Professional traveller and retired travel professional, Dinah Holland celebrated her 80th birthday this year at Claridges. She has seen parts of the world most of us didn’t even know existed!
Jennie Carr talked to her about some of her most extraordinary trips.
Dinah’s first trip abroad was to Switzerland when she was in her teens and the travel bug was caught! After many years working in the industry, she took a trip aboard Noble Caledonia’s MS Island Sky in 2008 to the Indian Ocean. It was the start of her close relationship with both ship and company. She’s taken 12 ocean cruises and 6 other trips with them during the ensuing years. Something must be right!
MS Island Sky hits the spot for Dinah as it’s the perfect size, a maximum of 110 passengers, many of whom frequently travel on the ship, with genuinely spacious cabins, the atmosphere is relaxed and casual, with enlightening talks from truly expert naturalists and geographers (known as the ‘ologists’), and charming crew members who are both respectful and friendly. The expeditions on shore are a special experience too, being reached by Zodiacs, inflatable dinghies. Even though the average age of travellers is 65, careful person-handling allows everyone to make the landings.
Dinah told me of one island they visited on the East of Bali cruise in 2010 where no cruise ship had ever been before – the islanders ran down to the beach, utterly amazed and highly excited. It is this spirit of adventure, the remoteness, albeit with an iced gin and tonic waiting back onboard, that makes these journeys so appealing to her. And what’s more, fellow passengers are of a similar ilk, so there’s real companionship and shared delight in the unknown, in the unrepeatable moments.
In 2015, there was the voyage that visited Aldabra, a UNESCO listed coral atoll, north west of Madagascar and inhabited by 100,000 Giant Tortoises – the mind boggles. It is called ‘The Last Sanctuary’, with turtles and colonies of birds in the lagoon around the islets that make up Aldabra.
Noble Caledonia offer journeys that are not just off the beaten track, they actually create the track as they go! Dinah has 3 more trips with them this year, and 5 booked for 2018: she is most certainly a serious fan.
Silver Travel Advisor recommends Noble Caledonia
For Dinah’s wonderful reviews, type ‘Noble Caledonia’ into the search box above.