Friday, 25 July 2014

Poison, murder and mystery to pull in the passengers for a chilling themed cruise on Fred Olsen's Boudicca

Nobody leave the ship! Murder most foul on the high seas 
A shared obsession with poisons has led to an unlikely alliance between a British duchess and a Norwegian businessman – and to an unlikely themed cruise next year.

The odd couple – the Duchess of Northumberland and Fred Olsen – came together at the Tower of London yesterday to announce the Poison, Mystery and Murder cruise sailing on board Boudicca next July.

Passengers on the 16-night voyage from Rosyth, Edinburgh, to the Canary Islands and then back to Newcastle-upon-Tyne, will take part in what is hoped will be the largest participative murder mystery event held on a cruise ship. Adjudicators from Guinness World Records will be on board to validate the claim.

Throughout the cruise, poison and mystery will be the theme throughout; the first day at sea, for example, will be devoted to arsenic and of course the film of the day will be Arsenic and Old Lace, starring Cary Grant.

While visiting Tenerife, guests will be taken to visit the Pyramids de Guimar, where the gardens house a collection of poisonous plants, funded by Fred Olsen. On their return to Newcastle, they will be taken to the duchess’s garden at Alnwick Castle, which have been re-developed at a reported cost of £42 million.

The Poisoner's Handmaid: the Duchess of Northumberland 
The Duchess said: “In Fred Olsen I was excited to meet someone with a fellow passion for poison plants and together we have sown a seed that has flourished into this fascinating cruise experience.

“I wanted to create a theatre of poisons and poisoning and working with Fred has allowed me to bring the desire to life aboard a cruise ship, where guests can sample something new, something different and something very special.”

Fred Olsen snr
Fred Olsen, whose business interests include offshore oil and wind power, the Timex Corporation, and Belfast’s Harland & Wolff shipyard, made a rare public appearance to take part in the launch event.

He added: “It seemed to me the most natural thing to undertake such a cruise … with so few poison gardens in Europe it is very special to be able to link these two.

“We know our guests share an enthusiasm for gardening and we also know, from our Titanic Centenary cruise in 2012, that they enjoy dressing up and taking part in murder-mystery-themed events.”

The guest speakers assembled for the cruise include a retired coroner and  a poison historian. Thriller writer Felix Francis, son of thriller writer Dick Francis, will complete a short story during the voyage.

A cast of actors on board will perform a whodunnit during the course of the voyage and guests will  be able to adopt the personae of the characters.

As an extra bonus, the passenger who first solves the mystery will win a world cruise for two.

The 160-night Poison, Murder & Mystery Cruise on board Boudicca departs Rosyth on July 10, 2015. Fares start at  £2,499. Details from 0800 0355 242