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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Travelling to Denmark aboard the Dana Sirena cruise ferry.

A cruise ferry with DFDS Seaways was the best way to travel to Denmark to give a talk on design and sustainability. Read all about my fabulous journey aboard the Dana Sirena, accompanied by some gorgeous illustrations.

Written by Amelia Gregory


Illustration by Antonia Parker

Well, store they’d really gone to town with this season’s menswear installations. Menswear Day is great, but it’s bloody hard work – you get five days to absorb what’s on offer for women, but only one for the guys – even though the quality and breadth of talent is just as vast.

So in between shows I managed to leg it around the installations, taking photographs, collecting press releases, bumping into people I knew and desperately tried not to steal Mr Hare shoes, all at the same time. It was hard work, I tell ya.

Katie Eary



I LOVE Katie Eary‘s work and this year was no exception. Moving away from skeletal masks and those joke glasses that have me in stitches whenever I see a pair, this season saw Katie collaborate with Lonsdale to create a 1950s boxing scene. It was GREAT – genuine boxers in Katie’s leopard-skin silk shorts, jewel-encrusted boxing helmets and embellished gloves fought on one side of the space behind traditional boxing ring ropes. A genuine coach jeered in his East End accent and Katie, resplendent in a leopard-skin number herself, styled the models/boxers like a glamorous ringside moll.



Tartans featured as boxers rested in the other half of the installation, surrounded by red roses and walls covered in the same fabric. Despite being mesmerised by the shirtless boxers I did also notice some neat tailoring, studded trousers and yet more leopard skin numbers. Amazing.

Mr Hare



Delicious shoes. Again. What else to say? It’s hard to stand out designing shoes exclusively for men, I’m sure, unless you design panto clown shoes – but Mr Hare managed it again – this season presenting an entirely black collection (strange, I thought, for S/S). Suede, patent leather and reptile skin all featured.

Matthew Miller

I am seriously excited about interviewing Matthew Miller in the coming weeks, so keep an eye out for that. His unique fusing of modern tailoring with a sport-luxe aesthetic really gets me going. A model stood looking a little perplexed outside his little hut, wearing a double-breasted blazer in rich cotton with a banded white stripe straight through the middle. It seems this theme ran through his entire collection, giving well-tailored clothing a contemporary twist. Crisp white shirts with stripes are teamed with tailored shirts to achieve the MM look.

Omar Kashoura

Illustration by Antonia Parker

It’s no secret that I loved what Omar Kashoura had to offer last season, and it’s no surprise that he’d been awarded NEWGEN sponsorship this time around. Moving on from formal tailoring, this season he presented a more playful collection packed full of wit, humour and great checks.



A jazz band modelled the clothes, but every time I went in they were hanging around posing and not actually playing instruments (that modelling opportunity had obviously gone to their heads) but I’m told they were very good. Twill double-breasted blazers, some with piped lapels, toyed with the idea of English dressing, and whimsical handkerchiefs were placed in pockets. A general colour palette of tones of blue was enhanced with flashes of red and some pastel colours, while the models wore Edward Green shoes (HOT).

The rest of the room featured look-book shots (above) with hilarious catalogue-style captions – ‘Andreas looks comfortable in a viscose and cotton knitted vest with a zipper front…’

Christopher Raeburn


Christopher Raeburn fits into many categories, and his collection this year was his best outing yet. Spots were the key theme, as were coats of many colours. Read a little bit more about him in Amelia’s review here.

Baartmans and Siegel


Great colours up for grabs here, with pastel blue tapered trousers and silk scarves and navy trenches, teamed with pastel blue suede shoes. Ones to watch, I’d say, with their mix of European influences and luxurious fabrics.

Mattio Bigliardi

…wins the award for biggest jacket. Love this colour…

Christopher Shannon

Another season brings another collaboration with Eastpak, and even more silly bags, that I actually really like. The colours echoed his catwalk collection, featuring lemon, aqua and grey.

Morgan Allen Oliver


Last, but by no means least, Morgan delighted again this season with fabulous knitwear and polka dot shorts. As much as I loved his offerings in February, this time around he seems to have grown in sophistication and his collection seemed smarter and infinitely more wearable, while still maintaining that contemporary, humorous wit that we’re steadily gettting used to. Muted colours featured, along with luxurious-knit cardigans, spotted jumpers and said polka-dot shorts, modelled by previous fashion editor Jonno Ovans!

Dana-Sirena-by-Yelena-Bryksenkova
The Dana Sirena with her captain, more about by Yelena Bryksenkova.

When I was offered the opportunity to speak to designers in Copenhagen I jumped at the chance. And then, information pills of course, medications I realised that I would have to figure out how I could travel there without flying.

Grand house Scania
A typical Scandinavian country house. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

It’s not a great secret that I’m no big fan of flying. I haven’t gone so far as to vow never to fly again but I’ve taken a two year break without any serious life shattering consequences: I’m perfectly happy and don’t feel my life has been any less rewarding for my lack of carbon emissions.

I resolutely won’t fly short distances – and by that I mean anywhere that is within easy reach by some other form of transport. Train, coach, ferry, bike, pony, foot. There are many other ways to travel which don’t involve standing in line at some horrible airport then having my ears pop in utter agony as we breach the upper atmosphere. Watching a crap movie in some tiny uncomfortable seat whilst being fed disgusting airplane food? No siree, I do not miss flying one iota. In fact, I have developed quite a severe phobia of flying in recent years – I sit there several kilometres above the ground and think “Ye gods, I shouldn’t be here. It’s wrong. If I was meant to be this far above earth I would have been born with wings.” So I’m always in a vague panic, especially when it’s turbulent.

