Countries, Cruising

Magellan’s sail 500 years

Magellan’s sail 500 years. And we will sail 500 more. Yes, it’s half a millennium since Ferdinand Magellan became the first man to sail around the world.

And set in motion the ultimate bucket list, the round-the-world cruise.

Which 450 years later my future Mrs M replicated, albeit another route, and through a now built Panama Canal.

As her family came home on a working ship from her father’s commission in Australia.

Ferdie’s bucket list

Ferdi, steady go: Magellan

For Ferdi, in truth, he didn’t fulfil his bucket list.

He kicked the bucket in the Battle of Mactan in the modern-day Philippines so never did make it back to Seville.

And it was left to Juan Sebastian Elcano to complete the journey.

And isn’t it always the way, you complete the boss’s work and they still get all the credit.

Magellan, we obviously know from school geography and history.

Strait up

Full steam ahead: The Laconia

And he has his name carved into the map of the world in the Magellan Straits.

The strip at the foot of Chile between the Atlantic and the ocean he modestly named not for himself but the Pacific.

He took the name from the Spanish and Portuguese Mar Pacifico which means peaceful sea.

Now it may have taken 300 years for the first round the world cruise, Cunard’s RMS Laconia, we have been catching up since.

And there’s a swell range of cruises for next year to get away from it all.

Fair winds

On Celebrity Cruises’ Edge

So if you wanna stop the world because you want to get off then we’d like to put you onto the cruise specialists.

They’ll do the heavy lifting for you for the Cunards, Princess Cruises, MSC, Royal Caribbean Celebrity Cruises et al.

And that just leaves you to turn off the heating, put the key in the latch and take off.

Because wasn’t that just what Magellan would have done… and he didn’t have any fuel costs to worry about.

Because he worked on wind power, ah… Magellan’s sail 500 years.



Countries, Cruising, Oceania

Yes we haka can New Zealand

It was more iconic every ten years, but times change, and yes we haka can New Zealand now.

The haka is the ceremonial war dance the New Zealanders (and one bold Scots schoolboy) conduct ahead of rugby matches.

No not me but Mad Timmy Teague (the clue us in the nickname) who boasted to us that he too would do the Haka.

All Black Magic

Flying Kiwis: New Zealand

So when Graeme Mourie’s all-conquering All Blacks arrived in Edinburgh Timmy practised his moves.

Before surprising everyone, not least us, by actually appearing with the New Zealanders before kick-off.

His punishment? In those more innocent days it was to be ejected from the ground before being allowed back in after the break.

And that was the real punishment as the All Blacks rolled over Scotland in the second half.

Land of sails: Auckland

The time was that only Scottish rugby players, explorers and Highlanders cast out from their crofts went to NZ.

But now it is the ultimate long-haul trip, now back on our schedule.

The Long White Cloud

New Zealand: And a Long White Cloud

Our friends in the Land of the Long White Cloud even went the extra mile by taking us all out there.

Without leaving our bedrooms through the magic of Zoom.

It is the first of a four-part video series of trips to NZ (Auckland and New Zealand) which will run through December.

Get out there

Meet the locals: Many cultures, one country

Of course there is nothing like actually getting out there.

Easier, of course, if you’re in the vicinity, returning to the UK by ship.

Which regular readers will know was the Scary One’s mode of transport back in the day.

The rest of us can only dream.

Or check out the many airlines who take us there… and I’d recommend my old friends Flight Centre to do the heavy lifting.

While I can always go in style (with pitstops) on the big ship with my Princess.

Yea we Haka can New Zealand. And particularly at the The All Blacks Experience in Auckland. 

And as a postscript, the New Zealanders picked out some lucky winners to have 100 plants put down in their islands as part of our eco fightback to put new life back into our planet.

Long Live the Land of the Long White Cloud.



America, Countries, Cruising, Europe, UK

What’s cookin’ in the cruise kitchen?

What’s cookin’ in the cruise kitchen.., down in the galley where none us cruiseheads go?

Unless you’re with the VIP recce parties that is, who are invited on board when ships dock on port on stops.

