Tag Archives: Ocean-Liners-Exhibition

Ocean Liners Speed and Style – V & A Exhibition 2018

The romance of the golden era of cruising is something most of us can now only imagine. So, I was honoured and thrilled to be invited to the private view of Ocean Liners Speed and Style at the V & A last week.

This new exhibition is being sponsored by Viking Cruises, and gives an insight into the history of some of our most loved ocean liners through the decades. If, like me, you love the elegance, grandeur, opulence and extravagance of cruising, you will be in your element.

It’s not all about the glamour though. The curators have also shown the dangerous aspects of cruising in those days. Items on display include belongings that have been recovered from wreckages or salvaged before disaster struck. These include a Cartier tiara saved from the Lusitania which sank in 1915, and the the exhibition’s final piece is a panel fragment from the first class lounge on Titanic, where the ship broke in half. (See bottom of page for video)

Ocean Liners Speed and Style Photo: Piers Macdonald

As you step inside the V&A’s Ocean Liners Speed and Style exhibition it feels like you have travelled back in time.

The collection consists of over 250 objects spanning the years 1850 – 1970. A simply mesmerising exhibition that covers all aspects of the ocean liner, including engineering, safety and design, promoting and advertising through the eras to high society lifestyle and fashion.

Ships featured in the exhibition include; Queen Elizabeth, QE2, Titanic, Bremen, The Great Eastern, Canberra, Normandie, Queen Mary, Olympic, France, Lusitania, Mauretania, SS United States and more.

Advertising and Promoting The Ocean Liner

An enviable 1:48 scale promotional model of Queen Elizabeth made for Cunard in 1949, is the magnificent centrepiece of the first room at the exhibit. The walls are adorned with posters advertising grand voyages. This one (above) offers a first class return ticket to Australia for £140. Sounds affordable until you realise that would be over £7000 today. The ports of call from London would typically be, Gibraltar, Toulon, Naples, Port Said, Suez, Colombo, Fremantle, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane. So that is proof that cruising is much better value for money these days as for as little as £3,000 more you can see the whole world.

“The Largest Steamers In The World” poster for Olympic and Titanic, White Star Line 1911.

A selection of posters adorn the walls of the exhibition. Our obsession for the ill-fated Titanic is well catered for with plenty of pieces to capture the imagination.

Eerie: This poster advertising the first sailing of the Titanic that tragically never happened.

The Geeky Bit

If you are more interested in the technical side of things, there is a lot for you to get your teeth into. An entire section is dedicated to shipbuilding materials, engines, propulsion, hull design, speed, safety and comfort. Detailed design drawings and models of engine systems will captivate and fascinate you.

Politics and War

Footage of Adolf Hitler walking the decks of the Robert Ley in 1939, and details of how ships were designed to be able to quickly convert into armed merchant cruisers, serves as as a reminder of how important these vessels were in times of political unrest.

Glamour and the Grande Descente

The Grand Staircase on Olympic, with the Honour and Glory Crowning Time panel in situ c.1911

Making an entrance was an important part of the cruise culture for the First Class passengers. The Ocean Liners grand staircase leading into the dining room, was the perfect place for them to show off their most fashionable evening wear. This pre dinner ritual was often referred to as the Grande Descent.

Ocean Liners Speed and Style Photo: Piers Macdonald

There is so much to see at the exhibition that I haven’t even touched half of what is there, but go and see it for yourself. This really is a charming, fascinating and enjoyable exhibit that will appeal to all ages. I am already planning a return visit with my son.

Ocean Liners: Speed and Style will be open from 3 February until 17 June 2018, at the V&A in London. It will then move to the V & A Dundee opening on 15 September 2018 until 24 February 2019.  Please purchase your tickets in advance to avoid disappointmen and are available at vam.ac.uk/oceanliners.

Ocean Liners Speed and Style Photo: Piers Macdonald

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Cruise Line Winners of the Globe Travel Awards 2018

11 January 2018 – Grosvenor House, London

The Globe Travel Awards 2018 were celebrated in style at the Grosvenor House last night. With the Wave Season in full swing, the event gave the travel industry elite an opportunity to celebrate their achievements of 2017 and let their hair down for the night.

Lucy Huxley, Editor in Chief of the Travel Weekly Group was joined by comedian Harry Hill, to reveal the nights winners to an audience of over 1300 travel agents.

Three Wins For Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean and her sister brands, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises, were winners in all of their categories.

Best Mainstream Cruise Company – Royal Caribbean International

Ben Bouldin, UK and Ireland Sales Director “This is the one award that we really cherish. It’s the most important one. It’s voted for by our agents, and the trade is critical to our success.”

Best Premium Cruise Company – Celebrity Cruises

Jo Rzymowska, Managing Director UK and Ireland “We never take it for granted to win this award. We have won it for many years now. It means so much every year. We try to make sure that we stay on top of our game.”

Best Specialist Cruise Company: Azamara Club Cruises

Richard Twynam, Managing Director UK and Ireland “This is the travel industry equivalent of scoring a hat trick at Wembley or winning Wimbledon or the British Grand Prix. It’s all about destination, and the trade clearly recognise that. The competition is amazing so to win it three times is amazing.”

Richard Twynham – Azamara Club Cruises Managing Director UK and Ireland

River Cruise Awards

Favourite River Cruise Company – Viking River Cruises
Viking Cruises added another award to their coveted collection. The company are sponsors for the incredible Ocean Liners: Speed and Style Exhibition at the V&A which opens on 3rd February 2018. Click here for more information.

