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Smooth sailing around the Western Med

He stood on the ship bridge, togged up to the nines, his hand shaking as h publicly reconfirmed his love to his wife. ‘I’ve got Parkinson’s,’ he said. ‘This is our 50th wedding anniversary. We really wanted to do this because I don’t know if we’ll see my 51st.’

The story was told to me on the first day of my mini-break on an Island Cruises jaunt around the west Mediterranean.

I had inquired as to what a lectern and a Bible under a glass case were doing at the heart of a control room.

Which I could only liken to my vague memories of sitting awestruck in an aeroplane cockpit as a boy.

I imagined the couple holding hands and looking out of the waves, letting their minds drift over their years together.

I hope they celebrated 51, 52, 53 years together and are still going strong. Because if any holiday can be life-reviving then that holiday is a cruise.

We took off from Toulon, halfway through the liner’s tour from Italy round to the Balearic Islands.

But although only on the mothership (its size must really experienced to be believed) for a few days it became my floating home from home.

Home that is if you enjoy the life of a country gent or a Beckham.

Life on board

But let me killl off some preconceptions straight away.

You’re stuck on it: Well, why would you want to get off when you’re in the middle of the sea. And you’ve got the sun beating down on you and you can look over the rails at the waves swishing comfortingly below.

The sea is always the same: Only if the weather remains the same, you’re stuck in the same spot and it’s always the middle of the day.

I was next up: Photo by Oliver Sjöström on Pexels.com

The sea is constantly changing and so are your surroundings, so much so that you’ll think that you’re wasting time by sleeping particularly if you can be taking in a breathtaking sunrise.

The onshore excursions are too short: Yes, if you just go to a plaza an sit drinking beer. But I would defy anyone not to get spring in their step whey they are awoken by the captain announcing you are in Barcelona.

And you look out for the first time on the statue of Columbus pointing to the US.

Las Ramblas is a shoppers’ paradise but personally I found the sea front more alluring and spectacular.

I was also put off by the market stall on the main thoroughfare where hens in cages are sold.

For the best way to see Barcelona, take advantage of the helicopter option. If you’ve never been in a chopper, don’t worry about noise.

You get earphones or turbulence because it’s like I imagined Aladdin felt on his magic carpet. Landing too is a skoosh like stepping off a stair.

Sports action

Sports mad? There seem to be more pools, football arenas and studio per square metre the any other city I’ve been to.

For the soccer-mad Briton a visit to the Nou Camp is awe-inspiring. The dilemma is deciding whether to ty to pack in more sights or to return to the liner to enjoy a few extra on-board activities.

Beautiful sunsets. Photo by Shawnna Donop on Pexels.com

Just don’t cut it too fin or they’ll leave without you.

Don’t imagine you will run out of things to do on board. You can swim, drink, eat, and of course, eat.

You’ll never be bored

The buffet is an eat-all-you-like when-you-like, what-you-like treat… that comes at a price!±

Out guide told us that on average people put on a stone a week during a cruise.

He said this while downing a large glass of water. He has come down from 25 stone to 18 with a plan which involves drinking litres and litres of H2).

You can also gamble on board in get ship’s casinos. Or having sampled foods from around the world in any of he exclusive restaurants you can burn it all off in the gym.

Have a go on the rowing machine while looking out over the swell or opt for a massage in the on-board health suite.

Or simply do nothing.

When do we ever really give ourselves that luxury,

Turn off the mobile phone and just relax by the pool.

Even if somebody wanted to see you you couldn’t get to them so you might as well ignore that phone.

In the evenings it’s sheer indulgence to be able to saunter on from your living room (read, the restaurant) to your lounge (read, the theatre) to enjoy West End-style shows.

Delights around every corner. On Majorca. Photo by Zach Besley on Pexels.com

Majorca adventures

But then the dy finally comes – damn, I’m only halfway down the cocktail list when we have to get off.

Thankfully though, it’s not Old Blighty yet. As part of our package we have a couple of nights stop-off in Palma, Majorca.

We stayed in Santa Ponsa, in a lovely secluded hotel called the Jardin del Sol Suites & Spa which is close enough if you want to be near the busier main village.

We used the hotel as base and what a luxurious base it was. A Jacuzzi bath and a shower with sprinklers.

You will get hot if you go to Majorca in high season but that’s great, it gives you the chance to have a bath and a shower.

And if you want a siesta, then you can sprawl out on the hotel’s triple beds!