One Scots chef on such a day out from the office showed us around his place of work.

You dancer: Cruising again

And didn’t he just rattle off multiple stats of what is cooked.

What grabbed me (always) was how they are still able to craft those extravagant delicate sweet treats for small armies of cruisers.

Roux cracker

Wonder no more! Our friends at Princess Cruises have a cast of celebrity cooks and bakers coming on board for the new season.

If you’re like me, Saturday morning is probably a trade-off for the TV so you can watch the Euros football later.

So that means The Scary One watching Saturday Kitchen.

Roux la la: Michel Roux Jnr.

Chefs have gone stratospheric this Millennium and you can’t move between channels without bumping into a floppy-hatted cook.

Now they say food is the way to a man’s heart but I think that that applies more to women.

Which is why the likes of Michel Roux Jnr have my own little sous chef rapt when I’m aiming to be heard, or seen.

Of course, now we can plan again for London (and how good does that sound?)…

Then get in an early booking for Michel’s two Michelin-starred Le Gavroche restaurant.

John Torode with co-host Gregg Wallace.

Master class

Or if BBC MasterChef judge Aussie John Torode is more your prawn on the barbie.

Then our majestic cruise chums are unveiling this Antipodean artiste too.

Thing is with celebrity chefs that their easy skills can make you feel so inadequate.

Fear not. Our cruise pals have put us at ease here by serving up someone just like us.

Us if we’re Great British Bake Off fans, and aren’t we all experts when we’re picking apart contestants’ soggy bottoms?

She’s gottie the Lottie: Lottie Bedlow

Well, we all remember Princess of the kitchen Lottie Bedlow who charmed the nation.

And even won a Hollywood Handshake from the Great Man for her Florentines.

Hottie Lottie

Well, Lottie is on board our Cruise too.

That cruise being a three-night Seacation, departing 10 September from Southampton and showing off our beautiful island.

Radio Times TV and film critic Andrew Collins will host the themed Culinary Stars cruise

Toast to the Princess

All-inclusive fares for a Balcony Stateroom on Princess’s three-night Seacations start from €452pp.

Fees include premium drinks, unlimited Wi-Fi crew incentive and the cost of any Covid testing which may be required at the time of Travel.

So what’s cookin’ in the cruise kitchen?

I’ve shared my culinary treats with you on the high seas (and docks) from Bergen and the Bahamas to Barcelona.

And I will again and pick up some culinary skills to pass onto The Scary One for half-time refuelling for watching the Euros.






Caribbean, Countries, Deals, Europe

Newsday Tuesday – Green for more go

Don’t fret Bandanini and Bandanettes I’m incorporating Cruiseday Tuesday into a new feature as things are moving quickly…. here’s Newsday Tuesday – Green for more go.

We’ve long lobbied for Greece, and particularly its islands to be first off the block with a UK green light and now we’re pushing Cyprus.

Hype for Cyprus

The pool is all mine

My friend Diomedous in Aegeanworld has good news for us.

Pafos on the southwest coast is reporting a 0.000 rate of positive cases!

And in Cyprus as a whole there are 0.1 positive cases which is prompting the Athena Beach Hotel to open up again on June 9.

Seven nights with free half-board upgrade for July departures from £689pp, flying from Gatwick, with other airports available on request.

More ports in the storm

Obrigado: With the Scary One in Portugal Centro

Now wouldn’t it be a treat if we could all broaden our horizons from our current Green List go-to countries of Portugal, Gibraltar and Iceland?

The UK Government will be releasing their Travel review on Thursday, June 3, with the new destinations to come in on June 10.

We’re hearing on the grapevine that these ten are mooted because they’re leading the way on vaccinations and Covid rates.

And no, Cyprus, isn’t on it but I know Boris Johnson and Grant Shapps are ardent readers… imagine them in Bandanas.

The perfect ten

The Malta archipelago

So let’s look at some of the ten that could get the green light.

Malta has long held a special place in our heart while we need little invitation to flag up the Caribbean.

Each have their individual merits.

