July 2018

I tell you, how lucky am I? I’ve had the best six weeks while working on Silhouette and it has flown by. I was initially upset about saying goodbye to Celebrity Eclipse after so many years of doing the British season so imagine my surprise to find the sister ship Celebrity Silhouette almost her twin. When I sat on Deck 12 ready for the sailaway it was kind of spooky as she is identical in every way. Deck 15 has some differences and I think this one has a few more cabins but it was just like coming home.

As you know the start of the season was awesome and it has got even better as the weeks have gone on. The crew put a 100 more seats into Celerity Central and it was still full, people standing at the back and sitting on the floor of the aisle steps. I was bowled over by the response and it brought tears to my eyes to know that dad is still remembered with great fondness.

People have been sending messages asking if I was getting bored with the ports, as the itineraries are repeated throughout the British season, but I have to say it isn't the case. Just because you spend the day in Tallinn, it doesn't mean you've seen it. You might have covered a few of the sights but you can't get around a whole town or city in a few hours.

Tallinn's atmospheric Old Town is an enthralling hotchpotch of medieval streets and spires.
The Town Hall dates from 1322 and is the only Gothic Town Hall in northern Europe. Many preserved medieval towns/cities have beautiful squares, and Tallinn Old Town is no exception. The large open square is surrounded by historic buildings housing restaurants and shops, offering access to a myriad of streets and passageways that lead you through Tallinn's gorgeous old city, with even more shops, cafes, and restaurants throughout. The atmosphere is festive, with a number of restaurants with seating in the square and various employees in period costumes. It is nice to simply sit in the square between explorations of the streets

It's a small city, and the tourist areas are safe and easily explored on foot. For a look into Tallinn's past, visit Rocca-al-Mare Open Air Museum's typical rural Estonian taverns, windmills, and watermills or see the onion-domed 1900 cathedral. St Olav's spire was once the tallest in the world or you can even visit the oldest pharmacy in Northern Europe. It’s an amazing place, like walking back in time and the building also house a small museum filled with ancient concoctions and weird looking animals.

I’ve probably been to Copenhagen 15 or 16 times so I have covered quite a bit of it, but two weeks ago when the ship pulled in again I tried my hand at seeing the sights from a Segway. OMG, totally awesome. I was actually invited by the owner to take a test drive so that when I include it in the new book I had a more in-depth feel for what ‘Segway Cruise’ offered

Being only a few minutes walk from the ship no transport was needed although they do offer to pay for a taxi to get to their premises, something that impressed me as foreign travellers are not familiar with the city they are visiting.

I am mobility challenged but was able to manage the Segway easily. There are no buttons, knobs or other things to contend with, all I had to do was stand up and gently lean forward to advance and gently lean back to brake. You get a full tutorial before you commence the tour. I was fitted with a helmet and earpiece, which allowed me to hear my English-speaking guide perfectly, and I had the choice of a one or two hour tour. I chose the one-hour because I was worried it might become too tiring but quickly regretted my decision. I could have gone on for hours.

I hired a private tour for myself and set off from Langeline Pier and saw every major sight possible that was on my hit list. Don't miss seeing the Genetically Modified Paradise Fountain and Mermaid, which isn't actually part of the tour but is in front of the training area. You can take your own pictures of the guide will take them for you.

Bjorn Norgaard is a gifted abstract artist with a different view of society who has created a sculpture group called "Genetically Modified Paradise. I came across the granite square with a 400 square metre water-less fountain quite by accident. In its centre is a 9-metre tall figure of Madonna standing on a 40-ton Triumphal Arch surrounded by depictions of Adam, Christ, Maria Magdalena, Eve, The Tripartite Capital and the Pregnant Man. All the figures have been genetically modified and it certainly makes the viewer think of the meaning behind the sculptor's vision. Because the fountain has no water, and the figures quite grotesque I felt that each piece that makes up this exhibition (originally designed as part of the world exhibition Mankind, Nature, and Technology for EXPO 2000 in Hanover) is imperfect and it proves that whatever you look like on the outside can mask the beauty hidden inside. You will have your own views.

The last sculpture in the exhibition is actually in the water on its own small island, that of the Genetically Modified Little Mermaid. Her location is only a few hundred meters from that of the well-known Copenhagen landmark The Little Mermaid. Both are worthy of a visit but I enjoyed this exhibition much more, maybe because it was totally unexpected and not mentioned in the guidebooks I've read.

My guide Freddie was expertly trained with exactly the right information without a load of waffle in between. Because I'd booked privately I was able to spend a little longer at the Palace and dismounted so I could have my picture taken with the Queen’s Guards.

The time flew by but from the first views of the Little Mermaid to the last views of Gefian Fountain there wasn't a dull moment. Being mobility challenged there was no way I'd have been able to see these sights myself and if in a tour bus I would not have had the photo opportunities that I had the freedom to take by getting up close and personal to each sight.

