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Glenton Kilt Walkers raise over £1000 for the STV Children's Appeal

Five fearless Glenton staff members joined 10,000 other heroes to take part in the recent Glasgow Big Stride Kilt Walk, setting off from Glasgow Green and traipsing a gruelling twenty-three miles through the city. Lindsey McLaughlin, Hollie Curran, Lyn Bennett, Flora Thomas and Lola Omar all donned their kilts and best hiking boots to yomp past iconic sights such as the Finnieston Crane, the Hydro and the Riverside Museum, raising over £1000 for STV’s Children’s Appeal as they made their way to Moss O Balloch Park.  Lindsey said, “It was an amazing day and we all completed the walk which is quite an achievement - although I don’t think my feet will ever recover!”

Glenton Holidays are proud supporters of the STV Children’s Appeal – a charity committed to helping children and young people affected by poverty in Scotland. The money raised by the STV Children’s Appeal helps make a real difference to the lives of Scotland’s youngsters by providing practical help like food, warm clothes and training opportunities for employability as well as facilitating emotional support for those who need it most.

“I had a wonderful experience taking part in the Kiltwalk and doing it on behalf of such a worthwhile charity made it all the more special,” said Lyn. Although she did add with tongue firmly in cheek, “However, I can honestly say I felt like a broken woman by the time we crossed the finish line!”

In its first seven years the STV Children’s Appeal has raised £16.3 million, enabling hundreds of awards to projects across all areas of Scotland and providing much needed support to over 67,000 children. Every single penny raised by the STV Children’s Appeal stays in Scotland and 100% of donations are spent on the children who need it most, as all overheads are met by STV and The Hunter Foundation.


A Selected Tour of the Hidden Gems of Luxembourg

Day 1:

Having collected our passengers, we headed towards the port of Hull for our overnight crossing to Rotterdam on P & O Ferries’ Pride of Rotterdam.  She is a lovely ship with lots of entertainment on board, which many folks enjoyed following their evening meal in the restaurant.  A very smooth crossing took us across the North Sea and, after breakfast on board, we disembarked and began our journey south to Luxembourg.

Day 2:

We had a fairly easy trip south, with no serious traffic jams and very little in the way of road works so we made good time and arrived into our hotel mid afternoon.  We were warmly welcomed by the staff and enjoyed our welcome meeting and a little Kir Royale as our luggage was delivered to our rooms.

The Grand Hotel de Vianden is a family run hotel, not too large and with a very friendly staff who are always happy to help.  It is clean and comfortable with a good selection of food for breakfast and dinner.

Some clients wandered out in the evening to take a look at the very pretty village of Vianden whilst others relaxed in the cosy bar or simply had an early night.

Day 3:

Today we ventured into Luxembourg City in glorious sunshine where we met with our tour guide, Guy, and were taken on a short coach tour of the city where Guy pointed out many of the interesting buildings and monuments including the Gelle Fra Memorial in the Place de la Constitution, which was erected as a reminder of the Nazi occupation of Luxembourg, when they destroyed the original monument in 1940.  We were also taken to the Kirchberg district which houses some of the European Union departmental buildings such as the European Court of Auditors, the Court of Justice of the E.U., the E.U. Parliament and the E.U. Investment Bank amongst others.

Following this, a few clients opted to “do their own thing” whilst the majority took the walking tour, again led by Guy.  He was an excellent guide, very knowledgeable and happy to answer any questions our clients might have.  We walked around the old part of the city which had been very heavily fortified and Guy explained that Luxembourg had – at various times in its history – been occupied by the French, the Spanish, the Dutch and many others prior to becoming the independent country it is today.  We visited the Cathedral to the Blessed Virgin, a beautiful church in two halves – a fairly modern side and the original part which was built between 1613 and 1621.  We also saw the Grand Ducal Palace, a stunning building which, nowadays, is used mainly for ceremonial events and still has two armed guards posted outside.  We saw so many things but it is impossible to name them all here.

Returning to our hotel, many folks decided to have a walk before dinner, as it was such a lovely day.  After dinner, we were very pleasantly surprised to find ourselves being entertained by a lovely Italian lady by the name of Lisa Mariotto, who sang to us – and with us! – for an hour and a half.  She was an excellent singer and entertainer who soon had everyone on the floor, dancing and laughing, including our two waitresses, Elena and Yvette!  She was great fun.

Day 4:

We awakened to another (unexpectedly) sunny day and, after breakfast, headed off to Remich – a lovely little town, very picturesque and peaceful.  Although the sun shone brightly, it was a little cool to start with but soon warmed up.  There is a beautiful walk along the riverbank and several riverboats were moored there.  The swans were out in force and keen to see if there was food available!  We were a little too early for the Sunday Market which runs here during the summer months but everyone seemed to enjoy the ambience of the small town.

