Archive for the ‘cruising’ Category

Cunard Cruise Lines

June 2, 2012

Cunard Cruise Lines

Cunard Cruise Lines, a sign of quality in the Cruise market.  Cunard may only have a small amount of ships, but each one exhibits pure quality.

Each ship is named after a queen.  The fleet consists of Queen Victoria, Queen Mary II and Queen Elizabeth.  Cunard will however, always be known for the Queen Mary and The Queen Elizabeth II (or QE2 for short).  Both of these fine ships were retired, with the Queen Mary, now a resident of Long Beach California where she is a hotel, and the QE2 is now moored off Dubai, with a fate unknown, although she is supposed to also become a hotel in the future.

For a cruise you will never forget, you may try a cruise with Cunard 

Visiting the Falkland Islands by a Cruise ship

June 1, 2012

The ships had Already visitedIt’s not often, the Falkland Island’s issues affect holiday choices to most mainland UK people planning a holiday.

In reality, you could actually say that the last time there was an issue was back in 1982, when Argentina invaded the Falklands under their military Junta government.

However, that is over thirty years ago, so why would UK passengers be affected now, so long after the conflict.

Well, unfortunately, Argentina has effectively installed an economic blockade on the Falkland islands, in an effort to force the UK government to hand over the islands, into Argentine sovereignty .  Unfortunately for Argentina, the Falklands are self governed and have mandate from the UK to make their own decisions, and without being included in any conversations with Argentina, there will never be a discussion.

The passengers were only able to see this from onboard

Unaccessible land

The problem this causes, is that recently some cruise ships have been turned away from docking at Ushuaia, which is based right at the southern most tip of Argentina on the southern shore of the island of Tierra del Fuego.  Ushuaiais the furthest south town in Argentina and indeed the world, which makes it a popular destination.

Recently, the cruise ships, having already visited the Falklands, were refused permission to dock, leaving the cruise company in a position of having a ship full of passengers, and no place to land.

Luckily, Chile has always had good links with the Falklands, and the ships were able to dock  in Punta Arenas.

The two ships in question were the The Star Princess, Princess Cruise Line and the Adonia, P&O Cruises.

At the end of the day, although the passengers were offered a solution, it must have been upsetting for those passengers who wished to view Ushuaia, and who may have chosen that particular cruise just for that destination, just because of politics.  It’s also a shame for the Argentinian locals, who rely on cruise ship business for their livelihood and this was taken away from them.

In the future, whilst Argentina continues to undertake its economic blockade, potential cruises should be weighed up, would you prefer to visit the Falklands or Argentina, as it would appear Argentina are making you choose.  Alternatively, you could check that the cruise visits Argentina first, before the Falklands so you can do both.

Further reading on the matter of the ships being refused can be found here and here

I dreamed a dream and not of the SS the Emerald

October 21, 2009

Well, this is something new.

The other night I was dreaming I was on a cruise, but strangely enough it was not about my old favourite ship SS The Emerald.

This was a new dream, it involved lots of mirrors and shiny corridors, gleaming open public spaces, and a little gaudy furniture. What was this new dream. Well, I think it might have been triggered by a couple of things.

Firstly, I am really suffering from not cruising this year. I’m missing all my friends and the comfort and safety of my cabin.

Secondly, I’ve been reading a lot recently regarding the new Thomson ship, The Thomson Dream, formerly the Costa Europa.

Now unfortunately, the Costa ships, to my mind, are not really my cup of tea, as they are quite Italian in style with lots of shiny metal and mirrors, rather than my preferred wood and brass. However, I am sure when Louis Cruise Lines takes the ship on, a few changes will be made, and with Thomson committing to a long term charter, the style of board will probably be “Linda barker’d” if you get my drift.

Another interesting part is where the new ship will be sailing. I’ve read reports that it will be calling in Cuba and some south American countries which sound exciting.

So all in all, I think all this information has entered my mind and is basically being pumped out in the form of dreams. This will undoubtedly force me to save for a cruise next year. LOL

I’m keeping an eye on the prices.!


