NEWS

July 2016

First of all my humble apologies this is slightly late but I am reliant of internet signals at sea and for some reason my attachments take an age to download across so as I was back yesterday I thought I’d wait until I got home.

As I mentioned last month I have been on Fred Olsen’s Boudicca for the last 27 days and I’m happy to report there was not one case of norovirus. That being said we had several ambulances meet the ship at certain ports to offload sick passengers and we even had a helicopter medical evacuation after leaving Cadiz.

In January more than 1000 people were left without power off the coast of Morocco after an engine room fire. The fire at 04:00 GMT left the ship "listing" and "in pitch black" and they lost engine power for about five hours. At the time five engines were running while two were out of order. It would appear from this last cruise that everything has now been fixed as we had no incidents.

Sadly the same can’t be aid for Royal Caribbean. Doctors are caring for a young boy who was found unresponsive in a swimming pool last Thursday on the Royal Caribbean Ship 'Anthem of the Seas'.

The 8-year-old was airlifted to Staten Island University Hospital. His family, part of a group from the Netherlands, returned to port early Friday morning in Bayonne. Two buses took them to a nearby hotel, while the little boy remains on life support.

Royal Caribbean released a statement on the incident just after 9:30 p.m. saying: "On Thursday, June 30, an eight-year old boy onboard Anthem of the Seas was treated by the ship's medical team after an accident in one of the ship's swimming pools, but required additional medical attention. The ship altered its course and sailed back towards Bayonne, New Jersey for a medical evacuation. Royal Caribbean's Care Team is providing support to the guest's family."

Rescue boats were seen surrounding the ship Thursday: This has been a rough year for that Royal Caribbean cruise ship. Back in February, the ship and its passengers were battered by a major storm in the Atlantic as winds topped 125 miles per hour.

It would seem the company are not without their troubles. Just one month after returning to the Royal Caribbean fleet after several years with a sister cruise line and a $50 million refurbishment, Empress of the Seas is experiencing trouble with one of its engines, forcing the cruise line to reroute the ship's current sailing.

"Empress of the Seas is currently experiencing a technical issue with one of the ship's four engines," the line said in a prepared statement. "Since we became aware of the problem, our highly trained engineering team has been working to resolve the issue. While we work on the issue, the ship is sailing at a reduced rate of speed."

Because of the speed reduction, the ship will not be calling on Grand Cayman. Instead, it visited Nassau in the Bahamas on Sunday, June 26 and CocoCay on Monday, June 27. It will call on Key West on Wednesday, June 29, as scheduled.

To compensate passengers for their trouble, Royal Caribbean is offering passengers an onboard credit in the amount of 10 percent of the cruise fare paid, per cabin.

According to the line, all equipment onboard is fully functional and there is no impact on the maneuverability of the ship or on the safety of passengers and crew. Royal Caribbean has not yet indicated whether the next sailing will be affected by the engine trouble.

Empress of the Seas has had a rough go of it since returning to Royal Caribbean from Pullmantur Cruises. The ship's reintroduction to the fleet, originally scheduled for March 30, was delayed nearly two months after its refurbishment took considerably longer than planned. Thirteen sailings were canceled as a result of the delays.

The one thing we were kept abreast off while away was the European Union vote. We have a 4 page paper printed onboard every day and on most occasions we can tune into Sky News.

U.K. cruise lines are adopting a wait-and-see approach to the current post-Brexit crisis sweeping the nation, telling passengers it's business as usual.

P&O Cruises, Cunard Line, Thomson Cruises, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, Cruise & Maritime Voyages and cruise industry body Cruise Line Industry Association (CLIA) all moved to reassure passengers following the referendum, in which 52 percent of the British population voted to leave the European Union.

The lines released their statements of reassurance as the stock markets tumbled, credit agencies stripped the U.K. of its coveted three-star status and sterling fell to its lowest level in 30 years.

A statement from CLIA said: "CLIA will continue to work with authorities to promote stability and ensure that cruising continues to thrive and carries on making a vital contribution to Europe’s economic growth."

