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Which is an outdated view of life on the high seas, if ever it was really true in the first place.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

I was a more attractive proposition than the previous candidate for the spare room in the girls’ Belfast home – I promised to keep my clothes on.

The guy before me was a naturist.

The thing is that naturism depends on everybody being in on it,

Now there is every type of cruise on the planet so you won’t be surprised to hear that there is one as well for naturists… https://cruisebare.com.

I‘m breathing in: On board Oasis of the Seas

Though I was and am indebted to my friends at Lonely Planet http://www.lonelyplanet.com for putting me onto this.

Not that I’m going to suggest it to The Scary One.

Although it does look as if it has a plus side in that you never have to worry about getting into your penguin suit or cocktail dress to sit at the captain’s table.

I’m not even going to ask if that’s a thing on this cruise ship.

I usually like to keep my clothes on when I go cruising.

Although I was almost caught with my pants down from the surf simulator FlowRider on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas in Barcelona. https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/23/surfing-the-seas-in-barcelona/

Drink Canaria dry

As you’ll all know by now I spent a thoroughly enjoyable few days walking, talking, swallowing and swallying in Tenerife with www.CanariaWays.com.

And I will be compiling it all in a grown-up article.

Tenerife calling

However you get there, get to Tenerife.

TUI is offering Marella Cruises on the Explorer, inside cabin, all-inclusive seven nights from €995pps. http://www.tui.ie.

It just clicks

Now Click&Go http://www.clickandgo.com are a mighty fine holiday provider and will feel genuinely proud of picking up their Best Cruise performance for Rest of the World from Royal Caribbean at an awards ceremony in Waterford.

But there’s no point in me being modest. I’m thinking that my performance at a particular Karaoke bar of Chuck Berry’s Memphis, Tennessee would surely deserve at least joint billing.

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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Cruiseday Tuesday – the Greek islands

There are 6,000 to pick from… so there’s no disgrace if someone mentions their Greek island which, of course, you’ve never heard of.

We all know the well-known ones, Corfu, where 25 years ago next week Mrs M embarked on her life of joy (or marriage), Crete, Rhodes…

I’ll throw in Kythera (keith-erra) which is the birthplace of Aprhrodite and where I’m off to next week and will tell you about.

Not on a ship, though. But you can enjoy your own Greek islands on a 14-night Mediterranean Greek Isles trip with Royal Caribbean.

Acropolis now. Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Vision of the Seas sets sail from Barcelona on August 24 next year for Greece.

And remember next year is the 200th anniversary of modern Hellas.

So where will you go?

Cannes/Monte Carlo, Florence/Pisa (La Spezia), Rome (Civitavecchia), Athens, Mykonos, Kusadasi (Epheseus), Istanbul and Santorini.

From €1981pp based on two people sharing which comes to €3962. Visit http://www.royalcaribbean.ie.

And you want to see what a Royal Caribbean ship looks like, here’s my latest time on board https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/23/surfing-the-seas-in-barcelona/.

Princess ‘road’ test

Everything works perfectly

Only a fool would drive out on the road without first putting it through its paces in a road test.

And the same is the case with cruise ships.

It’s just that a ship is a bit bigger and there are more tests to do.

Hence Princess Cruises spending six days of tests out on the water.

Setting out from Fincantieri Shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy the experts tested out a series of manoeuvres to challenge the propulsion, steering and navigational equipment.

The ship will sail a short season in the Mediterranean before heading to the Caribbean. 

You will get to enjoy the  Princess MedallionClass experience. featuring the complimentary OceanMedallion wearable device, modelled below by this model.

And this is my latest experience of the Royal brand… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/07/30/cruiseday-tuesday-the-princesss-medallion-man/.

Ahoy, there

Now you want an offer…. Princess Cruises has a seven-day Eastern Caribbean voyage on Sky Princess, departing February 22.

It will sail from Fort Lauderdale with ports of call in Princess Cays (Bahamas), St Thomas and St Maarten.

There is a special offer available with prices from £1,099pp for a mini-suite. Visit http://www.princess.com

Majorca corker

Crystal blue seas: Majorca. Photo by Zach Besley on Pexels.com

My first cruise voyage took me from Nice to Barcelona and stopping off in Majorca, one of the jewels of the Med.

And far, far more than Magaluf…

TUI know it. And they are tempting us further with €150 off per booking on sailings from November 1 – October 31.

Dublin to Majorca, May 19. On board Marella Dream – Spanish Delights, inside cabin, AI, seven nights from €1,039pps.

Or June 16, Cork to Majorca on Marella Dream, inside cabin, AI, seven nights from €1149pps.