Anguilla and the Caribbean

Caribbean queens: In Anguilla

But on alphabetical order, and because their Minister got off the beach and put down his rum punch to talk to us… let’s headline Anguilla.

Antigua and Barbuda (one country),

The British Virgin Islands, The Cayman Islands, St Kitts and Nevis (again a oner) and the Turks and Caicos Islands (you get the picture) complete the Caribbean comeback.

Fiji or there would be a mutiny

Fiji singing

Exotic islands you say? Fiji is being championed too and why not as it has been voted Happiest Place on Earth.

And I put their patience to the test when I tried going native with my Dad Dancing when they brought their show to Dublin.

The big Finnish

Let’s finish our list of contenders with, well with a big Finnish, where we all know they love a sauna and cutting ice circles in lakes to jump into.

And we suspect there will be a mass dunking if they get the nod.

It’s Newsday Tuesday – more Green for go. Go, go, go.

And Bye Bye Love Boat cap’n

The Cap’n

And for most of us Fiftysomethings our first insight into the magical world of cruising wax The Love Boat.

So it was only natural that Princess Cruises should get Captain Stubing on board to serve as their Global Ambassador for 35 years.

May heaven be a calm sea, Cptn Gavin MacLeod.




Cruiseday Tuesday – Round the World with my Princess

My princess tells me she wants to go on holiday. Around the world? Again?

It’s the kind of trip that can sustain you a lifetime, sailing around the world.

And for a seven-year-old returning from Australia to England after her father’s two-year working stint it was just that.

It wasn’t the fancy cruise liner we’re flagging here today that she was on but a working ship.

Peace mon: With the party-loving Sadie

And they worked her too, putting her through her schooling on the seven-week trip.

But it wasn’t all work and no play as she partied with the adults when they crossed the Equator and savoured crossing the Panama Canal.

Exotic lands

There was a stop-off too in exotic Tahiti and time in Lisbon.

Now imagine all of that at an age when you can drink booze, and in exotic bars and restaurants too in front of the best entertainment.

Well imagine no more. Princess Cruises will give you all this and more on their 2023 Round the World Cruise.

As with everything cruise it’s all about the big numbers.

They have an 111-day roundtrip voyage on Island Princess from Fort Lauderdale, departing from January 5, 2023 and Los Angeles from January 19, 2023.

Fort Lauderdale

Or a 97-day cruise from LA to Fort Lauderdale, setting sail on January 19, 2023.

You’ll take in 50 destinations across 31 countries and six continents.

Site for sore eyes

There will be 21 UNESCO sites on the itinerary among them Petra, Jordan.

And why not get there by climbing aboard the cruise ship of the desert.

Things are looking up: In Sicily

Or climb Mt Etna in Sicily (I have a rock on my desk), and take in the charms of Ephesus in Turkey.

The cruise will cross the Equator twice and, of course, I’ll have an expert by my side.

While they’re also offering an overnight stay in Dubai and Venice.

And book early

And ten ‘More Ashore’ late-night calls, with extended hours in port so guests can have more time ashore.

The offer gets better too with the lure of a sale with rates starting at €13,479pp for 97 nights and €15,547pp for 111 nights.

And if you book by August 31 you’ll get a raft of extras.


Countries, Cruising, Flying, Food & Wine

New Year Revolutions

And as the Alt-Right tries to wage a Second American Revolution in the US a look at the revolutions we do need.

The air

United we atand

And clearly the challenge is carbon emissions where EasyJet can take a bow.

The budget airline topped a London School of Economics report in a top five which also includes Alaska Air, Qantas, my old friends at United who flew me to the Deep South and JetBlue.

The seas

Norway wood: In the Norwegian fjords

And high up for the haters in this Covid and Climate crisis are our cruise ships.

Where my old faves MSC whom I sailed with around the Norwegian fjords, Royal Caribbean who showed off their wares in the English Channel and in Barcelona.

And Celebrity Cruises who treated us all like, well Celebrities, off the coast of Florida on their $1bn state-of-the-art Edge.

A nod here to Princess Cruises who had us on board when they stopped off in Dublin on their way round Britain and Ireland.

