Hello Cruise Industry.

How did that come about? And how did it come about with – even today – most people not noticing? It’s a remarkable transformation.
Once upon a time, in the not too distant past, folk went on package holidays. Now they don’t. They go cruising instead. Well, the savvy ones do. A complete industry has withered on the vine and a new one has sprung up in its place.
Cruising is flourishing to an amazing degree. New ships are being built hand over fist, immense craft, twice the size and more, of aircraft carriers! And they’re luxurious to an amazing degree. Why has this huge change taken place? Why is cruising so supremely successful? The answer lies in one word, value! Astonishing, unmatchable, jaw-dropping value.
Consider this. We recently took a seven night European cruise and stay holiday. We flew from London Heathrow to Lisbon, had three nights in a hotel in that beautiful city, then sailed on a four night mini cruise to Dover, calling at Vigo and La Coruna in Spain. The price was bonkers, from £369 per person, including the outward flight! Without the stay in Lisbon the cruise part was only from £249! Crazy money! By the way, the qualification ‘from’ is mobile strike cheats tool because you can opt for higher priced cabins. These short cruises, mini cruises as they’re called are available all over Europe, and not just from MSC cruises. And Lisbon, what a beautiful city. It’s the Barcelona of Portugal. Everywhere you look there are sights to delight the eye. click more details The mix of old and new architecture, jumbled as if at random with not a planner in sight, is just brilliant. It would give the Prince of Wales a definite pain in the carbuncles. The tiled buildings and distinctive ‘tiled’ pavements are unique.
Actually, our three-day ‘city-break’ brought home, not just the value of cruising, but the convenience. On a luxury cruise, everything’s taken care of for you. On a ‘city-break’ you have to do your own planning; where to go, what sights to see, where to lunch, where to dine? Cruising takes care of all that. In fact, by the time we’d paid for everything on land, we could almost have bought another cruise!
It was a brilliant holiday. The Lisbon weather was scorcho! but with a delicious breeze to keep you cool. The tourist buses were also great Check our website value at 11 euros – call it £11 – for two people for two days. We hopped on and off like rabbits, all over town.
At one corner the driver seemed to be struggling with the wheel. My good lady, ‘er indoors’, who can be a bit forward, said out loud: ‘Go on big boy, you can do it!’ The driver turned and said: ‘You behave yourself! I’m from London!’ Oops!
We don’t speak Portuguese and in one restaurant we doubted if we spoke English. On the menu a main course dish read: Squids and opossums, attacked in the butter, filet fish pig grilled in the plate on cooked vegetables, folloied of gravy of pequilos pimentos. I’ve no idea what it was, but it was delicious. I ate it with relish. I would have eaten it with ketchup, but I didn’t like to ask. I was worried what might appear.
Yet at that dinner, unlike on a cruise, once again we were dining alone, glaring lovingly at each other like we do every night of the year. One morning we visited the coolly beautiful Gulbenkian Museum of Modern Art. A famous British painter once described modern art as ‘pictures of people with three eyes and a halibut on their head’. Unfair of course, but we couldn’t help noticing lots of locals giving the paintings a miss and heading straight for the excellent food in the café.
Trams! You must ride the trams. Sit near the doors so you can watch the local urchins hitching a ride on the boarding step, clinging on by their fingertips. As for the trains, they’re cheap, cheerful, clean and punctual. We took one to Estoril, and then walked along the promenade to Cascais. It was gorgeous, scorcho! We paddled with ‘the bottoms of my trousers rolled’. Then lunch on a terrace overlooking the sea. And we hadn’t reached the cruise yet.
When we did, it couldn’t have been better. The Santa Apolónia Metro station is so close to the ship you walk up the escalator almost on to the gangplank.
MSC Opera was super, sparklingly clean, good food, roomy cabin and great company at our dinner table. We liked the ports of call too. Vigo was beautiful. We went for a wander and found ourselves in the Marco Contemporary Art Galley, near C&A – remember them? The sculpture installation was unlit and included wooden pallets and cables lying around. It was so post-modern we weren’t sure if the show was open. One doesn’t wish to disparage, but we could have done with a few more eyes and some extra halibuts!
At La Coruña we took the day tour to Santiago de Compostela. It was pricey, but included a four-course lunch with wine in the magnificent refectory. It was a pilgrimage we won’t forget. So back to Dover and a coach – included in the price – back to our waiting car at Heathrow. All this at a price, just to remind you, starting from £369 per person and booked through . That’s why, Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, cruising is so stonkingly popular!

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