Our regular columnist, Grumpy Group Organiser, discusses his hopes for domestic cruises, the introduction of a possible vaccination passport and his love for the theatre.

Cruise deck

GGO is eyeing up a UK cruise for his group with the hope that domestic sailings will be able to resume after 17th May. 

Cruise holidays get thumbs up

The cruise industry has been hit badly by the pandemic and unfairly singled out at times, despite its fantastic record on safety and cleanliness. So a recent statement from the Department for Transport saying that domestic cruising in England “will be aligned with the wider resumption of the domestic tourism and indoor hospitality sectors” was a welcome surprise to me.

The hope is that UK domestic holidays can begin from 17th May and that soon after at least some of these majestic floating hotels will be able to welcome guests once again. I have been thinking long and hard about what we might do as a group over the next 6-12 months as I adapt our programme. Perhaps I will offer a cruise around this fair isle and see what the reaction is like.

If you want to travel, get smart

The thing about smartphones is the people staring at them don’t look particularly bright. I include myself in that observation. You can easily lose yourself in the glow of news, emails, videos and internet drivel. I have been told I often look like a zombie while staring at my mobile phone… I probably sound like one too.

I bemoaned this technology in the past, but finally accepted that you will get left behind if you do not embrace it – and I do mean left behind. Heard the term ‘vaccination passport’ lately? You probably have. The idea is to provide secure, official proof that you have been vaccinated in order to enjoy certain pleasures we once took for granted. The Government has been a bit cagey on the subject but it seems more and more likely that something will be introduced, certainly for international travel.


Source: ING

Tests on a smartphone app solution are already underway on some flights into Britain. Created by the International Air Transport Association (Iata), it aims to prove you meet certain criteria for travel, such as vaccination status and evidence of a negative Covid-19 test.

The thing is, a ‘vaccination passport’ always seems to be linked to an app on a smartphone, so you better get savvy with your mobile if you want to take that trip overseas. Will there be a paper alternative? I doubt it. A Government review on international travel is due to be published in April which might tell us more. But as our lives are increasingly intertwined with technology, my advice is to get on this particular train or you’ll be left behind while the rest of us smugly present our phones at immigration.

I just hope my battery doesn’t die before I get there.

Remembering why I miss the theatre

I miss the theatre so it is great to see that some shows are now finally back on sale. How wonderful it will be when groups can breathe life back into Theatreland. The emotions we will feel when the lights go down and the curtain rises will be quite something. Radio 2 asked its listeners to vote for the greatest ever song from a musical as part of the BBC’s recent Musicals Weekend. One More Day from the wonderful Les Misérables topped the poll and secured the top two spots with Bring Him Home coming second. Who can argue against Les Mis? No, not even me. I don’t think I could choose just one favourite, but the opening number the next time I take my seat will live long in the memory.