Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Doris Shades next stop Tenerife, Canary Islands

Doris Visits Tenerife, Canary Islands on the P&O ship Azura A628

Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands and it has an active volcano, Mount Teide, which often rumbles and has a dramatic moonscape landscape now a National Park. Other landscapes here are the verdant valleys and lush plantations and vast pinewoods to the glorious beaches. There is a lot to see, but a great bus service throughout the island which I tested.

Santa Cruz

Tenerife’s cruise port Santa Cruz de Tenerife has grown from a fishing village to the capital city with 300,000 inhabitants. It is a welcoming city with classy bars and restaurants, shops, and interesting museums. It is easy to walk into the city, follow the blue line, cross the road, round the lake and the tourist office is hidden under an eco garden. The city begins right outside the port gates. If you chose to stay in the city you will find a café-lined boulevard leading to the Plaza de Espana, at the heart of the port’s main shopping area. If you prefer museums and galleries, try the Museo de Bellas Artes, which contains works by Bruegel. The Museo de la Naturaleza y El Hombre shows topography, flora and fauna.

However, I fancied an adventure and wanted to test the buses. The first was a simple tram to Trinidad, not the island but the Avenue in the old city of La Laguna.

La Laguna

Is definitely worth a visit and will take a half day to explore the old houses in the main street. Again, it has a tourist office, get off the tram, walk to the top of the road, turn left, walk a block then turn right and it should be on the corner. Ask someone, everyone is helpful. See my film on Laguna and you will be enticed.


I could have got the bus direct to Puerto de la Cruz and we did get the bus all the way back. But from La Laguna we got the number 30 from the bus garage at the other end of Trinidad.
Here is a tip, get off at the Botanical Gardens then walk down. You will then pass the Orchid Gardens where Agatha Christie and William Wilde, Oscar’s father have stayed, and then can walk down to the sea. If you go all the way in you have to walk UP to the gardens and they close at 6pm.
It is likely your ship sails late from Tenerife so you have time to do the gardens and go down and enjoy Puerto de la Cruz for late afternoon and early evening. The promenade is very attractive and the coastline is dramatic. We treated ourselves to a lovely lunch overlooking the bay.

As always we will eventually cover them the gardens in a separate film .. another time.
We had plenty of time to explore as the ship didn’t sail till 10.30pm but I have to admit we were exhausted at the end of the day.

Tours available from your ship will probably include

Northern Panorama
Loro Parque
Gardens of the Valley
Puerto de La Cruz and Orotava Valley
Mamas and Tapas
Mount Teide National Park
Mount Teide Cable Car
Playa de las Americas on your own
Puerto de la Cruz on your own

Shades Of Bad sends Doris to Madeira

Doris Visits Madeira with an overnight stay.

After three days at sea which seemed to fly by, we arrived in Madeira, otherwise known as the Garden Island because of the wonderful display of sub-tropical plants and flowers. A few months before we arrived there was a terrible bush fire that destroyed homes and killed three people. The results were seen from the cable car.
You can walk into town from the ship and it is easy to see the route and how far it is.
It is hardly surprising that large and colourful flower markets are one of the most arresting features of Funchal, Madeira’s capital, though next door is the fish market that reminds you the island has a history of using the sea. Madeira is also known for its aquarium where you can dive with sharks, rays, morays and hundreds of other fish. Whale and dolphin watching are other featured activities for visitors to the island which is about twice the size of the Isle of Wight.
The market town is easily walkable and the further you go the steeper and narrower some of the streets become. On Santa Maria street, where there are many restaurants art work can be found on most of the doors. It features on the main Madeira film. Locally made wicker furniture gives a positive aroma to the clean air. Lacework and tapestries are also local trades as is the ubiquitous Madeira wine.
It will not surprise you that Funchal is also the base for tours to the islands botanical gardens; the fishing village of Camara de Lobos where Churchill went to paint, this also features on our main Madeira film. Camacha, the wicker centre; the Levada walks, part of an ancient irrigation system; and to Reids Hotel for traditional afternoon tea, making cruises to Madeira a must do. Many of these sites and more feature in our madeira film.

The Monte Tropical Gardens

The Monte Tropical Gardens are so extensive that you could spend a day there and walk back to the ship. Inside there is a three storey museum and the gardens and the museum feature in their own film although a short piece is in the main Madeira film. In the museum you will see art and sculptures from Zimbabwe and an exhibition of stunning minerals and stones.

The Toboggan Ride

Lastly the toboggan ride is great fun and one of the things Funchal is famous for. We thought we would show you the run in full although it is shown briefly in the main film. If you want to know what the toboggan run is like the full four minutes is covered.

The cable car, tropical gardens and toboggan ride are enough for one day without all the other things the island has to offer.

