Paul and Carole 2019 Review
From Camilla to Katherine Jenkins – What a year!
It is that time of year where we reflect on our last year of travel. Our 2018 had been pretty full on but little did we know what opportunities 2019 would bring. We still can’t believe the experiences we have had this year along the growing support we have received on our blog, social media channels and You Tube.
2019 was the first time that we saw our names in print. We had our first feature in the excellent book The Joy of Cruising. Paul C. Thornton is an award winning American author who got in touch about featuring our Cuba experience in his book. We accepted his invitation and are very proud to be part of this excellent book all about passionate cruisers. If you love cruising then you will love this book and you can purchase this book via our affiliate link here.
We also achieved some of our social media goals too, reaching 2000 subscribers and going over 600,000 views on You Tube, gaining over 3000 followers on our Facebook Page and 10.000 followers on Twitter. So thanks you all for following along, your support is really appreciated!
February – Koh Samui, Thailand
Our first trip of the year and what a great one it was. We travelled with friends and family to the island of Koh Samui in Thailand.
We have got to know this island pretty well over the years and we started our holiday on the east coast of the island in Lamai. We chose the Lamai Wanta due to this hotel being located right on the beachfront with a beautiful infinity pool. It’s just a two minute walk to the lively centre of town. If we were staying in Lamai again we would definitely stay here. For more information click here and watch our video below.
Next stop was Chaweng Noi a quiet area just north of Lamai. We stayed at Baan Sukreep for the second time, a small resort within walking distance of the beach, situated in a coconut grove it’s a beautiful little resort. If you want peace and quiet but a hotel within easy reach of the lively areas of Lamai and Chaweng then this is a very good choice. You can book your stay at Baan Sukreep here.
Our last stop was at the north of the island at a place called Plai Leam, near to Choeng Mon and the iconic Big Buddha at a resort called Honey Tara Suites, Even the standard rooms here were massive with a great pool area, it was the perfect way to end a great holiday. Thailand did not disappoint and we know we will be back. You can find more travel information about Koh Samui and Thailand on our travel page here.
May – Our cruise to Italy and Croatia on the Marella Explorer 2 Cruise Ship.
Our first cruise of the year was with Marella Cruise and on a new ship for us, the Marella Explorer 2. This time we were travelling with my father Big John and my big brother Deano. We flew to Naples before setting off around Italy and Croatia. The high point definitely being Dubrovnik, the old town should be on everyone’s to do list. The weather wasn’t kind to us though with torrential rain and even hailstones but we still had a fabulous time! The Marella Explorer 2 is the newest Marella ship and you can read our review here.
May – Pillaton Hall Farm Camping and Fishing
They say variety is the spice of life and this was definitely something different. About an hour and a half away from our home town of Gloucester, set in the beautiful Staffordshire countryside is Pillaton Hall Farm. A well equipped campsite that also features several well stocked fishing lakes. We joined my niece Natalie and her husband Alan who is a keen fisherman and spent the bank holiday weekend fishing, having a few drinks and enjoying a bbq or two. We love going away in our motorhome and were blessed with some fantastic weather to go along with the great company.
June – Silverseas Silver Cloud Cruise Ship visit in London
The month started off in style with a trip to London for a half day visit on the Silverseas expedition ship the Silver cloud, expedition cruising was a new concept to us and so was this level of luxury. It was such an interesting visit and we now know that an expedition cruise is something we definitely would like to do. Antartica has now been added to our bucket list!
June – Glastonbury Festival
Our quest for Glastonbury tickets started last October, with about three million people all trying for the 150000 tickets that are available it is incredibly lucky if you get in, but lucky we were.
So off we set with our favourite festival friends Dickie, Sal and Phil to the hottest weather Glastonbury had experienced in years. There were so many highlights with James Morrison, Louis Capaldi and George Ezra amongst our favourites. Due to a prior commitment we had to leave on the Sunday morning meaning we missed the six hour traffic jams but we also missed the princess of pop Kylie. This was our fourth visit to Glastonbury and we have enjoyed every one of them but have decided that we can now draw a line under this chapter in our lives.
July – Saga’s Brand New Spirit Of Discovery Cruise Ship – 2 day cruise and Naming Ceremony
The reason for cutting our Glastonbury experience short was that CLIA in conjunction with Saga cruises invited us to a two day press cruise followed by the naming ceremony of Sagas first ever brand new ship The Spirit Of Discovery.
