Hello and a warm welcome to my July update.

Last month, I brought you my update as I was driving through Europe on my annual Lads and Dads trip and this time, I have just returned from Cannes, the first post-Covid holiday my wife and I have enjoyed together. It was not plain sailing, however, as BA cancelled our flight out to Nice last Saturday, so we were forced to travel out the night before on the last remaining flight we could find that weekend. I must say that despite lots of news about chaos at Heathrow, our flight to Nice was very pleasant, but returning home was the complete opposite, with almost three hours of queuing and only one bus available to transfer passengers to four flights. The events at Nice airport were another reminder that post-Covid staffing issues are still with us and, back at the office, we are closely monitoring potential flight cancellations over the summer holiday period which may affect our clients.

This holiday, we were based at the Martinez at Cannes for a very laid back beach stay with some great restaurants. My connection with cruising was never far away, as we woke up to a different ship in the bay almost every morning. This week I have seen Celebrity Edge and coincidentally noticed on social media that Captain Kate McCue, America’s first female captain, was reunited with her husband that day in another part of Europe. Other visitors were AIDAstella from the German wing of Carnival, Norwegian Epic and the supersized MSC Meraviglia. I must say, Celebrity Edge looked fantastic, a cutting-edge design if you excuse the pun and a ship that I would highly recommend. By the way, if you find yourself in Cannes, be sure to try the famous La Mome, a fabulous restaurant spread along a side street in the town centre with great food and an incredible atmosphere! There is also their beach club, La Mome Plage, which is even livelier!

The last month has been very encouraging with ever-increasing trade as confidence continues to mount. Our phones have been exceptionally busy throughout, and I am pleased to say enquiries are beginning to make up the larger proportion of calls. This is clearly helped by the further relaxation of restrictions, with several cruise lines removing Covid testing recently, including NCL, Fred. Olsen and Regent Seven Seas. Plus, P&O Cruises are also trialling no pre-cruise testing on a select few sailings on Iona, which hopefully will be rolled out to the rest of the fleet. If you are travelling soon, you will find the latest travel details on the cruise operators’ websites – this is the best way to stay informed in this ever-changing environment. Over the past month, we have also seen some favourites returning to service, including P&O Cruises Arcadia, Seabourn Sojourn and Celebrity Infinity. This means that most operators are back to their full fleet sailing – or expect to do so in the coming months – heralding a successful resurrection of the industry following the global pandemic.

The past few weeks have also seen voting in the WAVE Awards, organised by the popular World of Cruising magazine. Whilst there are several categories, once again we have been shortlisted for the Favourite Cruise Agent award. Voting closed on 10 July, and we all eagerly await the results. It is an award we have won over several years and it is one of my proudest achievements as votes are entirely cast by the public. I would like to thank everyone who voted for us and it would be nice to see their free cruise prize going to one of our clients. I look forward to sharing the results later in the year!

Looking ahead, voting has just opened for the Travel Weekly British Travel Awards, one of the most important awards which feature all aspects of the travel industry. I am delighted to confirm we have been shortlisted in not one but two categories:

Best Cruise Holiday Retailer

Best High Street Travel Agency

These are also awards we have won on many occasions, but again we need your support as we cannot do it without you. I hope you will spare a few moments to vote for us and show your appreciation for the dedication of our team who have worked tirelessly through the ups and downs of the pandemic without any respite! Below I have included a link for you to cast your vote in both categories and I thank you in anticipation of your support.


It does not seem two minutes since I was talking about the arrival of our next Into the Blue magazine and the current edition, number 44, should now be with you. This is firmly established as a leading publication within the industry and continues to be free to our members. I hope you will agree this edition looks fantastic; it includes a great article about the Rocky Mountaineer with fabulous photographs from my daughter, Katie, who manages our Cruise & Stay Department. These rail journeys are proving immensely popular as we combine them with an Alaskan cruise – there is limited availability up until September, but there are lots of opportunities next year with the new Alaskan cruise season. We have included a suggested itinerary that combines Rocky Mountaineer Goldleaf plus a 10-night Alaskan cruise on the fabulous Queen Elizabeth, click here or speak to our Cruise Experts on 01246 819 819 to find out more!

This leads me nicely on to the success of our Cruise & Stay department, which opened in 2019 but was particularly affected by the pandemic as a huge part of their early business was suspended. However, over the past six months, demand has been sensational and I anticipate this will form a major part of our business going forward. We can combine hotel stays, rail journeys, helicopter transfers and much more with a cruise, so whatever your aspiration we can make it a reality. Again, speak to our Cruise Experts who will be only too happy to build you the Cruise & Stay holiday of your choice.

Finally, anticipation continues to mount ahead of Arvia’s launch in December this year. We are already seeing incredible demand for her inaugural season, which sees the brand-new P&O Cruises ship sail to the Canary Islands from Southampton before heading to the Caribbean in January. Since my last update, further details have emerged about Mission Control, the cruise line’s first-ever escape room at sea. With realistic 3D surroundings and multimedia simulation, I can see this feature being extremely popular with everyone on board and I cannot wait to see what else is announced over the coming weeks!

Once again thank you for following my updates and I wish everyone travelling over the next month Bon Voyage and have a great holiday.

Yours sincerely

Michael Wilson