Michael and Catherine

The balcony looks out on the swimming pool and the glistening sea.

Drag yourself away from it all though and get out into the north of the island, it’s the most picturesque part of Majorca. But don’t just take my word for it.

Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones have a home there.

You’re in the high part of the island here and the views from the top of the passes are stunning.

The pick of the tourist attractions is the monastery at Valdemosa.

The best Chopin: At Valdemosa. http://www.seemallorca.com

Let’s go Chopin

It would be interesting enough for its history, religious relics, position and scenery.

But it is all the more fascinating because of its association with Frederic Chopin, the composer and his lover George Sand.

Ostracised by the religious zealots in the village, the sickly Chopin was taken in by the monks and nursed by Sand.

You can still see his manuscripts and what is claimed to be his piano.

There’s only so much high culture you can take though, and any trip to Majorca would not be complete without some Spanish dancing.

The Son Amar show in a huge arena in the middle of the island crams it all in.

And that’s just the food which is shovelled on to plates and whisked away while you’ve still got your fork in your hand.

Still, there’s a show on.

Still not finished: La Sagradia Familia Photo by Enrico Perini on Pexels.com

The least said about the comic the better – maybe humour doesn’t always travel but the flamenco dancers and the magic art were well, magic.

But like the sun setting on the horizon over the Med on the liner, so it had to set on my cruise.

With my in-flight magazine on my lap and looking out on home soil again, I thought of circling Barcelona in a helicopter and the view at sunrise on my Island Cruise trip.

Reasons to cruise the Med

I’ll give that a go: Flamenco dancer. Photo by Mark Neal on Pexels.com

Watch the sunrise: You can watch the sunrise anywhere but you can’t watch it appear over the horizon with a cooling breeze around you on board a luxury cruise. Pure poetry!

Take in a cruise show: You can just watch while nursing a cocktail in your hand, or budding thespians can take part in one of the talent shows.

Step ashore in Barcelona: And then a take a flight over the city. It’ll be the smoothest flight you’ve ever had. Swirl over forests, haciendas, Las Ramblas, the specatacular seafront rebuilt for the Barcelona Olympics and the statue of Columbus.

Join the monks in Majorca: Visit the monastery that housed the hard-living hard-loving George Sand and her composer beau Frederic Chopin. Their short life together on Majorca could make a Hollywood blockbuster.

Learn flamenco in Spain: The La Mer Show is good old-fashioned Spain for the tourists, bu too less enjoyable for that.

El deal

She’s got the whole world in her hands. Arty Majorca. Photo by Tim Savage on Pexels.com

Operating out of Palma, Majorca, until October, Island Cruises offers 14-night cruise-and-stay packages from £675pp.

Comprising a seven-night cruise followed by a seven-night stay in one of 29 Majorcan hotels.

Cruise and stay packages at the Jardin del Sol Suites & Spa with accommodation on a half-board basis start from £965pp.

Flights are available from Glasgow and Edinburgh, supplements apply.

For more information and recruitments call Island Cruises on (08707) 500 414 or visit http://www.islandcruises.com.

*Since this article was published in The Scotsman in 2003 Island Cruises has gone through a number of changes with TUI now moving the previous brand forward with great success. Hence you being redirected to https://www.tui.co.uk

And remember for your Cruise News it has to be Cruiseday Tuesday on the day between Monday and Wednesday…. and we’re still pushing Stena’s spanking new ship. https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/01/13/cruiseday-tuesday-stena-estrid-what-a-maiden/

While for a whizz around Barcelona here’s what I found when I went back with Royal Caribbean… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/23/surfing-the-seas-in-barcelona/.

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Cruiseday Tuesday – Celebs on the seas

What do you mean I didn’t update Cruiseday Tuesday last week? I was away on a fact-finding mission on Tobago if you don’t mind.

Gratitude, that’s all I ask.

I only saw a TUI cruise ship when I was away…

In the dock at Scarborough where my fellow travel companion Anthony’s cousin just happened to be on board.

We ate in the Blue Crab restaurant in the town where myself and ‘Uncle Kenneth’ rustled up a chicken curry as you do as ‘Auntie Alison’ shared advice on the secret of her 50-year marriage.

Tobago’s spoils

One of the pearls of wisdom she shared is to make your underwear drawer the bottom drawer.

Auntie Alison is the ideal mine host which the couple who came in blindly off the ship on Kenneth and Alison’s day off will testify to.