Ahhh, what a nice description of my lovely old cruise ship

April 27, 2009

Visit this website, called cruise cyprus and hear how the locals are describing the age old beauty that is S/S The Emerald.

For years this was the most popular of the TUI ships and many passengers are not booking with TUI after their thoughts and feelings were ignored, when it was annouced that the Emerald would be dropped from the TUI charter list, even though she had two years left sailing before the SOLAS laws either stopped her sailing or forced Louis Cruise lines to refurbish her.

At the end of the day, its nice to see the old girl appreciated


Heathrow Airport Hotels

Need a good read on the plane or on holiday?

April 27, 2009

A few years ago I got hooked on an author whilst away on Holiday.

I was flying from London Gatwick to Corfu to pick up a cruise. To pass the waiting times in the departure lounges, I bought a couple of books. Typically, me being me, I left one at Gatwick as I rushed to get my plane. The second book was excellent, and I did manage to read it whilst relaxing. Usually I would leave my book on the cruise ship, as the Emerald (the cruise ship I used to sail on each year) had a nice little library of donated books, however, as this book was so good I intended to take it home.

As it happened, my wife thought I was leaving it, and took it out the bag and left it out for the cabin steward to remove. Typical.

Anyhow, I was trying hard to remember the author’s name. I could remember the characters. That’s where the power of Google steps in. I searched for the characters, and not only found the author but some second hand book shops where I could buy the books cheap. I was so happy.

As I type this, the first of the purchases has just been handed to me. “Precipice, by Colin Forbes“. If you ever want a book to read whilst waiting at the airport or whilst on the plane, I would take a look at this.

It’s a bit James Bond, but without the one man act. This is British team work at its best and I now cannot work out why no-one has ever made a film from the books except Avalanche Express, admittedly some of the older books would need a re-vamp due to technology changes, but thats all.

So next time i’m resting at the Gatwick Sofitel Hotel or the Gatwick Arora International Hotel (sorry I like my nice hotels) try Colin Forbes for a read. I must admit it almost took my mind off the flight.


Gatwick Airport Hotels

S/S The Emerald – the website is changing

February 9, 2009

Hello all SS The Emerld Lovers

I’ve been monitoring the Louis Cruise website, and can now confirm that the ship details have been changed to remove TUI from the charter list and the ship is now down as doign Louis mini cruises from Cyprus.

Still waiting for the cruise itinery to be finalised, but it can’t be too long.

Andy Skinner

S/S The Emerald

January 29, 2009

Now heres a bit of news I know alot of people were waiting on.

The S/S Emerald, formerly charted by Tui cruises from Louis Cruise Lines, is soon to be back on the cruising market.

Louis Cruise Lines confirmed that the ship will be sailing from Cyprus for mini cruises.

There is no information on their website so far.

This is good news for the thousands of passengers who travelled with this ship under the Tui colours for 10 years and formed a close association with the graceful lady of the seas.  Enjoying her small but comfortable lounges and fantastic sailing conditions.

Of course, the future may not be bright for the last sailing ‘American built’ cruise ship.  Tui dropped her charter before the 2010 intorduction of the new SOLAS regulations, where ships like the S/S Emerald, will not be allowed to sail.  Dependent on the popularity of the S/S Emarld sailing under Louis Cruise Lines own cruises, will we find out if the company will invest in an upgrade.

This is not completely out the question.  In 1987 the ship was refitted to include extra decks, which guaranteed her extended life for another 13 years.

The Emerald is now 50 Years old , only time will tell if she is allowed to make 53.

On behalf of the passengers and fans of the S/S Emerald, our hopes go on that she will be successfull in her new life sailing for Louis Cruise Lines direct.

Andy Skinner

Remember the Glory days of British Travel?

November 11, 2008

We already said goodbye to one of the greatest british travel and transport icons, Concorde.

Concorde was a design way ahead of its time. You knew you had made it, when you could fly across the Atlantic in Concorde.

