Hello fellow world travellers

This new website, Great Boat Journeys, is all about the most inspirational, aspirational adventures and voyages around the waterways of the world.

I am a professional travel writer and have an avid passion for travel by ship, exploring grand cultural cities and remote tropical islands.  Sitting on aft deck, staring out over the rolling waves to the distant horizon is a truly “get away from it all” experience;  sailing thousands of miles across an ocean, you can feel like an intrepid explorer, in search of unchartered waters and exotic new lands.

The concept of passenger cruising goes back 185 years when the idea of sailing for pleasure on an ocean going vessel was first proposed.  An article in the Shetland Journal in 1835 by Arthur Anderson first made the suggestion and who, two years later, co-founded the Peninsular Steam Navigation Company – later known as P&O.  Anderson’s vision was for a programme of cruises which sailed between Scotland and Iceland in the summer and to the Mediterranean in winter.

Foreign travel became the fashionable pursuit amongst the wealthy, leisurely upper classes taking the Grand Tour around Europe or sailing across the Atlantic. A series of luxury liners were built during the Edwardian period for travel between Britain and Europe and North America, to South Africa, India and Australia.  The development of the jet engine and international long haul flights brought a decline in ship passengers from the late 1950s – the Queen Elizabeth was made redundant in 1968.  The Boeing 747 Jumbo jet saw the end of the golden age of transatlantic liners.

A new era of Cruising – rather than travel by ship – slowly began, developing into several fleets of modern ships offering “package holidays” around the Caribbean and Mediterranean.  Today, while the vast 2,000 – 6,000 passenger resort-style ships have wide family appeal, there is a serious demand for small, luxury yacht-style ships as well as wildlife expeditions.

This manner of upmarket, exclusive travel has come full circle, reviving the vintage-era style of leisurely voyages for relaxation and adventure. Today, discerning, world travellers plan 6 star sophisticated journeys of culture and enrichment.  Many of these all-inclusive deluxe small ships cater for adults only, with no children’s facilities, offering a romantic, sociable on board lifestyle. This is not the preserve of the 65+ generation, but more 40, 50 something couples also appreciate the exciting, alternative world of great-value cruising holidays.

This slowly evolving website will publish illustrated travellers’ tales to describe the world of luxury and specialist, adventure cruise-lines, as well as posting news and comments.

I hope you will be enticed to experience a distinctly different perspective from the bow of a boat or the stern of a ship, to explore your dream destinations with a renewed sense of freedom and escape.

Viv Devlin




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