And Paul Gauguin Cruises who drew us a picture of tantalising Tahiti who have been keeping us going through lockdown with their images and news.

The food

Food for thought: A tajine

And now more than ever we have to watch what and where we eat.

So that means avoiding markets we know little about in countries we are visiting for the first time.

So for me that was Morocco and I should have gone with the professionals.

Northern Africa and the Middle Eastern food is bright, spicy and often new for Western palates so don’t be afraid to ask.

And if you can find Zuhair, G AdventuresJordanian host extraordinaire then all the better.

All our cultures and culinary ways should be celebrated around the world and animal welfare should be central to our approach.

A joint resolution

I’ve probably already broken my own personal resolutions already so it might be presumptuous to ask my Travel pals to take on these targets.

But, in truth, we’re all in it together…

This past year’s challenges have brought opprobrium upon Travel professionals but lockdown has only reaffirmed how vital it is to us all.

So let’s build it back even better this year.

Countries, Cruising, Deals, Europe, Flying, Ireland, UK

Mac Black Friday – your Scots pal’s round-up

And the first Black Friday had nothing to do with shopping and everything to do with sheeping.

The Scottish Highlanders were only 128 miles from London on Friday, December 6, 1745, when they decided to turn their army around and head back to their sheep.

It was an ill-fated retreat and their English pursuers caught up with them at Culloden, near Inverness, on April 16, and smote them, a thing they did then and very sore.

These days the only injuries you’ll pick up are sore shins in the shopping rush, although this year it’ll be ‘digital finger’.

Your favourite Travel blogger is always happy to take one for the team so here’s my round-up.

Flyday Friday

And it’s not just off-the-rail fashion or white goods that are Black Friday regulars… we all love our airline giveaways too.

Ireland’s national airline Aer Lingus carrier have a headline offer of €100 off for a family of four bringing two checked bags to Gran Canaria in May.

While also flagging up plenty of other sun spots from which to choose.

Ryanair pride themselves on giving more away more often and are championing ‘Every Friday is Black Friday.’

Friday cruiseday

And our floating hotel firms are all about the sails.

Princess Cruises are offering deals with peak season sailings from €769pp through November 30.

They have 14 UK-based voyages from seven to 14 nights, departing between May and October.

Eleven of those voyages will travel round-trip from Southampton to destinations across northern Europe (maybe taking in here), the Med (and this) and the Canary Islands (us too).

The 3,560 guest Regal Princess will be based in the UK from April to October 30.

Fares start at €769pp for a seven-night cruise during peak season and €1209pp for a 14-night cruise.

And I’ll drink to that. On board Royal

Royal Caribbean is combining Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

And they are recommending booking a cruise this weekend and get up to $400 onboard credit and save up to $150 instantly.

And why wait? Because this is what you get and here too.

Friday skiday

Slope off to the mountains, where there’s plenty of social distancing, with Crystal Ski and get €150 off any booking up to April 2022.

All 2020/2021 holidays come with Covid Cover and free amends up to 28 days before departure.

And because Andorra is a favourite of Irish skiers. Depart January 10, stay self-catering in 3* Sant Roma Apartments, Arinsal from €292pps (four people sharing).

While Italy is mine. And why not spend yours in Sainte D’ouix, at the 3* Hotel Martin, half-board, from €544pps.

Offer runs through to Monday. Includes flights from Dublin.

And I’m not stopping there… more Black Friday deals coming up.





Asia, Countries, Cruising, Culture, Deals, Europe, Flying

Flyday Ferryday Friday

I’m channelling my inner Oleta Adams (the darling of the Gulf War soldiers) by saying I don’t care how I get there I’ll get there if I can.

And so I’m flagging up airplane, sailboat and maybe even camel too today although Oleta it’s not just an Arab man who uses the ‘ship of the desert’.

Canary Orange

The future is orange

And obviously this caught our attention. Prosaically because the latest map for the European Centre for Disease control has classified Ireland and the Canaries orange.

Which means that anyone returning from the Canaries doesn’t have to restrict their movements upon their return, having done a pre-departure test 72 hours before departure.