Denmark roadtrip copenhagen
A typical building in Copenhagen.

So it was that I happily set out to find another way to travel to Copenhagen for my Underwerket Projects talk on design and sustainability. Cruise ferry seemed the most obvious way to travel and one which I was eager to try, having heard very good things from activists who had travelled by boat to the Copenhagen Cop15 summit last December. I contacted DFDS Seaways to see whether they might be amenable to sponsoring a trip aboard their North Seas flagship the Dana Sirena, and was very pleased when they agreed to let me travel with my boyfriend and car. I had already planned that we would take a late summer holiday as well – it seemed sensible to make the most of the trip, though it is possible to take a cruise ferry to Esbjerg for a long weekend. If booked well in advance it’s not expensive either – a crossing for a car with two people costs from £139 each way – but I do recommend planning such a trip some months ahead.

Dana Sirena view deck
The back deck of the Dana Sirena, which also carries freight.

Catching the ferry to Denmark involved a short drive to Harwich, where we boarded the Dana Sirena with ease. I love boats… I love standing on deck to watch the cars load, then watching the ramps go up and feeling the wind in my hair as we leave the harbour and pick up speed. My job involves so much sedentary gazing at a computer screen that I grasp the chance to feel the elements on my skin when I can, and there’s nothing more elemental than travelling by sea: it’s so much more pleasant than being trapped in a cramped and airless cabin. As we left I noted lots of wind turbines laid out in a vast facility, an offshore crane ready to tow them to their destination. As an international port in a crucial location, Harwich is perfectly placed to build renewable technologies.

DFDS Seaways Dana Sirena Columbus Lounge by felice perkins
The Columbus Lounge Crooner by Felice Perkins.

Our cabin on the Dana Sirena had a sea view which meant we could assess the weather from the comfort of our own room – the cabins are small but eminently spacious for a relatively short journey. Although it takes approximately twenty hours to get to Esbjerg in Denmark much of that time is spent asleep, lulled by the motion of the waves.

Denmark Seven Seas buffet crabs dana sirena
Dana Sirena food
Denmark trip Seven Seas buffet Dana Sirena
The Dana Sirena Seven Seas restaurant buffet… yum.

For supper we ate yummy Danish food from the smorgasbord laid out in the Seven Seas restaurant, then sat in the Columbus Lounge with cocktails and a live crooner for company.

Cruise-Ship-by-Mina-Bach
Cruise Ship Singer by Mina Bach.

Cocktails are the same price as a pint of beer, fact fans, so you may as well eh? Certainly not the kind of laid back experience one can expect when travelling by plane.

Abby_Wright_Danish_Pudding
Danish Puddings by Abby Wright. The Danish are VERY good at puddings.

One of the biggest bonuses to travelling via cruise ferry is the opportunity to take your car with you. Or bikes; as people left the ferry with their touring bikes at the other end I felt a pang of envy, but the fact remains that the freedom of car travel remains unrivalled. We passed great colonies of seals basking on the sandy banks as we arrived at Esbjerg, where we disembarked immediately and headed east on completely clear roads. Denmark is small and there is very little traffic so it takes just a few hours to cross the islands and reach Copenhagen; from there it is but a quick hop over the bridge to Scania in Southern Sweden, where we also spent several delightful days exploring the countryside.

Scania Sweden campsite
Our campsite on the beautiful southern coast of Sweden.

Because we had a car we were able to visit lots of places that were well off the tourist track. In fact we hardly heard another English accent the entire time we were away – though of course we heard plenty of English because nearly all Scandinavians speak it perfectly. Taking the Dana Sirena to Denmark made us realise just how close Scandinavia is to the UK, something we had never really considered before but is obvious in the many historical links we share. My next blog will round up some of the best things to do if you take a cruise ferry holiday to Scandinavia in your car.

Land Art Funen
Land Art at Tickon Park near Tranakaer on a remote island of Langeland off the coast of Funen.

As we headed back to the port in Esbjerg a few weeks later we passed many British cars laden down with belongings. As well as being the perfect way to cut back on carbon emissions at a time when we desperately need to consider the effects of our individual and collective actions, a cruise ferry holiday allows for the freedom of a road trip. And yes, we managed to fill our car up too. But more on that in my next missive…

You can read about another journey aboard the Dana Sirena from the Man in Seat 61 here and book your trip aboard a cruise ferry at the DFDS Seaways website here.

Buffet chef by David Merta
Buffet chef in the Seven Seas restaurant by David Merta.

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3 Responses to “Travelling to Denmark aboard the Dana Sirena cruise ferry.”

  1. David says:

    The cocktails may be the same price as the beer, but the beer is possibly the most expensive in the world.
    Did you eat any crisps in the bar, they cost about £500 a packet!

  2. [...] Cruise Ship Singer for Amelia’s trip to Denmark [...]

  3. Amelia says:

    This is true – beer in Denmark is very very expensive if you buy it in bars. But if you buy it in the supermarket it’s ridiculously cheap. Strange… and I didn’t sample the crisps I’m afraid. A x

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