Firstly, my thanks to Richard for holding down the fort while I was away. I have to say it is the worst cruise I have ever been on. It was Adonia’s first sailing back since covid struck and it was just not ready. There was no excuse as they had months to put everything back into place plus an extra eight days that they announced they were cutting the cruise by. I won’t even begin to bore you with details as those that follow my Facebook page will have seen my various posts.
The most unforgivable things were the lies and misdirection of the captain and his crew in the announcements. I collared the captain on one of the days and asked him why he couldn’t be more transparent in what he was saying and he replied “I can only say what head office tells me to”, so obviously gone are the days when the skipper was in charge of his own vessel.
Covid was rife and instead of ordering a test on everyone, they left it to passengers to come forward if they had symptoms. Ridiculous as by that time they had infected loads of others. We had to go to Barbados twice to offload those with symptoms onto Queen Victoria which was acting as an isolation vessel for crew and passengers who had been infected with the virus. This didn’t just pertain to Adonia but any other Carnival ship sailing the Caribbean.
Coming back the seven sea days saw no one in reception, no pool bar open, no librarian and most of the buffet closed. And one of the speciality restaurants was closed permanently since leaving Southampton. The crew had gone down hard and it was a complete shambles. Enough said. I don’t blame them for the covid cases but for the way they handled everything.
There was a long delay getting back off the ship in Southampton as we didn’t get clearance for ages and on getting to the car park I found my driving glasses severed in half and the satnav broken courtesy of the valet service. I might very well have done that journey a hundred times but I am useless without the GPS. I had to use packaging tape on my glasses and my son was guiding me to the motorway by talking into my phone which was laying on the passenger seat.
This was 1st April and I had made arrangements to stay in Harrow so I could see my son and celebrate my birthday the next day with him. Several hours later the dog started barking at the front door. Justine’s father opened it to show the dog there was nothing to be excited about but he was very wrong. At first I thought someone might have tried to break into my car to get at the luggage but Greg shouted to me that was not the case (do you like the pun, lol) but that it did involve my car. Getting to the front door I saw police everywhere; they had closed off the road from both ends and there were car parts everywhere. It would seem an idiot coming the other way had lost control of her vehicle, crossed the road, mounted the pavement and hit my car shunting it onto the other side of the road and quite a ways from the house.
Again I won’t bore you with the details but it was probably the worst birthday I have ever had. The insurance company couldn’t supply me with a courtesy car until a week later as there was a shortage of small automatic cars so my poor son had to make the six-hour round trip to take me home on the Monday. I had to get back as the continuation of my book publicity was re-starting on Tuesday. Anyway, the car was a write-off and so began a hunt for a new car.
The good news, while I was away, was the release of my new book “The Autonomous Cruiser: The Complete Guide to Cruising For and with Disabled Travellers”. Here’s the official press release.
The first book to specifically address the needs of the disabled cruiser and their carers to ensure a stress-free holiday.
Michele Monro has more that 40 years’ experience at sea and 14 as a specialist speaker on a number of cruise lines.
The book is the result of painstaking and thorough research and
includes information on the effects of Brexit and Covid.
Few people know as much about cruising with a disability as Michele Monro. The daughter of much-loved singer, Matt Monro, Michele has spent more than 40 years travelling the world on cruise liners. For the last 14 years she has combined her love of cruising with her work as a specialist speaker for companies including Celebrity, P&O, Fred. Olsen and Royal Caribbean.
In the 1990s Michele was diagnosed with MS. It was then she began to fully appreciate the absence of advice and information about cruise travel with a special need. Michele felt strongly that whilst living with a disability presents a lot of obstacles, a cruise holiday shouldn’t have to be one of them and she began what was to become 3 years of painstaking research covering all the possible details a disabled cruise traveller needs to know.