As will Ainsley Harriott who popped by during his Caribbean Kitchen series earlier this year… https://www.facebook.com/OfficialAinsleyHarriott/videos/383131069165446/

Testing out the waters in Tobago

Visit http://www.tuiholidays.ie for cruise deals or call 1850 45 35 45 or visit a TUI Store/travel agent.

Here is a reminder of what I’ve been saying about Tobago this week… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/12/05/robinson-crusoes-tobago/,

And https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/12/03/i-should-cocoa-christmas-in-tobago/

Or https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/12/07/ready-steady-goat-in-tobago/

Swell, Swellen

Talking of celebrities, Princess Cruises http://www.princess.com has released its cast of guest speakers for 2020/2021.

And the most eye-catching of them all might just be Linda Gray, who played the long-suffering wife of JR Ewing, none other than Sue Ellen.

Another James: Duncan James

They’ve also got Charlie Dimmock for all you keen gardeners, singer Duncan James and ski jumper ‘Eddie the Eagle’ Edwards.

English flower: Charlie Dimmock

And animals expert Michaela Strachan and TV therapists Nik and Eva Speakman, the latter on a 7-night Norwegian Fjords cruise departing August 15.

You all know what I think of the Norwegian fjords of course and yes, we really should try out all the cruise companies… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-call-of-the-fjords/ 

A

So you want to get the skinny on Dallas?

Princess has a 14-night Baltic Heritage sailing on Crown Princess, departing May 30, with Linda on board.

The round trip from Southampton, calls at Kristiansand, Copenhagen, Tallinn, St Petersburg (overnight), Helsinki, Stockholm, Visby and Gdansk (Gdynia).

Prices from €1649pp with up to $250pp onboard spending money. 

For more information or to book visit www.princess.com or speak to your local travel agent. 

There will be more guest speakers announced soon and, of course, Princess has my details and you know how much I love my fans.

So a 45-minute talk with questions and answers, as well as a meet and greet session including photographs and books signings is something I’m only too happy to share with you Bandanafans. 

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Cruiseday Tuesday – Disney on water

What’s the difference between Walt Disney and Bing Crosby? Bing sings but Walt Disney.

That’s just one of the jokes you’ll hopefully not hear on this Disney cruise.

Forgive me for trotting out a Dad Joke but it’s just that Daddy’s Little Girl gave me a box of them for my birthday… and some of them aren’t even mine.

Being the big kid I am I’m one of those who still believes that Disney is the Happiest Place on Earth…. http://www.disneyparks.disney.go.com, http://www.disneyworld.disney.go.com, http://www.disneyland.disney.go.com.

Both when I visited Disneyworld and Disneyland https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/disney-why-i-love-the-donald/ and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/07/03/stair-wars-3/.

So what better match-up than my favourite holiday hosts and my favourite form of travel… a Disney cruise?

Cassidy Travel http://www.cassidytravel.ie is offering a seven-night cruise on Disney Fantasy from €7661 for a family of four of the Western Caribbean.

Visiting Mexico, Grand Cayman and Jamaica from Cape Canaveral.

There will be daily shows and activities, dress-up themed nights, fireworks display and kids’ clubs.

There is even a private island, Castaway Cay, with water sports and sandy beaches. 

And, of course, you’ll be sharing the ship with these guys…

Corphew

That water looks so still you could walk on it… the Aegean Sea that is.

So I tried, in Corfu, and ended up swallowing half of it, adding water skiing to a list of water sport calamities.

Which can only grow next week out in Tobago.

But I won’t have the Scary One to burp me like a new-born baby or like Jerry does to Tom.

Corfu is best admired from aboard a cruise ship with a stop-off.

And luckily enough TUI http://www.tuiie has just the thing.

They have a seven-night Marella all-inclusive cruise from €1339pps on June 26.

You’ll be staying in an inside cabin on the Marella Explorer as part of an Idyllic Italy tour. Buon Vacanza. Visit http://www.tuiholidays.ie

And for more couples’ frolics on the high seas here’s when I stopped the Scary One from ‘falling overboard!!! http://The Call of the fjords.

MEET YOU ON THE SEAS

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Cruiseday Tuesday – pedalloes and fireworks

Come what may, April would be late or go in the wrong direction – she was delightlfully ditzy and I felt I had found my kindred spirit.

April may have had an excuse on account of her diabetes which made her drowsy but she never used it as an excuse.

