Review: Think cruising is just for older people - dig a little deeper says Andrea Powell

Your imagination could take you anywhere

Your imagination could take you anywhere - Credit: Archant

Andrea Powell is inviting readers to come and meet her this weekend - for a worldwide cruise, that will never actually leave Ipswich docks!

How about a stop in Rome during your European cruise?

How about a stop in Rome during your European cruise? - Credit: Archant

Done on a whim, I had all but forgotten our shop’s entry into the Carnival Cruise Lines Funnest Travel Agent Competition.

So when I received notification that we had made the top five my first reaction was one of surprise, closely followed by trepidation. Brilliant, but blimey – now I actually had to make this thing work?

Many may have heard of the Carnival Corporation, or at least one of the many brands owned by Carnival – P&O, Cunard, Princess, Holland America and Seabourn being amongst them.

Despite having the largest fleet in the group, with 24 vessels though, I suspect few will have actually sailed on one of their own branded Carnival Cruise Lines ships. Up to now, it seems as if a large proportion of their passengers have been more from America than Europe. And it is thought as much as 30% of their passengers are under 35 with a further 40% then between 35 and 55. Quite the opposite to both the perception of cruising and the reality here in Europe on most lines. This has also been reflected in the itineraries Carnival have sailed, where it is best known for three- to seven-night cruises around the Caribbean and Bahamas, embarking from various U.S. ports including Miami, Boston, Charleston and Los Angeles.

The boats

The boats - Credit: Archant

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Carnival have not had ships in Europe for five years, but from May 1 next year the brand new Carnival Vista, capable of carrying 4,000 passengers will sail eight different itineraries around the Mediterranean before crossing the Atlantic to New York in October.

With their emphasis on fun and to open up their cruise ships to a wider audience, they launched a Travel Agent competition but with a Mediterranean element. It was all about an event to promote cruising in Europe, as well as celebrating the launch of their new ship the Carnival Vista.

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For me, the setting was easy. I wanted to use the fabulous Ipswich Waterfront. The timing – it had to be this weekends Maritime. Being a cruise ship theme, what better setting than the blue skies (we hope!), a marina filled with yachts and crowds of people all having a good time. But then the snag. With the best will in the world there was no way it was going to be possible to get a 135,000 ton cruise ship into Ipswich Docks. But we hope we have thought of the next best thing.As for the fun.

A green screen, camera, prop box and some images of the ship and Europe and it was sorted.

A Cruise Ship Photo Booth.

Sounds simple if you say it quick enough.

With much ado we all set about picking out the funny face props, Cat in the Hat outfits, bubble machines, Hawaiian hula skirts (including for the men) and much more.

Coupled with fabulous backdrops of this lovely ship, the Colosseum in Rome (ever wanted to fight like a Gladiator?), the Leaning Tower of Pisa (you really could hold this in place with just one finger you know!) and not forgetting one of their beautiful private Bahamian Island, Half Moon Cay, we hope to have something to spark everyone’s imagination.

So if you are short of something to do this Sunday and feel like having fun, come down to Maritime and see if you could be in the Funnest Picture.

As for Carnival Cruise Lines, with their slogan ‘Look at the Med differently’, if you think cruising is ‘just for old people’, you may want to dig a bit deeper since I think they may beg to differ!

A selection of the Carnival Cruise Mediterranean Itineraries next summer

8-night European Inland Waterways Cruise from Barcelona

Departure Port: Barcelona, Spain

Cruises to: Palermo (Sicily), Italy Naples (Capri/Pompeii), Italy; Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy; Livorno (Florence/Pisa), Italy; Marseilles (Provence), France; Palma De Mallorca, Spain; Barcelona, Spain

10-night European Inland Waterways Cruise from Barcelona

Departure Port: Barcelona, Spain

Cruises to: Marseilles (Provence), France; Livorno (Florence/Pisa), Italy; Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy; Naples (Capri/Pompeii), Italy; Rhodes, Greece; Izmir (Ephesus), Turkey; Athens, Greece

10-night European Inland Waterways Cruise from Piraeus

Departure Port: Piraeus, Greece

Cruises to: Izmir (Ephesus), Turkey ; Rhodes, Greece ; Valletta, Malta ; Messina (Sicily), Italy ; Naples (Capri/Pompeii), Italy ; Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy ; Livorno (Florence/Pisa), Italy ; Marseilles (Provence), France; ; Barcelona, Spain

13-night European Inland Waterways Cruise from Trieste

Departure Port: Trieste, Italy

Cruises to: Dubrovnik, Croatia ; Athens, Greece ; Izmir (Ephesus), Turkey ; Valletta, Malta ; Palermo (Sicily), Italy ; Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy ; Livorno (Florence/Pisa), Italy ; Marseilles (Provence), France; ; Barcelona, Spain

And you could win a cruise holiday this weekend

Meet Andrea and the team at Maritime Ipswich on the Waterfront between 10am and 6pm this Sunday.

Carnival will be bringing along a videographer and photographer to record the day and there are prizes for the most imaginative shots.

1. Best Shot including the Kids

This one must include at least one young person under 16.

The prize is a Cat In The Hat

2. Best Group

Must have more than two people in the shot

The prize is 2 bottles of Prosecco

3. Best Individual or Couple

For one or two people

The prize is a Carnival Cruise Lines beach towel (or two!)

The winner in each category will then go forward to ‘Funnest In Show’, where the overall winner will receive the first prize of £500 off of a Carnival Cruise.

Andrea Powell is owner and Managing Director of Idelo Travel in Ipswich. Contact: 01473 231181.

See more great travel ideas here

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