Credit: the Independent.

Stars on board: Debbie McGee shares favourite cruise memories

Author: Steven Murphy

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For many years, Debbie and her late husband Paul Daniels took their magic show to sea – inspiring a lifetime's love for the joys of cruising.

Did you miss travelling during the pandemic?
Oh, absolutely. I’m a traveller, and of course I’ve travelled my whole life for work. But I did finally get away last October when I went sailing in the Caribbean with some friends. It wasn’t exactly a cruise – just a three-cabin catamaran – but I love all ships so there was no way I was going to say no!

Can you remember the first cruise you went on?
Oh yes – it was aboard the QE2 when Paul and I were invited for Prince Philip’s 80th birthday party. I didn’t know what to expect from a cruise but we sailed for five days and I loved it. It really gave me the bug.

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Debbie McGee and Paul were invited for Prince Philip’s 80th birthday party on board the Queen Elizabeth 2. Credit:

What surprised you?
We had a butler in our suite, so we could ring for a cup of tea the moment we woke up. I’d never experienced that before – I felt like the Queen! Even in hotels with room service, it’s just not the same as having somebody who gets to know you, and whose whole job is to look after you.

What do you love most about a cruise holiday?
The fact that you only unpack your suitcase once. It’s done in no time, and then you wake up in a different country.

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You and Paul used to do shows on cruise ships. Was that fun?
We loved it. But what we enjoyed just as much is how easily you can make friends on a cruise ship. We both liked meeting new people so cruising was great for us. And I’m still in touch with a couple from Scotland who we met on our very first cruise.

. Credit: The Telegraph.

What is your happiest cruising memory?
Any of our trips on the QE2 – an old fashioned, real ship with such a wonderful history. We often used to sail to New York, and on one crossing the captain told everyone that a freak wave was expected during the night, so we should have dinner early, then go straight to bed and stay there until morning.

The wave hit at about 2am, and when the ship had settled, Paul looked out of the door and said, "Well, nobody’s running up down the corridors so we must be OK." Thankfully we were, although later we were told that the ship had lost several lifeboats.

-READ MORE: Debbie McGee on Prince Philip's cruise birthday party -

What has been your favourite destination over the years?
I love going to the Caribbean because I like the sunshine but I’ve enjoyed all of my cruises, even going up to the North Cape and around the top of Europe.

What was your last voyage before lockdown?
A Strictly cruise with P&O, visiting Gibraltar, Spain, Italy and Malta. It was amazing.

Join a Belgian chocolate-making workshop in Belgium.

Do you have any cruise packing tips?
I’m a terrible holiday packer because I want to take everything, so I often have to unpack and start again. That's one of the reasons I like the Caribbean, because you don’t need so much kit. I’m terrible with clothes but good with gadgets – I have a list on my computer of all the electronic stuff I need to remember, like phone chargers.

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Do you enjoy the food on board ship?
Who doesn’t? I’ve had so many fantastic meals on cruise ships, but probably my favourite was the midnight chocolate buffet on P&O’s Aurora – wow!

Debbie can’t wait to cruise to Alaska. Credit: Amazing Views.

Where will you be travelling this year?
I’m going to Turkey with a bunch of friends this spring. Four years ago I went with nine friends from my village and we loved everything about it, so we’re doing the same trip again.

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Which cruise destination is currently on your wish list?
Although I like the sunshine, I’ve never been to Alaska. The pictures look amazing, so I’d love to cruise there.

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