It all came to a head when we went out on the pedalloes in Majorca.

On my first cruise, from Nice to Palma, Majorca, via Barcelona.

Majorca. Photo by Kai Pilger on Pexels.com

When despite the huge expanse of the Mediterranean she almost bumped me (and others, mostly Scandinavian or German) in Soller in the north of the island.

We played it safe and gave her a story when we got invited to the bridge to see the captain and play with his wheel.

Majorca is much, much more than Magaluf and TUI know it.

They have Hidden Gems, seven nights all-inclusive Cork to Majorca on June 23 on Marella Dream from €11149pps.

To Book: Visit https://www.tuiholidays.ie. Call 1850 45 35 45 or visit a TUI Store / travel agent.

A Grandiosa old ship to sail with

River of lights: MSC Grandiosa. Photos : Vallbracht for MSC Cruises.

Hamburg is one of the world’s great port cities… it’s where the Beatles grew up after all, and don’t just take my word for it. John Lennon said that.

The German city on the Elbe was where it was at last weekend when Sophia Loren christened MSC Grandiosa to a lot of fanfare (it is Sophia after all).

I wasn’t on the 93m-long Mediterranean prom deck (the Scary One had chores for me at home) but many of my colleagues were.

We’re on that ship: In the fjords

This being MSC though they like to include everyone even if they aren’t there.

And this being Hamburg, the Hamburgers love a ship (and I know from having been on MSC that their ships love hamburgers and their passengers too).

So the locals 5,000 of them, celebrated too in the MSC Village on the banks off the river.

The main event was the special blue lightshow and fireworks as Grandiosa passed by the Elbphilharmonie.

It’s got me all nostalgic for our unforgettable trip up the fjords https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-call-of-the-fjords/

And our stop-off when we decided to take in Hamburg… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/hamburgers-and-ships/. And https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/09/09/the-beatles-in-hamburg-with-stefanie-hempel/

The MSC Grandiosa starts her seven-night programme in the Western Mediterranean on November 26 with six embarkation ports.

Calling Genoa, Civitavecchia, Italy; Palermo, Sicily; Valetta, Malta; Barcelona, Spain and Marseille, France. Visit http://www.msccruises.ie

MEET YOU ON THE SEAS

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Holiday snaps – TUI blue-sky thinking

I’ve always had a soft spot for TUI as they grew out of Thomson’s which had a newspaper arm, who gave me my first job and my first holiday discounts.

TUI http://www.tuiholidays.ie which gave us the dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s and putting us in the middle and is now branding a range of holidays ‘Blue’.

Just a suggestion but you might want to talk about blue-sky thinking… my usual rate!

TUI Blue for Families

And here’s what they’re offering with their TUI Blue concept resorts.

Family fun

The 5T TUI BLUE for Families Atlantica Aegean in Rhodes sit on the edge of a sand and shingle beach.

With a jungle-themed waterpark bursting with tubes and slides.

And four restaurants with wellbeing at the core.

And it’s all just down the road with a regular bus service into Rhodes Town… http://www.visitrhodes.com.

Then there’s the 4TPlus TUI BLUE for All Grand Azur in Marmaris which comes with its own private Blue Flag beach.

Good clean fun: In the Istanbul hamam

Now as well as the best Turkish cuisine, I’m loving this…. Turkish language classes. Because I love Turkey http://www.goturkeytourism.com.

Guests can also visit a Hamam at the BLUE Spa.

And you won’t have to look at this motley crew from a trip to Istanbul either https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/wham-bam-thank-you-hamam/.

TUI Blue for All

Now if you’re a fan of Portugal (of course you are) then try 4T TUI BLUE for TWO Falesia Atlantic.

When the boat comes in: The Algarve

Set on a clifftop location, there are two chic bars while you can reserve your table on the app.

The adults-only ‘instagrammable’ hotel is just a five-minute drive from the centre of Olhos D’Agua.

And if you want to explore lively Albufeira, it’s a 15-minute drive away, which lines up classy restaurants and late-night bars.

Water challenges: The Algarve

Portugal http://www.visitportugal.com is always high up my list of European destinations and recommendations.

Of course there’s the Algarve where for the sporty you can try the Campus in Quinta do Lago https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/06/12/sportugal/.

