Category Archives: Cruise holidays

Island-hopping (and relaxing) in the Aegean with SCIC Sailing

Some holidays are so jam-packed with things to do, places to visit and sights to tick off that you end up needing a holiday afterwards to recover. A island-hopping voyage around the Aegean with SCIC Sailing (it stands for Sailing Cruises in Comfort and is aptly pronounced ‘chic’) is thankfully not one of those holidays.

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Setting sail in the Arctic on ‘the world’s most beautiful sea voyage’ (with eagles and dolphins for company)

Being in the Land of the Midnight Sun can do strange things to you. A few days into my cruise along the Norwegian coast, I’d been chatting on deck after dinner with my fellow passengers. I went to bed thinking that it wasn’t a particularly late night – and was shocked to find that it was quarter to five in the morning!

Continue reading Setting sail in the Arctic on ‘the world’s most beautiful sea voyage’ (with eagles and dolphins for company)

Cruising for the first time: a week on P&O Britannia luxury cruise ship

There was something about P&O Britannia cruise ship which reminded me of Las Vegas, and it wasn’t just the casino. It was partly the vast amount of food on offer on board at its 13 restaurants onboard P&O Britannia – the stories about gaining weight on cruise holidays seemed all too plausible – but being able to leave your room and go out for dinner at a restaurant, or to a bar, or to the theatre or a nightclub, all without stepping outdoors, seemed exactly like the hotels of Vegas.

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The Queen launches P&O Cruises new ship P&O Britannia

Note: this article about the launch of P&O Britannia was written in 2015 so some information might be out of date

The day was bright and sunny for Her Majesty and Prince Philip as the Royal party arrived to launch P&O Cruises new ship P&O Britannia last Tuesday, a welcome change from the drizzle and rain of the previous day.

The Queen launches P&O Cruises new ship Britannia
Awaiting The Queen’s arrival

Before the official naming ceremony took place though, the seated guests (thoughtfully supplied with hand warmers and mugs of hot spiced cordial) were treated to some acrobatic ‘zorbing’, the exuberant Red Hot Chilli Pipers and the Bands of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines and The Irish Guards.

There was a brief speech from David Dingle, chairman of P&O Cruises’s parent company Carnival, a prayer from the Bishop of Southampton, and then the invitation for the Queen to name Britannia from Captain Paul Brown, with proceedings ably and entertainingly MC’d by comedian Rob Brydon.

The sparkling wine from Wiston vineyard in West Sussex was ready to go...
The sparkling wine from Wiston vineyard in West Sussex was ready to go…

The Nebuchadnezzar of sparkling wine from the Wiston vineyard in West Sussex looked as if it were travelling worryingly slowly down the wire towards the ship once Her Majesty had pushed the launch button, but in the end it broke on the side with a emphatic smash. Continue reading The Queen launches P&O Cruises new ship P&O Britannia

First glimpse of cruise ship P&O Britannia

Note: this article about cruise ship P&O Britannia was first published in 2015 and so some details might be out of date

It cost more than £520 million to build, weighs 141,000 tons and will carry more than 3,600 passengers. And this Friday the brand new cruise ship P&O Britannia will be making her way from the Fincantieri shipyard in Trieste, Italy, to her new home in Southampton, ahead of the official launch ceremony on March 10th.

Britannia P&O Cruises
Britannia is P&O Cruises’ largest cruise ship and sets sail for England on Friday

Journalists and travel agents were given a sneak preview last weekend, including a tour round the vessel guided by Britannia’s Captain Paul Brown.

P&O Cruises chairman David Dingle and chief executive David Noyes were part of our group, as were P&O’s new ‘food heroes’ Olly Smith, Eric Lanlard and Charlie Turnbull, respectively in charge of the wine, cakes and cheese offering on the ship.

Britannia P&O Cruises
It was a rainy Sunday morning but Britannia was still an impressive sight

The rainy day didn’t detract from the impressive sight of Britannia, P&O’s largest cruise ship to date, which will boost P&O’s passenger capacity by 24 per cent.  At 1.082 ft long, and with 15 passenger decks, she displays the world’s largest Union Flag on her bows (94 metres long) and she was pretty impressive on the inside too. Continue reading First glimpse of cruise ship P&O Britannia