Archive for the ‘Non Cruising’ Category

Space-Aged Superyacht

May 20, 2018

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Malcolm says: When I buy my Superyacht, I think I will go for a more traditional design!

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Happy Hour

May 14, 2018

I get a lot of junk-e-mails, like we all do. A few fays ago I got one about a ‘Happy Hour’ at the Golden Lion.

Now I do know of a Golden Lion pub, a few miles away from my home (in the U.K). However my geography could not have been more wrong.

It’s very unlikely that I will be able to drop in for a cheap pint, at this Golden lion, in the near future.  The cost of the flight cost would make it a very expensive pint indeed. However I do note that their ‘hour’ is four times longer than ours!

P.S. What on earth is “Punk IPA”?  It says that it’s a “post-modern classic”!

(QE2Dubai)

HAPPY HOUR
4pm – 8pm

Two selected beers or wines for the price of one*

If it’s an authentic British pub experience you are looking for, this is it! Taste a wide selection of beers and world-wines, play on the pool tables or try your hand at a game of darts in Dubai’s oldest pub!

Step back in time to the QE2’s storied past and browse the collection of commemorative shields from the QE2’s ports of call adorning the walls. Adjacent to the pub is the games room…a reimagining of the QE2’s original games room where the old slot machines (now decommissioned) serve as mementos of a bygone era.

*Now you can enjoy two selected beers or house wines for the price of one every day from 4pm – 8pm (Saturday to Thursday)

Open daily from 12pm – 12am

QE2 Hotel slide-show: HERE

Ocean Liners: Speed and Style Exhibition

February 26, 2018

I went to the ‘Ocean Liners’ exhibition on Saturday, at London’s ‘Victoria & Albert’ Museum. It was excellent.

It focused on posters, decor, furniture and clothing of the Great Ocean Liner era. It’s not really about steam engines and rivets, ladies! (Although these are mentioned).

It’s not exactly cheap, but I thought it was worth the money – but then I do have an interest in maritime history.

If you live near London or are visiting, it may be worth a visit. The exhibition is on until the 17th June, 2018.

Booking a timed slot in advance, is recommended, via the museum’s web site: http://www.vam.ac.uk

Malcolm

(Courtesy V&A)

What Happened To The Giant Hovercraft?

October 1, 2017

Regular readers will know that I’m a big Hovercraft fan.

They were once considered machines of the future, but in the case of the giant car-carrying hovercraft, the SRN4, they are now machines of the past.

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Malcolm says: It seems that the majority of my readers have never been on a Hovercraft. That’s hardly surprising as there are not too many in public service around the world. They can be noisy and bumpy, but it’s quite a thrill ride!

Princess Margaret

October 6, 2015

Given the fact that I am a bit of a Hovercraft geek, I could not resist sharing the video below with you all:

More about Hovercraft: HERE

Giant Hovercraft

September 25, 2015

Ever since I was a child, I have had a ‘thing’ about Hovercraft, especially the big car carrying SRN4’s that operated from Pegwell Bay, near Ramsgate (below) and Dover. I loved them!

Here is some nice footage of one of these amazing machines, that are sadly no longer operational:

However there are still passenger hovercraft operating daily from Southsea (near Portsmouth) to Ryde, the Isle of Wight. This hovercraft route has operated since 1965:

A Great British Invention for the 21st Century

Two new 12000TD hovercraft are being built for Hovertravel to take passengers from Southsea to the Isle of Wight.

Hovertravel made an official announcement that it is investing in the future of the company by purchasing 2 new 12000TD hovercraft. Hovertravel invited a group of people to view the new hovercraft in production at Griffon Hoverwork, ahead of testing next year.

Hovertravel is the longest serving passenger operator in the world and will be celebrating its 50th year in service next year. The new 22.4m long and 10m wide hovercraft will be able to seat up to 80 passengers and will be fitted with bigger propellers to reduce the level of external noise. See top right image.