Cunard's marketing director Angus Struthers wrote the following email to passengers:

"Following the result of the EU Referendum vote, I wanted to take a few moments of your time to reassure you that there are no resulting changes to any aspect of your upcoming holiday with Cunard, including check-in and immigration. These all remain the same as they were before last week's vote.

"Should there be any changes resulting from the United Kingdom leaving the European Union, we will naturally contact you with all and any related information. For now it remains business as usual for us and we are looking forward to welcoming you on board."

Fritz Joussen, CEO of TUI, the German company which owns Thomson Cruises, said the EU without the U.K. is "barely conceivable".

He went on: "But we respect the democratic decision of the British people and trust the U.K. government will take all steps necessary to ensure economic and political stability and to ensure that British holidaymakers will not be affected by the U.K.'s decision to leave the EU. We are well prepared and confident that TUI Group as a truly global company will not be significantly affected by the decision. It remains to be seen how the decision will affect consumer sentiment."

Mike Hall, Head of Marketing at CMV said: "Our onboard currency is sterling, shielding our guests from exchange issues. Following the EU referendum result, bookings have remained buoyant."

Fred. Olsen had no direct comment on Brexit, however the line released this statement:

"In terms of our cruise holidays, we would stress that we do follow exchange rates. The only point that we make to our guests, as we did four to five years ago, is that we have sterling prices on board, so when the exchange rate is against us, it does not have the same impact as taking a holiday in Spain, for example, or those cruise lines that price in dollars on board."

A spokeswoman for P&O Cruises simply said: "No concerns."

Cruise Critic members seemed equally unconcerned. Member shot2bits asked on the Thomson forum: "What are the implications, if any, for UK cruises now that we are no longer EU members?"

GUT2407 responded: "Nothing, I expect. The falling pound may be the only issue, but that is always an issue."

And for US citizens, the falling pound could be a good time to travel to Europe. Crzfrk62 asked: "Just curious if anyone knows or has thoughts on how Brexit will effect MSC cruises. I thought of doing the run that starts in Southampton because I've never been, I'm American. Now I'm not sure if or when I will go."

Love2Cruz2015 responded: "From what everyone says it will be to our benefit, the pound will fall and it will be a good time to visit for Americans."

It would seem that nothing is going to put a dent in expansion plans for most cruise lines.  In the last three weeks alone these are the bullet points.

01/07/16 UPDATED: Cruise Lines Canceling, Monitoring Istanbul Calls After Latest Terrorist Attack
01/07/16 Hurtigruten Confirms Deal for up to Four New Expedition Ships
01/07/16 Carnival Begins Staggered Embarkation in More Ports, Saga Keeps Passengers Guessing and More Cruise News
01/07/16 World's Oldest Cruise Ship to Leave Cruise & Maritime Voyages
28/06/16 Live From Cunard: First Impressions of Queen Mary 2 Remastered
28/06/16 Costa Cruises Announces New Perks and Exclusive Spaces for Suite Passengers
28/06/16 Grand Circle Cruise Lines Selling Cuba Itineraries
28/06/16 Crystal Cruises Expands to Australia Under New Management
28/06/16 New Miami Cruise Terminal To Be Built By Royal Caribbean for Oasis-Class Ships
27/06/16 Ovation of the Seas Cruise Ship Christened in China
27/06/16 Empress of the Seas Sailing Rerouted Due to Engine Trouble
24/06/16 Sushi Takeout Coming to a Royal Caribbean Ship Near You and More Cruise News
24/06/16 Crystal Names Godmother for Crystal Mozart and other River Cruise News
24/06/16 Norwegian Dawn Cruise Ship Emerges from Dry Dock After Massive Refit
23/06/16 From the Bridge: Are You A Potential World Cruiser?
20/06/16 Live From Thomson Cruises: First Impressions of TUI Discovery
20/06/16 Pacific Dawn Departs After Vanuatu Bus Crash, 10 Cruise Passengers Air-Lifted
18/06/16 High Water Levels Impact June Rhine River Cruises
17/06/16 Newcastle Cruise Terminal To Be Upgraded for Bigger Ships
17/06/16 Twin Astronauts to be Guest Lecturers Onboard Crystal Serenity and Other Cruise News
15/06/16 AmaWaterways and APT Christen Newest River Cruise Ships in Germany
14/06/16 The Walking Dead Cruise Lineup Revealed
10/06/16 Sushi on Five Replaces Bistro on Five Across Celebrity Cruises Fleet
10/06/16 Viking Ocean Cruises Adds 10 New Itineraries, Including Cuba