The Autonomous Cruiser is the result. The most up to date and comprehensive guide available, advising on the whole process of cruising, including: –
Cruise and port choices, and the accessibly of cruise terminals. A comprehensive section on fly-cruises including airport guides, car park assistance, wheelchair advice, checked luggage, lounges, and delayed and missed departures
Critical pre-planning information including holiday administration, vaccinations, medication, cabin selection, upgrades, pier transfers, luggage services, drinks packages, specialty dining and online check-in
Life on board incorporates embarkation, cruise ship etiquette, dining, entertainment, meetings, bridge visits, swimming pools, spa facilities shopping and duty-free, photo gallery, onboard savings, ship visits, port calls, tendering, safety, technology at sea and the travel scams to watch out for
Caregivers, chaperones and service dogs
A directory outlining the most important disability resources, including accessible shore excursions, dedicated apps, cruise specialists and accessible travel agents
This market first book covers the most common areas of special needs – from those travelling with pre-existing conditions, special dietary considerations, prescriptions and medication, epilepsy, diabetes, heart disease, dementia, cognitive, intellectual and developmental disabilities, compromised immune systems, breathing disorders, kidney disease, and visual and hearing impairments to make this the most comprehensive guide to cruising available.
About the author
Michele Monro is the daughter of much-loved singer Matt Monro. She is the author of the internationally bestselling biography of his life The Singers Singer: The Life And Music Of Matt Monro, and released a brand-new album of her father’s work, Stranger in Paradise: The Lost New York Sessions in 2020 which went straight to the No8 spot in the official album charts and stayed in the charts for six months.
Michele is a special interest speaker for a number of cruise lines including Celebrity, P&O, Princess Cruises, Cunard, Cruise and Maritime, Fred. Olsen and Royal Caribbean. She is also writing a series of cruise port guides for disabled passengers to complement The Autonomous Cruiser. When she isn’t cruising,
Michele lives in Shropshire.
The Autonomous Cruiser by Michele Monro is published by Clink Street Publishing on the 8th March: and can be ordered through all good book shops. Both the paperback and eBook are available to buy online from all good retailers including Amazon.co.uk
You will know from Richard that I got a full page in the Sunday Times and was reviewed in Best of British this month although I haven’t seen it yet. I also have a piece in Cruise International on 1st June and World of Cruising in their June issue. I have also done several blog articles and dozens of BBC and Hospital radios. I’m thrilled that the book made No4 in the Amazon disability chart. If any of you have a social media site I would be grateful if you could post a copy of the book cover there as this is a subject I am very passionate about.
If you’d like to read my article that was featured on wheelchairtravel.org I’ve put the link below.
I also have a new Author’s website – michelemonro.com
At last, the official unveiling of the dad’s Heritage Plaque at 14 Ruxley Lane, Ewell on Tuesday 17 May 2022. Matt Monro Jnr who is performing at Epsom Playhouse in the evening will be there representing the family as well as my son Max and we would be delighted if some members of the Fan Club could be present. We would envisage a ceremony at 12.30 pm at the house, then moving on to the Queen Adelaide pub on Ewell Bypass for refreshments at around 1 pm. Don’t forget to take lots of photographs and post them on the Forum as I would love to see them.
Talking of my brother and for those of you who follow Matt Jnr, you will know that he officially retired a few years ago but like all artists, who take time away from the tread boards, he got itchy feet and was set to tour last year. Of course, the whole industry was affected by the pandemic and everyone was forced to suspend their plans until the theatres opened again and citizens were given the freedom to venture out again. The Matt Monro Story which includes video clips, home movies and even a sequence where Matt Jnr duets with dad, all play a part in this celebration of the life and legacy of Matt Monro. The tour kicks off on 3rd May 2022 at the Churchill Theatre in Bromley so grab your tickets now.
3rd Bromley Churchill Theatre
4th Stevenage Gordon Craig
5th Wimborne Tivoli
6th Southend Palace Theatre
10th Ilkley Kings Hall
11th Tamworth Assembly Rooms
13th Hastings White Rock
14th Clacton West Cliff
17th Epsom Playhouse
18th Dartford Orchard
19th Eastbourne Royal Hippodrome
20th Leamington Royal Spa
21st South Shields Customs House
28th Musselburgh Brunson Hall
29th Glasgow New Auditorium (Royal Concert Hall)
There may well be dates added so go to www.chimesevents.com to see if Matt Jnr is coming to your area
I was upset to learn nearly two years ago that a few albums available to upload were inferior in quality compared to what is available in sound today so after airing my complaints, Universal gave the go-ahead. Richard mastered them within weeks, and now at least someone has finally pushed a button which has made them live.
