=========================           PICTURE TAKEN JUST AFTER MY 82nd BIRTHDAY    == ==========================

News Items Edited and sometimes updated daily ! 

For those of you who may not know me I was with both P & O and Princess Cruises for about 36 years, while the company was British owned.  I was taught to type while working in the bureau on the ss Strathden in 1951 as a bell boy and went on to be a writer at 17.5 years old where I did crew wages !  I then worked in different departments on various P & O ships and was even taught how to polish ' Wing Collars ' while on the ' ss Strathaid ' in January 1954 !  I went on to be  Head Waiter on the ss Strathmore in 1961, at only 26 years old,  and doing a job where most of the others were in their 50's !   I also qualified with the Hotel & Catering Industry Training Board as a registered trainer of all hotel staff in 1975 having passed their examination after working in various London hotels on a three weeks course which was paid for by P & O  !  

I have been both a RAOB Lodge Secretary and Auditor and also hold a Health & Safety qualification in connection with a business I started ashore in 1993 which was a  commercial decorating business and from which I completely retired in March 2014  although I still owned 49% of the shares which were issued until the limited company, which I had financed, closed in January 2016 ! 

I was educated at Luton Grammar School, and had also been in the Luton ' T.S. Keyes ' Sea Cadet unit which won the award for the best unit in the UK while I was there and also operated the Midland Area boat station on the ' Luton Hoo ' estate ! After failing the medical to get in the Royal Navy as an officer/cadet, and go to Dartmouth, with the help of my godfather, who was the Managing Director of the J & H Harrison Line shipping company of Liverpool,   I joined P & O as a Bell Boy and the rest is now history although some may still wonder how I was able to move one of my assistants with me three times !  lol

 After nearly 65 years of working I like to think I am at last retired although my home is a two bedroom bungalow with a fairly large garden so there is plenty to look after health permitting as I live on my own. I was not well last year and had what was thought to be a slight stroke and also found to have a very high blood pressure of 207/120, which after collapsing put me in a wheel chair for about six months and had also affected my left leg but after private physio I am back driving and also walking again but sometimes still need to use a support crutch !  

I was told it could have been fatal ! lol 

There had been a few problems with posting on this website which appear to happen if someone calls me on Skype while I am posting here. I do like to chat with friends so if you call and get ignored it will only be while I save what I am posting ! 

My friends on Skype include people in the following countries - USA, Nepal, Malaya, Australia, New Zealand and  UK ! 

Any news items for this website can be emailed direct to me at ' neil.whitmore@ntlworld.com ' The site contains a lot of unusual and interesting cruising, travel and other news every week, which you often will not find on another website, although I do know some people copy my shipping news items and pictures ! lol 

I also post cruise, travel and other news items on the very popular large American owned travel and cruising news website ' http://www.cruisingtalk.com ' , which has a forum for members to post or comment, and where with the previous owners I was their UK Manager for about six years . This site is free to join !

 I have now been posting on various travel websites for about 19 years as have been on line since 1995 when the UK company NTL put cables in the road at my old address ! They are now part of the Virgin goup although I still have an NTL email address.

If anyone wishes to chat on Skype you will need to search for me or send me a message as my new Skype site is not linked to Face book !



19.07.2017 - Picture of the American Cruise Ferries ship ' Carribean Fantasy ' which was built in Japan in 1998 and is 27,362 grt.  She could carry 1,100 passengers and also up to 70 vehicles which were mainly loaded through her stern door although she had been fitted with a side opening door near her bow on the starboard  side .

Having previously operated in Greek waters it was planned for her to operate a service between Miami and Havana but last year she suffered a fire while off San Juan.

Having been anchored off the port since the fire it has now been announced that she is to be sold to a ship breaker.

19.07.2017 - Deluxe French cruising company ' Ponant Cruises ' have announced the order for four new cruise ships from a Norwegian shipyard at US $ 110 million for each cruise ship  which will increase their fleet to nine ships by 2020 !

The company is to open new offices in Australia and intends to cater more for  English speaking customers  with new destinations which will include cruises to unvisited islands in the Indian Ocean and also the smaller ports in New Zealand.

The new cruise ships are expected to carry about 180 passengers.


18.07.2017 - Updated news from Goa is that the owners of the stranded casino ship ' Lucky 7 ' have been ordered to have 12,000 lts of fuel removed from the ship so she can be refloated and to return to Mormugao as it is considered unsafe to more her on the Mandovi River at present ! 