If you want to read any of these stories in full then go to www.cruisecritic.co.uk

I have to say that while the cruise lines are building bigger and bigger ships you cannot beat the smaller vessels. I thoroughly enjoyed the last jaunt on Boudicca. The itinerary was a first for Fred Olsen and it proved very exciting with an overnighter in Venice. Before I’d even embarked two passengers came up telling me they’d seen me in Celebrity’s Eclipse last September. There is always one or two onboard that I have seen on other voyages.

I did my first show and it was wonderful. It would seem that Matt Monro fans are not in short supply and I received a rapturous applause. One lady came up and told me that 20 years ago on her 20th wedding anniversary her and her husband went to see dad in cabaret in Jersey. She was thrilled more so when dad asked if there was anyone celebrating anything special and she put her hand up and explained the event. Dad sent them a bottle of champagne over to complete their evening. Now on this cruise they were celebrating their 40th anniversary and she was made up that they could come and see me. The strangest things happen at sea!!!

I’m never short of people to talk to and on the smaller ship I admit it is hard to find a quiet space but then you can never get bored or lonely.

I only ever work on sea days and even though there were 11 of them I was only contracted to work 5 shows. It was my first time sailing from Liverpool since moving to Shropshire and it is a breeze for me after suffering a three-hour drive to Southampton. Not only did I do the journey in less than two hours, the Boudicca was the only ship in and embarkation was painless. I drove my car up to the doors, the porter took my cases and the car park attendant took the car. Superb.

I was given a Junior Suite, which was just as well as I was traveling with 7 pieces of luggage. That is the problem with transporting the book everywhere, the boxes are bulky and heavy but the passengers queue up to buy one so they can have it signed.

We had a three day run at sea and unusually I didn’t do my first show until day 4, then we visited Gibraltar and Cartagena, both great orts for duty free. Day 7 and 8 were also sea days and I did my second Matt Monro show on the first of these. Even though we were treated to 28 degrees of sunshine I still had a full house and that is always a compliment as the Brits do like to bronze themselves.

Something else unusual was I had the next 10 days off, a first but even though I relaxed it never feels like a holiday. You’re aware people are always watching and on one cruise line I was told a man kept taking pictures while I dozed on deck!

Catania, Sicily was also a first for me. It is rare that I visit somewhere new and it didn’t disappoint, next another first Kerkira in Corfu and I fell in love with the island. It is definitely somewhere I’d like to spend a week in and the shopping is fabulous especially if you are in the market for ‘genuine fake’ handbags I couldn’t see the difference, the leathers were fabulous. It reminded me of Mykonos with cobbled lanes curving round small corners with several other choices of route. I totally lost my bearings and ended up a mile away from the place where I ‘d started. Great fun. Would you believe another two virginal ports for me. Kotor and Hvar in Croatia. I have visited Split and Dubrovnik before and we sailed into them later in the cruise and the one thing that strikes you is the cleanliness everywhere and all the buildings are creamy white. Before we berthed at the latter two we sailed into Venice and it never fails to thrill me. The bird’s eye view of St Marks and all the little bridges is amazing and I must have taken near on 500 pictures. It is definitely worth getting up that hour earlier to see that rare privilege; the only one to rival it for me was Sydney Harbour in Australia. I’d seen it every year on the news New Year’s Eve countdown but boy it is even more fabulous in the flesh. The hairs on the back of my neck pricked up even though it was 5.30am in the morning. It was quite amusing as myself and my fellow traveling companions were all in our dressing gowns for the sail in.

