Monday 23 October 2017 
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holidays of distinction

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Foreign travel is very important to us, since this is about seeing new places, meeting new people, trying different food and ideally also getting to taste the wines of the region in which we find ourselves. Like everything else, our holidays have evolved: from touring holidays by car, first around Scotland then around France, Italy, Spain, Florida or California; to simply lying on a Caribbean beach with a pile of paperbacks when we were at our busiest work-wise; to wanting to strike out and tick a few more boxes before it’s too late, ie. before we seize up and decide that flying is simply not worth the effort.

andorra antigua_barbuda argentina australia austria barbados belgium belize brazil british_virgins bulgaria burma canada caymans chile china colombia costa_rica croatia cuba curacao cyprus czech denmark dom_rep dominica egypt estonia faroes france georgia germany greece greenland grenada guatemala honduras hongkong hungary iceland india indonesia ireland israel italy jamaica japan latvia macao malta mexico monaco montenegro morocco myanmar netherlands new_zealand nicaragua norway oman panama poland portugal puerto_rico romania russia st_barts st_kitts st_lucia st_vincent serbia singapore slovakia slovenia south_africa s_korea spain sweden switzerland taiwan thailand trinidadtobago tunisia turkey turks_caicos uae uruguay usa vatican vietnam

Since 2006, we have therefore spent a fair number of our holidays cruising, often with a road trip tacked on at one end. Our cruises have been both on sailing ships (eg. the Royal Clipper and Star Flyer) and on more conventional vessels — but still not large ships (with no more than 1,250 passengers). We reckon this is a great way to see the world, without having to get on and off aeroplanes, or keep packing and unpacking. Choosing a cruise is easy: you just need to choose the right cruise line, the right ship, the right itinerary, on the right date, at the right price. Simples! The choice of cruise line is crucial: it should ideally have the right formula — great itineraries (ideally with some days at sea and some overnights in key ports), spacious small to medium-sized ships with as high a Berlitz [Cruise Guide] rating as you can afford, meals with open seating and open dining (eat when you like, with new people every night), good food, relaxed smart casual ambience plus a gregarious and well-travelled target audience. Sadly, we don’t always get it right, such as in June 2010, when we travelled with Voyages to Antiquity (although in our defence our choice was swayed by the No Single Supplement for my 93-year old mum).

Along the way we have interspersed these destination-intensive holidays with city breaks to tick yet more boxes. Having acquired a Tesla all-electric car in 2015 we have now rediscovered the European road trip. So while our long-haul holidays have been, and still are, a fabulous experience, we think it is also important to investigate countries nearer to home. Touring by car enables us to see our European neighbours in more depth than a cruise allows, since you are quite literally 'on the ground'.

We are very fortunate to have travelled on every continent (apart from Antarctica), and to have set foot in over 90 countries apart from our own; their flags are shown above (hover over them to see which is which). To see our travel photographs requires you to log in, but once you are logged in you can either click the globe at right for the list of all holidays, or you can click on a flag above to see holidays to that country (if there are no photos yet uploaded it will say).

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