Thursday, May 15

News item: Cunard’s latest luxury liner, the Queen Victoria, has crashed while docking in the port of Valletta, Malta.
The hit caused a hole to form in the stern of the £300m British ship, which was named by the Duchess of Cornwall.Luckily, none of the 1,887 passengers onboard were injured in the crash.

"The ship touched the quay as she was berthing and sustained some damage which is now being assessed," said Cunard president Carol Marlow.
The Queen Victoria was launched in Southampton last December, but, during the traditional naming ceremony, the champagne bottle used failed to break against the ship, regarded in maritime circles as bad luck. Cunard have stated the damage was being assessed and that repairs were under way and should be completed during the night. "This will necessitate the cancellation of the call at La Goulette in Tunisia which the ship was due to visit tomorrow but its expected call to Gibraltar on the 17th May will go ahead as planned" "Cunard will be compensating guests for the disruption to their voyage," a spokesman said.

Queen Victoria will eventually replace the 40-year-old QE2, which is being decommissioned and turned into a floating hotel in Dubai from 2009.

Tuesday, May 13

Monarch of the Seas experience

Just a brief review of my findings on board Royal Caribbean's oldest (i think) ship, Monarch of the Seas. In true RC style, the food and the service were excellent. The ship itself was the smallest i had ever sailed on so i did find it quite claustrophobic. It still had a beautiful centrum which looked as though it had been refurbished fairly recently but I really did feel the lack of facilities. There were no Portofino or Chops Grille restaurants on board so we found we could only either eat in main dining room or the Windjammer. There was also a Jade Sushi on board but that's not really my bag, it was always empty so i guess we weren't the only ones to feel like that.

We had an inside cabin on deck 2 which always smelt of sewage. They must be having problems with their plumbing as many guests including us, had gurgling from their drains accompanied by a foul sewage smell. They cleaned out our drains twice in 2 days as it got so bad. I had asked to be moved to another cabin but i was told the ship was full. I'll be honest, it didn't ruin our holiday one bit, the shows on board were great and we stopped at some fabulous ports.. San Diego, Catalina Island and Ensenada in Mexico.

I also can't moan because I believe you get what you pay for...I only paid £120 each for the 4 days (cruise only) so even after all that, it was still good value. Thanks Royal Caribbean but I shall definitely choose a Freedom Class ship for my next holiday.