And for a different Portugal try Portugal Centro… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/secret-portugal-classy-centro/

MEET YOU ON THE ROAD

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Cruiseday Tuesday – Scotland is Arctic

It can feel positively Arctic in Scotland so it should come as little surprise that Scotland is being billed as part of an Arctic cruise… with our old friends G Adventures.

G Adventures http://www.gadventures.com will be hosting us tonight in Dublin to reveal more of their wares as part of their G Stock Live road trip.

And I will be able to speak to them about their product with more authority (no comments, please) having been their guests in Jordan earlier this year…. https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/petra-jordan-jesus-and-the-sands-of-time/

Of course they cover the Seven Seas too and their Galapagos Islands and Cambodia packages from their current sale randomly jumped out at me.

My fjord escort: My own wee Troll

As did their 16-day Cruise the Norwegian Fjords with Scottish Highlands package for May 17.

Which is reduced from €4899 to €4164.

Starting in Tromso, the gateway to the Arctic you’ll travel as far north as Nordkopp where the Atlantic and the Arctic Seas meet before hopping your way down the fjords.

And believe me they are full of myth and majesty as we found out…. https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-call-of-the-fjords/

Light up, light up. Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

You’ll pop in Shetland Islands, the most northerly point in the UK, whose nearest train station is Bergen in Norway, before finishing off in Edinburgh.

Heck, the Shetland Islands used to be Norwegian before being given to Scotland in a dowry in 1472.

Every day’s a school day on Cruiseday Tuesday!

Tenerife… I’ll be back

The beautiful Garachico. On Tenerife

The sharp Norwegian winter air is bracing but if you prefer a winter warmer…

Then TUI has seven nights on January 17 in an inside cabin on the Marella Explorer from €879pps.

For more on the Canarian Flavours package visit https://www.tuiholidays.ie. Call 1850 45 35 45 or visit a TUI Store / travel agent.

A toast to the Canaries

Unless you’ve been hiding under a stone you’ll know that I’ve been in Tenerife this autumn.

Where I learned a whole lot of stuff… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/tenerife-walk/

Just promise me you’ll drink some of the Shakespearean wine, the Malvasia.

And a stroll on the island

And eat some of their wrinkled potatoes with mojo mojo sauce!

Now if you like your TUI cruise, and why wouldn’t you, why not try Canaria Ways’ http://www.CanariaWays.com and read all about https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/tenerife-walk/

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Holiday Snaps – Step this way to Tenerife

I’ve had more than my fair share of stick… and sticks.

And stick about sticks.

But I’ve become dependant on them, and not just because there are more rings on my trunk now.

I do feel fitter now than I have done for some time and that is in large part down to the trekking trips I have been fortunate enough to go on in recent years.

I have to confess that on the first of those I sneered somewhat when I saw the oldies with their walking poles on their way to the Camino in Galicia in Spain.

But it was me who was left with egg on my face and pains in my calves.

My Dear Old Dad, a doctor by trade, was right when he would say that we all need a stick.

And there was a collection of them in our porch back in Chez Murty when I was growing up.

I added to that too when I transported an adorned and steel-tipped stick back from my fabled Oktoberfest trip. Along with a Stein and a medical bill!

Which my Dear Old Dad, James G as opposed to my James J, discovered when he ‘accidentally’ opened my mail some weeks later.

Walk in my footsteps

I make a point of grinning and bearing any pain abroad rather than going to the hospital now.

Not that any of that will befall you on your CanariaWays.com http://www.canariaways.com trip as you will have the best prep and back-up from your holiday provider.

All of which brings me to a trailer for my Tenerife trek which was published in The Herald newspaper this weekend an in case you missed it….

Here it is here… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/tenerife-walk/

And also to flag up these other Tenerife holidays… courtesy of TUI http://www.tuiholidays.ie.

Try seven nights over the Festive Season, and there are lots of quirky customs on the island.

From December 20, flying from Dublin to Tenerife and staying S/C in the 3* Globales Tamaimo Tropical from €719pps.

Or if those dates don’t suit, try January 3, from €409pps or January 17, from €419pps.

SNAP TO IT

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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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Holiday Snaps – Post-exam hols

I’m glad that’s all over – the Post-Leaving Cert holidays.

By the time it got to my two the destinations had changed.., it was Lisbon and Amsterdam.

For me and my buddies it was camping in the French Riviera. And, no, of course it wasn’t Cannes.

But St Raphael.

The boys of ’82: Chris, Martin, Bandanaman and Adam

And yes, I’ve had to add that to the list of places I’m banned from.

