For years, Nigel has been telling me how good the Tynedale Hotel’s “Landlubbers” mock cruise themed breaks are. It’s a break he used to offer many moons ago, but we’ve not managed to do it in the 15 years I’ve known him, as the hotel is ALWAYS full – so once you lose your slot you’re unlikely to get it back.
But, by some miracle, we actually managed to get an allocation from the hotel for February 2021. All systems go, we thought…… but then last year’s Covid lockdown came along, and we were scuppered!
Fortunately, we were able to postpone our booking to 2022, and on 21st February our passengers joined us on Serena and headed to North Wales to board the ‘MV Tynedale’.
What makes the Landlubbers Cruise so special is that the hotel go all out on the theme. Announcements are made as if onboard ship, from the initial welcome on arrival, to dinner being announced each night, and the occasional ship’s foghorn echoes through the public areas during the day!
Rooms are referred to as cabins, the staff are all dressed in cruise ship uniforms, and each day is a different country, with menus and restaurant decor tailored to our destination each evening, as well as some themed entertainment before dinner.
We began our “cruise” at the port of Hong Kong – and it’s certainly the first time our coach has been greeted by a Chinese Dragon on arrival at a hotel. Passports were issues and stamped, and we headed ‘onboard’ for a cream tea while our luggage delivered to the ‘cabins’.
A welcome cocktail reception and canapes was very much enjoyed before heading down to the restaurant for some live wok-style cooking and our delicious dinner – and if there’s any chance of you still being hungry later on, each evening there’s a finger buffet (or ‘buffet in a box’ due to Covid practicalities) at 11pm.
On day two we awoke to find ourselves in ‘Rome’, and our shore excursion was a visit to the ‘Isla D’Anglesey’ and Caernarfon. Our visit to Anglesey included a stop at the Woollen Mill at Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch (or Llanfair PG for short!), where we had the opportunity to take photos by the famous sign and, of course, indulge in a little shopping. On to sunny Caernarfon for some free time, where some passengers visited the famous Castle and Royal Welch Fusiliers Museum which is located within the castle grounds.
Arriving back onboard, we enjoyed coffee and tiramasu, and our evening began with a visit to the casino with some fun casino games before dinner.
On to Egypt, and this morning we enjoyed an included Marine Drive Vintage Bus Tour, which picked us up at the hotel. This scenic drive circumnavigates the Great Orme, and is fun and informative with a knowledgeable tour guide – well worth doing on the 1957 vintage bus! The rest of the day was free to enjoy at leisure, returning to the hotel for coffee and Babouska cake in the afternoon.
This evening, the famous Tynedale Camel made an appearance before dinner! The camel has always been mentioned whenever I’ve heard about the Landlubbers cruise – and word has it he even joins in the Boxing Day dip on Llandudno seafront each year!
Our final destination of the ‘cruise’ was the City that Never Sleeps: 1920s New York!
Our final ‘shore excursion’ was a scenic drive through Snowdonia, with an included trip on the Llanberis Lake Railway for stunning views across Llyn Padarn & the mountain ranges that tower above this village. Leaving the village, we headed up and over Llanberis Pass for a closer look at the snow which had fallen overnight – luckily not too much and not on the roads, but it just added to the absolutely stunning Welsh landscape. We even met one of the locals (a rather charming goat!) who had decided to stop in the road for a few minutes!
Our final stop of the day was a visit to Betws-y-coed before heading back to the hotel for our afternoon coffee and apple pie.
Then – the big event was our final evening, where guests are encouraged to join in with the 1920s theme and dress to impress! The evening began with a little Bootleg Punch and a photo opportunity with the captain, before heading down to the restaurant for our final meal and the Captain’s Table!
No holiday review can possibly do justice to what a fantastic break the Landlubbers Cruise at the Tynedale Hotel is – it’s simply something that should not be missed. The staff put their heart and soul into the week and everything ran like clockwork, with guests looked after so well and nothing too much trouble.
All I can say is – we can’t wait until next year!
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