Time for this month’s look at what’s new on the site, what’s going on in the social world of travel and cruise blogging, and what I’ve been reading or watching recently.

Site Changes

No tinkering with custom code this month from me as I’ve been mostly occupied with the videos mentioned in the next section but there have been a couple of plugin changes in the backend of the site following a short chat with Sanna Vegancruiser in the wake (that’s a cruise pun and it’s yours absolutely free) of last month’s security concerns. miniOrange 2-factor and Wordfence have both been installed in order to stop malicious logins and automatically block suspicious traffic. So far, nothing to report from either of them and no news is quite possibly good news where these things are concerned.

Cruise Videos

I’ve had quite a bit of fun getting more practice in with editing videos of cruises we’ve taken and last month I posted cruise highlights videos of both our very first and our very last Princess cruises.

Our most recent cruise on Princess took place on the Sapphire Princess and I did try to take a fair bit of video on my phone as it’s got 4K recording capability. That said, my default behaviour is to take photos as that’s my primary memory-capturing mechanism so I did find myself often thinking at the end of the day “Damn! Forgot to film that bit where…” I will try to improve. In fact, I’ve bought a cheap GoPro-like camera to try to force myself to do that very thing on our next big cruise (although more on that a bit further down). Anyway, I think the video came out pretty well overall and there were some nice comments from some people who’ve seen it already.

I enjoyed putting that video together so much I then went back to our first cruise with Princess as well. Our first cruise (as we incessantly go on about because, well, it was our first cruise!) was on Diamond Princess all the way back in 2008. The video footage I took at the time was on a cheap, eBay-bought camera with very little thought given to what I was doing (oh, how things have chang… oh, wait). I gathered together small snippets of our pre-cruise stay in Beijing then added in pieces from on the ship on sea days along with port visits in Shanghai, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Vietnam, and Thailand to produce something that probably is of very little interest to anyone except my wife and me, although if you’re as much a fan of vicarious nostalgia as I am then I think it’s worth a watch. At the very least, why not see just how I’ve tried to locate suitable (okay, stereotypical) music accompaniment for the various parts of the finished film.

Wave Awards And Some Discussions

The Wave Awards people have whittled down their longlists to shortlists and there are literally no surprises to what those are (the people with the largest social media following got the most votes!) other than the fact that the shortlists aren’t terribly short. This whittling led to a number of tweets on the subject with comments such as:

It’s really a “blogger most able to lobby people to vote” award than best blog. It drives me crazy!

Then it’s not an ‘award’? It’s a popularity vote and the most popular wins? TBH, I prefer awards based on judging panels, not a public vote. That’s because I have no friends lol.

Getting on the list gets our name out there a little. But we can’t compete with those that have Facebook groups with 1000’s of members & ask them to vote for them to give the big hitters “a run for their money for once”. But I’m with the comment above, is it really an award?

All very true but it’s not like any of the people in the running didn’t know this and I’d even mentioned this when the nominations were first made: 2019 Wave Awards Cruise Blogger Nominees. It’s a small part of the reason why we didn’t play the self-promotion game (the main part being abject horror, of course) and it also explains why the shortlist isn’t very short as it increases the chance to sucker some more people into accidentally checking the box that says “Yes, for some reason I would like to receive adverts and have my details passed onto other companies!” from the awards organisers. It’s a fairly small price to pay, I suppose.

For what it’s worth, because we have numerous disposable email address aliases we’ve voted for several nominees who have made the shortlist and who we’ve had good interaction with online as it could make the difference to them. Best of luck to everyone there.

Arcadia Cruise

We’ve just had a weekend aboard P&O’s Arcadia, our first time on the ship or any ship of its class, and our second time visiting Guernsey along with a first time visiting Cherbourg (and, because there were no strikes, the first time we’ve hit the French port we were actually supposed to hit on any cruise). Photo processing has now concluded and it just remains to start writing up reviews of the cruise as well as the two ports and what we did there. As a brief spoiler I will say that neither port was electrifying – Cherbourg’s tourist board really need to have a word with the city’s establishments about opening times if they want to encourage more positive reviews; with St Peter Port we’d done a lot of the interesting things earlier in the year so this was more a laid-back visit for a Sunday – and also that while we liked Arcadia we did encounter our old P&O nemesis of some less-than-sterling service once again. Not enough to spoil things too much but just disappointing in a half-expected way. More details when the cruise reviews are written.

Remember me mentioning the cheap GoPro-like video camera I bought recently? Well, this was the first cruise I’ve taken it on and… I mostly forgot I had it so barely recorded anything with it. I swear I’m going to get better at taking video when we travel.

The photo accompanying this blog post is a phone shot of Cherbourg reflected in its harbour waters.

Farewell, Star Princess

Just a quick bit of sad (for us) cruise-related news: Princess announced last month that they would be selling Star Princess to P&O Australia. We’ll be sad to see her leave the fleet as our favourite cruise was on her but we’ll be on her again next year before she leaves and can say goodbye properly then. Who knows? Maybe one day we’ll head down under and take a cruise on whatever she ends up being called there.

On The Internet

As usual, I’ll finish up with a short summary of what we’ve been watching or reading that’s travel or cruise-related on the internet in the last month.

Pip Jones is easily one of my favourite travel bloggers not least because she interacts well despite large numbers of followings and followers. She recently wrote up Things To Do In Wakefield and with that being our adopted Yorkshire home, a place we regularly visit, and with me also having sent her some advice about some of the places to take a look at (Hepworth Gallery and Yorkshire Sculpture Park were two of my suggestions) I have to include the post here and you should take a read of it just to see what a lovely area of the country it is.

Spotted via a tweet from someone else, this post – Ceaușescu Residence: A Must Visit In Bucharest – by Maria and Katerina of It’s All Trip To Me takes a look at the former home of the Romanian leader Nicolae Ceaușescu and his family between 1965 and 1989. If you like gaudy gold bathrooms (who doesn’t!), padded cinemas, and opulently-tiled swimming pools then it’s worth a quick look for the photos alone and it’s definitely worth adding to any travel plans to the country.

For fans of big waves crashing over things then this short video tweet shows the trouble the pilot boat escorting the Diamond Princess out of Yokohama recently had. That tweet is from cruisecrier on the platform and we’ve been following his updates keenly as we’re on Diamond Princess and cruising to and from Yokohama in a little over five weeks time now.

21+ Hidden Gems Of Europe is fairly surprising in these clickbait-style numbered list-type posts in that the vast majority of the places really are places we’ve not either heard of or considered before. Of most interest to me, though, was the inclusion of Syros, a Greek island I’ve been to before, although long before I took an interest in the history and architecture of a place, long before mobile phones were a thing, but well into the era of drinking in bars.

Best of Kyoto, Japan is included here for the stunning photography of the area from Abbie Jade. Sadly, we won’t be visiting this area of the country when he hit there next month but it and Tokyo are places we really want to travel to and explore in depth at some point.

Finally, turning to our European neighbours once again, in A Beginner’s Guide To Paris there is actually some very useful information about what to see and what to avoid in the French capital that has suddenly made the place move up the list of cities to visit. We’ve pretty much ignored close countries in favour of more far-flung destinations when we’ve left the country but some of the nightlife spots listed and the catacombs in particular are very appealing.

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