Tours available from your ship will probably include

Tea at Reid’s
Famous Toboggan Ride
Evening with Folklore (if overnight)
Deep Sea Fishing
Cable Car and Toboggan (see film above)
Nevada Walk
Jeep Adventure
Discover Whales and Dolphins by ‘rib’.
The Caves of São Vicente
Eco City Tour, Tuhxi Madeira
Farmers Market and Botanical Gardens
Leisurely Scenes of Madeira

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Filming on board ship - even the small Volunteer Holiday ships

Filming on board ship - even the small ones like the Adonia with which Carnival have started a Volunteer Holiday group called Fathom

We were still very much into shooting the web series Shades Of Bad when we went on the Adonia as celebrity guests. Stuart was talking about Emmerdale and Mrs Brown's Boys, two of the shows he has worked on, and we circulated the ship knowing it was to go out of service.
The guests on that ship loved it and as the rumour spread and was confirmed there was a general feeling of loss. This was now the smallest ship in the P&O fleet and it was being moved to a new program.

There is a very interesting program by Carnival Cruise company which owns P&O and has taken the Adonia and some of the other ships from the fleet to form a new cruise company called Fathom.
I wish we had filmed the Adonia the last time we were on it, but we had not really started Doris Visits then, and although it was an idea and we were filming Canaveral, Key West, Bequia and Barbados we never filmed the ship. Part because we knew it would be out of service in a year, part because Doris Visits as a travel channel had not formed. Certainly I now wish we had.

However we had shot around ten episodes of Shades of Bad while on a Norwegian Cruise, and two episodes while on a Mediterranean cruise, so shooting on the move suited the kit we had bought for Shades Of Bad. It just needed refining. The latest addition to the kit is a fisherman's belt that carries everything.

The aptly named Shakespeare Agility Belt has numerous pockets. The Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera with lens and attached radio mic receiver goes in the main pocket. Twelve spare charged batteries in front left mini pocket and as they are used the dead ones go in the right pocket. Left pocket is ND and other filters, right pocket sound bits and change colour furry wind shields and spare mic batteries. Click here or use this link to get the belt that turns you into a walking film truck. http://amzn.to/2dzFWC2

For the kit that goes into that belt see previous blogs, but I wonder if the news and doc crews will head out with volunteers on these ships and work as light. Or maybe they will just use the camera phone like the news guys. Funny to think that we have now sold both our Epic Dragons and this is the new current kit, in a belt. Click above for the belt, see previous blogs for kit.

The Adonia will visit Puerto Plata for four days/three nights on one-week cruises from Miami, starting in the spring, docking at Carnival Corp.'s soon-to-open, $85 million port, Amber Cove. The cruises will be bi-weekly – alternate weeks the ship will be sailing to Cuba. They will take volunteers to areas that need help, teachers and contractors and workers, who for a few days can go ashore and do good work, then retreat to the ship at night.
These new volunteer holidays may have come just when needed. Despite the storm some areas have people living 40% below the poverty line, which is why such terms as Impact Travel are being used.
Officials of Fathom have interesting backgrounds and have impressive credentials. COO Kurt Kroemer has worked in a lot of areas including fighting genocide and human trafficking and was also an executive with the American Red Cross and the Make-A-Wish Foundation of America.
The ships that have been moved to this are the smaller ships. Adonis was the smallest P&O ship in the fleet and some might say the most charming. The piano bar was always great fun, and the more random the pianist, the more random the night. Where else can you have nights like that on land, entertainment like that on land. It does not exist. So, do good by day, and relax by night.
What have you got to offer while you experience a cruise ship holiday with a difference.
Please follow us and like us for more cruise news... and visit our web site for more cruise news www.DorisVisits.com

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Does Drama make money, can web series offer deals ... how about 'like your first cruise of money back?'

Product! Content! Money! - and now a cruise deal to offer Doris's followers

I have been to so many panels where so called experts explain much, but it is all quite simple and most artists, me included over the years have ignored the basic facts 

Make what the public want, not what you want to make. 

Sure if you have no interest in selling, having a distributor sell, or making money that can be ignored ... but, if you want your film to play in a cinema someone has to clean and maintain the place and they want to be paid.

Facts are simple, drama is worth around 35 billion, sport 45 billion and Gaming 75 Billion. Films related to Games the studios like.
This is the first year that advertising spend on-line has over taken advertising on the television ... and I saw earlier this year adverts for people to read the Metro rather than just read their phones while travelling. Not only do they have to give the paper away free, but then advertise to get people to read it.

You can lead a horse to water ... BUT 

So we tested the online market with a recurring web series Shades Of Bad, and sure we won awards, were voted no2 show in the Indie Series World Chart, Jean Heard was twice voted Best Actress... but none of that is currency at our local Indian restaurant.

What we did while we were making it was study, watch trends, move the show about and learn. 

It is about what we can do and what the public want and although the drama is taking a sabbatical, DORIS VISITS was born as a test along with others things we discarded, and the travel show has produced 100 films in 8 months. We plan to hit 300 films within another three years and have 6 cruises and two ski trips already booked for next year. That is now a work load and an organisation nightmare for edit and release.
But travel has an audience you can target, like Gamers do which is why it works. Drama does not.