24 Aug Larry Lamb Discovers Cruise Mates with Thomson Cruises
I went on my first ever cruise last year and I have to say – I love cruising. There’s something really cool about waking up in a new place every morning, and it allows you to discover lots of different places on one trip, without all the hassle of overland travel. With everything from restaurants and spas to swimming pools and theatres, it’s relaxing to know that you have everything you need all right there on the ship.
But it’s also important to remember that you’re not restricted to staying on the ship and there’s a wealth of amazing people from different cultures waiting right there when you step ashore. When the ship drops anchor in a new port, often you’ll only have one or two days to explore, so I try to make the most of the time available and explore each new destination as much as possible.
This month British star and I’m a Celebrity favourite Larry Lamb was challenged by Thomson Cruises to discover an array of vibrant and interesting locals, whilst sailing across the Mediterranean on Thomson Cruises’ newest ship; TUI Discovery 2. He stars in a series of three films documenting his mission as he travels to Barcelona, Ibiza and Palma to meet his ‘Cruise Mates‘ – a mixture of locals who all have a story to tell.
Larry’s challenge follows a recent world-first study from Thomson Cruises and the Human Nature Research Lab at Yale University, which proved that Brits who bond with up to five new people from different cultures whilst on holiday can experience a happiness boost of 10%.
The first port of call is Barcelona, where Larry sets off to discover the city’s most authentic arts and culture. He explores the world- famous Boqueria market, where he begins chatting to Junaito, the owner of Bar Pinotxo, which he runs with his nephew. Dressed in his signature vest and red bow-tie, Junaito has worked at the restaurant for almost 70 years and it is often referred to the as the most famous tapas bar in the Boqueria.
Junaito then recommends Larry head to Palau Dalmases to discover the most authentic arts and culture scene. After a stroll down Las Ramblas, Larry is greeted by Christine Blanco Eslava and Raphael, who practice the traditional art of flamenco dance and music. Christine has been dancing for 12 years, fueled by a passion for preserving the art of passion of flamenco, believing it runs through her veins. The pair then recruit Larry to drum the Cajon, a wooden box instrument to keep the timings of the dance.
In Palma de Mallorca, Larry is keen to discover a selection of outdoor pursuits within the historic and vibrant city. As a world-renowned destination for cycling, Palma sees pro-athletes visit the town for its perfect flat terrain and warm climate. After wandering along the picturesque seafront, Larry takes up a local recommendation and met Thelonious, a Mallorcan born cycling and hiking expert.
Thelonious is one of the islands specialists in scenic cycling routes, and recently returned to his roots in Palma to preserve the history of the capital. He guides Larry along the busy seafront, cutting through the city to view the iconic Palma cathedral. Finally, they head for the hills, where they cycle through the scenic mountains to enjoy the spectacular views.
In his final Cruise Mate destination and inspired by his upbringing in a fish and chip shop in London, Larry goes in search of the freshest seafood on the bohemian island of Ibiza. After veering off the beaten track, Larry arrives at a typical Spanish fishing harbor and meets local fisherman Miguel, a native Ibizan who grew up in a traditional fishing family who dedicates his life to the sea, catching a variety of seafood that is sold to local restaurants and markets. Miguel invites Larry to join him for a ride in his boat to learn a little more about the local fishing scene and to sample the fresh daily catch.
Larry is then introduced to Ibiza’s best kept secret – ‘El Chiringuito de Dona Maria’, commonly known as ‘the Fish Shack’ – to prepare and cook lunch with owner, Samar. As a devoted family man, keen fisher and talented cook, Samar can be found in the restaurant every day, both in the kitchen and front of house. The restaurant has been run by Samar’s family for the past 38 years – and despite its off-road location – is a mecca for locals and in-the- know tourists. The restaurant serves the freshest local seafood, with the menu changing depending on the daily catch. Larry joins Samar to cook and serve sea bass during the busy lunchtime rush.
Following his trip, Larry said: “I have been lucky enough to travel the world during my career, meeting a diverse group of people from across the globe, but I’ve never had the opportunity to experience a cruise. After spending a week on TUI Discovery 2, I learnt that cruising really is an incredible way of seeing the world, meeting new people and broadening horizons.”
I agree with Larry. Often when people think of cruising they just think of lounging about on a ship, but it’s actually a great way to see the world. Thomson Cruises are encouraging holidaymakers to now step ashore, explore each destination and discover as many of their own Cruise Mates as they can, because it’s now proven that meeting people on holiday will increase our happiness.