Countries, Culture, Europe, Food, Food & Wine

Hungry and Thursday – pasta masta

Was it you who took all the pasta from the supermarket shelves?

Who knew that that was our go-to food in time of crisis.

Italian Mammas, of course, have been serving pasta as a cure-all since Julius Caesar were a lad, with that special ingredient of love.

And with Bandanaman’s l’amore to Italia and to flag up our friends, the travel providers, who have taken us there for years www.topflight.ie, www.tuiholidays.ie and www.sunway.ie among others.

Here’s a dishy Italian treat…

Aperitivo

Now this one is the easiest of the lot with Prosecco or Campari as a kicker… or my choice the Venetian favourite, the Aperol Spritz: Prosecco, Aperol and soda water.

Antipasto

Bruschetta, Central Italy: Or maybe as far back as Classical Rome with the Latins’ verb ‘bruscare’ meaning ‘to roast over coals’.

But you knew that?

The bruschetta is what you make it, and you will have all this around your cucina.

Garlic-rubbed grilled bread, salt, pepper, tomatoes, basil leaves and oil.

Primo

Risi e Bisi, Padua: Now it’s always good to know that you have the Anthony Bourdain seal of approval.

I was also guided to Anthony’s fave Risi e Bisi by my hosts in Padua.

It looks easy too and in fact is so this is something you can rustle up in double jig time.

Now I’m reliably informed by Anthony that the peas and rice float in a vegetable broth made from a simple base of onion and pancetta — the fatty, cured-pork cut.

And that it was always served at the Doge’s Banquet on April 25 which sounds like a good idea for an Italian-themed night at home.

Visit https://www.venetoinside.com/discover-veneto/plan-your-holiday-in-veneto/top-10-places-to-visit-in-veneto/ and http://www.italia.it/en/home.html.

Now this is where I get confused… my Italian friends variably tell me this is a main course.

But my old Italian teacher Donata said that it’s a primo and that the secondo be chicken, meat or fish along with the contorno of vegetables.

Secondo

Chicken cacciatore, all across Italy: Should you decide a bistecca is not for you and object to, or just don’t like, veal then pass up on the Bistecca alla Fiorentina.., besides its serving suggestion isn’t well done enough for mio.

The simple to make (and most Italian dishes are) chicken cacciatore which involves frying chicken cuts with base ingredients of onion, garlic and tomato is something even I could cook.

Particularly as I’ve been shown my penne from my tagliatelle by my friend Catherine Fulvio at her Ballyknocken House & Cookery School https://ballyknocken.ie.

Dolce

Fragola Gelato, Rome: Now, you might be expecting a tiramisu here but I’m not a coffee, creamy signore… in fact the only cream I like is ice cream.

So dish me up a fragola (strawberry) gelato and you’ll not get a peep out of me (well, maybe!). See https://www.rome.net.

Caffe

And I’m going to deviate from the script here with una ciocolatta calda densa, a hot chocolate that is more of a thick chocolate pudding.

Digestivo

A Grappa perhaps, or a Limincello… and the latter has made it over in our move from Ireland to Scotland.

And returned to our freezer. And now that mia moglie has gone into the distilling business with her alcohol sanitiser then it’s a small step surely to making Limoncello.

Now we just need some lemon trees and a Mediterranean diet.

Vino

Of course a full Chianti or Valpolicella is usually what il dottore ordered.

But instead I’ll opt for a pinot grigio seeing that it’s a white meat dish.

And seeing that I want to evoke Rome and an al fresco family meal just outside the Pantheon.

Then I’m going to plump for due bottiglie di Lazio Pinot Grigot Cantina Gabriele.

And we’ll maybe slap on some Vivaldi and look up at our painting of the Castello Sant’Angelo in Rome and know that we’ll be back.

Because, of course, we threw some coins into the Trevi Fountain.

Lire, naturally… I am Scottish!

And here’s my love letter to Rome… Small roads lead to Rome and https://www.rome.net.

Asia, Countries, Deals, Europe

Holidos and don’ts – keep it clean in Istanbul

No, I’m not talking about schoolboy humour, though I don’t blame you for assuming, but rather keeping it clean and germ-free on holiday.

And, of course, I must start with the Coronavirus.

Word reaches me from my friends at Turkish Airlines www.turkishairlines.com about the measures they take to disinfect your plane.

And let’s face it airplanes ate a magnet for germs.

