--------------------- MY 82nd BIRTHDAY PICTURE ------------------

News Items Edited and sometimes Updated Daily ! -

For those of you who do not know me I was with P & O and Princess Cruises for about 35 years, while was while the company was British owned, and I also qualified with the Hotel & Catering Industry Training Board as a registered trainer of all staff in 1975 !

I also hold a Health & Safety qualification in connection with the previously jointly owned 1989 started shore based commercial decorating business from which I completely retired in March 2014 although I still owned nearly half the shares which were issued until the limited company finally closed in January 2016 !

I had been educated at Luton Grammar School, and 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 !

After failing the medical to get in the Royal Navy as an officer/cadet with the help of my godfather, who was the Managing Director of the J&H Harrison shipping company, I joined P & O as a Bell Boy and having worked in many of the hotel departments on the companies various ships I was running my first restaurant in 1961 on the ' ss Strathmore ' at only 26 years old ! Most of the others in that job then were in their 50's. I was even taught how to polish wing collars when on the ' ss Strathaird ' in 1954 ! 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 too well last year and had what was thought to be a slight stroke and also found to have a very blood pressure of 207/120, which put me in a wheel chair for about six months and affected my left side but after physio I am back driving and also walking again but sometimes need to use a support crutch !

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 hear from 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 the UK !

Any news items for this website can be emailed direct to me - 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 some 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 american owned website is free to join !

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THIS WEBSITE NOW STARTS WITH THE LATEST NEWS AT THE SUGGESTION OF MY OLD FRIEND FROM AUSTRALIA, ' RUEBEN GOOSSENS', WHO RUNS THE POPULAR ' ss MARITIME ' WEBSITE. I NOW HAVE THE ' COFFEE SHOP ' AT THE END WITH OTHER INTERESTING ITEMS !

28.05.2017 - Picture of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company 1998 built 12,747 grt roro ferry ' Ben My Chree ' which is again reported as having technical problems resulting in delays in the ferry service between the UK and the island which will no doubt upset peoples holiday plans.
Another ferry has been brought in to carry large containers to the island which does rely on food supplies from the UK mainland.
28.05.2017 - The first cruise after a major refurbishment and dry dock visit for the Cerlebrity Cruises 2002 built 90,280 grt cruise ship ' Constellation ' has not started due to technical problems and the ship has remained in Barcelona since Friday !
Some sea trials were conducted on Saturday but at 13.00 hrs today she still remained in port !

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27.05.2017 - Picture from Sri Lanka show one of the rivers which has flooded in the heavy monsoon rains.
To date 100 people are reported as missing and 91 are known to have died on the island.
27.05.2017 - It has been announced from the American port of New York that the management of the cruise ship terminals at Manhatten and Brooklyn is to be taken over by ' Ports American ' until 2029 !

$38.5 million is to be invested in improvements and changes will be made to the berths to accommodate the largets cruise ship in service.

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26.05.2017 - Picture of the 1949 UK Southampton built 735 grt preserved 600 passenger excusion ship ' mv Balmoral ' while on a cruise in the Solent area of the UK port of Southampton.

Her original car deck area was incorporated into the ship and is now a dining area.

It had been planned for her to operate some cruises on the UK west coast over the bank holiday weekend but due to a technical problem she has had to visit the Sharpness drydock and will not operating from the 26th to the 29th May 2017 ! More details can be found on the company ' www. White Funnel ' website , Those booked it is planned to contact. .

Pictures below of one of her officers cabins with the original fold up wash basin which is still usable ! !
26.05.2017 - Two pictures showing some of the refitting work which was carried out on the ex Royal Princess when she had her engines and generators replaced after joining the Phoenix Reisen fleet as ' Artania ' and which is expected to entend her life for about 20 plus years ! The last picture is of one of her deluxe suites.

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25.07.2017 - Local webcam picture from the Norwegian cruising port of Flam shows the magnificnet looking Phoenix Reisen 1984 built now 44,655 grt cruise ship ' Artania ' at the port today on a cooler and cloudy day where the temperature is expected to only reach about 12 c with showers !