However, there was another element of transport, the QE2, how many people could boast, they had flown supersonic to New York then sailed in style back to the UK on the QE2.? Not that many.

Now the QE2 is finally retiring, so this magnificent duo, are now both retired.

The question is, has the UK now retired?


QE2, goodbye, but wheres our stuff?

November 11, 2008

After some research, I had a look at what is actually onboard the QE2, the question I want to know, is will these be returned to Cunard or were they sold along with the ship. Of course these items do not belong to the British people, but as you will see from the comprehensive list (thanks to WIKI), there are alot which certainly mean something to the British people

The Queen Elizabeth 2 holds pieces of artwork, as well as maritime artifacts drawn from Cunard’s long history of operating merchant vessels.

Althea Wynne’s sculpture of the White Horses of the Atlantic Ocean.

Bronze busts of Sir Samuel Cunard (outside the Yacht Club) and Queen Elizabeth II (in the Queen’s Room).

The Princess Grill holds four life-size statues of human forms representing the four elements, done by sculptor Janine Janet in marine materials like shell and coral.

The Chart Room’s frieze was designed by Brody Nevenshwander, and depicts the words of T. S. Eliot, Sir Francis Drake, and John Masefield.

The Midships Lobby holds a solid silver model of the Queen Elizabeth 2 made by Asprey of Bond Street in 1975, that was lost until a photograph was found in 1997 that led to the discovery of the model itself, and its placement on the QE2 in 1999.

In “E” stairway hangs three custom designed tapestries, commissioned from Helena Barynina Hernmarck for the ship’s launch, that depict the Queen as well as the launch of the ship. These tapestries, which were originally hung in “D” Stairway, Quarter Deck, outside the Columbia Restaurant, were damaged, and one thrown overboard, in 2005, as mentioned in the Service history (above). They were originally made with golden threads however much of this was lost when they were cleaned incorrectly as part of the 1987 refit.

There are also numerous photographs, oils and pastels of members of the Royal Family throughout the vessel, and silver plaques commemorating the visits of every member of the Royal Family, as well as other dignitaries like South African president Nelson Mandela.

Amongst the artifacts on board is a set of antique Japanese armour presented to the QE2 by the Governor of Kagoshima, Japan, during her 1979 world cruise, and a Wedgwood vase presented to the ship by Lord Wedgwood.

From previous Cunard ships are a brass relief plaque with a fish motif from the RMS Mauretania, as well as an Art Deco bas-relief titled Winged Horse and Clouds, by Norman Foster for the RMS Queen Elizabeth. There is also a vast array of Cunard postcards, porcelain, flatware, boxes, linen, and Lines Bros Ltd Tri-anic model ships. One of her key pieces is a replica of the figurehead from Cunard’s first ship, the RMS Britannia, carved from Quebec yellow pine by Cornish sculptor Charles Moore, and presented to the ship by Lloyds of London. On Upper Deck sits the silver Boston Commemorative Cup, presented to the Britannia by the City of Boston in 1840. This cup was lost for decades until being found in a pawn shop in Halifax, Nova Scotia. On “2” Deck is a bronze entitled Spirit of the Atlantic which was designed by Barney Seale for the second Mauretania. A large wooden plaque was presented to the QE2 by First Sea Lord Sir John Fieldhouse to commemorate the ship’s service in the Falklands War.

There is also an extensive collection of large scale models of Cunard ships throughout the QE2

So, will we now only be able to see these in the Museum onbaord the hotel in Dubai, once again, answers on a postcard please


So long and farewell to the QE2

November 11, 2008

It’s a sad day not just for Southampton, but for the whole of the UK when we say farewell to the QE2.

Not only is it a sad day that this glorious cruise ship is sailing away for its last ever cruise, many of us are also sad, why once again, a company gets rid of such a beauty.  It’s also a shame that no UK investor decided to purchase the ship for a hotel, even though the business case has been proved by America, with the Queen Mary now resident of Long beach.

People wonder why the British no longer have an Empire, it’s because we do not want to take any financial risks or promote ourselves any more.

If you have a different view, answers on  a postcard please