Friday, 3 June 2011

Grand Holiday

Some images from a short weekend trip on Iberojet's cruise ship Grand Holiday - the former Carnival Cruise Lines' flagship Holiday, built by Aalborg Vaerft in 1984 and - in her day - the biggest 'fun ship' in the world:


Dinner in Barcelona ahead of the cruise:

My hotel was of the boutique variety and - tastefully - decorated with a photo mural on the bedroom wall depicting the beautiful SS Oceanic.

'Belle Epoque' Barcelona:

Some Barcelona shop signs:

Miro ceramic mural:

My cabin on Grand Holiday - very spacious:

P&O's Ventura draws past:
Balearia's Martin-I-Soler arrives from Ibiza:
On an Iberoceros vessel, one gets to experience Spanish mass culture in the raw. Here, the main entertainment in the ballroom is bingo, played in a fug of cigarette smoke:

When new, the Holiday was among the first cruise ships with a tiered show lounge, a la Las Vegas. The space remains largely intact on Grand Holiday:
Me in the Disco Ibiza. Not sure where that smoke is coming from, though.

Our first port of call is Toulon, France's equivalent of Plymouth, both in terms of being a naval town and in terms of its post-war architectural style. Here's an intriguing piece of pastel-shaded Riviera brutalism:

Grand Holiday in Toulon:
A most fantastic 1950s lido with wavy roof canopies and funky patterns of tiling:

Mega Express Five of Corsica Ferries and Grand Holiday, viewed from atop a block of flats:

French versions of 'Festival of Britain' detailing on a housing scheme of the early-1950s:

Grand Holiday in Toulon:

The Hotel de Ville:

A 1930s streamlined branch of Galleries Lafayette:

Memorial to a brave and honourable man: Toulon suffered terribly during World War 2:

A surviving nineteenth century fragment:

Some Toulon shop signs:

View down the high street on market day:

A few more shop signs:

Constructivist football stadium:

Yellow, white and blue ferry and cruise terminal hall:

Back aboard Grand Holiday:
Lido buffet decorations - the kinds of item one finds regularly on cruise ships:
The dramatic funnel looms in a fog bank:

A young couple get married in the Disco Ibiza:

Next call, Porto Torres:

Once a great location for ship photography, Porto Torres now has the most ridiculously obsessive ISPS security and miles of high fencing. Fortunately, the local fishermen have made a useful gap:
The prison that is Porto Torres: how can any civilised people allow such a thing in their town as this expanse of ugly fencing? It looks awful and is of little practical use, given that most people entering Italy illegally do so inside lorry trailers, which are waved through from the ferries, via dock gates, to highway.

Porto Torres town centre:

Tirrenia's ferry Athara:

One of the dock gates, again with ridiculously over-the-top security signage. A few years ago, Porto Torres was a completely open port - and now look what has happened. Visually, culturally, socially and in every other way, this is horrid and ridiculous in every way - the result of the kinds of minset of Messers George W. Bush, Silvio Berlusconi and various low-grade Italian bureaucrats putting their little brains together. Italy once gave visitors the 'grand tour' of Roman and Renaissance high culture; now, evidently, they are greeted by this obscenity when arriving by sea:

The security man who prevented me from photographing Grand Holiday from the quay waves the ship goodbye (or is it a distinctive salute?). He needn't worry - I won't be coming back to Porto Torres:
More buffet embellishments on Grand Holiday's lido deck:

Back in Barcelona, we dock opposite the beautiful light blue Maersk Line container ship Maren Maersk:

Some passengers have a final smoke on the stairs before disembarkation. Grand Holiday was a very smoky ship - and it is a good thing that all the carpets are ash grey:

Grand Voyager, another member of the Iberocruceros fleet, leaves Barcelona:

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