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Clueless about cruising? First-time cruise questions answered

Before going on my first cruise with Celebrity Cruises earlier this month, it’s fair to say I was a complete cruise novice. Pretty much the only knowledge I had of cruising came from repeat viewings of Titanic and The Poseidon Adventure (so I was paying particular attention when it came to the evacuation drill). Read more

Wandering the city walls in Dubrovnik

Conventional cruise wisdom has it that you when you get into port, you should be first off the ship to get as much time as you can in each destination. Great in theory, but it didn’t take into account that our arrival into Dubrovnik would coincide with a torrential rainstorm – and an umbrella shortage! Read more

In pictures: Cruising out of Venice

When I found out our cruise was departing out of Venice, I knew I’d have to try and fit in a glass of prosecco in Piazza San Marco on the way. But my plans were thwarted by a rainstorm and a flight delay, and instead we had to head straight on board our ship. Read more

Take 12 Trips June: A first-time cruise in the Eastern Mediterranean

As part of my mission to ‘Take 12 Trips’ in 2014, I’m taking at least one trip each month – which can be anything from a local day out to an international trip. So far this year my trips have taken me from the North of England to the souks of Morocco, back to my old hometown of London and on a culinary journey to Catania in Sicily. Read more

Travel future: A European rail adventure

It’s not often that I can say that I’ve travelled as much as I’d like. Normally I’d happily squeeze another weekend break or night away into any given month. But the last couple of months have been pretty manic compared to my normal slow-paced travel style. Read more

Sailing the Sognefjord in Norway

It is Norway’s longest fjord, ranked as one of the world’s most beautiful fjord landscapes and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site – the Sognefjord comes with a whole lot of superlatives and even more expectations, but it certainly didn’t disappoint. Read more

Trip budget: Bergen and the Norwegian fjords

Think of Norway and you probably picture sailing through the deep blue waters of the fjords, hiking through the mountains or watching the Northern Lights from a husky sled in the Arctic. Or maybe the cosmopolitan cities, with their sleek architecture and great nightlife, are more your thing. Read more

In pictures: The fjords from Flåm

Norway has no shortage of fjords, but the longest and deepest of them is the Sognefjord. It stretches over 200km inland from the ocean, and the tiny town of Flåm lies at the end of one of its most scenic stretches. Read more

The Flåm Railway: Norway’s most scenic train journey

From the train window I watched snapshots of Norway’s stunning scenery flashing by, one after another – steep rocky cliffs, deep blue fjords, lush green meadows, neatly painted red and white clapboard houses, mountains topped with a sprinkling of snow. Read more

Decline and rebirth at Liverpool’s Albert Dock

Despite plenty of trips to Manchester over the years, I’d always managed to miss visiting Liverpool until now. So it was well overdue when I made my first trip up there earlier this month, and the first stop on my whistlestop tour of the city was the Albert Dock. Read more

Travel future: Cruising the Mediterranean

Over the years, I’ve travelled using everything from a plane to a rickshaw. But there’s one type of trip I’ve never tried, and that’s a cruise. My previous sailing experience is limited to cross-Channel ferries on childhood holidays to France and a few choppy boat rides that had me reaching for the sea-sickness pills – it’d be true to say I’m not a natural sailor! Read more

Tastes of Sicily: Learning to cook like a Catanian

After exploring Catania’s fabulous fresh produce in its markets, it was time to learn how to put it to use. We headed up into the foothills of Mount Etna to meet Monica Consoli, our guide through the delicious world of Sicilian cookery. Monica is the daughter of cookbook author Eleanora Consoli and our class took place in Eleanora’s lovely 18th century villa. Read more