Cruise update

I’m having a little trouble posting to this blog from the middle of the South Pacific. I am, however, updating Instagram and Twitter (see the menu at left for links). There are also new cruise-ship-related  articles by me at http://cruisingisntjustforoldpeople.co.uk/2017/05/20/10-things-costa/  and  http://50sowhat.com.au/help-im-50-something-and-a-modern-day-cruise-ship-virgin/

Meanwhile, on the Pacific Aria, bad weather has meant the cancellation of stops in Noumea and Mare, so we’re steaming towards Port Vila. It’s a bit bumpy ..

Pacific Aria: first impressions

I’ve arrived onboard P&O Cruises Australia’s Pacific Aria for a seven-day journey  from Brisbane to New Caledonia and back.

Ship’s webcam view of port in Brisbane

I’ll be blogging when I can, and posting updates on social media. In the meantime, I’ve undertaken a reconnaissance mission and here are some pictures of the ship and the port.

Continue reading Pacific Aria: first impressions

I’m sold on this sailing deal

On a whim, I’ve booked a week-long cruise starting in four days — on Friday, May 19. I nearly booked it yesterday, but by waiting a day I saved about US$75 (A$100) on what was already a bargain price.

Last-minute deals are fantastic if you are at a loose end — on holiday with no firm plans (as I am), retired, or otherwise flexible with your time — and you don’t mind missing out if it’s already sold out. Continue reading I’m sold on this sailing deal

It takes a village …

The northern Italian village of Bormida has hit the headlines because its council is offering €2,000 to anybody who wants to come and live there.

Savona (Brett Debritz)

The idea is to boost the population of the village, where rents can be as low as €50 a month. I, for one, am tempted — particularly given Bormida’s close proximity to the borders with Monaco and France, and to the beautiful port of Savona, where Costa Cruises has a terminal.

Continue reading It takes a village …

Extras. Read all about them

We’ve all been asked if we “want fries with that” or otherwise been enticed to buy something more than we originally planned.

Are special touches worth paying extra for?

It’s no different in the travel business, but sometimes what’s part of the package and what’s extra isn’t quite as easy to understand as an upsized Big Mac meal deal.

Continue reading Extras. Read all about them

Is your attire ship-shape?

Frequent cruisers will be familiar with formal night. It happens at least once on every voyage: the night where you either dress up in your finest to enjoy silver service in the dining room or you slum it in your shorts and sloppy joes at the buffet.

(Cunard)

Even in this egalitarian age, most cruise ships still have a dress code for their restaurants — especially on the formal nights — and some people think that the code sometimes goes too far.

Continue reading Is your attire ship-shape?

Baggage handling blues

Imagine being stuck on a cruise ship with nothing but the clothes you’re wearing. That’s what happened to an Englishwoman when a company hired to load her luggage put the bag on the wrong ship.

(pocruises.com)

While I emphathise with the woman concerned, I think the story has wider implications.

Continue reading Baggage handling blues

Suite dreams at sea

My motto for all travel is to do what you can comfortably afford to do. As I’ve written, if you want to fly business- or first-class, and you have the money to do it, don’t let anybody persuade you otherwise.

First-class cabin on the Titanic (origin unknown)

The difference between business and economy class on a plane — especially on long-haul flights — is painfully obvious. That is, the ever-more-cramped economy-class seats will induce pain; the lie-flat options up front will not. Continue reading Suite dreams at sea

Cruise ships: bigger, better, best?

In both aircraft and cruise-ship manufacturing, there’s a debate: is bigger always better? In aviation, the largest commercial plane, the Airbus A380, is popular only with airlines, notably Emirates, that are staking the future on carrying a lot of people over long distances to and from big airports.

Project Leonardo (NCL)

With cruise ships, there has been greater investment by those who believe  bigger is better, although niche operators beg to differ.

Continue reading Cruise ships: bigger, better, best?

Sober on the high seas

A Twitter follower recently posed me an interesting question that went a little like this: “I am a non-drinker, and I have always shied away from cruises because everybody on board seems to be drinking all the time.

One of many cruise-ship bars. Where to go if you don’t drink?

“Is there anything to do on a cruise if you don’t drink?”

Continue reading Sober on the high seas

You’re never alone at sea

If you follow this blog, you might be aware the I’m a fan of Quora, the site that crowdsources answers to interesting questions, including many about travel.

I’m not just an avid reader of the site, I’ve recently become a contributor, with a few posts and a couple of thousand views to my name.  My latest answer relates to something I’m reasonably well informed about: cruising alone.

Continue reading You’re never alone at sea

Jamaica: I went of my own accord

OK, so the headline on this piece is a lazy reference to an old joke, but don’t let that put you off a visit to Jamaica, one of the jewels of the Caribbean.

Falmouth, Jamaica

I visited Falmouth as part of a cruise itinerary, and I’m keen to see more. The people, from the local tour guide to the people we met on the streets, were friendly and the weather was superb.

Continue reading Jamaica: I went of my own accord