Rather fittingly, today is Sherlock Holmes’ birthday. What with the advent of Sherlock, the BBC’s modern take on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s legendary detective and the final episodes of Poirot featuring Agatha Christie’s diminutive Belgian sleuth being aired in 2013, the last few years have certainly been busy ones when it comes to murder mystery on our TV screens. With two successful films directed by Guy Ritchie and starring Hollywood hot property Robert Downey Junior as Holmes, the cinematic world clearly continues to see the appeal of the murder mystery as well. That’s to say nothing of all these stories’ original medium – the humble novel – which continues to be a popular cruise companion for many.
Indeed, the timeless intrigue of the murder mystery has pervaded into many areas of our social lives, not least the cruise industry. Though lines such as Crystal Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises have hosted themed mystery cruises in the past, where guests are invited to join in and solve the murder, they’re usually more commonly found on the larger mainstream cruise lines. Admittedly great fun, murder mystery dinners are not for everyone, and the smaller size of many luxury ships means mystery cruises are not as common. After all, not everyone wants their luxury dining experience to involve a murder!
Not just encouraging us to exercise our brain cells as we try to solve the murder before our favourite detectives does, these stories can often take us to some pretty interesting and exotic locations and quite often, they’ve been inspired by a number of them, too. Indeed, mystery cruises need not just be about spending one night around the cruise ship dinner table solving a murder…
Mystery cruises for Sherlock Holmes fans
Holmes would surely have been puzzled by today’s global cruising culture. Hardly an international man of mystery, he only ventured out of England to confront his arch-nemesis Professor Moriarty once, in The Final Problem. The story’s climactic scene takes place at Switzerland’s Reichenbach Falls in the loft Bernese Oberland region. One of the few ways you could realistically visit the falls on a cruise is by ending your voyage in Venice and tagging on a holiday to Italy’s picturesque neighbour. So synonymous is the location with the detective that there’s a plaque at the falls referencing the scene.
If you’re considering a London cruise and stay before setting sail, then be sure to head over to the Sherlock Holmes Museum at (where else?) 221B Baker Street. OK, I’d better tell you that it actually lies between numbers 237 and 241, though for Holmes kudos it was granted the right to share the detective’s iconic address. Inside the beautiful Georgian town house you’ll find all manner of memorabilia and rooms faithfully dressed to represent such famous settings as Holmes, sitting room, laboratory, Dr Watson’s room and the study.
If your cruise departs from Leith, meanwhile, you may well be considering an Edinburgh cruise and stay. While exploring the many historic delights of the city, if you’re a Holmes fan or indeed a lover of any of Arthur Conan Doyle’s works, then be sure to take a trip to Picardy Place. Why? Well, it’s the birthplace of Sir Arthur himself and boasts a statue of his most enduring character, decked out in the famous Inverness Cape and Deerstalker cap, in the square.
Mystery cruises for Poirot fans
Agatha Christie is known to have disliked her most famous creation for the majority of the years she wrote about him. Nevertheless, the public loved him and she felt it her duty to give them what they wanted. Since first appearing in 1920, he made his final print appearance in 1975, yet it was the 1933 novel Murder on the Orient Express which would became perhaps his most famous case. Forever associated with luxury, this historic train conveyed privileged guests to and through a host of exotic locations. It continues to do so today, in the form of the Venice-Simplon Orient Express, a private luxury train which operates between London and Venice. Indeed at Six Star Cruises, we know luxury when we see it and try to bring you cruise packages which include a journey on this train whenever we can, so keep checking these pages.
In terms of cities which the Orient Express stopped at in Agatha Christie’s novel, if your luxury cruise explores the Black Sea region, you’ll likely stop in Turkey’s most famous and historic city, Istanbul, which the train passes through. Your European voyage may well begin or end with a Paris cruise and stay, or your Mediterranean one a trip to Athens – both cities which feature in the novel.
Mystery cruises for Miss Marple fans
Agatha Christie was responsible for creating another famous detective, but certainly a very different one, in the form of the unassuming Miss Marple. There’s one of the sleuth spinster’s adventures in particular which really lends itself to mystery cruises and that’s A Caribbean Mystery. It takes place during the only time Jane Marple ventured to distance shores to solve a crime and features such Caribbean cruise favourites such as Trinidad, Tobago and Martinique.
It was most likely Agatha Christie’s real-life love of the Canary Islands which inspired this novel, and indeed, she’s known to have spent time in such Canaries favourites as Santa Cruz Tenerife and Las Palmas, Gran Canaria. On Puerto de la Cruz in Tenerife, it’s said she completed The Mystery of the Blue Train, while in Las Palmas, she worked on The Companion, which would appear in her short story collection The Thirteen Problems. Clearly demonstrating her fondness for the Canaries, she references them directly in the story.
By Simon Brotherton