Wednesday, 21 December 2011

From Comet to Cal Mac

Yesterday, Donald E. Meek, the co-author of my new book, 'From Comet to Cal Mac: Two Centuries of Hebridean and Clyde Shipping' paid me a visit. The book is a cultural history of the effects of steamships and ferries on Scotland's West Coast communities over the course of the last 200 years. It is very attractively designed and profusely illustrated - a fine job on the part of the publisher. Here we are - two proud authors posing with our magnum opus:


Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Thomson Destiny

A short 3-night trip around the Canaries and Madeira on MS Thomson Destiny, originally built in 1982 as the Song of America of Royal Caribbean Cruise Line. Back then the ca. 37,000-ton vessel was the biggest yet purpose-built for Caribbean cruise service from Miami. Nowadays, she serves the British market, providing Mediterranean and Caribbean fly-cruises. An old 1983 Royal Caribbean brochure in my collection shows that prices for a week in the Caribbean (cruise only) ranged from £970 to £1,600. Today, a week in the Med costs more or less the same, flights included!

I joined the ship in Santa Cruz de Tenerife on Friday afternoon.

Tenerife Airport (above) and the Port Authority building in Santa Cruz de Tenerife (below):

A Fred. Olsen InCat arrives:

 Costa departures:

Fred. Olsen's Boudicca with an InCat in front (above).

Thomson Dream's builder's pate (above) and Sky Bar around the funnel (below):

A tour of some of the public rooms, beginning with the Sky Bar:

The Can Can Lounge:

 The Oklahoma Lounge:

 Early morning at Las Palmas de Gran Canaria:

 Things seen in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria:

 Satirical sand sculpture:


The Thomson Dream's splendid funnel:

 Me in the Sky Bar:


Singing waiters:


Arriving at Santa Cruz de la Palma:

It soon began pissing with rain:

So typical are the balconies that they need a sign to point out their location:

Vanishing road in front of villa:

Departure time:



At the Captain's cocktail party:

Gala dinner began with Escargots:

 Norwegian modern artwork from the early-1980s:

The Clipper Bar:

Arriving at Funchal on Madeira:

Cruise ships' crews have painted their vessels' names' on the quay wall:

Final view as the coach headed for the airport.