This casino ship went aground on a sandbank on  Saturday night while moving to a new anchorage on the river . 

Three seasick crew members and one injured seaman were removed from the ship by a coast guard  helicopter ( see Picture below )  ! 12 crew and her Captain remained on board.

18.07.2017 - Picture of the 1976 Yugoslvian built 4,376 grt.,  132 passenger cruise ship ' Ocean Adventurer' which has just visited a Norwegian shipyard where she has been fitted with new engines and other work carried out including the addition of some more passenger cabins.  With her ice strengthed hull she is due to be operated in the Arctic region during 2017 by her owners Quark Expeditions.


17.07.2017 - Disney Cruises have announced the order of two more 135,000 grt cruise ships which will have 1,250 state rooms and be powered by LNG ! 

Their new cruise ships orders now is for one ship in 2021,  2022, and  2023  all of which are expected to be about the same size !


15.07.2017 - Picture of the Faroe Islands port of Torshavn where it has been announced that a new berthing area are being built which will have a length of 900 mtrs with a depth of between 15 and 30 mtrs. 

New tugs have already been added to the harbour fleet, to assist with berthing,  and it is expected the new berthing area  will be finished for the 2019 cruising season.

It is thought to be unlikely that this port will be subject to the new air polution regulations which are to be introduced at ports in Norway  in 2019 !

15.07.2017 - Pictures  of the refurbished areas on the P & O Australian cruises ship ' Pacific Explorer ' which had been one of the oldest cruise ships in the Princess Cruises fleet and previously sailing in Australian waters as the ' Dawn Princess ' !

Work was carried out by the UK Southampton based company ' Trim Line' which has carried out work on the P & O cruise ships for many years !  


15.07.2017 - Picture from Canada of the 2002 built 43,188 grt deluxe apartment ship ' The World '  which arrived on Thursday at the Vancouver island port of Nanaimo for a two day visit. Apartments are sometimes available for rent on this deluxe ship.


14.07.2017 - Picture of the 1963 built 430 grt ' Variety Cruises ' ship ' Callis to ' which was due to operate a series of cruises from Iceland in 2017.

It has been reported that while refueling in the Panama Canal area, with just crew on board,  damage was done to her stabilizers resulting in the Iceland cruises being cancelled.

Passengers will receive a full refund plus 25% off another cruise booking and also some credit to use on their next cruise with the company.

14.07.2017 Parts being delivered to a Croation shipyard for the building of the  deluxe Scenic Cruises ship ' Eclipse ' . 

This six star deluxe cruise ship will be 16,500 grt and carry 228 passengers with a similar number of crew  !

She is due to enter service in 2018 . Artists picture below -

14.07.2017 - The UK west coast city port of Liverpool, which is one of the oldest passenger ship ports in the UK,  having been in use since 1715,  have announced that their new cruise ship terminal which can berth the largest cruise ships in service,  will be built on the waterfront area about 300 mtrs north of the present berth used by cruise ships.

 Cruise ships staying overnight at the new cruise ship teminal will be offered a 50% discount on the usual port fees ! 

Picture shows the three ' Cunard Queens ' recently on the River Mersey at Liverpool from where the Cunard ships were first operated in 1839 by the Canadian Samual Cunard !


14.07.2017 - Pictures of the  construction of the ' Symphony of the Seas ' which is due to enter service in 2020 and when finished will be the largest cruise ship in the world at 227,625 grt.  She will carry 5,400 passengers !

14.07.2017 Picture of the classic chartered 1981 built 33,930 grt Thomson Cruises ship ' Thomson Spirit ' which it has been announced will remain with the fleet for 2018. Her owners are still shown as HAL ! 


13.07.2017 - Planning a UK holiday in 2017 then always consider the UK east coast holiday resort of Great Yarmouth which still has parts of the roman walls remaining !

 Picture above shows the old buildings along the North Quay area of the river, which flows into the Norfolk Broads, and where there are many motor cruisers  for hire by the day or week around the broads area ! 

In Septermber the free to attend annual Maritime Festival is staged with many sailing and other clasic ships attending with manyof them open to the public. The event this year is on the weekend of the 9th & 10th September 2017.

Second picture shows the historic rebuilt 40 bedroom three star ' Star Hotel ' where Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson often  stayed, as he has connections with Norfolk. There is a statue to him near the Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach on the seafront area.

