Hello and welcome to my May 2024 update!

I begin this update over the early May bank holiday when, at long last, we have some really lovely spring weather; it’s been great to be outside again and enjoy the garden. It’s certainly been a long time coming, so let’s hope this is a sign of things to come and we can finally say goodbye to the continual wet weather we have experienced!

Whilst it has been very cold and wet over the last month, it has certainly not detracted our members from booking ahead, in particular, the new P&O Cruises summer 2026 voyages that went on sale in April. Continuing the trend for stronger early bookings, we took record numbers yet again and I thank you for your continued trust in choosing Bolsover Cruise Club as your agent.

Highlights of the new P&O Cruises programme continue to be a selection of longer cruises, in particular the Britannia 21-night sailing in June 2026 to the Eastern Mediterranean, with visits to Dubrovnik, Split and Zadar. Aurora follows in September, also to the Eastern Mediterranean, with a 24-night sailing, with visits to Kusadasi, Bodrum, Alexandria and many more. These two have proved exceptionally popular with our members, and it is still not too late to enjoy early booking savings and benefits when you book in May. 

Hot on the heels of the P&O Cruises launch is the release of the Princess Cruises 2026 European collection. Five ships will be sailing to over 100 destinations across 29 countries, departing from a number of popular Mediterranean ports, as well as directly from Southampton. The new cruises will go on sale to Captain Circle members from 16 May and on general sale a week later on 23 May. Details are available on our website, so take a look and see if any of these cruises interest you.

I mentioned last month that I was about to visit Cunard’s latest ship, Queen Anne, and I was fortunate to finally see her for myself last week. It was a very brief time onboard as the Cunard team were still getting her ready for the maiden cruise, but I stayed in a fabulous Princess Grill Balcony Suite and dined in Sir Samuel’s, the speciality flagship steak restaurant and grill which was most enjoyable. The food was superb and served by very attentive staff, so it was a great indication of what to expect when she finally started sailing. That said, the first cruise is now well underway and with hundreds of Bolsover clients onboard, I look forward to receiving the first reports on this new edition to the Cunard fleet. What I can say is that the interior designs are a modern take on the Cunard conservative styles we have seen in the past, and again it will be great to read the feedback from her first few cruises.

For over 30 years, Crystal Cruises has provided guests with superb service, outstanding, innovative cuisine and ships designed to offer the very best comfort. A casualty of the Covid years, Crystal Cruises has recently been acquired by highly acclaimed Abercrombie & Kent, a leading luxury travel company since 1962, and is now once again operating the Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony. Both ships have undergone extensive refurbishment, and I am confident they are back delivering the world-class service and luxury for which they had become renowned. I am delighted to announce we have signed contracts with A&K, and as such, they now form part of our luxury portfolio. We look forward to introducing them to both new and previous clients over the coming months; reservations are now open, so do speak to our Cruise Experts for further details of this exciting new opportunity.

I noticed just the other day that the Oceania Cruises ship Vista was celebrating its first year in service. You may recall that this is a ship I sailed on just before she launched to the public last spring, and I am quite amazed at how quickly the past 12 months have slipped by! If you haven’t had the opportunity to experience Vista for yourself, then I would wholeheartedly recommend that you do; the elegant design and attention to detail are something I remember quite vividly even a year on.

Since my last update, the newest Princess ship, Sun Princess, was officially christened in Barcelona. Her Godmother was named as none other than actress and performer Hannah Waddingham, who carried out the traditional bottle smash at the event. As I have mentioned before, this is a remarkable new ship and one I hope to set sail on myself in the near future. Those of you who are signed up to receive Into the Blue will be able to see how some of our team enjoyed their experience on board Sun Princess in the latest issue. The May/June edition should be landing with you as we speak, with the main feature focusing on some of the bucket list destinations well worth a visit across the globe. I’m sure you will find plenty to inspire your future travel plans, and if you don’t already receive a complimentary copy of this bi-monthly magazine through your letterbox, you can do so by signing up here.

The latest Royal Caribbean ship to join the fleet successfully completed her sea trials earlier this week. Utopia of the Seas is due to set sail from Port Canaveral in Florida for the first time this summer, with each of her three and four-night cruises visiting Royal Caribbean’s award-winning private island, Perfect Day at CocoCay, in The Bahamas. Meanwhile on this side of the Atlantic, Oasis of the Seas recently arrived in Europe for her summer programme of seven-night itineraries in the Western Mediterranean. Two members of our team were invited on board to experience all this ship has to offer, and you can find out more about their highlights by taking a look at our social media channels.

Fred. Olsen has just released details of its summer sale, which offers savings on a number of departures between July and December this year. In addition, there’s the chance to add a drinks package to your cruise for just £20 per person, per night on selected sailings, which represents tremendous value, indeed! Solo travellers will be glad to hear there’s a 0% single supplement on some cabin grades and sailings, so if this sounds like something that would interest you, please give our Cruise Experts a call on 01246 819 819. These offers are available until 26 June, and details are available on our website.

I end this month’s update with the exciting news that we have recently ranked as one of the Top 50 Travel Agencies at the TTG Awards. Not only this, we were also named runner-up in the Top Cruise Agency category. I continue to be humbled by our success at these awards ceremonies, which is not only down to the hard work of our team, but also the ongoing support from you, our loyal customers. I would like to thank you for choosing us as your cruise agent, as without you, being recognised in this way would not be possible. 

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