From the Solent to South Queensferry and beyond…

Hello!

Apologies for not writing a blog post for so long, but without going anywhere I’ve not had an awful lot to say that wouldn’t be either re-writing press releases or re-hashing previous content, which in all fairness has no value to me as I like to be original.

I had the day off on Friday 5th February, but, with working from home for coming up to 12 months it felt no different to a normal working day except for not having to join Teams calls and using my own laptop and looking at personal messages and emails rather than work tasks. Don’t get me wrong, my employer have been so fabulous throughout the pandemic, and even though I was fine to carry on working through the couple of weeks where I was grounded due to the virus, but work insisted on self-care and taking time-out, but I’m sure that it’s still March 2020 when effectively the clock stopped!

Thankfully, we both recovered from Covid swiftly, only long-term effect is that I can smell cigarette smoke everywhere! Still, very thankful for the amazing NHS and their work throughout this. Our sincere condolences go out to anyone who has lost loved ones due to this awful virus.

Anyway, back to the topic in hand. With my time off from work, I couldn’t stop thinking about cruising! I woke up in the morning and fancied Eggs Benedict in the MDR with a glass of Champagne. Alas! Rice Krispies with an espresso was the order of the day. Heading  up for a bath, I remembered in one of my travel bags I had a tube of “Med by MSC” – that gorgeous scent that fills the air of the line’s ships.

That was it. Cruise wouldn’t get out of my mind for the rest of the day!

Playing devil’s advocate and thinking about a hypothetical situation that if come Spring, given the UK’s rapid vaccination rate, MSC’s proven track record of resuming cruising with no issues due to their stringent covid-safe protocol and having a cruise booked for Mid-May I posed the hypothetical question of “If, to get cruising again, your cruise could only visit UK ports, where would you like to go?” I based the main poll options on the ports that are big enough to accommodate today’s mega ships, such as the beautiful MSC Bellissima which was named in Southampton in 2019 – you can read more about that https://timthorpetravel.com/2019/03/03/when-a-dream-becomes-reality/

I posed this question in several groups, including our main MSC Cruises UK group, MSC Magnifica group, Cruise Friends News and Chat which is a general cruise forum, but with a large number of P&O cruisers, and also in Cruise News, which was formerly a forum for the now defunct Cruise and Maritime Voyages. Over 1600 votes were cast across the various groups

Map of UK ports from uk-ports.org

The results of the survey are interesting but also consistent, so should the UK government give cruising the go-ahead whilst the borders of other countries restrict travel, I think there are some decent possibilities for the cruise lines to consider.

If we then break this down in to the individual groups, again the responses are consistent

Many other ports that are the gateway to beautiful locations were mentioned but they may not be able to handle the larger ships.

Popular among those surveyed were:

  • Newcastle
  • Kirkwall
  • Stornoway
  • Douglas (Isle of Man)
  • Bristol
  • Hull
  • Fort William
  • Lerwick
  • Isles of Scilly

To prove us cruisers have a great sense of humour despite the pandemic and not being onboard ships for most of a year, suggestions also included Craggy Island, the fictional home of Father Ted, Wolverhampton – not sure how a cruise ship would make it up “the cut” (that’s the affectionate West Midlands name for canal) as well as Derwent Water.

What was also really interesting was the feedback from the survey respondents, both positive and negative. Whilst many people would be happy with a “cruise to nowhere” it isn’t a given, and there is a small contingent of people who would not be happy with a UK cruise, either for example if they want the sun, which isn’t guaranteed by any means, they feel they’ve had enough of staying in the UK after the disaster that was 2020 or they’re just not interested in UK cruising.

Some of the key comments that I found interesting were:

Who knows whether this will actually happen. It’s been proven that cruises can operate in a Covid-safe way with MSC and Costa resuming operations in Europe. Either way, let’s look forward to the future. GET ME ON A SHIP ASAP!!

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