I have been to Copenhagen many times on the ship before but had never seen the New Harbour (Nyhavn), which was a great place for a coffee and people watching. It's beautiful, historic and full of interesting tales. Hans Christian Anderson lived there, well in three houses actually, worth several Kodak moments Segway Cruise was fun, exhilarating and great value for money compared to tours sold by the ship. On the return to the office, I was offered an organic drink and biscuits and left with a very special Segway free gift, which I'm not mentioning as it is a lovely surprise and keepsake of a very special outing. Highly recommend.

The capital city of Sweden combines modern attractions with historic charm. Kick off your stay with visits to Stockholm’s two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Royal Palace Drottningholm (the residence of the royal family) and the magical Skogskyrkogården, or Woodland Cemetery. Stroll the cobblestone streets of Old Town and over the picturesque bridges that span the city’s canals. The 19th-century Skansen was the world’s first open-air museum and is still a premier place to learn about Swedish history.

Stockholm’s Old Town, your camera will simply love this part of Stockholm! The buildings in pastel colors, the narrow and cobbled streets, and the pencil-lined windows... it really feels like walking through the illustrated pages of a Nordic fairytale book. You need to allow plenty of time to explore and lose yourself a little.

Next, the absolute and uncontested highlight of every Stockholm visit is Fotografiska. The gallery building itself is stunning, and its roof cafe offers a unique view of the city. It's always curated with style, with great attention paid to the lighting, in particular, intensifying the visual effect of whatever the current photography exhibition may be. 

After visiting museums and lots of walking through the city center, a canal tour is a perfect way to discover other parts of the city and experience Stockholm from an entirely different perspective. I was completely knackered by the time I got on the boat and it was perfect for resting my feet without losing time in seeing the sights.

I'd been trying to keep busy on purpose and In the middle of all this travelling, I was not so patiently waiting for 14 June, why? Results day. The University said 10.00am but the list was posted late and twelve agonizing minutes crept by but at last that long-awaited text, Call :)
My baby got a first, which means he is now off to Imperial in London to do his Masters in September. Unfortunately, it means I will be further away from him but there is always Christmas. In the meantime, I had obtained permission to go home for the big day on 4th July.

Because of the problems in visa in Russia I was asked by Head Office to disembark in Southampton, which meant having two weeks at home. I was scheduled to get off on 23rd June. First I came out of my cabin that morning to see my luggage still sitting in the hallway instead of the terminal, then I got to the car park to find they'd forgotten I was picking up the car so had to wait 45 minutes. Not in the best of moods I set off on the three-hour journey, which took me 4.5 hours. I really was in an unpleasant mood by the time I opened my front door.

I spent the afternoon going through the huge pile of hard mail, listening to the answer phone messages and tackling some of the 2000+ emails (no I haven’t added another zero by mistake). At about 11.00pm I started unloading my six hand luggage, which was in various bags  (don't ask). I was very fortunate that two smashing people I met on the ship, Janette and Steve, offered to help me with all of that from the ship into the terminal until I could get a porter. Luckily the poor guy I spotted had had his Weetabix that morning. He was laden with five pieces of luggage, which included two very heavy large boxes, while I had a trolley with all the hand luggage and it was me that struggled as I walked the ½ mile to the car park. It might have been long stay but they don’t mention it is a long way, lol. With no car to load the porter had no choice but to place all my luggage on the pavement of the car park and there I sat. Thank goodness I’d left 10 bags on the ship ready for my return (don’t ask)

Where was I? oh yes, it was now just past midnight and various suitcases were laid open over my kitchen floor blocking my route to the office and I thought it was a good idea to walk in and out of the case instead of trying to move it. A bloody stupid idea, my foot got caught in the metal rods that form the pull-out handle and down I went crashing to the tiled floor hitting my right hip and elbow in the process. A beached whale looked prettier! I laid there while assessing my injuries, well I had little choice as I couldn’t get up and my foot was still caught in the suitcase. It could have been worse but I still broke my toe. I was so not amused.

Hobbling to the bathroom I then found out I had no hot water. Sod it I thought, I’ll shower in the morning.

The morning arrived to find my body bruised, battered and hurting like hell so a hot shower was just what the doctor ordered. Well, he might have ordered it but I didn't get it. I still had no hot water. I realized that when I had switched the heating etc off I must have turned the hot water off as well.

Did three loads of washing and managed to unpack the rest of the 5 pieces of luggage I brought home. You can see I don’t understand the term travel light!!! My intention is to go back with empty cases, well almost empty as I brought home my blanket and things that needed washing that will go back with me plus I need more merchandise as I sold out. I honestly don’t know how people fly anymore with weight restrictions. My medical bag alone would take up my whole allowance!

Still haven’t had any dates offered from Celebrity for next year. As new people have taken over the Entertainment’s office they are running late but I’m hoping to hear in the next week as it is holding up other dates that I’m being offered on other ships. I have been lucky in getting long contracts with Celebrity so in case I am lucky again for next year I don’t want to screw the dates up by taking a week on Olsen or the like until I have heard back from Head Office. It will all depend on the customer feedback I get. If I’m honest I couldn’t have had better shows, this last cruise was standing room only but people promise to write a great review and by the time they get home and address the questionnaire they forget and some are elderly and don’t do the Internet. We will see.

