when you open the door for your milk in the morning.

What a picture: And here’s my Florida review https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/aaawlando-orlando-the-rollercoaster-capital/

And you can be sure that it’s the gift that everybody can use.

Places I’ve been: And reviews I’ve done: https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/secret-portugal/ https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/vegas-strip-the-light-fantastic/https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/06/23/carole-king-youre-beautiful/https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/disney-why-i-love-the-donald/

After all we’ve come a long way from salting our meat in the side of a hill…

We all have a fridge now.

The bigger the better

And if your fridge isn’t big enough then that’s a hint that you need a new fridge.

You’ve been warned.

There’s more magnets I haven’t included that I will, and more trips and magnets to collect.

But let’s leave you with a family of Trolls… it’s not a self-portrait despite the noses.

We’re all scary. http://The call of the fjords