Or June 6, Shannon to Majorca on Marella Discovery – Highlights of the Mediterranean, inside cabin, AI, seven nights from €1,389pps.

Visit http://www.tuiholidays.ie. Or call 1850 45 35 45.

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Surfing the seas in Barcelona

Only one man walks on water in Barcelona. He’s everywhere – in every shop window, on the backs of every family of tourists.

Or parading his skills before 100,000 worshippers at the cathedral of football, the Camp Nou.

Only on the day I visited the Spanish city, he’s not.

Messi and Murty: On Oasis of the Seas

The ubiquitous Lionel Messi is back in his native South America on international duty playing for Argentina rather than curling in free-kicks for his adopted Barca.

Barcelona has a vacancy for a sporting hero then… and I’m thinking that if I nail it I might just my name off the back of the football top that fluffy bear is wearing.

He’s sitting in a sports car in the shopping area of a cruise ship in port at the bottom of La Rambla. Such are the trappings of fame, and I want some of it.

And I have the chance.

To walk on water on Royal Caribbean International’s Oasis of the Seas’ surf simulator FlowRider.

And I only have the best in the business to get me up to speed, Irish surfing superstar Geared McDaid.

That’s Gearoid, not me

We’re lucky to have Geared here, his feet rarely touch the ground.

Geared is not long back from a couple of months surfing in Chile, was in Indonesia before that and is on his way to Portugal.

Geared is not what I expect though, no man bun, goatee beard, beard, tattoo sleeve.

Just a regular Sligo boy, although he is pals with Kia Egan!

Thankfully there is one Fifty-something who keeps up appearances with his bandana and windswept beard.

That is me

But boy can he surf. Gearoid, that is.

The simulator is on the 15th deck of the €1.4bn Oasis of the Seas cruise ship which is on it way to Majorca, France and then Italy with 6,300 passengers.

Each enjoying five pools and numerous bars, restaurants and shows. And a park. ‘Central Park’, you’ll forget you’re at sea.

Keep your shorts on: With Kai, my instructor

But alas without us who will have to get off kicking and screaming before sail time.

If they can’t find us hiding away down in the staff quarters.

The idea of the simulator which is 40ft long, is that a rush of water shoots out to build up the swell which you then surf against.

It’s all in the knees, back and arms – and the trick is to sway and not panic.

I’m not the only one who is bushy: In Central Park on Oasis of the Seas

Too late, the road went that way and the bandana and everything under it the other way.

It’s official. I don’t walk on water (but my family could tell you that!)

Maybe I’ll have better luck on my knees.

Eureka or ‘goooooal.’ as Lionel Messi might shout. I manage to master those waves in the prayer position on a boogie board with more than a little help from Mauritian teacher Kai.

Zip slidin’ away: And I’m off zip lining

Suddenly I feel indestructible. And here I was worried that I’d be caught with my shorts down, and quite literally I almost was at half mast.

I hadn’t pulled the cord tightly enough before the surfing class and the waves carried me away.

To be avoided – particularly if you’ve booked up for my next challenge, the 82ft zipline

No-obe nine deck below on the Boardwarl want to have Stars and Stripes board trunks land on them, believe me, when they’re out there shopping.

Or having an early-afternoon drink or are on their way to lunch.

Cocktail hour: And a photobomb

Thankfully, I can’t do much damage in the Spanish restaurant, other than embarrass myself and my party by getting my maracas out (steady!).

Well, once in we weighted into the plats of tapas and a big jug of sangria (when in Spain).

That sangria is’t going to last long

Fuelled with patatas and shrimp al ajillo we swagger off the ship.

Only taking time to pas by an eight-year-old boy twisting and turning on the other simulator and onto Barcelona’s famous La Rambla shopping and market thoroughfare.

Christopher Columbus is still there where I remember him from the last time I visited Barcelona 15 years ago and drew back the curtains of my balcony cabin.

He is proudly guarding the city and pointing out to sea.

To be fair, the arm is right, though I’d maybe bend the elbow and those legs are way too straight.

Sorry, Chris, but you’d be no use on a surfboard either.

Travel facts

Oasis of the Seas: Sail the Western Mediterranean for seven nights on Oasis of the Seas from €1,049pp based on two sharing. Departing Barcelona. Visit Palma, Marseille, Florence/Pisa, Rome (Civitavecchia), Naples and arrive back at Barcelona. See http://www.royalcaribbean.ie. Flights not included.

How to get there: Aer Lingus http://www.aerlingus.com. and Ryanair http://www.ryanair.com both fly to Barcelona.