Not only was this an amazing opportunity to see first hand what the Saga brand has to offer (yes we have reached the required age!) but also the chance to meet some fellow travel bloggers that we have only previously spoken to online. It was great seeing some familiar faces as we waited to board this beautiful new ship, but it was even more wonderful when we were allocated a suite for the two day cruise.
The Spirit of Discovery is a beautiful ship, Saga’s aim was to build a ship that would reflect the finest boutique hotels and they have certainly achieved that!
The naming ceremony itself was a full blown garden party set up on the quay side, featuring a string quartet a welsh choir and the royal marines marching band. It was really was fit for royalty, which was lucky as the christening of the ship was carried out by the Duchess of Cornwall Camilla Parker Bowles! I even managed to get some exclusive shots of the Duchess cutting the ceremonial cake that was a replica of the actual ship and even had steam coming out of the funnel!. Once the ceremony was finished we re boarded the ship and enjoyed a fantastic evening meal and treated to an amazing performance by Jools Holland and his rhythm and blues orchestra featuring Ruby Turner and Pauline Black from the Ska band Selector. It was such an amazing experience, who thought Saga would put on the party of all parties but they definitely did!
Saga has another new ship coming out in 2020 The Spirit of Adventure, fingers crossed we will be able to bring you all the details of that one too!
July – Crown Princess Cruise Ship Visit – Introducing the new technology the Ocean medallion
Another half day ship visit this time on the Crown Princess to find out all about Princess cruises brand new bit of technology the Ocean Medallion, This little gizmo is going to revolutionise your cruising experience!
We had such a great day with Princess and catching up with fellow cruise bloggers. We loved the Crown Princess so much we have booked our first Princess cruise on this ship for October! They are currently doing a great deal on adding a premier drinks package, WiFi and gratuities for £35 a day which is brilliant value. Click our this Princess affiliate logo to find out more!
August – Our first Fred Olsen Cruise on the Braemar Cruise Ship
Our second family cruise of the year was on a new cruise line for us Fred Olsen. This time travelling with my dad Big John and my sister Jan. After our cruise with dad earlier in the year it had become apparent that he is now at the age where flying is too much for him, with this cruise sailing out of Southampton it was ideal.
The Braemar is ideal for anybody who has mobility issues, with virtually no stairs to negotiate in all the venues on the ship. The food and entertainment was excellent and we really enjoyed our first Fred Olsen cruise. The little Braemar really stole our hearts, for a small ship the amount of outside space was superb and with a full wrap around promenade it really ticked a lot of our boxes. You can read our full review of the Braemar here.
September – Imagine Cruising and Katherine Jenkins
We genuinely still have to pinch ourselves over this one!
Imagine Cruising invited us on a trip to Rome, to experience first hand one of their bespoke events. Staying at an amazing hotel, and then being transported to a castle that Hollywood superstar Tom Cruise got married in to watch the very beautiful and very talented Katherine Jenkins perform, it still feels like a dream. Click here for our full story
November – Marella Discovery Red sea Cruise
We love this ship and have got to know some of the staff during our previous visits so this felt like a bit of a homecoming for us, throw in our first junior suite and our first time transiting the suez canal and it made for a brilliant holiday. We also ticked Petra off our bucket list too! You have probably guessed by now we really enjoy cruising with Marella, so do check out their cruises here and book one for yourself!
During our cruise we put together a series of vlogs, which you can watch here. Do also check out our Marella Page for more information too.
December – Christmas Weekend in London
Instead of buying Christmas presents for each other we would rather spend our money on travel, so we decided to treat ourselves to a long weekend in London. Travelling up on the National Express and staying at the Holiday Inn at Camden lock were both great choices. The Holiday Inn is a perfect location for a great weekend, our room overlooked the famous Camden Lock and market. With a host of excellent pubs and restaurants on the doorstep we really were spoiled for choice. The tube was just a two minute walk away so we managed to pack loads in including a very christmassy Harrods, Buckingham Palace and St Paul’s cathedral, we walked so far we actually wore our shoes out and had to buy some more!
2019 has been a fabulous year, we hope it inspires you to travel and experience this wonderful world of ours! We so very excited to see what 2020 brings, do follow us on social media here so we can take you along on our travels too!
Further Reading –
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