Archive for the ‘Non Cruising’ Category

Anywhere Within The World, Within An Hour

July 26, 2018

What if you take the ship that goes to Mars and use it to go anywhere else on Earth?

Here’s how Elon Musk and SpaceX is planning to make most long distance trips no longer than 1/2 hour.

This would make fly-cruises,  from remote ports easy to reach. All you would need to do is find the rocket-fare!


Malcolm says: I first saw this kind of concept,  many decades ago as a teenager.  I don’t doubt that it is possible, especially as SpaceX has already landed their reusable rockets on their own feet. However, I can’t imagine a rocket (even a reusable one) is ever going to be a cheap option. How many people could fit in a SpaceX rocket? How much would the rocket fuel cost? It is surely going to be an expensive ticket. It would probably make the fare for the rich man’s aircraft, Concorde, look like a bargain! And what would the environment impact be in terms of pollution and noise? Imagine the carbon footprint!


Travel Slideshows

May 29, 2018

Saint Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow.

I really enjoy travel, although I don’t do as much as I would like.

However I don’t spend all of my holidays onbord ships, I also enjoy land travel/tourism.

My blog has a small collection of slideshows featuring some of the places that I’ve visited. You may enjoy them?

Travel slideshows: HERE

The Queen’s Yacht

May 28, 2018

The Royal Yacht Britannia (built 1954), Leith, Edinburgh – 5,769 Gross Tonnes.

On 20 October 1997, HMY Britannia left Portsmouth on her farewell tour around the UK, before being decommissioned.

(Should I even be discussing Hussein, Trump and Her Majesty in the same breath?)

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”!


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

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.


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)

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:

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/National maritime Museum Web Site: HERE 

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!