Unlike the canary Aer Lingus isn’t flying out there until December 27.

But from then you can be sure of availability out to Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and my old fave Tenerife.

A word on canaries and the Canaries and, no they’re not named after the birds but after the latin name for dogs because they had big mutts.

And as for orange canaries, well they’re really Red Canaries which can have an orange hue. Now you know.

French fancy

We are sailing

France, we’ve missed you. Like so much else this year I had my bag packed ready for an arts and culture trip to see you when this pesky bug got buggier.

But we and my ferry friends aren’t going to let this beat us and Irish Ferries are preparing for a better year next year.

Irish Ferries will operate daily overnight sailings from Dublin to Cherbourg with their new cruise ferry WB Yeats (or WB Yachts as I call it) throughout next summer.

I’ve met WB, the ship that is, but that was in Dublin Port… next stop Cherbourg 2021.

And it truly is a pleasure to sail around French shores

Cruise away to 2022

Enchanted Princess

And the thing about cruises is that you usually have to save up for them.

So Princess Cruises are giving us plenty of time to do just that with their 2022 brochure.

They will have five ships on the seas.

Pick of them (heck they’re all mouthwatering) is Enchanted Princess which will be sailing around Russia snd Scandinavia from Copenhagen.

While we’re intrigued about their festival packages.

So you can take the Crown Princess to the Edinburgh Military Tattoo,

And I promised you a camel

He’s got the hump

Now this is the one I rowed back on, the 15-day G Adventures Jordan and Israel Adventures trip.

Because I didn’t feel it was right to leave my work without me for that length of time!

It’ll take you from Amman whose charms and that of Jordan I did enjoy, to Jerusalem and every stop in between. From £1954 (was £2999). Valid from January 15.

And as I now know after making new Israeli friends at the World Travel Market you’re just as likely to need a camel here too.

Because the land of milk and honey is a half sand.


America, Countries, Culture, Deals, Europe

Covid-day Snaps – Canarian ‘safe’ passports

Nobody likes their passport pic, particularly now we can’t even smile.

Mine’s looks like it could have been taken more than 100 years ago when they were first introduced.

But we don’t even flinch at being asked now for it and I suspect we’ll quickly get used to the technology being rolled out by the Canary Islands to get us back travelling.

The Canary Islands (Spain) and the World Tourism Organisation have agreed a flight in July for the world’s first ‘safe’ flight using the Digital Health Passport, developed by Canarian firm Hi + Card

I can just taste that Tenerife Shakespearean wine Malvasia.

CanariaWays will make you earn it with their walking holidays but it’s worth it. Also see

My other family

Family business:: I feel I know these LA folk

If your family is driving you up the wall you may be taking sanctuary in a TV family… me, I’ve been a fly on the wall at the Pritchards and the Dunphys in LA.

Our first introduction to American cities was througb the gogglebox… The Streets of San Francisco, Cheers in Boston, Miami Vice and

Colorado rocks

Denver’s Dynasty Go West and Mork and Mindy in Colorado and The New Frontiersmen Pawn Stars in Las Vegas and Strip… the light fantastic and House of Cards in Washington and Easy DC.

And New York where my Uncle Petie became a superstar in my eyes when Kojak filmed in his bar.

From Missouri to happiness today: Cam and Mitch

I always make a point of annoying the Scary One by pointing out that I’ve been there which is probably why she doesn’t watch Modern Family…

The climax of which is playing out in a two-parter.

Gay parents Mitch Pritchard, an uptight lawyer and Cam Tucker, a hillbilly football coach steal the show.

Hello sailor: In West Hollywood

But it is time for them to move to Cam’s Missouri and leave behind LA and I dare say to West Hollywood, the chillest, gayest part of LA and

Where I was complimented on my sailor’s hat and bandana combo.

And if we you feel like the only news you’re getting out of the Oo Es of A is bad then I’ll redress the balance.

So hold on and I’ll let you know how among others my Native American and my Deep South pals are meeting the challenges and prevailing.