This cruise ship will be remembered as being ordered by the then UK owned P & O group as the new cruise ship for their Princess Cruises fleet and was named ' Royal Princess ' .

John Young, who had previously been on the ' Sun Princess ', was her first Captain..

Since being sold she has been re-engined and also had new generaters fitted plus a lot of her internal pipe work has been replaced by her german owners with all the refurbishing work taking about six months. The layout of some parts of the passenger accommodation have also been altered and although the ship already had all out board cabins julian type balconies have been added to some of the cabins which did not have a balcony .
25.05.2017 - Picture of the new Canadian 8,690 grt dual fuel ferry ' Salish Roca ' which has suffered a computer failure so the bridge could not communicate with the engine room after only one week in service !

It is not known how long the ferry repairs will take !
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25.05.2017 - Picture of the Greek port of Piraeus where the Chinese management company , ' Cosco ' , have announced that four new cruise ships berths will be built with facilities.

These are to be on the south side of the harbour with new terminal facilites and will be able to berth ships up to 390 mtrs long which is suitable for most of the mega size cruise ships now in service !

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24.05.2017 - Local webcam picture from the Portugese island of Maderia last night shows the 8,378 grt Hapag Lloyd exploration cruise ship ' Hanseatic ' on an over night stay at the island port of Funchal.

This deluxe 6 Star cruise ship carries just 175 passengers with a crew of 125 which is reflected in their fares !
24.05.2017 -Two pictures today from the Norwegian cruising ports with the picture above coming from the bow cam on the Cunard liner ' Queen Elizabeth ' as she heads into the port of Olden and the lower picture from the web cam at the popular port of Flam shows the P & O Cruises mega ship ' Britannia ' smoking and poluting the clean local air !

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23.05.2017 - Picture of the new aft accommodation section being lowered on to the stern of the Cunard liner ' Queen Victoria ' during her latest refit. Lets hope there is no stability problems as happened when the stern of the P & O Cruise ship ' mv Oriana ' was altered and she then needed to be fitted with a big ' duck's tail '.

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22.05.2017 - Picture of the stormy weather off of the port of Dubai last week which preventrd three cruise ships from docking due to the high winds including the pictured Princess Cruises ship.

Due to the large amounts of sand being blown about one MSC Cruises ship, which was in port, only operated local city tours which the passengers were said to have enjoyed..
22.05.2017 - After over a month off of Port Said, and cruising about in the area, the re-registered ' Ocean Gala 1 ', which will be remembered as the Thomson ' Island Cruises ' cruise ship ' Island Escape ' has now passed through the Suez Canal and arrived at the port of Dubai on the 12th May 2017 having originally been shown as heading to the Indian ship breakers yards at Alang.

She has been berthed near to the Emirates Aluminium Complex at Khalifa and it is possible that she could be used as an accommodation ship for workers with all the redevelopment along this coast including the new marina area at Port Rashid with the ex Cunard liner QE2 being berthed there as a hotel and tourist attraction !
Update - 22.05 .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 overnight show she still remains at the Singapore Sembawang shipyard !

Picture below from inside her shows that the advertising mirror from her previous owners still remains on board at present !

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21.05.2017 - Pictures from Mindelo, in the Cape Verde Islands, where three cranes were brought in to lift the local island service ferry ' Sowel ' which turned on to her side while being unloaded at the port in March 2017 and partly sunk blocking one of the harbour ferry ramps.

Due to the water ingress and superstructure damage, as seen in the picture below, it is thought she will be unlikely to return to service.
21.05.2017 - Although the 1968 built ' Louis Aura ' has been laid up at Piraeus since Cctober 2016, after her charter to a french company was finished and she was replaced by the Portuscale Cruises owned 1948 built ' Astoria ' , which is being sub chartered from Cruise & Maritime Voyage with whom she is on long term charter, she is cruising again although she had been offered for sale !
The Louis Aura has now been chartered to operate cruises on the Turkish market from Cesme to the greek islands between May and October 2017 but with all the new solas regulations this could be her last season of cruising.