Castle Douglas, the Lowenbrau and Hofbrau Huis in Munich, Kirchberg in Austria and a hotel in Interlaken, Switzerland spring to mind.

Of course your guys will have booked their richly-deserved hols by now.

But this just gives me the chance to flag up the French Riviera.

Which doesn’t have to cost you un bras et une jambe.

I found seven nights with Click&Go http://www.clickandgo.com for the sample date of September 15 staying at the Appart City Nice Acropolis Aparthotel including Ryanair flights for €933.04.

I upgraded from a camp site when I went to Cannes…. https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-boat-dazur/.

Greece and Gozo

A spin around Gozo

Of course when we get older and wiser (well, at least one of us) we fall in love and get married.

In Malta (engagement) and Corfu (honeymoon).

Now in the words of Chris Tarrant, I don’t want to give you that… I want to give you this – Gozo and Halkidiki.

You’re very welcome.

Sunway http://www.sunway.ie is flagging up the less busy north of Greece as opposed to the south.

And has these deals all per person for seven nights in Halkidiki and including flights.

€399 – Alkion Hotel Room only, €445 – Lily Ann Village Half Board, €635 – Theophano Imperial Palace All Inclusive.

And Gozo, billed as how Malta used to be, although Malta as it is isn’t half bad…

Try €285 Calypso Hotel Bed & Breakfast – 4 nights, €369 Calypso Hotel Bed & Breakfast – 7 nights.

And let me give you a flavour of Gozo and Malta https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/malta-easer/.

Mid-term Spain breaks

Scenic: Photo by Marcin Jozwiak on Pexels.com

And family mid-term breaks too are a thing of the past…

I’m in danger of getting nostalgic here but that quickly passes as I remember the Son and Heir ordering a T-bone steak in Majorca as a kid.

And only eating the chips!

But that’s only because I didn’t have this parenting lark sussed out, and I know you do.

TUI http://www.tuiholidays.ie have Dublin to Gran Canaria, seven nights’ self-catering, staying at the 2*+ Jardin Alantico, Playa Del Ingles for a family 2+1 from €1,599 on October 24. 

And on the same date, Dublin to Gran Canaria, seven nights’ all-inclusive at the 3* Marina Elite Resort, Balito Beach, 3*, family 2+1 from €2,479 and family 2+2 from €3,079

The Deep South

There’s a hairy little Jim waiting for the King

Cities take on a magical quality when you hear them in a pop song.

Unless it’s ‘I was sick and tired of everything when I called you last night from Glasgow.’

Sure Abba might have ‘wished it was the last show’ but Moscow rhymes too.

When I realised a lifelong dream to visit Memphis I just had to reenact every line from the Mark Cohn song in Insta.

I’m not sure though if it did the trick and my friends ‘could really feel the way I feel’.

Luxury Gold www.luxuryvacations.com does, and has a nine-day odyssey, Southern Grace, from Nashville through Memphis to New Orleans on September 27.

So you’ll be musicked out by the end of it all with Country, Elvis, Rock’n’Roll, Blues and Jazz all on the menu.

Luxury Gold offers a saving of €355 per person if booked before August 31. Was €3,525, now €3,170.

The Deep South is everything I thought it would be, and more, and I am drawn to it like a magnet.

Which is why I’m sharing my series The Three Kings on Dr Martin Luther King, BB King and Elvis here… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-promised-land-martin-luther-king/ https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-story-of-the-blues/https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/elvispresley-the-king-of-kings/.

A blooming Rose

Scenes of the Rose Hotel and Tralee

She’s 60 this year… and doesn’t she look good on it?

No, not The Scary One, but The Rose of Tralee… quickly adding my devotion to my Rose of Kintbury.

So you’ll want to be there, right, for the festival from August 23-27.

The Rose Hotel offers one, two, or three-nigh breaks.

With prices from €220pps.

And you’ll likely rub shoulders with a Rose, with nightly entertainment from 9pm at Dott’s Bar.

Visit www.therosehotel.com.

Uncategorized

Holiday Snaps – Dog surfing, California

They’ve been in training all year for the big event, and it’s almost upon us – Surf City Surf Dog in Huntington Beach, Southern California.

This is where Bono, the Brazilian labrador made his name (I never did hear if he also wore shades).

And the pupparazi will be at Surf City Surf Dog in Huntington Beach in numbers for the free event on Saturday, September 28.