Leaving Remich, we then drove along the banks of the Moselle to Echternach, which is the oldest town in Luxembourg with two thousand years of history behind it.  Again, a lovely town made even more appealing by the bright sunshine and many clients enjoyed the stroll around or went shopping, as many of the shops in Echternach were open.  Others stopped in the square to have lunch or a coffee, or even a beer.  This was to be our final excursion on our tour and everyone made the most of it.  Lots of good comments were forthcoming on the return journey to Vianden.

Having had a very full day, most folks just relaxed after dinner, went out for a walk or chatted in the bar.  Then it was time to pack in readiness for our departure in the morning.

Day 5:

Time to start our journey homewards.  Leaving the hotel, we travelled to a viewpoint to take some photographs of the castle at Vianden.  Unfortunately, the coach cannot access the castle but our driver took us as close as possible and we all got some great shots.  Then we began our journey back to the port of Rotterdam for our return trip to Hull with a couple of comfort stops on the way.

Arriving at the port, we then boarded the Pride of Hull and had another smooth crossing back to Hull.  Dinner, entertainment and breakfast were, of course, included once more, as was all the shopping on board for those wishing to spend the last of their Euros.

Day 6:

Having dropped off our clients from the North of England, we made our way to Jedburgh in the Scottish Borders where we stopped for lunch.  This was followed by a chance to stretch the legs then we were back on the coach, heading for Edinburgh and the disembarkation of many of our clients.  The drop-offs continued until everyone was safely back at their original pick-up point and the holiday was over.



Simon Vickers - Fred. Olsen Boudicca Cruise Director


Q&A Session with Boudicca Cruise Director Simon Vickers

Question 1. Tell us some background information about yourself.

I’m 31 years old and from Adelaide, South Australia. I ran a construction company, entertainments’ agency and a fitness studio, before joining Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines in 2009.

Question 2. How did it feel going from being shore-based to ship-based?  

When I was 18, I saw an advert to work on a cruise ship as a fitness instructor. The advert was on a big billboard and featured a beautiful beach scene, with six girls in bikinis walking along the beach; so I signed up and studied fitness! At the time, I was doing an apprenticeship as a carpenter. However, to make more money to pay for my study, I started working with an agency, doing promotional work and hosting events. Two years later, I took over the agency, and ran it until I went to sea as a fitness instructor in 2009. I joined the entertainments team in 2010 and was appointed Cruise Director in 2015. In my experience, cruising is the perfect combination of travel, fun and challenges

Question 3. What does your job as a Cruise Director involve?

As Cruise Director, I head up the entertainments department, so I am directly responsible for all of the performers, musicians, stage technical team, speakers, instructors and for the publication of the Daily Times, the daily onboard newspaper, which gives guests information on all the activities taking place throughout the day. I have the pleasure of planning the activities during each cruise and for scheduling all of the events to make sure that each day has a wide variety of activities and experiences for our cruise guests to enjoy.

Question 4. The Daily Times has dozens of activities. How do you figure it all out?

I must admit it is a bit of a challenge to ensure that we have a wide range of educational, physical, traditional and Showtime events throughout the day. I love planning a cruise and making sure everything fits together like a jigsaw puzzle.

Question 5. Are all cruises different?

Unlike some of the other lines, which spend six months cruising the Mediterranean and six months in the Caribbean, Fred. Olsen’s ships offer much more varied itineraries, from world cruises to short breaks across to continental Europe; we also offer unique and unusual cruises, such as sailings to north Norway and Russia.

Question 6. How many people are working underneath you?

I head up a team of 28 full-time crew, which includes our resident Show Company, the orchestra, activity hosts, stage team, and administration team. In addition to this are between 15 to 30 short-term staff, such as our visiting performers, dance hosts, speakers and instructors.

Question 7. In your opinion what makes Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines so appealing?

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines offers varied itineraries on our four smaller, more intimate ships – Boudicca, Balmoral, Braemar and Black Watch – to really bring more of the world to our guests in a comfortable and friendly atmosphere.  Whatever part of the world our guests wish to visit, they can do so while enjoying the relaxed atmosphere of a ‘home-from-home’ at sea.  Our ships are known for their friendly, attentive crews, and we always receive lots of positive feedback about our on board staff.

Question 8. Talk to us just for a moment about the forthcoming itineraries aboard Boudicca.

I am very excited about Fred. Olsen’s Indian Ocean Islands cruises, where we will be visiting Mauritius, the Seychelles and Madagascar. In early 2018, we will be visiting South Africa and the same year we will also be exploring the Middle East and visiting ports in Jordan, Oman, Qatar and the UAE.

Question 9. Any first-time tips for people who may be considering sailing with Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines?

I always recommend people bring a highlighter pen with them, so they can highlight all the activities they want to do in a day.

Question 10. I’m sure you have many stories to tell, but share with us one that sticks out in your mind?

