Ideas, suggestions and recommendations that can help you choose from a more limited palette of options that we know — both from professional and personal experience.

Far from the madding crowd.

One of life’s great conundrums is that popular destinations only become popular in the first place because they have something to offer a lot of different people — whether that ‘something’ be atmosphere, friendliness, cheapness, accessibility, safety, culture or any number of other attributes. Destinations don’t become popular out of the blue or by accident; there is always a very definable reason for their popularity. The conundrum occurs when the very things that made the

There’s nothing like a good Seaview

One of the great perks of doing the job that I do is that, periodically, I get the opportunity to test-drive some amazing new hardware. Last weekend was just such an occasion when I had the pleasure to experience MSC’s latest super ship — Seaview — in Genoa. It’s not the largest cruise ship in the world (it’s 14th actually), but it is very cleverly designed and exhibits the usual Italian flair for style, elegance

Are you a tourist or a traveller?

There are numerous references online as to what differentiates a tourist from a traveller and one of the best that I’ve come across is the one that states, ‘One blends in whereas the other sticks out!’ Does that describe you? Do you like to stick within your comfort zone or do you occasionally venture outside it? Do you try to immerse yourself in a local culture or are you happy to remain aloof from it

Some of the most beautiful destinations are on our doorstep.

It has almost become a cliché for Irish people to bemoan the fact that but for the bad weather that we constantly experience here, we would probably never set foot outside our own country — such is the beauty that can be found in our little piece of rain-sodden paradise. Whilst I am one of the people who partially subscribe to that theory, the fact is that there are simply some things that our neighbours

Georgian on my mind

The city of Bath has always been one of those places that I wanted to visit but just never got around to. Part of the problem was its proximity in that I repeatedly rationalized that I would get to it one day but in the meantime, it made more sense to explore the furthest corners of the planet while I still had the stamina to do it. Anyway, I eventually managed to get to Bath

When travelling by sea makes sense

You can trace the loss of popularity of ferries with the rise of low-cost carriers and the deregulation of the market back in 1997. Since then, most people travelling abroad and much of the growth has been in the aviation sector. In recent years however, air has begun to lose some of its attraction, largely because of non-economic reasons. These too, ironically, can also be traced back to the 90’s — specifically 2001 when the

The thorny issue of visas

One of the many inconveniences that intrepid travelers must occasionally contend with, is that of obtaining visas to enter certain countries. Some countries — like the USA for example — make the process quite straight forward if you’re lucky enough to be part of their visa waiver programme known as ESTA as all you need to do is complete an online form and pay the relevant visa charge. Canada followed suit last year and Turkey

Does familiarity breed contempt?*

It is a phrase that we’re all well acquainted with and although strictly speaking it is supposed to refer to a person rather than a thing, it has become common practice in recent times to denote the lack of respect that we attribute to persons, places or things when they become so familiar to us that they become boring. A perfect example of this behavioral phenomenon is global tourism. You and I often travel at

Is Barcelona the perfect short break city destination?

I have been to Barcelona on four or five occasions over the past few years but each one was a flying visit — either joining a cruise ship departing the Catalan capital or disembarking from one! I was therefore determined to finally set aside two whole days so that I could take time to experience just some of what this Spanish jewel has to offer, and the destination didn’t disappoint. The term ‘short break’ has

The best cruise ship in the world

It’s very easy to become blasé in our industry as we have the privilege of getting invited aboard loads of new ship builds so we always see them in their newest and shiniest state when they have the cruise equivalent of that ‘new car’ smell and everything is just perfect. I recently had the immense pleasure of spending a couple of nights aboard Symphony of the Seas in Barcelona when Royal Caribbean’s latest mega ship

Do you know what travel agents do?

It’s not a trick question. Do you know what travel agents do on a day-to-day basis? Do they specialize in all modes of travel or just some? Do they confine themselves to specific geographical areas or do they cover the whole world? Do they focus on group or individual travel? Are all travel agents the same? Do they all know the same stuff? OK, that’s more than one question but you get my drift. (more…)

You say tomato, I say tomayto!

Just like food, wine, music, art and practically everything else that you can think of, people have very individual tastes when it comes to travel. Some people dream of being able to take an adult ‘Gap Year’ when they can put everything into storage; rent out the house (or sell it) and head off on their adventure of a lifetime. I fall into that other category — little and often. (more…)

The art of getting a quote that is both competitive in price and relevant to your needs starts with gathering all the right information about what you want to do (or think you want to do!).