It’s a complete recipe for disaster of course. By which I mean being trapped at sea with The Spectator’s ‘Low life’ correspondent for an entire week. That’s seven whole days. At sea. Crikey!
Not that Jeremy Clarke isn’t the best of company (he is — everyone adores him) and not that we won’t all have the hugest of fun. After all, Cunard’s Queen Victoria has at least a dozen different watering holes to keep us (and JC) happy, from the Golden Lion pub to the swanky Commodore Club for pre- and post-prandial cocktails.
No, it’s just that I fear hangovers of Wagnerian proportions, appalling damage to my liver and — even more — the socking great bar bill. I mean, even poor Jeremy can’t put it all on expenses.
The Spectator, in association with our friends at Cunard, is launching its inaugural readers’ cruise later this year with a magnificent trip around the Mediterranean from Saturday 22 August to Saturday 29 August. Now that we can all cash in our pension pots, I highly recommend that you do so forthwith — and pronto — and earmark yours for a week’s spin around the Med in the genial company of like-minded souls. As well as Jeremy Clarke and your fellow Spectator-reading guests, you will be joined on board by our business editor, Martin Vander Weyer, and myself, your humble drinks editor.
We will start in glorious Venice and then head to Athens, stopping off on the way at Korcula in Croatia, Heraklion in Crete, Rhodes and Ephesus. Guests will stay in either the so-called Princess Grills or Queens Grills (I’ve seen the cabins and they’re fantastically swish) and with dining available in the really rather lovely restaurants specific to these grills.
Prices per person for the week start at £2,999 and flights, transfers and food are all included in said price, as are all the talks, events and excursions. Jeremy Clarke’s bar bill, unfortunately, is not.
Excursions will include a Croatian wine tour (I had a splendid bottle of Grk from Mljet only the other night) and a fully guided tour in Crete (pretty good wines there too). On board the ship, guests can make full use of the fully equipped gym, spa, choice of swimming pools, deck tennis, daily afternoon tea and so on. In the evenings there will be the usual Cunard experiences including cabaret, theatre, dancing and live music, as well as formal black-tie dinners.
Your Spectator hosts won’t be entirely idle. I will host a wine tasting as well as a cigar and whisky/cognac matching evening. Martin Vander Weyer will muse on the topic of Englishness and will have much to say about the possible Greek bailout, while Jeremy Clarke will no doubt be found in one of the bars ‘working on his next piece’.
A cruise such as this really is effortless travel for the exhausted. We will all have a hoot and we can promise that you won’t get stuck with anyone boring. Spectator readers are anything but dull.