Spending Two Nights With Queen Elizabeth

Prince Philip need not worry. My wife Sue and I celebrated  our 13th wedding anniversary with a two night short break aboard the Cunard ship Queen Elizabeth. It is one of Cunard’s most recent and elegant ships with traditional accents.


Setting sail from Southampton we were reminded of our last Cunard cruise in 2009 when we crossed the Atlantic to the USA and Canada for a five month extended visit. That time we were accompanied by our labradoodle Coco. You can see her on board the Queen Mary in this short clip.

Our voyage this time took us eastwards to the port of Zeebrugge.

We took the courtesy shuttles to the Belgian seaside town of Blankenberge. There we found markets selling large sausages, cafes with green straw frogs and chocolate shops galore. There were shoe shops where multi coloured shoes seem to be the current fashion flavour. The seafront and beach was well tendered, lined with cafes and restaurants.

Blankenberge beach

Blankenberge beach

We were very tempted to explore more of this part of Europe. You can only see a little part of the coastal areas when on an ocean cruise, whereas on a coach tour you would see much more of the interior. A suitable tour might be Best of Holland Belgium and Luxembourg by Trafalgar Tours or Country Roads of Belgium Luxembourg & the Netherlands with Insight Vacations. On these tours you go to the heart of many towns as an overnight guest. A visit to the town of Bruges is included in coach tours, whereas as cruise ship guest may pay at least £80 per person for a guided day shore excursion.

The Britannia Restaurant on board Queen Elizabeth

The Britannia Restaurant on board Queen Elizabeth

Geoff and Sue Monk

Geoff and Sue Monk

If you would like to book a cruise aboard this or any other Cunard ship or of course a coach tour, please get in touch with us.

Another cruise ship in Southampton

Another cruise ship in Southampton – can you name it?

What to expect on a Viking River Cruise!

You’ve probably seen the Viking logo on numerous occasions when watching a T.V programme and so also probably wondered who on earth Viking River Cruises were. Well, they are one of the world’s most popular river cruise lines who can provide a wealth of information about their amazing river cruise tours!



Wouldn’t it be wonderful to know exactly what to expect on a Viking River Cruise!

To know what  the accommodation is like and what the view is like from the ship!

Even to know what type  of clothes you need to take!


Well, the video below might give you some idea, so take a look on board their amazing Longships:



The Viking Longships are revolutionary vessels setting innovative standards in style, space and comfort. With names inspired by the legendary Viking Gods, the Viking Longships represent a quantum leap in design, elegance and state-of-the-art engineering.

What’s more, a Viking river cruise is remarkable value for money with just about everything included in the price!



The reason I would choose a Viking River Cruise is because of their excellent quality, service and outstanding value for money. They also have a reputation that is second to none and are also the world’s most award winning river cruise line!!


Why river cruise with Viking

Spacious Accommodations

Every stateroom has an “outside” river view with a window or balcony for viewing scenery, and on every ship, most windows open to the fresh air. Experience the comfort of hotel-style beds with European linens and duvets, and satellite television with BBC, CNN and other programming.


Gourmet Cuisine

Enjoy sumptuous breakfasts and wonderful lunches and dinners with Viking. Created by European and well known chefs, our menus combine regional specialties with gourmet fare to delight the most discriminating palate. While meals are casual, open-seating affairs, the atmosphere is always elegant.


Expert Planning & Execution

When you travel with Viking, you can relax knowing that all the details of your experience, both on board and ashore, will be fun and interesting. Our knowledgeable Programme Directors, all Viking staff members, are completely devoted to ensuring that every trip you take with us exceeds your expectations.

Cultural Enrichment

On every Viking itinerary, our expert Programme Directors provide background, context and regional perspective. Demonstrations, lectures and workshops supplement on-shore exploration. And now, we take you to a wider range of destinations than ever before—which means more cultural traditions, cuisines and wines, games, music and dances to experience and enjoy. This adds up to a personalized, in-depth experience wherever you travel with Viking.

Consistently Excellent Service

Wherever we sail, you enjoy the same standard of service—because we manage it all: nautical, technical, catering, sightseeing and guides. With operational headquarters in Switzerland and offices in both Russia and China, we oversee these regional shipboard operations.


The World’s Most Award-Winning River Cruise Line

We have consistently placed high on competitive rankings like Condé Nast Traveler’s Gold List, Reader’s Choice and Best Small Ships awards; and Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best; we have also been honored by prestigious international organizations like the World Travel Awards. Meanwhile, travel agents have recognized us with awards including TravelAge West’s Best Line for River Cruising and Travel Weekly’s #1 River Cruise Line. And Viking is featured in National Geographic’s The 10 Best of Everything.


Embark on a Viking River cruise today!




Never thought of a river cruise as a fantastic getaway before?

Not ever occurred to you what a wonderful holiday may await you?