Where to stay in Barcelona: Hotel Concordia http://www.hotelconcordiabarcelona.com is a central hub and has a rooftop pool that will tempt you to linger. Pride was on when we visited and the neighbourhood was jumping. €135 per night.

You want more cruise fun… what about these adventures https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/im-a-celebrity-get-me-out-to-here/ https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-call-of-the-fjords/ https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/a-royal-party/

This article was first published in the Irish Daily Star

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Cruiseday Tuesday – Transatlantic

My three Irish uncles had tried Glasgow but swapped it for New York (each to their own).

Glasgow had, in fact, rivalled New York as a shelter for immigrants in the 19th Century.

And especially Italians who had mistaken it for America’s biggest city when the ship stopped for refuelling on it’s way there.

No, not Glasgow: Photo by Nout Gons on Pexels.com

It might have helped had the Statue of Liberty been around then.

The Italians stayed in Glasgow.

And opened chippers and ice cream parlours and generally enlivened and enriched Scottish society.

A transatlantic cruise was fantasy for Uncle Danny, Petie and Eddie back in 1959 but they realised their American dream.

And their children, my cousins, have taken up the baton simce.

Sunway www.sunway.ie has a seven-night full board Transatlantic deal on board the Queen Mary Southampton to NY from €650.

Which reminds me, I must dig out my Old New York review, my old new take on the world of Hamilton.https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/04/15/sportstraveltraveltravel/.

But for now start spreading the news about Glasgow in my I belong to Glasgow review.

Rock opera

What a riff: We all love to rock it

The advantage of having an elder brother is that I got an early grounding in the right musical influences.

Back in the days of musical LPs (long-playing records… ask your parents) one stood out for its look.

The rock opera Tommy.

It is 50 years this month since The Who performed the bulk of it at Woodstock.

And I will return to that seminal moment in modern popular culture elsewhere on this site.

Book me up: Princess Cruises’ live entertainment

Musical shows are at the heart of a cruise experience.

As important as swimming pools, spas, food and drink, your cabin and on-shore itineraries.

Which is why I’m taken by Rock Opera which is to be showcased on Sky Princess and Enchanted Princess.

The show which will feature on the 3,600 guest Sky Princess in December as it sails the Caribbean will feature tenor Brian Justin Crum from America’s Got Talent: The Champions.

We’ve been promised a musical journey featuring an eight-piece live orchestra playing iconic rock songs.

Enchanted Princess gets the show in June for its inaugural season in the Med. www.princess.com.

Oh man, it’s Oman

Market time: With a difference in Oman

Andy, Sarah, Ian and Jane were (and I dare say still are) the kings and queens of the table quiz in Aberdeen.

And how I could have done with them at the Oman night earlier this year.

I think the only questions I got right were the ones on frankincense and myrrh and Sinbad the Sailor.

Of course there is a great deal more to learn about this exotic land.

And you can on Royal Caribbean’s seven-night Oman & United Arab Emirates cruise on Jewel of the Seas.

Departing on December 16, and returning from Dubai, it will visit Abu Dhabi, Sir Bani Yas, Muscat and Oman.

Book by September 30. All-inclusive drinks too. From €519pps. Visit www.royalcaribbean.ie.

MEET YOU ON THE SEAS

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Cruiseday Tuesday: Bahamian Rhapsody

It’s not every day you get a call from Serena Williams.

My mid-afternoon slumber was disturbed when Serena phoned me from the Bahamas a couple of years ago.

Such is the life of an international globetrotting Travel Editor!

This Serena though was not the tennis superstar as she acknowledges in her emails after her name (no, not her) but a very impressive Serena all the same. She runs a very successful media firm in Nassau http://www.bahamas.local,com.

I was teased with a view of the Bahamas in the distance when I cruised the seas last December but have yet to set foot on land.

I mean to change that.

Bahama Mamma. Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Pexels.com

There are a plethora of cruises around the Bahamas and in the Caribbean. I was taken by this one particularly when they slipped in the two most important words in cruising… ‘party ship’.

Jetline Cruise Ireland is offering 15 nights’ Orlando Fun & Bahamian Sun for four people for a fortnight sharing with inclusive car hire for ten days and then four days’ cruising.

You will stay at the Rosen Inn International or the International Palms Resort on International Drive, Orlando – so make sure you link up with Mickey and Disney and Harry and Universal http://www.disneyworld.disney.go.com and http://www.universalorlando.com.

And then the four of you will share the cabin on the Carnival Cruise Line ship.

Sale date November 1, price from €1299.

Jetline Cruise has a number of other sailings. Visit http://www.jetlinecruise.ie or call (01) 2469576.