13.07.2017 - Picture of the ' Abou Merhi Cruises ' 1989 built 7,500 grt 330 passenger cruise ship ' Med Queen ' which is at present operating cruises from Beirut.

A programme of cruises is reported as being planned for the winter months.

This cruise ship was built as the ' Vistamar ' and has also sailed as ' Orient Queen ll '.


12.07.2017 - Pictures of a rather large lorry that tried to board a cross Norwegian fjord ferry only for the driver to find he could not get completely on the ferry and resulted in a three hour delay to the service while things were sorted !  lol

12.07.2017 - Norway has announced that new air pollution and emission regulations will be introduced from 2019  which could affect some of the older cruise ships which are at present cruising in the fjords !

Norwegian officials have said that this could  reduce the number of cruise ships visiting the fjords by up to 50 % compared with the number and age of cruise ships visiting the fjords this year !

How local companies catering for tourists during the main cruising season will survive remains to be seen !

12.07.2017 - Shipyard artists picture of the new Brittany Ferry which has been ordered for operation on their services from the UK. 

This £ 175 million ferry which is to be named ' Honfleur ' will have LNG electric propulsion, be 42,400 grt and carry up to 1,680 passengers with 257 cabins available and the companies other usual facilities !

She is designed to operate at  22 knots and due to enter service in June 2019 ! 

With P & O Ferries updating some of their older ferries is all this being done for the restart of the ' Booze Cruises ' once we leave the EU !  lol

12.07.2017 - Several nautical websites and trade publications have said that the  1965 built  CMV classic  cruise ship ' Marco Polo '  could soon be withdrawn from service ! 

The latest Cruise & Maritime Voyages brochure does show she as being withdrawn from service around the end of November 2017 but she is then listed as sailing again at the end of March 2018 so it looks as if she could be heading for a major four month refit which could include new engines as happened when the original Princess Cruises cruise ship ' Royal Princess '  was refitted.  

Her original conversion from an Atlantic service liner to  a 22,080 grt cruise ship for ' Orient Line ' was carried out in Greece in 1990 and included her original engines then being replaced with new diesel engines so  it will be interesting to see what is going to happen to this classic cruise ship which has a very loyal following and is now Greek owned !




12.07.2017 - Local webcam picture from the scenic Norwegian port of Eidfjord shows the magnificent new flag ship of Cruises & Maritime Voyages fleet of classic cruise ships, the 63,786 grt ' Columbus ', visiting the port today where she arrived about 06.30 hours for a 12 hour visit. Temperatures today are shown as 13 c with the chance of a shower.

Update - 12.07 .2017 - Having been reported as sold to Mexican interests after the financial failure of the ' All Leisure Group ', in January 2017, and large sums being reported as owed for fuel and dockyard work, the new name for this ship is - ' VIDANTA ALEGRIA '. New pictures in show she still remains at the Singapore Sembawang shipyard today which could mean there is a prevention of movement order on the ship and it has been seized for non payment of outstanding money owed to the ship yard and also the reported supply of fuel !

11.07.2017 - Saga Cruises have announced that their smallest cruise ship, the 1981 german built 18,627 grt ' Saga Pearl II ' will be withdrawn from service in 2019 when their newly built cruise ship enters service. This cruise ship was built in Germany for the UK to South Africa service of ' Safmarine ' but after about four years in service it was decided to order a slightly larger and more powerful ship from the original builders yard to replace her. The replacement ship was the 1986 built 21,000 grt ' Astor ' which now sails under the same name with CMV Cruises ! With the Saga Cruises ship now being 36 years old it is thought she might go to a different company or be broken up as has happened to most of the Saga Cruises ships when withdrawn from service and often needing a lot of work to keep them in service !

11.07.2017 - It has been announced that the 46,052 grt classic cruise ship ' Magellan ' ,which is operated by CMV, will be cruising in the Caribbean, through the Panama Canal and also from Acapulco to Cabo San Lucas during the european winter 2018/2019 ! At the naming event held on their new CMV classic flag ship ' Columbus ', on Thursday, which previously has sailed with P & O UK and was owned by the American Carnival group, it was said they are still in the market to buy more cruise ships ! Also in the Caribbean for the winter of 2018/2019 will be the oldest ship in the american owned UK P & O Cruises fleet the 69,840 grt ' mv Oriana ' which has been advertised on an American ship brokers website as for sale ! .