Best River Cruise Company – Uniworld

Unique in many ways, Uniworld cater for families and teens whilst maintaining an outstanding level of quality and service. No two ships are the same, as each one has been cleverly decorated to be an extension of the region it calls home.

Favourite Ocean Cruise Company – P&O Cruises

With more ships operating from Southampton than any other cruise line, P & O will welcome a brand new ship in 2020. The yet to be named ship will be their largest vessel to date, with a guest capacity of up to 5,200.

The stunning Atrium onboard P & O Britannia

Best Luxury Cruise Company – Silversea

The all inclusive luxury cruise line offer one of the highest space-per-guest ratios of any luxury cruise accommodation, and are expecting delivery of their tenth ship, Silver Moon in 2020.

Best Insurance Provider – Holiday Extras

For the tenth year running, Holiday Extras have proved themselves to be ahead of the competition.

Howard Dove, Managing Director “We’re ecstatic. Just wow! Last year we launched our new medical plus product which provides a better integrated service for our customers. We’d like to thank all the agents who have supported us through this time”

Best Airline – Emirates

Winning both categories, Emirates were voted Best Premium Airline Service and Best Long-Haul Airline. I was certainly impressed when I visited the Business Class Lounge at Heathrow. Check out the photos of my day courtesy of Gold Medal here:  Tour of the Business Lounge and A380 at Heathrow

Travelling First Class with Emirates

Best Attraction (worldwide) – Walt Disney World Resort

Always a favourite with the young at heart, Walt Disney World Resort, Florida came out as the Best Worldwide Attraction. The recent revamp of Downtown Disney to the quaint and quirky Disney Springs has doubled the number of venues on offer as well as creating an additional 4,000 permanent jobs. Go Disney!

My kids with Tigger and Pooh at the Magic Kingdom

Outstanding Achievement Award – Steve Dunlop

Although I wasn’t at the awards in person, it was clear from the twittersphere that the travel industry LOVES this man. “not a dry eye in the house” said one tweet. You can read more about Steve in an interview I did with him for my Cruise People series. He didn’t even realise they were talking about him until the very end.

Steve Dunlop “I’m in shock. It’s the most amazing thing, extraordinary. I never expected anything like this, even when it was being read out. I only realised at the end when she said pictures followed by blonde locks.”

Photo by Steve Dunlop

Other highlights of the evening included appearances by DJ Trevor Nelson, a performance of Everybody’s Free by Rozalla and Giles Hawke, Cosmos and Avalon Waterways CEO, taking to the stage in a Badger costume.

Here is the full list of winners of the Globe Travel Awards 2018.

Penny Akam Unsung Hero Award, sponsored by Affordable Car Hire:
Lisa Read, Hays Travel

Innovation in Travel Award, sponsored by Travelport:
Zen3

Outstanding Contribution Award, sponsored by Avis:
Steve Dunlop

Consumer awards, sponsored by Mail Brands UK

Favourite Airline – British Airways
Favourite Hotel Chain – Hilton Hotels
Favourite Online Booking Platform – Booking.com
Favourite Ocean Cruise Company – P&O Cruises
Favourite Escorted Tour Operator – Kuoni
Favourite Short-Haul Operator – Jet2holidays
Favourite Ferry Company – P&O Ferries
Favourite UK Operator – Center Parcs
Favourite River Cruise Company – Viking River Cruises
Favourite Long-Haul Operator – British Airways Holidays

On the Water, sponsored by Traveltek

Best Ferry Company – P&O Ferries
Best Mainstream Cruise Company – Royal Caribbean International
Best Premium Cruise Company – Celebrity Cruises
Best Specialist Cruise Company – Azamara Club Cruises
Best River Cruise Company – Uniworld
Best Luxury Cruise Company – Silversea

Destination sector, sponsored by Travelzoo

Best Tourist Board – Visit California
Best All-Inclusive Resort Operator – Sandals
Best Hotel Chain (worldwide) – Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts
Best Attraction (worldwide) – Walt Disney World Resort

On the Move, sponsored by P&O Ferries

Best Rail Company – Great Rail Journeys
Best Mainstream Touring Company – Trafalgar
Best Premium Touring Service – Insight Vacations
Best Car Rental Company – Flexible Autos
Best Adventure Operator – G Adventures

Flying, sponsored by The Holiday Team

Best Short-Haul Airline – Jet2.com
Best Long-Haul Airline – Emirates
Best UK Airport – Manchester Airport
Best Premium Airline Service – Emirates


Long-haul, sponsored by Air Travel Guide

Best Long-Haul Operator (multi-destination) – Gold Medal
Best Long-Haul Specialist Operator – Wendy Wu Tours
Best Luxury Operator – Kuoni
Best Consolidator – Gold Medal

Short-haul, sponsored by Hurtigruten

Best Short-Haul Operator – Jet2holidays
Best Operator for Activities – Inghams
Best Accommodation-Only Provider – Super Break
Best Operator UK Holidays – Super Break

Serving the industry, sponsored by HolidayPirates

Best Add-Ons Provider – Attraction World
Best Technology Provider – Amadeus
Best Insurance Provider – Holiday Extras
Best Trade Sales Team – Attraction World
Best Trade-Friendly Brand – Jet2holidays