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
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?