After Split and Dubrovnik we had a much-needed day at sea. I was exhausted for all the ports. I have to be up early to watch the sail-ins and I have to get off in every ort even if I’ve been there before. Having a day at sea gives you a chance to recharge your batteries and have a lie-in.

Valetta in Malta is always nice to visit and apart from taxis outside the terminal there are also horse and carriages waiting to take you on a tour of the city. The new Upper Barrakka lift opened in December 2012, linking the Grand Harbour to the Upper Barrakka Gardens and Valletta city centre. It is located on the original site where its predecessor, which was dismantled in 1983, operated between 1905 and 1973.

The lift is 58 metres high and can carry twenty-one people at a time, for a total of 800 per hour. The journey takes around twenty-five seconds, making it the quickest way into the city from the Valletta Waterfront.

The lift offers a practical alternative for the thousands of cruise ship passengers who disembark at the Valletta Passenger Terminal to reach the city with its shops, restaurants, churches and museums. It is also possible to combine the ticket for the lift with the ferry crossing across Grand Harbour to or from The Three Cities. The cost for this adventure was one euro, what a bargain.

Two more sea days and I have to admit to itching to get back to work. Another full house as I spoke about ‘The Tragedy of Success’. It paints the other side of the business and it is something I feel is important to share with others and make them realize the hardships of the entertainment scene.

Next was Malaga and this is a fabulous port with excellent shopping but not on a Sunday. Nearly all the shops were closed save a few tacky tourist outlets bit at least the cafes were doing a roaring trade.

Our last port of call was Cadiz and I have to admit to not liking it. I find nothing there that other ports don’t do better and I fond quite a few of the vendors rude. While I am sure there are thousands of people who love the Spanish port, I can’t profess to being one of them.

From the minute we left Liverpool up until the last three sea days we were treated to the calmest waters, even in the Bay of Biscay and the most marvelous weather. The day we left England it was a rare 75 degrees and many people turned up without a coat thinking they wouldn’t need one in July. How wrong can you be? The last three days were rough and cold, raining and if not pouring then overcast. There was a huge wind on deck and even with the three deck heaters it wasn’t enough to starve off the cold.

The purple luggage tags were called off Boudicca at 8.10am but sadly I had to wait until the very last pallet until my three boxes came off and I didn’t leave the port until 10.15am. I was not amused, more so because my disabled badge was missing from the dashboard. Of course the car park company have no knowledge of the missing item and so the first thing I had to do when I got home was go the council and pay another £10.00 to get a replacement. It usually takes 5-7 days so I doubt it will come before I leave on Saturday.

Unfortunately I only have a week at home and it has taken two days to go through a month’s mail and 817 emails. I have unpacked all 10 cases (yes I seem to have acquired another three pieces of luggage on route). Now I have to do the washing and re-pack.

My gorgeous son arrived at midnight. I didn’t expect him to come and see me the day I got back as weekends are he only times Justine and him go out but they opted to come here for the weekend so that has cheered my up no end. His university results came in and he achieved a first with 84%. I am one very proud Jewish mama.

I hate the fact that I am leaving again so soon especially as he is on summer break until University starts again in September but I didn’t realize when I took the booking. The same will happen next year as three days into my trip on Boudicca I got an offer of 4 months on Celebrity Eclipse in 2017 but I have my fingers crossed that Justine and Max will come with me. I’d love Max to see me work, it just hasn’t been possible before now and I’m seriously thinking of giving up the cruising world the end of next year, although I have been known to say that before.

Now on to Matt Monro news……..
The new highly awaited release has had a name change and it is now called Matt Monro: The George Martin Years. Originally due out this month it has been put back a week to 5th August

The track list features songs George had either written for dad (mainly under the pseudonym Graham Fisher) or tracks he’d arranged and conducted.  The current running time comes in just a smidge over 78 minutes and by no stretch of the imagination could it be deemed a ‘Greatest Hits’.