We’ll wait for you, Princess

Cruise liners were a sitting target for their critics when the virus first visited.

But they have shown a self-sacrificing responsibility and a willingness to change and I believe they will come back stronger.

Princess has announced the cancellation of select 2020 summer sailings.

And this is a reminder of what we’re all missing and will enjoy again

We stayed open

Health is wealth: At the Buchinger Wilhelmi

Our European friends pride themselves on their spas and scientific holiday retreats.

And the Buchinger Wilhelmi medi-spa, which overlooks Lake Constance and the Alps and prides itself.

On its therapeutic fasting and integrative medicine, has stayed open through this crisis.

They have a ten-day fasting programme from £2340pp.

And it includes two consultations with a doctor, daily nurse, check-ups, food/drink, fasting provisions and daily activities.

Now, I love an oul’ spa and retreat and my friends, the Czechs know them better than most… and Hope springs eternal.


America, Countries, Cruising, Deals, Europe, Sport

COVID-day Snaps… Florida Keys for social distancing

In a spin on an old favourite Holiday Snaps here’s Covid-day Snaps with fresh news of the Travel industry getting back on its feet…

Keys to the door

Open spaces… in the Keys

And what’s missing? Yes, your favourite Bandanaman at the front of the shot.

I was bound for the Keys the weekend Donald Trump shut the country down.

So what’s this?

The newly opened Sunshine Tiny House Village at 3801 Overseas Highway near Bahia Honda State Park is just 30 miles from Key West.

And it features five colourful houses at $250 (around £191) per night plus tax.

The 399-site Sunshine Key RV Resort & Marina which houses two-six features a full-service marina, a recreation centre.

And a stepladder access to an open-water swimming area from a sunset pier.

For more information on the Florida Keys & West, visit

And when you’re in Florida why not take in the great cities of Fort Lauderdale and Miami… 

Port in a storm


And it was me next

My body has never been the same since Dinah got hold of it… my Scary One would say she’s welcome to it.

Let her get hold of you too with her yoga (torture) classes on Fridays via Instagram Live from The Campus at Quinta do Lago @thecampusqdl.

Well, if it’s good enough for Rio Ferdinand and the Irish rugby team.

Dinah did stretch my soul’ limbs for those roundhouse volleys and spins when I met up with on-site tennis (and dancing) coach Judy Murray… SPORTUGAL.  Also see

Cruising again


Let’s get back out there

Why should the fish and the whales have the seas all to themselves? There, I’ve said it.

If you’ve been missing the big ships on your coast (and, yes, I know we don’t all live on an island) then you’ll be glad to know that our cruise friends have been busy planning for the day they can get back out on the water.

Our friends at Princess Cruises have embarked on a £300m product innovation and cruise ship renovation campaign which puts the guest at its heart. As ever.

They are offering us award-winning chef Curtis Stone, Broadway legend Stephen Schwartz and family fun from Discovery and Animal Planet.

Best of all they are offering reduced fares from €584pp on more than 800 voyages departing from December-May 2022 as part of the Princess Sale with seven-night sailings available from €584pp. Open for booking from May 1-June 30, 2020.

Among the sample voyages are:

*A 7-night Scandinavia cruise on Grand Princess, departing November 15, 2021. Sailing round-trip from Southampton, calling in Oslo, Copenhagen, Gothenburg and Kristiansand. Prices from €749pp.

And I’ve had a zip around Norway The call of the fjords and want more of Scandinavia.


Wear it on my lapel: My Medallion

*A 7-night western Caribbean cruise on Caribbean Princess,, departing February 7, 2021. Sailing round-trip from Fort Lauderdale, calling at Princess Cays, Falmouth, Grand Cayman and Cozumel. Prices from @584pp. And again I got a whiff with I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out To Here and want more.

Now I’ve still got my Medallion magic key Cruiseday Tuesday… The Princess’s Medallion Man from my visit to Dublin Port, so I’m ready to go.

And with all this social distancing argument going on, maybe the sea is the way to go. I’ll try to unpick what’s going on in the air in Flyday Friday. But meanwhile…