As regular recipients of our newsletter will know, on March 31st this year, I walked out of the office for the last time as Chief Executive of the company we set up 27 years ago. I have been asked to start writing a regular column about what I’m doing now, perhaps sprinkled with a few stories from the past…
As is well known, I love to travel, so we took this opportunity to heart and have been planning, with my sister and brother-in-law, to take possibly what was one of the cruises of a lifetime. I have become a bit of a cruise fanatic and over the past 10 years we have taken over 30 cruises. In fact, it has become such an obsession with me that my wife (Jackie) has imposed a two cruise a year limit on me. However, if my family ask us to go away with them, and it happens to be a cruise, that doesn’t count…..
Our first choice for a cruise company is Regent Seven Seas Cruises (RSSC) – they are a little more expensive when first looked at, but when you look at their pricing more closely everything is included in the price, and I mean everything! So in reality you spend the same as you would on a cheaper cruise, on a much lesser ship, with nowhere near as good food, service or levels of luxury!
The cruise we chose started with a three day land tour to Cambodia, Angkor Wat, which we flew to after our main flight into Bangkok. It was fascinating and I could – and might – write a whole column about that part of our trip. It’s an amazing and still slightly innocent place, and we will be going back. Our cruise then commenced from Bangkok and visited Singapore, where we sampled a Singapore Sling in Raffles and did a harbour tour to see the new Marina Bay Sands Hotel.
This was followed by visits to Ko Samui and Phuket in Thailand, Kuala Lumpur and Penang in Malaysia and then our favourite place, Rangoon (Yangon) in Burma (Myanmar). It has only become more open to tourists in the past three to four years. One of our tours was on a bicycle rickshaw ride which, if you have ever met me you will know, I’m not a small person. The guy peddling me about was at least half my weight and probably 75, he seemed okay until we came to a bit of an incline when he had to get off and push….! It’s a country with a terrible past and needs time to straighten itself out but the people are very welcoming and friendly.
After that we visited four places in India, Cochin, Mangalore, Goa and Mumbai, then a hop across to the Gulf to visit Muscat, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi is like Dubai’s grown-up and more cultured elder brother. After being away for 28 days it was good to get back…now to plan the next trip!