The most popular destination for the UK's first-time cruisers, the Mediterranean has so much to offer. Add Western Europe, too, and there's a voyage for every taste. Here we round-up 10 of the best sailings for 2019 to 2020, from giant ships featuring exclusive stage shows to a history-focused trip. High tech and high wires Launching in March, the enormous MSC Bellissima will accommodate up to 5,700 guests, have 10 restaurants, 20 bars and entertainment galore, including Cirque du Soleil shows. It also promises cabins equipped with voice-enabled artificial intelligence devices to answer questions. From spring, it will sail a western Mediterranean circuit: Barcelona, Marseille, Genoa, Naples, Messina, Malta, Barcelona. Departing April 5 2019, the seven-night Western Mediterranean cruise from Barcelona costs from £1,069 per person (020 3426 3010; msccruises.co.uk). Mickey in the Med Avoid expensive flights to Florida and treat the family to a fun-filled Disney cruise closer to … [Read more...] about The best 10 cruises in the Mediterranean and Western Europe for 2019
Where is western europe
The French are not the most renowned for their mastery of the language of Shakespeare, Beckham and Harry Potter and a new international ranking confirms their place near the wrong end of the rankings. The English Proficiency Index (EPI) from global language training company Education First (EF) ranked Sweden top out of 88 countries which don't have English as a national language, based on test results taken by natives in each country. Down in 35th place came France, placed in the "moderate competency" group of countries and behind all other countries in western Europe. In fact in Europe as a whole only Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Albania, Turkey and Azerbaijan were ranked lower than the French. When it comes to the level of English in big cities around the world Paris was ranked 25th, behind the likes of Shanghai, Buenos Aires, Seoul and Sofia. Within France, Paris was the city where the natives demonstrated the best level of English, just ahead of Lille and … [Read more...] about French ranked worst in western Europe for level of English
As the darkly attractive Spaniard handed my wife and me our rubber suits and harnesses and began the process of zipping us in and tightening buckles, it was only natural that my thoughts should turn to our honeymoon... No, wait: it’s not what you think. There’s a perfectly innocent explanation that involves mountains, memories and a 100-year-old national park. So clear that image from your mind, and I’ll start again. Just over a century ago a chap called Pedro Pidal, Marquis of Villaviciosa and an Asturian senator, returned from a visit to Yellowstone and Yosemite in the US with a burning ambition to introduce the idea of national parks to Spain. “If we do not guard the possessed paradise between the lost paradise and the promised paradise,” he said, “we do not deserve, like Adam, to have any paradise.” Well, quite. In 1918, as a result of his efforts, Covadonga National Park was established in the Cantabrian Mountains, with the protected … [Read more...] about Like Cornwall crossed with the Dolomites – is this Europe’s most underrated destination?
In early June I took my rescued dog Rosa on holiday for the first time, well not in this country anyway! After initially being a little apprehensive about how everything was going to work out (will I get all the documents needed in time, could she potentially overheat on the ferry crossing, will we run out of gravy bones, the list goes on..), but after a bit of preparation the 10-day driving trip to France worked out amazingly. In fact it went even better than that, the famously laid-back lifestyle in France worked its magic on my otherwise slightly over excitable dog, the sun shone, the vineyards glistened, the dog friendly hotels were extremely welcoming to both of us and we both found it hard to prise ourselves away from the truly beautiful country. Although when researching for the trip I found that although here in the UK we’re most definitely a nation of dog lovers (with a quarter of British households now owning dogs), only 5% of these households take advantage of the … [Read more...] about How to travel to Europe with a dog – a complete guide!
Hungary's right-wing nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban railed against what he called "undemocratic" Western European states in a speech on Saturday (Jul 28) sketching out his vision for the continent's future. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban won a third consecutive term in April on a fiercely anti-migration platform and his government has repeatedly clashed with the European Commission, the EU's executive arm. (Photo: AFP/Omer Messinger) "There is liberalism in the West, there is no democracy," Orban said, speaking to a gathering of ethnic Hungarians in neighbouring Romania. He claimed that in Western European countries, "restrictions on freedom of expression and censorship have become common place." Orban also sharpened his criticisms of Brussels institutions, branding the European Commission a "symbol of failure." "The European Commission is going, we are coming," he said. In the latest of a series of disputes with Hungary over its migration policy and rule of … [Read more...] about Orban rails against ‘undemocratic’ Western Europe