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20.05.2017 - Pictures of the 1988 built 12,365 grt Indonisian ferry ' KM Mutiara Sentosa ' which has suffered an engine room fire on Friday morning with 44 crew and 143 passengers on board. Orders are reported as being given to abandon the ferry.

23.05.2017 - Latest news is that five people are now known to have died and 28 are still missing.
Many people on board are reported as being rescued by other ships in the area.
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20.05.2017 - Local webcam picture from the very popular Norwegian cruising port of Flam, where the temperature today is forecast to reach 18 c, shows the very well maintained 1965 built CMV ship ' Marco Polo ' visiting the port today.

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19.05.2017 - A ship with a difference with the pictures showing the airship ' Airlander 10 ' which is 292 ft long, about 80 feet high and can cruise at 90 mph and stay up for over five days depending on her speed etc.!

This airship was built at Cardington in the original airship hangers which are now about 100 years old and are about 17 miles from me.

After a recent first flight when a mooring type cord snagged a post, and resulted in a heavy landing with some damage to her cabin, the airship is now fitted with air bags to prevent a repeat of that accident and is on her test flights again..

She is fitted with four V8 diesel engines and is designed to carry passengers and cargo.
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18.05.2017 - Pictures from the West Indies shipyard at Marmagoa show the now indian owned cruise ship ' Qing ' and the local floating dry dock both of which have been neglected have now settled on the harbour floor and said to be leaking oil into the surrounding waters which could spread to the main holiday beaches around Vasco Bay in Goa.

When built the ' Qing ' operated deluxe cruises in the Caribbean, and also a passenger service, for Home Lines before being aquired by MSC Cruises and sailing as ' Melody '.
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18.05.2017 - Picture of the ex P&O Group Southern Ferries ship ' Eagle ' , which was converted into a cruise ship about 1990, and has recently been at a Greek shipyard in preperation for being introduced on cruises between the Black Sea ports of Sochi and Servastopol by her new Russian owners.

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16.05.2017 - Picture taken from across the canal at the Dutch port of Schiedam shows the new Cruise & Maritime Voyages 63,783 grt 1,400 passenger flag ship ' Columbus ' in the drydock at the Damen shipyard for the final refitting work to be carried out prior to her joining her new owners fleet of classic cruise ships.

Her first cruise is due to depart from the UK port of Tilbury on the 11th June 2017 after her naming event and quest receptions.
24.05.2017 - Updated picture added !
This cruise ship previously operated on the UK market as the P & O Cruises ' Arcadia ' but was aquired when she was nearly finished being built for ' Sitmar Cruises fleet ' which the then UK P&O company bought and amalagated with their Princess Cruises fleet.

Picture below shows her when operated for the UK owned Princess Cruises !

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15.05.2017 - Picture of the split casing on the gas cyclinder which recently exploded on the Princess Cruises ship ' Emerald Princess ' when it was being refilled.

The cylinder , which was about 10 years old and used on the lifeboat system, had only recently had a safety nspection but after the explosion it was found the case of the cylinder had corrosion which reduced the thickness of the case by about 75% !

A new system of inspecting these cyclinders is to be introduced although perthaps they should be replaced after a limited period of use if they could all be subject to this corrosion !

One 30 year old Filipino crew member died in the explosion and the company have said they will be looking after his family which includes two young children !
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15.05.2017 - If you fancy a UK cruise with a difference the ' Rock the Boat ' cruise has numerous quest artists on board with the line up head by ' Suzi Quatro ' !

Fares for this seven night cruise on the CMV Cruises magnificent classic cruise ship ' Magellan ' start from £ 549.00 and include a lot of extras !