One of the best times in my life happened on a cruise to Greenland, in Nanortalik. I went for a run on a beautiful day and ended up on top of a mountain, looking down into the fjord at our ship. As I was there, a helicopter flew beneath where I was standing. It was very cool!



Staff Profile: Lyn B –Glenton Sales Supervisor

Question 1. How long have you worked in travel and where?

I have worked in travel over 20 years. I started out at Thomas Cook as a modern apprentice, then later progressed to senior travel consultant specialising in cruise.

Question 2. When did you join the GLENTON team?

I joined GLENTON in May 2016 as a sales agent with my main duties being answering calls and administration. I was promoted to GLENTON Sales Supervisor in August this year.

Question 3. What do you like best about your job?

I like all aspects of my job however I really enjoy speaking to our customers and making their day by booking them on to their perfect tour then getting great feedback from them when they return. However my very favourite part of my job has to be being lucky enough to get the opportunity to travel on GLENTON tours!

Question 4. Where have you travelled to, what was your favourite place and why?

 I have travelled to many places over the years from Benidorm to Jamaica. As much as I love a beach holiday my favourite holidays are city breaks, Washington DC being my most memorable. Here we had a visit to the White House doing an east and west wing tour and came across Barack Obama and his family on the top floor when we were visiting!

Question 5. Any unusual hobbies?

I love the outdoors from beautiful walks to camping and I have climbed many of Scotland’s munro’s including a three-legged race up Ben Lomond for charity with my dad!


Sara Sipek - Executive Chef on board Balmoral


I started working on ships in 2001, in the position of first cook. I have now been with Fred Olsen since 2008 joining in the position of Executive Sous Chef / Executive Chef Reliever on board Braemar. I was promoted to Executive Chef on the Balmoral in January 2012 before transferring to the Boudicca in 2014 and Now Braemar. In total I have now worked on 28 different ships and seen the world many times.


  1. Have you always wanted to be a chef? For as long as I can remember I have enjoyed cooking and experimenting with food. It was in my 4th year at secondary school when I really thought that I would enjoy being a Chef.
  2. Why did you decide to become a chef at sea? I am not sure when I first decided I would like to work on a ship, I was brought up by the sea so I think it has always been in my blood. I know I tried for quite some time to get a company to employ me however after writing to 50 companies over a few years only one offered me a job, the most wrote back to say they did not employ females in the galley.
  3. What’s your favourite dish or type of food? I cook every day at home and I mostly eat vegetarian food, my favourite type of food are mushrooms, I can eat mushrooms with everything and I especially enjoy wild mushrooms cooked in crème fraiche on toast.
  4. Do you have any kitchen disaster stories? The biggest disaster I can remember is running out of turkey, Brussel sprouts and roast potatoes on a Christmas dinner. I won’t say which ship or year it was as I hope we covered it up well and the guests did not notice.
  5. Executive Chef is a tough job. What do you do in your spare time? Dare I say it, I do a lot of cooking and baking in my spare time as I find it very relaxing, I also really enjoy walking and spend a lot of my time on country walks in the Kent Downs.
  6. You’ve seen many parts of the world…What was your favourite place to visit? I have a lot of favourites for different reasons but I think that Barbados will always be the favourite, mainly because there is everything on one Island – shopping, beaches, nightlife and good food.
  7. Have the tastes of customers changed during your career? I started my career in the American market so it is now completely different. It is hard to compare as the clientele are so different.
  8. Has the heightened interest in celebrity chefs and cooking in general been good or bad for the industry? I think it has been positive as more people can now see that cooking is not so hard, anyone can do it. Cooking from fresh does not have to take all day, you can still make tasty dishes in a short amount of time.
  9. What ingredients should every home have in the cupboard/refrigerator? For me I have a good olive oil, pasta, eggs and passata. When I am home I am lucky enough to have time to shop daily so my fridge tends to be empty from one day to the next.
  10. If I can invest in only five things for my kitchen (meaning, spend more than I normally would), what should I buy as a home cook? Always a good knife is first and then a good set of baking tins and pans. You can now put all your ingredients into an expensive machine and press a switch but that takes the fun out of cooking and you do not get the same satisfaction as cooking by hand, so really you do not need to spend a lot of money on equipment.

Sara has also shared a very easy recipe for us, along with a photo of the delicious pudding!

Chocolate fondant pudding

200g dark chocolate – use 70% or higher cocoa solids

200g butter

110g sugar

4 eggs

4 egg yolks

1.5tsp vanilla extract

60g plain flour

Melt the chocolate with the butter in a bowl over simmering water.

Whisk the eggs, egg yolk, sugar and vanilla until the mixture is light and fluffy and double in size.

Sift in the flour and add the chocolate, slowly folding in with a metal spoon.

Divide mixture between 8 pudding basins and bake at mark 6, 400F, 200C for 10 – 14 minutes


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