Where there will be a surFUR expo, athletes of all breeds and pawsome fun! 

Have I forgotten something? On Huntington Beach

Earlier this summer I visited Huntington Beach to see Dean Torrence trill Surf City USA and Snoop Dogg have us dancing on the prom to his DJ set.

https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/06/22/my-weekend-with-marilyn/

Get him on stage: Bandanaman

And here’s when I tried my hand at surfing on FlowRider on Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas. https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/a-royal-party/

And watch out for Ireland’s surfing superstar Gearoid McDaid’s masterclass and my day on Oasis of the Seas. http://www.royalcaribbean.com.

I also had a jaunt around Barcelona in the Star Ireland’s Chic magazine out today.

Aer Lingus flies Dublin to LAX with pre-clearance. Visit http://www.aerlingus.com.

I found an economy return for the sample dates of August 31-September 7 from €321.04.

Now I’m a big fan of Kimpton boutique hotels and LOVED the La Peer Hotel in West Hollywood just up from Huntington Beach. Visit http://www.lapeerhotel.com

So I’m angling for a stay at the Kimpton Shorebreak Resort, Huntington Beach when I visit Surf City USA next http://www.surfcityusa.com.. Visit http://www.shorebreakhotel.com. http://www.visitusa.ie.

And some Canaries

The origins of names can be surprising… The Canaries, for example are named after dogs (canaria) and not tweetie-birds.

The most common golden-coloured creatures on the Canaries are the sunbathers on the beaches.

TUI serves the Canaries all year round but if you’re looking for some last-minute sun…

And remembering that elsewhere if you live in the West or South in Ireland is Dublin…

From Cork to Lanzarote: Seven nights’ self-catering, staying at the 2+ Lanzarote Paradise Club, Costa Teguise, from €349pps. August 27

From Shannon to Lanzarote: The same deal but leaving on August 29.

Visit http://www.tuiholidays.ie.

India… at a stretch

Would you like to go to International Yoga Day in India and can you tell me by the close of play today?

As Mamma told me, they’re would be days like this!

Big-hearted fella that I am I nominated a yoga fan to go out there to stretch and contort her limbs.

I’m too kind for my own good!

That’s why I’d keep this Travel Department break to myself.

Explore Amazing India is a 12-night TD active Holidays small group tour.

And there’s more than just yoga.

You’ll cycle through Delhi at sunrise and hike between ancient forts in Jaipur.

How about a traditional homestay, learn to cook traditional Indian food on Dausa and a Hindu aarti ceremony?

As well, of course, as the Taj Mahal and the other iconic sites.

From €1,999pp for 12 nights including return flights and accommodations and features. Visit http://www.tdactiveholidays.ie.

Full steam ahead Thomas

A plaster cast, or stookie where I’m from, is a useful makeshift bridge for a Thomas the Tank Engine track. Take note, Thomas Land.

The Son And Heir had broken an arm but that wouldn’t stop him playing with his favourite toy.

He’ll be interested then in Irish Ferries discount on a trip to Drayton Manor & Thomas Land in Staffordshire near Manchester.

Thomas Land has 25 rides and attractions.

A couple of smilers: Thomas and The Son and Heir

From €595 for a family of four (kids under 11) for three nights in the 3* Tillington Hotel.

It also includes a one-day park pass to Drayton Manor & Thomas Land and a return car ferry.

Valid until August 16. Visit http://www.irishferries.com/drayton.

A call from The Ronald

Ronald and Nancy Reagan and Mickey and Minnie

I seem to be a magnet to American Presidents, living and dead. The Donald, The Dickie and now The Ronald.

The first has cropped up across America and the Caribbean looking for selfies with me.

While the Richard Nixon Library in California invited me to a 50th anniversary of the Moon Landings with Buzz Aldrin in attendance.

Now Ronnie’s pals http://www.reaganfoundation.org want me to get out there for a talk from a Supreme Court Associate Justice.

It’s flattering but if they want me to help run their country get me on the payroll.

Mexican waves

Strike a pose: Mexico. Pic by Matthew T Rader. Pixels.com

Mexico is one place I reckon The Donald wouldn’t follow me.

But HIS loss.

Escape2 has a seven-night all-inclusive Mexico trip from €1599 including Air France flight, departing November.

Stay at the 4* Riviera Maya. Visit http://www.escape2.ie. Contact (01) 435 0005.

MEET YOU ON THE ROAD