11.07.2017 - Picture of the new Russian cruise ship ' Knyaz Vladimir ' arriving at the Black Sea port of Sochi. The cruise ship will be remembered as the P & O Group Southern Ferries ship ' Eagle ' which was built in France and entered service in 1971 operating between the UK and Lisbon . She was sold and converted into a cruise ship in the 1990's and in recent years had been operated by Mano Cruises of Israel as the ' Royal Iris '. Early last year she was withdrawn from service and having been refitted at the Greek shipyard atb Chalkis was reported as sold to the new Russian company for US $ 11 million who are operating her  on Black Sea cruises from Sochi .!

10.07.2017 - Artists picture of the new Japanese ' Peace Boat ' which is to be ordered from the Artech shipyard in Helsinki ! Her tonnage is given as 60,000 grt and she is to carry about 2,000 passengers. She is to be the ' greenest ' cruise ship ever built and will be powerd by LNG but looks as if she will also have fixed sails which the Japanese have experienced with on cargo ships ! She will replace the present 1981 built Peace Ship ' Ocean Dream ' which is about 35,265 grt and carries 1,422 passengers.

10.07.2017 - A B&B stay with a difference is on the 1899 built Dutch owned sailing ship ' Albatros ' which is moored in the Norfolk harbour at Wells Next the Sea after having in the past been used to carry soya meal between Europe and Wells . The present owner captain now operates his ship as a dutch style restaurant with pancakes a speciality on the menu. B&B is available on board in what was the crew cabins with the Captains cabin, which is fitted with a double bed, available from about £ 70.00p a night down to £ 45.00p a night in a double bunk ex crew cabin ! ( Some cabins do take more than two people ). Musical theme nights are held on board in the bar area, which is open to the public, with more details of weekly events on the ship's website where B&B cabin bookings can also be made. Second picture shows the bar and restaurant area, which are built into the ships hold area, plus there is extra seating available on deck. The ship has a 5 star hygene rating by the local authorities and is also CAMRA real ales registered ! Washing and shower facilites where fitted in the original crew cabins are said to be a little primitive with the hot water supply not very reliable . This ship visited a dry-dock in Yarmouth last year for a full hull survey etc and offers the chance to stay on a sailing ship which is over 100 years old but don't expect five star accommodation ! lol

20.06.2017 - Old newspaper report from 1881 when my Great Grandfather operated the ' Red Lion Pub ' in the Hertfordshite village of Breachwood Green and also Colemans Farm where he bred shire horses, and similar breeds, for working on farms.

The pub, which has a very good local reputation,   is now run by two lads and still trading and the old farm is now run by the son of the person who had taken over after my Grandfather retired and moved to a farm at Gosmore which had been left to my Grandmother by her father

I was at Colemans Farm last Saturday afternoon after visiting the family churchyard at Kings Walden where we have four generations buried and where originally the pews were gated with the family name on the gate and in those days used every Sunday by my then family who would walk about two miles across the bridle  paths what ever the weather !

  • 11.06.2017 - Hanging basket at the front of my bungalow - Mind your head if visiting. Having a sense of humour I have a red solar light hanging in the middle of the basket chains and just above the plants ! I tell anyone who asks why - It keeps the plants warm at night time ! lol I also have a house number lantern on the front verandah which has 12 volt LED lights inside !

10.06.2017 - The two hanging baskets in my rear garden with the short flag pole flying an 18" long by 12 " wide Red Ensign which can be lighted at night with a 9" strip of 12 volt powered white LED lights along the cord edge of the flag !

 I also have a number of 12 volt powered LED lights around the rear garden which are brighter, cheap to run, and last far better than most solar garden lights. Want to know how to do this just ask !

Picture from the brochure of ' Jersey Plants Direct ' showing the size of the Jumbo plants they say they sell ! Be warned ! My 24 Jumbo Size Geranium plants, which had cost £ 12.99p, arrived in a small tray which was about 12" by 8" and packed into a cardboard box ! They had dried out and tipped out their tray ! It took me nearly three weeks after the first plants had arrived to get a refund and arranged for replacemnt plants but only after I had contacted Jersey Trading Standards on line ! Buy your bedding plants from the local supermarkets or garden centre and there you can see the actual plants you are buying ! I had used this company for over 10 years but never again !