It was with no little trepidation we walked up the gangway to join the Marco Polo in Leith for our five-night cruise to the Faroe Islands and the isles of Lewis and Orkney. It had been almost 18 years since Hazel and I last sailed the high seas (I don’t suppose taking the Waverley to Tarbert counts), and so we wondered what lay in store for a couple – one mid-fifties and one slightly less – more used to boarding a plane in Glasgow with one piece of hand luggage each and landing in the Costa del Sol three hours later.

Winter Cruising in Norway has become a great success for CMV since our first winter cruise to Norway in 2010.

The Northern Light activity operates in cycles of 11 years and as we are at the height of this cycle we want to clarify what to expect in the years to come as there seem to be a misconception that the Northern Lights will be severely reduced during the cycle once the peak is over. This however is not the fact according to experts on the topic.


Exploring the Norwegian Fjords in early Spring by cruising from a port near my home. This was a truly tempting prospect. Finding an archive photo of a 1960's family holiday in Norway - coupled with the thought of only having to unpack one's luggage once - 'sealed the deal'. In late April last year, I drove a mere 20 miles to Avonmouth near Bristol and boarded CMV's 'Discovery' – my comfortable floating hotel for the 8 day voyage.

On 5th November 2013 Cruise and Maritime’s newest ship Astor sets sail for Australia from Rome’s Civitavecchia port. A week earlier the England Cricket captain Alastair Cook rounds up his men and also heads down under to begin their defence of The Ashes urn. In truth the team’s journey will be far shorter than the Astor’s 36 night southbound voyage (and will ensure they will be in Brisbane and Adelaide for the first two tests) but they will not have luxury of the Astor nor take in some wonderful countries enroute!

The Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis is a natural phenomenon that has puzzled and charmed generations, but what is the science behind the Northern Lights?

One of the charms and appeals of the Northern Lights is that each appearance is completely unique. Commonly seen is three green bands across the night sky or the lights come as rollingsmoke or even flickering curtains. The colour is an electric green, often with a hint of pink along the edge, and occasionally with a deep violet centre. The colour palette seems to definitely have a disco vibe from the 1980s!

If there is a lot of activity in the skies, the Northern Lights spring into life for a minute or two in a corona. The next minute it is all over and you are left with magnificent memories.