Let it slide: At Turkish Airlines HQ

Well Turkish have sent us a video of their health guys in protective white suits spraying throughout the plane.

I’ve also seen first-hand from my visit to Turkish Airlines headquarters in Istanbul how far they go to protect our health and safety.

On my trip to the city Wham bam, thank you Hamam where their safety precautions are space age.

This is your captain speaking

There are pools with water the same temperature as the sea to replicate emergency conditions.

And slides, though these days you and me can’t whizz down them…

They’re right to worry that I’d get my stiletto heel stuck.

While, of course, in the event of the call going out for an emergency pilot I have had training on the simulator.

Turkish also put the fun into function with their multi-award winning Business Lounge at the swanky new Istanbul Airport.

Where you can eat and drink your heart out.

My cars faster than yours

And play golf, drive model cars, watch a movie or have a snooze…

A few more words on the Turks… they are one of the cleanest people I have ever met.

It’s their religion and culture and it is also true throughout the Middle East The water of life, Petra, and the sands of time.

And that’s probably why they make such good barbers – the good chat is free. Turkish barbers – and berbers

Now more information on the Coronavirus… I’m reliably informed that it doesn’t like the heat.

Turkey shoot at the TA Business Lounge

So guess where I want to go… well, you have to keep safe!

Our friends at TUI www.tuiholidays.ie have the very thing…

Dublin to Turkey: Seven nights, staying at the 4* Club Candan, Marnaris on a self-catering basis (family 2+1) from €1439.

And family 2+2 from €2019. Both for August 16.

Countries, Deals, Europe, Ireland, UK

Holiday Snaps – Coronavirus

If you’re like me, firstly, you have my sympathies, secondly flight changes will be nothing new to you… so you will be prepared for the Coronavirus.

Thankfully we also have the good services of our airline friends…

Among them these carriers who are offering free of charge changes:

Be patient

American Airlines, British Airways, KLM, Air France, United Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Emirates, Turkish Airlines, AirCanada and WestJet.

Each airline has slightly different rules, but most offer changes valid for ticketed/issued bookings from the month of March.

Lie back and think of Barbados

Me-me and Dee-Dee

Not to diminish the health scare but while being vigilant and trusting the authorities (and now I’m just depressing myself) we can’t stop living.

Which seems to be TUI’s www.tuiholidays.ie mantra too.

They are teasing us with the Caribbean. And I need little tickling.

Eleven nights self-catering (just buy a bottle of rum and pineapple juice) at the 3*+ Divi Southwards Beach Resort. Flights from Dublin, From €1599pps.

And you all know what I think of Barbados… Let’s rumba in Barbados and My kiss with Rihanna.

Or try Mexico… I’ve been trying to get there for 30 years since immersing myself in Mexicana working as a bus boy in GuadalaHarry’s in Boston.

Go all-inclusive for for ten nights at the 3* Riu Lupita Playacar from €1599pps.

Canaries update

Just swimmingly: In Tenerife

Now perhaps it was because my Dear Old Dad was a doctor, and my Mum a sister – she still tells ‘the orderlies’ in her nursing home what to do…

But it’s given me utter faith in the medics to make sure everything goes OK.

The Canarians have been all over their coronavirus outbreak and are at pains to welcome us back over to their shores.

And I’d be there in a flash… to carry on the good work from A walk through the ages… Tenerife with Canaria Ways… www.CanariaWays.com

And you should also visit https://www.webtenerife.co.uk/what-to-do/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIlpam_bmG6AIVBLDtCh1hZwB4EAAYAiAAEgKqyfD_BwE.

Cape crusaders

The perfect host: Rachel, in South Africa

The twin challenges in Travel just now are facing down the Coronavirus and sustainability.

Who would bet against it being those clever South Africans at finding an antidote to the disease?

Particularly as they already have a handle on climate change with their magic plant, the spekboom, the answer to flight shame, flygskam, This plant can save the world.

Which is why I’m flagging up Cassidy Travel’s www.cassidytravel.ie six-night Cape Town escape from €819pps including flights from Dublin.

Explore the Winelands, the Garden Route and take in a Big Five Safari Tour.

You’ll be staying at the 4* The Hyde Hotel in the cosmopolitan Sea Point area.

MEET YOU ON THE ROAD

Countries, Cruising, Culture, Europe

Cruiseday Tuesday – Santorini

It’s the Swap Shop (ask your Dad) question which cruise captains are invariably most often asked: ‘Where is your favourite port!’ And invariably the answer is Santorini.