The new hovercraft will bring quieter journeys and a quicker turnaround, as well as looking sleeker. Chief Pilot Peter Mulhern has been involved in the plans for the new craft ‘We are taking it down from four engines to two, the benefit of that is that noise is reduced by almost half. Another idea was to have the doors at the front. We have a five-minute turnaround to keep the service on time, by doing away with the steps and having to deflate the skirt every time it will be quicker. People will be able to use a ramp and just get their bike or wheelchair straight on.’

The front loading craft will have an ramp on one side of the entrance and steps on the other, this change in design will allow bicycles, wheelchairs and suitcases to go straight inside the craft. The seats are also expected to be quick release, to allow more space for luggage during the festival season.

Neil Chapman managing director of Hovertravel says ‘This is just another legacy for the future of us to make sure we are a prominent part of the seafront. Customers are very loyal to us but they want to see investment going forward. This brings it.’

The craft entered service in  2016.

(Griffon Hoverworks)

12000TD Solent Flyer Ryde Low Res

(image courtesy of Griffon Hoverworks)

The Sunborn Yacht Hotel, London

August 23, 2015
(Image courtesy of Sunborn)

(Image courtesy of Sunborn)

A month ago I found myself walking past the ‘Suborn Yacht Hotel’, London, and I decided to take a quick look inside.

The Hotel (Yacht) opened in June 2014 and is located on the waterfront at the western end of the Royal Victoria dock. It is  within a very short walk of the main entrance of the ‘Excel’ Exhibition Centre.

There are a number of ‘Sunborn’ static yachts around the world.

I travelled across the Thames to The Royal Victoria dock, from North Greenwich (near the O2 Arena) via the Emirates ‘Air Line’, London’s only cable-car (in fact it’s a gondola). It’s a very spectacular ride and well worth experiencing. (See my slide show below).

There was initially a lack of hotels in this  area of London, hence the Yacht Hotel. Curiously there are a number of hotels nearby now, so the yacht has much competition.

The yacht is NOT a real ship. Yes it really floats, but it was purpose built as a hotel. It has no engines or navigational bridge. It was actually towed into position by tug.

As you enter by a lift (elevator), you walk straight into a very glitzy reception area with a reception desk and a double curved staircase to the upper decks. There does not appear to be many public rooms. There would be more on a ‘real’ ship.  However there is of course a bar/restaurant with a lido deck on the stern where you can eat and drink, overlooking the Royal Albert dock.

1412252312831_wps_31_Sunborn_International_yac

Sunborn describe the facilities as follows: “The 4-Star deluxe yacht hotel has 136 spacious guest rooms over 5 floors including 4 spacious suites, along with an elegant reception area, bar and lounge, fine-dining restaurant, banqueting facilities, auditorium, conference rooms, and a three-level event venue with outdoor terraces facing towards Canary Wharf” .

I was unable to see the accommodation, however I have seen some renderings of the rooms. Although they look rather nice and spacious, they do not look like a ships accommodation, they look like hotel rooms.

1412252301432_wps_30_14077716722Sunborn_Intern

In fact the whole feel of the Yacht to me as a ‘ship enthusiast’ was one of a ‘fake’ ship. The less nautical person would probably not notice.

I am not suggesting that Sunborn Yacht Hotel does not provide good accommodation and a good experience. Although I have not stayed on-board, there are many very positive reviews on TripAdvisor.

However I have seen room rates from £135 (off-peak) to £750 per room, per night, depending on grade and date. A price of around £200+ looks to be more typical, which is hardly cheap for a four star establishment, although I guess that you are paying for its uniqueness and prime location.

Malcolm

(Have you stayed overnight on-board?)

Titanic hotel Liverpool, review HERE.

Titanic Hotel, Liverpool

March 21, 2015

Last month I had an excellent weekend break in Liverpool, UK.

I stayed at a newish hotel “30 James Street” which was the former offices of the ‘White Star Line’ (owners of the Titanic).

Below is a slide show.

