It doesn’t seem possible that it was over a year ago now that I watched Her Majesty the Queen, looking glorious in peach (or was it apricot?) smashing a bottle over the bow of P & O’s glorious new Britannia. Well, I’m pleased to report that she’s still as beautiful, as I found out when my friend Erica (editor of Edinburgh food website, Foodinburgh) and I took a little foodie cruise around the med last week, from Southampton to La Rochelle, Bilbao, La Coruña, St Peter Port in Guernsey and back to Southampton.
Setting sail on April 14th, Ovation of the Seas, the third in Royal Caribbean’s ground-breaking Quantum Class fleet, will bring Royal Caribbean’s typical sense of fun and adventure to the shores of Europe before she heads to Asia. Along with bionic bartenders, the fabulous FlowRider and the incredible North Star observation capsule, which soars over 300ft in the air and over the side of the ship, guests can do everything from skydiving in the spectactular RipCord by iFLY simulator to driving bumper cars and high wire circus training at SeaPlex, the largest entertainment complex at sea.
So after our 24 magical hours in Walt Disney World and boarding the gorgeous Disney Dream in Port Canaveral, it’s time to tell you about our shore adventures in the final part of our photo diary. From Port Canaveral, we cruised south east to Nassau and then back north towards Disney Cruise Line’s private island, Castaway Cay. Here’s what we got up to:
After our magical 24 hours in Walt Disney World, Florida, we woke early and grabbed a quick breakfast at the Cape May Café with Minnie Mouse (as you do), before waving her goodbye and jumping on a coach which took us to Port Canaveral. There we caught our very first glimpse of the Disney Dream. Here’s part two of our Disney stay and cruise photo diary: all about the Disney Dream.
I’ve got a bit of a soft spot for Scenic. After enjoying a lovely trip on the brand new Scenic Jasper (you can read my Cruise International article about it here) last year, I was really impressed by their impeccable service, gorgeous accommodation and all round feeling of laid-back luxury. I was delighted and excited, then, to be invited to The Ivy on Friday for a top secret announcement (I’ve had to keep quiet until now – can you imagine how difficult it’s been?!) and you won’t believe what I’ve got to tell you.
I’m off to Florida in just two weeks’ time and I’m RIDICULOUSLY EXCITED. I’ve been promising my gorgeous niece, Amy, that we’d take a trip together, and when this one came up I knew it would be perfect for some quality auntie time. We’re heading off with a couple of really lovely friends including my homie Liz to possibly my favourite place in the world, Walt Disney World, for a couple of days of theme park fun (and to visit the new Disney Springs area, which has been on my list – more of this in a minute), and then we’re off to the Bahamas on Disney Cruise Line’s beautiful ship, the Disney Dream for some relaxing, a bit of pampering, and a bit of beach time on Disney’s heavenly private island, Castaway Cay. If you haven’t planned your holiday yet, here are five fantastic reasons to visit Walt Disney World Resort, Florida this year:
I wonder if it’s really true that time passes faster as you get older? I’ve been looking back at some of the amazing adventures I’ve been lucky enough to experience this year, and they seem like only yesterday! Here are my highlights from 2015.
The next few days are going to be busy for me. I’m going to be talking at World Travel Market in the WTM & Travel Perspective session about working with brands in a digital world, all about my experience of working on the Sainsbury’s advert, and also about the Samsung ‘People of Note’ campaign.
The Family Travel Show is coming to Olympia this autumn and it’s shaping up to be an absolutely brilliant event. You’ll find all your favourite holiday companies and loads of specialists, there’ll be amazing talks, some great family travel ideas and some great talks too. Speaking of talks, I’ll be at the show talking on the Sunday in the following sections:
Sunday 11.20 – 12.00 National Geographic Traveller: No Fly Zone
Just because you’re going abroad on holiday, doesn’t mean you have to fly! Maybe you or a family member doesn’t like to fly, or you’d just prefer to get more creative when you travel. On this panel we’ll be chatting about how to get to your destination without flying. I’m really looking forward to this one – it promises to be really interesting and is chaired by National Geographic Traveller’s Editorial Director, Maria Pieri.
Sunday 12.10 – 12.50 New to Cruise? English Mum Talks to the Experts
Of course you know that cruise travel is very dear to my heart, and I’m delighted to tell you that I’ll be chairing a panel to chat about everything to do with cruise holidays. So if you’re thinking of booking a family cruise holiday for the first time, why not come along, listen to us chat and maybe ask a question or two? My friends from Carnival Cruise Line will be there to answer any questions you may have too!
You can find a list of all the travel talks just here.
If you do fancy coming along to the Family Travel Show (there’s much more to see and do than just listening to me waffle), I’m delighted to say you can get two free tickets when you book in advance. Just quote ‘ENGLISHMUM’ when booking online at www.familytravelshow.com or when calling 0844 209 7360 (*£2.50 booking fee for postage and package applies Calls cost 10p per minute plus network extras.)
So yesterday I got dressed up and headed to London for the Cruise International Cruise Awards 2015. It’s one of the highlights of the year for the cruise industry and all the big players turn up to find out if they’ve won a gong! I wore my hush stripy Jessica dress with a denim jacket and a Zara scarf, and made myself laugh by sticking my heels in my handbag and putting on my trainers for the commute:
It’s been a busy few weeks! I’m in Barbados at the moment, and before that, after heading down to Kent and spending some time at the lovely Goudhurst Inn, we were in Dover for a wander around the refurbished (re-imagineered in Disney speak) Disney Magic. The Disney Magic is the original (and best, in my opinion) Disney ship. It was Disney Cruise Line’s first ever vessel, and it’s regarded very fondly by Disney cast members and fans everywhere.
A little while ago I was lucky enough to be sent on assignment by Cruise International to take a cruise on what’s been billed as the ‘best cruise ship in the world’, Hapag Lloyd’s Europa 2.
Regular readers will know that I’m a massive fan of Three, not least for their ‘Feel at Home’, which means you can use your normal minutes and data while you’re abroad (it now covers Australia, Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Macau, New Zealand, Norway, Republic of Ireland, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland the the USA) – it’s a must for a social media nut like me. Just before we headed out to Texas and then on to our cruise around the Caribbean, and knowing that I’d be around water and beaches (dangerous), wanting to upload #holidayspam to my accounts, I ordered a waterproof case for my iPhone6. The LifeProof FRE iPhone 6 case is a hard case with a grippy rubber edge that completely encloses the phone and claims to make it completely waterproof.
So, Grandad English has a biiiiig birthday coming up. I won’t mention it otherwise I might get one of his customary ALL IN CAPITALS emails (he’s a regular reader). Thoughts have naturally turned to an epic pressie to celebrate the big day – maybe a joint one between us all. And of course, being me, the first thing I thought of was that old thing about life experiences and not things – snapshots, not stuff.
So last week I was lucky enough to be invited to the gala celebrations on board P & O Cruises’ gorgeous new flagship, the £500 million super-liner, Britannia. The ship is breathtaking. From the Union Flag on her bow, to the stunning three floor atrium featuring the most incredible chandelier you’ve ever seen, she’s a modern miracle.
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