 

 

You Keep Me Swinging – Made under the name of Fred Flange for Peter Sellers LP. 1st Recording with George, who also wrote it!
Love Walked In - 1st Single recorded with George under the name of Matt Monro
Portrait Of My Love – 1st Hit
My Kind Of Girl
This Time – Single B side written by George
Gonna Build A Mountain
Can This Be Love – Single A side Written by George
No One Will Ever Know – Piano Demo. Written by George and his favourite recording of Matt
Softly As I Leave You – Major Hit
Tahiti – First time Stereo Release
My Love And Devotion
I Get Along Without You Very Well – From Matt’s most critically acclaimed LP – “Sings Hoagy Carmichael”
One Morning In May – From Matt’s most critically acclaimed LP – “Sings Hoagy Carmichael”
Walk Away
Without The One I Love – Not available on CD since 1991!
The Girl I Love – Not Currently Available
From Russia With Love – George’s production tricks at their best
If This Should Be A Dream – Written by George – Not available on CD since 1991!
Once In Every Long And Lonely While – Written By George and not available on CD since 1991!
As Long As I’m Singing – Not Currently Available. Made for US market
Yesterday - Arranged and Conducted by George
Sarah’s Coming Home - Arranged and Conducted by George
First Of May - Arranged and Conducted by George
Michele- Arranged and Conducted by George
Ethel Baby - Arranged and Conducted by George
I Am In Life – From the last Session produced by George
I Close My Eyes And Count To Ten – Produced by John Burgess BUT - Arranged and Conducted by George – Rare on CD

All tracks have been remastered from the original tapes
by Richard Moore at Mint Audio

My new dates for 2016/2017 have been confirmed as follows.

Cruise Calendar 2016

9 July – 23 July – Emerald Princess
23 July – 6 August – Emerald Princess
26 August – 3 September – Celebrity Eclipse
3 September 17 September – Celebrity Eclipse
17 September -30 September – Celebrity Eclipse
30 September – 3 October – Celebrity Eclipse
3 October – 16 October – Celebrity Eclipse
16 October – 29 October – Celebrity Eclipse

Cruise Dates 2017
5 January – 5 May - Cruise & Maritime Magellan World Cruise
18 June - 2 July - Celebrity Eclipse
2 July - 16 July - Celebrity Eclipse
16 July - 30 July - Celebrity Eclipse
30 July - 13 August - Celebrity Eclipse
13 August - 26 August            - Celebrity Eclipse
26 August - 3 September - Celebrity Eclipse
3 September-17 September - Celebrity Eclipse
17 September-21 September - Celebrity Eclipse
28 September -8 October - Celebrity Eclipse
8 October-18 October - Celebrity Eclipse
18 October-28 October - Celebrity Eclipse

 

Don’t forget to check out our Spotlight feature this month, I know so many of you enjoy them. This month we look in on the ever-popular Isley Brothers

Check out the ‘Rough Guide to mattmonro.com’, which is available towards the bottom of the Homepage. If you don’t know how to access certain areas of the site or in fact are unaware of new areas, this guide will explain how easy this website is to get around, once you know how.

There is also another information box “How to Use the Forum’. I know a lot of people have been tempted to join in on some of our conversations but are slightly nervous of doing so. For that reason I have printed step-by-step instructions of how to access it. It really does only take a few minutes.

Whatever the coming year holds, suffice to say that I shall be plugging Matt Monro’s music at every opportunity.  That is the wonderful thing about working the ships, it gives me a brand new audience each time and if then, a small percentage go home a fan, then it is worth all the blood, sweat and tears, not to mention the Bay of Biscay!!!!

Because I am not back in England until 6th August, it is a possibility that the update may be slightly late. I apologise in advance.

Until next month.

Warmest to you and yours
Michele
x

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