The remastered downloads of 8 of his 9 original Capitol albums now appear on all good download and streaming sites as of 8th April. The last album “We’re Gonna Change The World” and three brand-new compilations gathering together the rest of Matt’s Capitol catalogue will be made available at a later date.
This is The Life (1966) – Available in Stereo for the first time digitally. Brand new re-master from original US master tape.
This is the Life –
I’m Glad There Is You
This Is The Life
You’re Gonna Hear From Me
I’ll Take Romance
Strangers In The Night
On A Clear Day (You Can See Forever)
My Best Girl
On A Wonderful Day Like Today
Honey On The Vine
Here’s To My Lady (1966) – Available in Stereo for the first time digitally. Brand new re-master from original US master tape.
When Joanna Loved Me
Real Live Girl
When Sunny Gets Blue
Here’s To My Lady
The Good Life
You’ve Got Possibilities
Sweet Talkin’ Hannah
Nina Never Knew
Invitation To The Movies (1967) – Brand new remaster from UK and US Stereo master tapes
Theme From “The Sand Pebbles”
A Time For Love
I Will Wait For You
Moment To Moment
In The Arms Of Love
A Man And A Woman
Strangers In The Night
These Years (1967) – Brand new remaster from Stereo US master tapes
There’s A Kind Of Hush (All Over The World)
Don’t Sleep In The Subway
What To Do?
You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me
Music To Watch Girls By
Here, There And Everywhere
Nobody Cares For Me
Invitation to Broadway (1968) – Brand new remaster from Stereo US master tapes
Look For Small Pleasures
Stranger In Paradise
The Impossible Dream
The Apple Tree
I’ll Only Miss Her When I Think Of Her
Come Back To Me
If She Walked Into My Life
Put On A Happy Face
The Late Late Show (1968) – Brand new remaster from Stereo US master tapes
If She Should Come To You
When I Fall In Love
Hello Young Lovers
Time After Time
This Is All I Ask
I’ve Grown Accustomed To Her Face
Days Of Wine And Roses
The Shadow Of Your Smile
Autumn Leaves (Les Feuilles Mortes)
The Party’s Over
Todo Pasara (1968) – Brand new remaster taken from the 1st generation mixdown masters for the first time ever.
Alguien Canto (The Music Played)
Que Tiempo Tan Feliz (Those Were The Days)
Lo Que Quedo (All That Remains)
No Puedo Quitar Mis Ojos De Ti (Can’t Take My Eyes Off You)
Todo Pasara (Everything Will Happen)
Vete Por Favor (Walk Away)
Nacida Libre (Born Free)
No Me Dejes (If You Go Away)
Amandote Otra Vez (Lovin’ You Again)
Si Tu Te Vas (If You Go)
La Perla Y El Rubi (The Ruby And The Pearl)
En Espana (1970) – Brand new remaster taken from the 1st generation mixdown masters for the first time ever. La Estrella Del Sur Mixed to Stereo for the first time and Dónde Hallarse? Has been re-mixed due to damage to the master tape. Newly added bonus track ”Ven Mi Amor” also receives it’s first time Stereo mixes
Sueño Imposible (The Impossible Dream)
No Me Pesa, Es Mi Hermano (He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother)
Te Esperaré (I Will Wait For You)
Si Yo Fuera Carpintero (If I Were A Carpenter)
La Sombra De Tu Sonrisa (The Shadow Of Your Smile)
Dónde Hallarse? (Where In The World)
En Días Como Estos (On Days Like These)
Los Dos (Two People)
Puedo Ser Feliz (You’ve Made Me So Very Happy)
Qué Tonto Fui
La Estrella Del Sur (The Southern Star)