Well think again because there truly is not a comparison for what you get on a Viking River Cruise!

I should know because I’ve been there and done it, and boy was it an experience to treasure! Basically, with Viking  you can look forward to a journey filled with inspiring destinations, exceptional accommodation, fabulous food and superb service. 


Exceptional accommodation.

Fabulous food.

Superb service.

Also, included in the price are:

* Return flights from the UK.

*Deluxe en-suite accommodation with river view.

*All on board meals.

*Specially selected wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner.

*A wide range of guided tours to must-see attractions and World Heritage sites.

*Cultural enrichment programme for an in-depth understanding of the places you visit.

Amazing value!

What’s more, they are even offering an amazing £1,000 saving per person on their best-selling 2014 itineraries!


For example, if you went on the VIKING Grand European 15 day Tour  on the 28th June 2014 and had the French Balcony ( D ) room, the cost would be £3795 instead of the original £4795!

Another example would be the VIKING Elegant Elbe 10 day tour. If you went on their cheapest standard (D) room on the 3rd May 2014, the cost would only be £1995 instead of the original £2995!

A truly fantastic price for an absolute wonderful experience for sure. But please do hurry as these river cruises do sell out fast and you don’t want to miss out on these amazing offers!

Book through River Cruise Tours as soon as possible and start dreaming…………….

Travel your way with Cosmos Tours!

Using a great tour company is like hopping on a magic carpet: They take care of all the bothersome details while the traveller experiences a series of wonderful adventures in distant lands. Cosmos Tours is that magic carpet offering the four corners of the globe in well-planned holidays filled with world-renowned sites.
For those seeking the wonders of nature, Cosmos has tours of the vast fjords in Oslo, the Alps of Switzerland or Mount Vesuvius. The relaxed charm of the Old World lifestyle can still be found in their tours of Portugal, Greece or Madrid while others may prefer New York or Las Vegas. There is something for all tastes here.
At Cosmos, tours are suitable for all ages from 8 years to senior citizens. Multi-generational travel is now very popular. Families share an experience together. Parents, their children and grandparents alike. Travellers with Cosmos will find themselves in a group of people with whom they can feel comfortable, the first requirement for having fun.
Instead of rushing through a blur of destinations as quickly as possible, travellers can take more leisurely tours. Coach or rail tours are available in many popular locations, allowing travellers to enjoy the landscape flowing by. This is travel as it should be.
Every coach tour is carefully planned to give maximum enjoyment without worry or inconvenience. The planners at Cosmos know what travellers love, and they are experts in supplying it. To see the world your way, see Global Coach Tours, and book that magic carpet today!

Taking Our Dog Coco Aboard QM2 to New York and Beyond

In June 2009  Geoff, Sue & Coco the dog started planning some epic holidays to America – the USA and Canada.

We considered coach tours USA as we sell coach tours for a living, but Coco would not have been able to come with us, plus we wanted to stay a lot longer than a normal holiday to the USA and Canada.  After researching air travel and reading about the trauma that some animals can experience on a long haul flight, we tried to imagine Coco all alone in a cage for 10 hours in a scary cargo hold. We couldn’t bare to think of it, so we booked the Queen Mary (QM2) from Southampton to New York.  Not only did it work out less in total for the three of us, but we all had six days of luxury pampering.

Coco in the snow

Coco in the snow

Watch the Video on YouTube

Coco was very well treated on board and although dogs cannot stay overnight with the owners in their cabins, we get to visit them in their kennels for several hours a day. There is a Kennel Master on every cruise who tucks them in and gives them whatever food you specify. Cats are welcomed too! There’s even freshly baked dog biscuits made every day.

Holidays in America for us British usually mean a long wait in customs and immigration on arrival, but with Coco we sailed through with a smile on arrival at the Brooklyn cruise terminal.  We had more trouble getting a taxi that would accept Coco than we expected, but at last we found one that would take us to the nearest Avis car rental which we had pre-booked.

Soon we were driving through Times Square and down 5th Avenue just to see the lights and grab some New York spirit. It would have been amazing to stay a while, but we had planned to save New York for the way back and we had a lot of driving ahead of us. Syracuse, Toronto then 3000 miles across Canada to Canmore near Banff in the Rockies. But that’s another story.

Enjoy a few more pictures of Coco on board the QM2

Queen Mary dogs will do anything for a biscuit

Queen Mary dogs will do anything for a biscuit

Queen Mary dogs

Getting ready to disem-bark!

Queen Mary dogs

The outdoor area for dogs is quite small but biscuits keep them entertained

Dogs can travel on the Queen Mary

Brooklyn Cruise Terminal. It’s harder to get a taxi if you have a dog!


We went with Coco to the USA and Canada for five months from June to November 2009. If you have any questions about this trip or even if you want to book this cruise too, please get in touch or leave a comment below