The Greek island with its classic azure blue domed rooftops does stand out on the sea (I’m told). Hint!

Cassidy Travel agree. They are running a seven-night cruise Greek Odyssey from €817pps including flights from Dublin.

Old relics in Athens

Aboard the Norwegian Spirit you’ll leave from Athens (Piraeus) en route to Rhodes, Kusadasi in Turkey, Patmos, Mykanos, the sights of Agostoli, Corfu.

And onto Santorini. Flights depart April 26. Visit www.cassidytravel.ie.

And here’s a Greek Odyssey of my own… www.athensattica.com and https://visitkythera.com. And My Greek odyssey.

Where’s your favourite port? Let me know.

Sail out of Majorca

Watch out for the bathers: Majorca

Most holidaymakers leave Majorca by air but for the best experience come in by ship.

Our friends at TUI www.tuiholidays.ie have Majorca from three Irish airports.

Save €300 by using the code MAY300.

Cork to Majorca: 2 May on Marella Discovery – Highlights of the Mediterranean, inside cabin, AI, seven nights from €939pps.

Dublin to Majorca: 19 May, Marella Dream: – Spanish Delights, inside cabin, AI, seven nights, from €979pps.

Shannon to Majorca: 16 May, Marella Discovery – Cosmopolitan Classics, inside cabin, AI, seven nights from €1149pps.

A prince and Princess

Real leadership

And because I’ve seen first hand how hard and how genuinely caring Princess Cruises ate about their guests.

Here picked up from the old Twittersphere a tribute from a First Officer to his captain.

They are few and far between and I’m still looking… a good boss.

Captain Arma was last to leave #DiamondPrincess. He is a hero in our eyes.

You want to know where they’re sailing?…

How about up to €450pp flight discount on select America-based sailings departing in 2020 and 2021. The deal runs from today – April 30, 2020. 

The flight discount is available on over 120 voyages, ranging in length from seven – 28 days.

The sailings cover destinations across northern and central America including, the Caribbean, Hawaii, Panama Canal and South America. 

Several sailings on the 3,660-guest Sky Princess, feature as part of the offer, as well as the 3,660-guest Enchanted Princess, which will be christened in Southampton at the end of June this year. 

Voyages include: 
·  A 7-night Mexican Riviera cruise onboard Royal Princess, departing October 10, 2020. Sailing roundtrip from Los Angeles, ports of call are Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta. Prices from €1495pp 

MEET YOU ON THE SEAS

America, Countries, Cruising, Culture, Deals, Europe

Cruiseday Tuesday – Hawaii alive-o

It’s a useful tool when hello and goodbye are the same word in a language… it means that you can get rid of unwanted people without being rude.

Like with Ciao in Italian and Aloha in Hawaiian.

Of course rudeness doesn’t come into the Hawaiian vocabulary.

See Hawaii for yourself on Cassidy Travel’s 15-day cruise with flight to Los Angeles and an overnight stay in the city this November 5 from €1829pps.

This is the life

You’ll sail on the Star Princess full-board and visit Hilo, Honolulu, Maui and Kauai before returning to LA via Ensenada in Mexico.

Herself could dig out her Pacific shell necklace from when she sailed back from living in Australia as a child… she doesn’t mention it much!

Me? I’ve always got my sarong from my own exotic island holiday in the Maldives. Check out https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/12/atoll-tale-the-maldives/. And visit www.cassidytravel.ie.

Majorca Jocka

My early Spring Clean dug up a copy of my first cruise, to Majorca, and I posted it up on the site.

But, of course, you keep something back just for yourself.

I had taken my full dress kiltie out on cruise… and yes, it took up a fair bit of my suitcase.

Jump in

My international colleagues were too polite to point out that I’d forgotten my sporran.

And of course a Scotty man never reveals what’s under the skirtie.

This is how it all worked out for me when I was but a cruising tyro…. https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/01/21/smooth-sailing-around-the-western-med/

My old friends at TUI have Mediterranean Medley, Dublin- Majorca on the Marella Dream for May 5.

For seven nights all-inclusive inside cabin. From €928pps.

Or Cork-Majorca for May 16. Marella Discovery – Cosmopolitan Classics. Inside Cabin, all-inclusive. From. €1159pps.

Countries, Cruising, Deals, Europe

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/.

Uncategorized

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. 

Uncategorized

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

Uncategorized

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

Uncategorized

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