I have now written a full review of my stay at the hotel, which unfortunately is not very favourable:

My review: HERE

Hotel web site:

http://rmstitanichotel.co.uk

The Cutty Sark, Greenwich, London

February 8, 2015

I recently visited Greenwich (London) which is on the Thames and is famous for its nautical connections. The two main attractions are the ‘National Maritime Museum’  and the ‘Cutty Sark’.

The ‘Cutty Sark’ is an historic 1869 Tea Clipper, built on the Clyde, Scotland, which has been on display in Greenwich (in dry-dock) since 1957.  The ‘Cutty Sark’ is in fact the last surviving tea clipper and fastest and greatest of her time.  However in 2007 she was seriously damaged by fire, during a renovation.

Some five years later and £45 million pounds later the ‘Cutty Sark’  was returned to her former glory. I had been a few times to see her over the years, as a child and as an adult.  I tried to visit her in 2012 shortly after she re-opened, to see the restoration. However she was a victim of her own success with queues snaking out of the door, so I gave her a miss.

I finally got to see her in January 2015.

I am pleased to say that she looks better than ever – inside and out. Although some  of her timbers were lost in the fire, many were also off-site in storage. You cannot tell the difference now.

Cleverly they have raised her up (like the SS Great Britain, In Bristol) by three meters so she looks down, more majestically than ever, over Greenwich. You you can walk right underneath the hull. There is even a café down there and display of historic figure-heads. There is a new entrance/foyer area with an enlarged gift shop. Visitors enter the hull and work their way up the ships inner decks to the open deck.

I’d certainly recommend a visit if you are in London.

Below is my slide-show, taken on my recent visit

Malcolm Oliver

Cutty Sark/NMM Web Site: http://www.rmg.co.uk/cuttysark

My visit to the Nat. Maritime Museum: http://wp.me/pfRKD-1ur

Hovercraft – A Love Affair

May 4, 2014

Many decades ago, when I was a kid, I saw my first Hovercraft, the SRN1 on the Isle of Wight (UK). This was one of the first production Hovercraft in passenger operation.

It was love at first sight: this big machine left the sea and roared up the beach, to stop and deflate like a burst car tyre. After quickly swapping passengers, it re-inflated and rotated 180 degrees like a prima-ballerina, making the transition from beach to sea effortlessly.

I was later to see and experience the SRN6 Hovercraft running a passenger service from Southsea (near Portsmouth, UK) to Ryde, the isle of Wight. This route, which takes just ten minute, is the longest running Hovercraft route in the world. It started in 1965 and still operates daily.

Sitting inside the SRN6 was a rather noisy experience and the spray prevented you from actually seeing much out of the windows, but nevertheless, I loved it.

In the early 1970’s I regularly viewed the giant car carrying Hovercraft (SRN4’s) at Dover and Ramsgate (Pegwell Bay).These mainly went to Calais (France), taking just 30 minutes. The giant machines initially carried 30 cars and 250 passengers. They were of course even more impressive and even more noisy. Later the SRN4 Mk.III had a capacity of 418 passengers and 60 cars.

Mum & Dad took to Calais for the day, on one. What a thrill, although sea conditions on the day made it a very bumpy ride.

In 2000 the last SRN6’s were retired from the Dover route, due to rising fuel costs. There are now no car carrying Hovercraft in commercial service, but my love still lives on.

More Hovercraft slide-shows: Here

Seacat: Here

 

Giant Car-Carrying Hovercraft

November 25, 2012

Regulars will know that as well as a ship-nut, I’m quite a big Hovercraft fan.

Do fellow Brits remember the big car carrying Hovercraft (SRN4’s) that operated form Ramsgate in the 1969 to 1981, crossing to France? They also operated from Dover until 2000.

These were incredibly impressive machines, with later versions carrying up to 60 cars and 415 passengers.

My first time on the SRN4 was when I was a child in 1971. We travelled to Calais on a rather rough day. Unfortunately were allocated seats at the bow and the craft slapped down on every wave. The noise and vibration was also quite high – but I still loved it!
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