In between, I started writing up the research notes for my book that I'd made on the ship and before I knew it, the clock was hitting nearly midnight again. Guess what? No bloody hot eater and I realized all my washing had been done in cold, oh well.

My friend Andrew, who owns the plant nursery down the road came to the rescue. It had nothing to do with the gadget I'd messed with, the pressure had fallen to low and the boiler had stopped working. It's in the loft (don't ask) and Andrew climbed up and had it working in no time. Great but the shower would have to wait until I'd done my radio interview.

I’d met Wynne Evans on the ship a few weeks ago and he was performing on the BRAVO (Performing Arts) cruise along with Catherine Jenkins and Alfie Boe. We got talking and he told me he had a show every day on Radio Wales and would I come on once I got home. It was a pre-record so look out for it in the coming days.

A fan, John Moss, emailed me letting me know he was in the middle of enjoying my book, always a nice thing to hear. But he also mentioned that in South West Florida i.e.
Naples / Fort Myers/ Cape Coral they have a great radio station (WAVV 101.1) that plays Matt Monro songs at least 3 or 4 times a day. He goes on to say “ its a rare day when you do not hear one. Its a powerful station that has a 100.000 watt transmitter so it can be heard over a very wide area”. It is always nice to hear a radio station that is advocating great music so if you leave in the area make sure you tune in.

Okay back to the shower. I think I'm destined to stink. I turned the faucet on and this time nothing. I went into another room, turned the tap on and still nothing. I rang my neighbour and they also had nothing. I went to the Severn Trent website to see that the whole area was down due to a network problem. Well, it must have been a bloody big problem because it is now the second day and I still don't have any water at all. My poor plants.

Wading through more emails I found one from Travis Elborough who was seeking permission to include a brief extract from my biography of dad in a new book he is putting together with the architectural historian Joe Kerr.  Provisionally entitled Bus Fare: Writing on London's Finest Form of Transport the book to be published by AA in November is a compendium of writing about London and its buses and features pieces from everyone from Charles Dickens and Virginia Woolf to Iain Sinclair and Will Self. I decided it was a worthy project and one I was happy to contribute to. So look out for this new release towards the end of the year to read about dad’s time on the buses.

Okay, I wasn't going to shower so I took my neighbour into town shopping, as I wanted a new outfit for the Graduation. I had no choice but to go in my slippers so as to protect my toe but I have to tell you it was tough walking and oh so painful. I just have to hope it calms down somewhat by 4th July as I can’t turn up at Birmingham University in slippers!!!@

So I’ll leave this continuing saga at this point and will tell you all about the Graduation next month.

As most of you know by now The Matt Monro Story is touring for the last time this year before my brother retires. After thirty years in the business, the dates in September, October, and November will see him hang up his show business hat. Having just got married to a wonderful lady he doesn't want to spend months on the road anymore, he figures it's time to try something new…. but he hasn’t made his mind up yet on what that will be.

Matt’s last album, which came out last year to coincide with the tour will also be available. “A Father’s Legacy’ was the first album since his 2007 “If He Could See Me Now” and his 2010 “Dancing With His Father’. Matt has done the album in the style of dad in terms of arrangements and although the final running order is different, these are the tracks included.

Fourth Blue Monday
Didn’t We
For Once in My Life
Georgia on My Mind
Let Me Sing
One Morning in May
Gonna Build a Mountain
One Voice
You’ve Got Possibilities
So Little Time
This is the Life
Wonderful World
On Days Like These
You Made Me So Very Happy
Yesterday When I Was Young

I also need your help. I am probably going to self-publish my new book (don't ask), does anyone out there know anything about distribution. Publishing is the easy bit but if people can't find it, it becomes pretty useless.

Don’t forget it’s not too late to let me have any recommendations for shops, eateries, tours and the places that have impressed you in Europe. Even if you have a valuable tip I want to hear it, you might know the best places for duty-free and if anyone has issues with their mobility please share your stories with me. It could be that you need to tell me a place to avoid and that is equally valid. This project is important so if you have any suggestions of things to include please email me at michele@mattmonro.com.

Cruise Dates 2018

7 July – 21 July – Celebrity Silhouette
21 July – 4 August – Celebrity Silhouette
4 August – 18 August – Celebrity Silhouette

Cruise Dates 2019

3 January – 27 February – P&O

Each time I’ve been away I’ve been posting a travel blog with pictures and video onto my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/michelemonro every time I’m in port with an Internet connection.

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

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!!!!

Until next month take care of yourselves and here’s wishing everyone good health, happiness and a lot of sunshine.
See y

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 Righteous 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 about doing so. For that reason, I have printed step-by-step instructions on 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 dad’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 goes home a fan, then it is worth all the blood, sweat and tears, not to mention the Bay of Biscay!!!!

Until next month take care of yourselves and don’t forget to check my travel blog out at Facebook.co.uk/MicheleMonro. See you all again in August with more tales from the sea.

Warmest to you and yours


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