Travel Take the plunge on MSC Preziosa

Thought cruising wasn't for you? Here's why you're wrong

The operation to remove the Concordia wreck will take a year

The wrong maps, doors left open, bad wiring: is this why Costa Concordia really sank?

Consumer group claims electrical problems may have led to the loss of several passengers stuck in lifts

Church of Scientology is in the middle of Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise divorce

The school at the centre of Cruise split

Insiders claim Katie Holmes filed for divorce to prevent the Church of Scientology educating her daughter

Katie
Holmes and
Tom Cruise on
their wedding
day in 2006

Scientology's summer of hell

With the Cruise marriage split, the 60th anniversary of L Ron Hubbard's cult movement is going from bad to worse

In happier times Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise

Marriage impossible: End of a Hollywood romance

After six gossip-filled years, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are divorcing

Some 'hurry-before-it-goes holidays' provide poor value, says Which?

Consumers are not always getting the best price when they book time-limited "hurry" holidays, according to Which?

Voyager into uncharted waters: Sjón

The Whispering Muse, By Sjón, trans. Victoria Cribb

Iceland's maverick storyteller returns with a cruise into legend.

Huge ship MSC Divina leaves Venice during the inaugural cruise

Sophia sails into row about monster ship in Venice

Environmentalists are urging Italian screen legend Sophia Loren to ditch her endorsement of the latest giant cruise liner to sully the views and pollute the air of Venice. The 140,000-tonne MSC Divina, which the actress christened last month in France, gained the dubious title at the weekend of becoming the largest liner ever to enter the lagoon city.

On the high seas with the high rollers

Just think how hard it must be to be loaded. All that tax and grief from poor people about greed. And then there are the trials of love. Just how do you find a partner if you're a multimillionaire?

Deals of the week: Lille; New Forest; Med cruise

Less than £200: Cresta Holidays has a three-night break in the French city of Lille for £155pp. The package on offer includes travel on Eurostar from London St Pancras on 30 July and B&B accommodation at the simple but central Comfort Hotel Opera (crestaholidays.co.uk).

Cunard cruise ship worker jailed over spanking

A children's supervisor who enjoyed spanking young boys in his care was jailed for four years today.

Up to 40 of the 270 boats that ply the Nile can resume trips at the end of this month

New horizons: The Nile, Egypt

Expanding the world of travel

DVD: Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol

This particular Mission certainly would be impossible for any flesh-and-blood human being, but Tom Cruise and his team (Simon Pegg, Jeremy Renner, Paula Patton) tick off the most ludicrously challenging feats as easily as they saunter away from bone-shattering falls.

Jet setting: A flight in a MiG will cost you £31,400

Cruise report: You can fly in a MiG, or just paddle your own canoe

Going ashore from a cruise used to involve either a "city panorama" (ticking off sights from a coach); or a "highlights" tour (the cathedral, museum and a souvenir market before piling back on the bus).

Sweeney says: 'I wanted to be a nun until I discovered disco dancing'

My Secret Life: Claire Sweeney, 41, actress

My parents were... great role models, especially my mum – she was my best friend. My dad really helped push my career, to the extent of taking me to gigs in the back of his meat van.

Ships cruising deep into the Arctic are often a long way from civilisation

Foreign Office warning sends a chill over luxury Arctic cruises

Large distances between populated areas poses safety risk, but operators say the alert is 'ridiculous'

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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

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Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
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Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

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Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

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