The other Tenerife

We’re out there: Tenerife. Photo by Luis Quintero on Pexels.com

I’ve got nothing against people who go to Tenerife to sit beside the pool or on the beach and hit the nightclubs.

You can have that if you like, it leaves the rest of the island and its activities such as hiking and carnival to me.

I’ll be hiking in September and also sitting under the stars with a couple of stars of the Travel industry whom I’ll tell you about nearer the time.

And I dare say I’ll get a taste for Tenerife then and want to go back for the Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife in February…. it’s the second biggest in the world as I was informed when the Canadians visited last year.

In the meantime you can, of course, get there by cruise ship with TUI’s Canarian Flavours package. TUI offers seven nights’ all-inclusive on January 3 on Marella Explorer inside cabin from €969pps.

Visit http://www.tuiholidays.ie or call 1850 45 35 45.

Channeling good vibes

I reckon I know what’s in store for Boris Johnson who is about to go around in circles between the UK and Europe… I did it in a cruise ship in the English Channel a couple of years ago.

The difference though is that I loved it.

Of course if you want to get off you can too. Royal Caribbean has a six-night cruise on Allure of the Seas on May 23 (Brexit should be over by then, maybe). It leaves Southampton and checks in to Paris/Normandy (Le Havre) , Bilbao and Spain.

From €1051 per person based on two sharing, €2102. Flight required.

Call 1800 932 662 or visit http://www.royalcaribbean.ie.

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Cruiseday Tuesday: Rhine country

Cruiseday Tuesday: Rhine country

Cruiseday Tuesday: Rhine country


— Read on jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/07/16/cruiseday-tuesday-its-rhine-country/

River of dreams… sail away with your Travel Editor of the Year and Cruiseday Tuesday. Uniworld River Cruises in Rhineland, Royal Caribbean’s special allure and Princess Cruises and the Canaries.

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Cruiseday Tuesday: Rhine country

Cramped up in a booze bus to the Munich Beerfest in a tailback of traffic it certainly looked like those river cruise ships were certainly a more relaxed Germany holiday.

I’ve found as the years have glided by that Uniworld River Cruises are the way to amble along the river.

I was particularly taken on my teenage drinking trip when we stopped off at Nueschwanstein, the inspiration for the Disney Castle, with its swan theme. The Rhine really is fairytale stuff.

Serene: The SS Antoinette

Uniworld has a tempting range of discount offers on http://www.uniworld.com. The Castles Along The Rhine has a ring to it though doesn’t it? Eight days on the S.S. Antoinette from Amsterdam to Basel is under £3,000 (£2,999), down from £3,799. Depart September 22.

Flights are included for all 2019 departures. Included flights are from London Heathrow.

And here’s what you get…

Luxury living: On board the SS Antoinette

A Special allure

Royal Caribbean asks if we’re brave enough.

I am. I only did the Zipliner on Oasis of the Seas recently in Barcelona and FlowRider too, and again I’m a veteran of FlowRider having soared on it on Independence of the Seas.

The newly amplified Allure of the Seas is sailing from Barcelona next year.

So here’s what you can expect…

Royal Caribbean boasts that this is the tallest slide at sea… and I dare say the slidiest too.

The great thing about Royal Caribbean, apart from everything that is, is that they’re real party ships.

And the Music Hall is where to party on Allure with some great cover bands… and I’ve been known to sing along.. See my Royal Party on Independence….

Of course ships are known for their culinary excellence and Allure is no exception. I’d recommend Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar. It’s just how Mamma made it.

Now you want to see an offer. What about a seven-nighter Western Mediterannean with weekly departures from May 10 to October 25. You’ll take in Palma, Marseille, Florence/PIsa (La Spezia), Rome (Citavecchia) and Naples. From €1,079 per person based on two sharing., €2158 for two guests. €1pp flights, book by August 12. T&Cs apply. Visit http://www.royalcaribbean.ie.

A piece of cake… well, it had to be

Wow: Madeira. Photo by Valdemaras D.

Broomsticks airlines were running on time… and the mother-in-law had a smooth passage home.

She was asking for advice on where to go this autumn, and seeing as how I didn’t want to be turned into a frog (again) I suggested Madeira.

Madeira is unspoiled and not packed out with tourists. It’s also a great place to visit from a cruise ship.

Princess Cruises has an 11-day Canary Islands cruise, sailing from Southampton and taking in Vigo in Spain, Funchal in Madeira, Santa Cruz De Tenerife, Las Palmas in Gran Canarai and Arrecife in Lanzarote.

From €999 per person based on two sharing an inside stateroom but not including flights. Mothers-in-law come with their own broomsticks, though. For more information visit http://www.princess.com.