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Client Blog: Swapping New Zealand for the Norfolk Broads - Helen

Having booked and planned our ‘half way around the world’ trip to New Zealand on a beautiful cruise ship, taking in Portugal, Africa, South America, the Pacific Islands, Australia and The Cook Islands, before finally arriving in New Zealand, you can understand our disappointment when a global pandemic hit and our holiday of a lifetime was cancelled.

However, having booked through NC Travel, our disappointment was eased with Nikki’s calm and consistent support as she navigated us through refunds and re-bookings. As it turned out, sadly, our cruise company was a casualty of Coronavirus and went into liquidation, meaning even if Australia or New Zealand were to let us in, we no longer had a ship to sail in!

Nevertheless, seven months on from our departure date, here we are, sipping champagne on the deck of a beautiful boat named Windsor Bridge, sailing along the Norfolk Broads. Expertly captained (by my husband), we have total freedom to wander the waterways of Norfolk’s unique environment.

And what a treat it is!

If it hadn’t been for COVID-19, and once again Nikki's expertise, we would never have discovered such a gem - and almost in our own back yard.

Coronavirus has taught us all how to behave differently, and getting out in the fresh air is one of those changes. Now, as we begin to re-open as a country, pubs and restaurants are much more prepared for outdoor dining and drinking, and we as customers are much more prepared for dealing with whatever weather comes our way.

Whilst obviously the pandemic has been catastrophic in so many ways, it has forced us to look more closely, and to value, what we have at home.

As an artist, I had bought new paints in turquoise blues and lapis lazuli for the tropical waters and beaches we would visit on our cruise. But I find the natural greens and soft greys of the Norfolk landscape, punctuated by whites and blues of boats and windmills are really rather beautiful.

And when the sun comes out, and the clouds drift on by, our British skies are blue enough to rival any tropical ocean - so my paints will still be put to good use.

I’m sure one day we’ll make it to New Zealand - we have family there - but for now, ‘staycations’ are definitely for us!

Helen Johnson


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