Picture of the 46,052 grt ' Magellan ' below which carries about 1,250 passengers and can visit a lot of ports the new mega cruise ships can not visit due to their size !
15.05.2017 - For those of you who like visiting the UK and have previously stayed in London the above picture shows the 228 bedroom five star ' Luton Hoo Hotel ' which has a Spar and Golf Course and is set in about 1,000 acres of park land with two lakes but only 28 miles from the center of London. The house was built in 1763 by Robert Adam, for the 3rd Earl of Bute, and over the years has had additions added . The grounds were landscaped by Capabilty Brown and are maintained in the standards of a five star hotel. Prices for this ' Elite Group ' hotel are advertised as £ 189.00p for B&B but like many of the larger London hotels special offers are sometimes availableon oline ! The grounds of the hotel are about 1.5 miles from Junction 10 of the M 1 motorway and about 6 miles from St Albans, which was the Roman town of Verulamium and where many finds of the roman occupation of the area are to be seen. The last family to live in the house was that of Sir Harold Werner and part of our present Queen Elizabeth's honeymoon was spent as his guests.

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14.05 .2017 - Picture from the west chinese holiday resort of Sichuan shows work starting on the life size unsinkable replica of the 1914 built passenger ship ' Titanic ' which is being built as an attraction at the holiday resort !
14.05.2017 - 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

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11.05.2017 - Picture of the ex Cunard liner QE2 funnel which was removed when the ship was re-engined in Bremerhaven !

With no maintence crew on the ship for some time, since she arrive in Dubai on the 11th November 2008, there was reports of mildew growing around inside the ship but now some news on her future !

Plans have been announced to turn her into a floating hotel at a new marina at Port Rashid with workmen reported to already be on the ship which has had her lifeboats and davits removed.

Picture of the planned marina layout below -.
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11.05.2107 Picture of the ex P & O Australian cruise ship ' Pacific Sun ' which after being sold had in recent years been cruising on the Chinese market and renamed ' Henna ' .

Having been built for ' Carnival Cruises ' in 1986 this cruise ship is a year newer than the present CMV cruises classic cruise ship ' Magellan ' which has just completed a 120 night around the world winter cruise from the UK !

Having been renamed ' Hen ' for her final voyage from China she was driven ashore at 10.8 knots with the result she is well aground at the indian ship breaking beaches at Alang . RIP

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12.05.2017 - Picture of the 1969 built casino ship ' Leisure World ' which suffered a small engine room fire when returning to the Malaya port of Port Swettenham after an overnight cruise.

The ship was ordered to anchor some distance from the port and a ' Star Cruises ' ship at the port offered the use of their tenders to assist in landing passengers.

This classic cruise ship will be remembered as the original NCL cruise ship ' Skyward ' !

24.05.2017 Update - This cruise ship is now at the Sembawang shipyard so it looks as if some repair work is required after the fire.

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09.05.2017 - Pictures of some of the electric trams which have operated in the Portugese city of Lisbon since 1901.

Some routes had been closed over the recent years but the present city Mayor has said that he wants to re-open one of the closed routes as besides linking with some of the bus services they are also very popular with tourists.

At one time the network of trams in Lisbon was British owned !

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08.05.2017 - Pictures from the Portugese port of Lisbon show the laid up classic cruise ships the 1965 built ' Pinto ' and the 1961 built ' Funchal ' which are reported to have been viewed recently by the Turkish ship breakers.

As neither ship has been in service for the past two years if a sale is agreed they may need to be towed to Alaiga when the weather is suitable.

" COFFEE SHOP "

27.05.2017 - Picture of my rear lawn which was cut on Friday evening about 19.30 hrs after a hot day and the temperature reaching 25.5 c. I had also cut my two front lawns early in the morning while it was still cool !
20.05.2017 - If you live in the UK beware of ordering plants from ' Jersey Plants Direct ' as this is the tray of plants I received which were all tipped out their tray and bone dry when they arrived ! Picture taken two days after they arrived ! These are supposed to be Jumbo size plants as shown in the secomd picture from their brochure ! Before I was getting anywhere with my complaint I had to contact Jersey Trading Standards after which I got a refund and a new tray of plants over seven weeks after I had paid in advance for the original plants ! Be warned and buy from a local supermarket or garden centre where you can see what you are buying. I had used this company for about ten years but never again !
Picture from the brochure of ' Jersey Plants Direct ' showing the size of the plants they say they sell ! Be warned !