Marie Louise McConville: Fun and frolics at sea for a little princess and pirate

Marie Louise pictured with her children, James and Abbie, alongside John and Chris Braniff from Carnival Promotions, who kept the kids entertained on board the Stena Line Kids Cruise

Summer is finally on the horizon people, and if you're a parent it's likely you're feeling a bit panicked.

With the kids excited about eight weeks off school, mums and dads are now urgently trying to plan two months worth of entertainment.

With two young kids who are not yet at school, I'm always on the lookout for new things to try and this week, what a gem I found.

Imagine the perfect kids party, with every activity imaginable on offer.

Now, imagine it all under one roof where there are wonderful, talented people on hand to entertain them constantly - and it doesn't cost the earth.

Well people, my little ones enjoyed a brilliant day out this week and even got to dress up to do it.

With our little Princess and and little Pirate looking the part and with our lunch tucked away in the back pack, we checked in as guests of Stena Line for their Princesses and Pirates Kids Cruise.

Once on board, we took our seats and immediately the DJ got the disco under way.

And, with the kids bouncing around happily, Darren and I got the chance to relax.

As well as the disco, there was a host of other activities on offer including face-painting, tattoos and balloons shaped like everything from wands and dogs to swords.

In between the dancing, the kids could also enjoy endless games and it didn't end there, as there was a puppet show - two in fact - and a magic show and even karaoke, and that was all before we arrived in Cairnryan.

As the kids cruise is non landing, we didn't even realise we had stopped as the entertainment just kept going.

Soon, we were on our way back to Belfast and the fun just kept coming.

We took a break for a time and wandered outside to show the kids the mighty sea before we stopped by the cinema and soft play area.

In all, we were on board for almost seven hours and I've got to tell you, the kids had a ball and Darren and I weren't bored either.

A full day's cruise and entertainment costs £12 a head, which is pretty good value.

When we got home, we had a smiling princess and a sleeping pirate, and just knew they had had great fun.

Thanks for some wonderful memories Stena Line, don't be surprised if you see us again.


It really is one of the most ridiculous things I've ever heard.

Sainsburys announced this week that they are to introduce new touch-free packaging - plastic pouches of pre-cut chicken pieces - to help millennials who are afraid to touch raw meat.

Oh, for goodness sake.

The supermarket said the new packaging will allow customers to place the chicken straight into a frying pan.

Apparently it was developed after customers under 35 said touching raw meat caused them to have high anxiety levels.



I never want to hear about this again.

What is the world coming to?



With the weather due to take a turn for the better – apparently – how do you fancy winning a fantastic meal overlooking Belfast?

Located on the top floor of the House of Fraser, The Ivory Restaurant is one of the city's best kept secrets, offering spectacular views over the bustling streets below as well as a top menu of mouth-watering treats.

Having recently undergone an extensive renovation, The Ivory offers diners a luxurious escape and as it's located close to the Waterfront Hall and Grand Opera House, is the perfect spot for pre-theatre dining.

Diners can look forward to enjoying a host of delicious dishes made with ingredients from local suppliers including Walter Ewing's smoked salmon to Kettle beef from Co Fermanagh - and don't forget the freshest vegetables grown in the Ivory garden.

And all this can be washed down with a carefully selected wine list to enhance the dining experience.

I have three vouchers to give away, each offering a three –course pre-theatre meal for two people.

If you fancy winning a voucher for The Ivory, simply email your name, address and telephone number – along with the answer to the question below – to

Closing date for entries is 12 noon on Tuesday, April 24, 2018

(Q) The Ivory is located on the top floor of which shopping complex in Belfast?

Normal Irish News Rules Apply


The winners of The Second Child competition are Helena Reilly from Markethill, Dorothy Quinn from Lisburn, Paula O'Kane from Toomebridge, Angela Curran from Tempo and Geraldine McGlade from Portstewart.

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