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Our next stop? The sumptuous One and Only Ocean Club – where Bond gives parking lessons and also meets Dimitrios and his beautiful wife, Solange. After winning her husband’s Aston Martin DB5, Bond offers Solange a lift then takes her a back to his villa. We were given exclusive access to all the filming areas along with a fully guided tour of the resort and, of course, the James Bond villa. Developed by millionaire – Huntingdon Hartford – in the 1960s for similarly affluent people, it retains its air of exclusivity. The spectacular Versailles Gardens, Spa rooms and luxurious suites were all geared to the well-heeled and the well-known; after all, Cindy Crawford chose to get married there and James Bond had his winning streak there also. So, starting at a paltry $8,000 per night for the villa – up your credit card limit and book yourself in for some serious pampering! Fabulous stuff!

Our final destination was the British Colonial Hilton, used in Never Say Never Again. Situated on downtown Nassau’s only private beach and the site of Old Fort Nassau, we were again given an excellent guided tour by a member of the management.

Back aboard the Carnival Valor we were wined, dined and entertained by a first class crew. We visited two more islands in the Caribbean, St Thomas and St Maarten and, on the latter, found one 'Casino Royale'. We celebrated 4th July the only way it should be – with Americans. Tom Stroud gave lessons in Texas Hold’em Poker, wine tasting with Sir Donald Munger, Goldfinger golf using anything but a club, and Vesper Martinis. There were over 50, yes 50, languages to deal with and the cruise management had at least one cunning linguist capable of paying lip service to each.

This brings me to another language – the language of friendship. Two years before filming took place there for Casino Royale our friend Alan visited the spectacular Villa del Balbianello, on the Western Shore of Lake Como, for his son’s wedding. The Villa became the sanatorium where Bond recuperates from his ordeal at the hands of Le Chiffre – sadly, our friend never recovered and died soon after the release of Casino Royale. He did, however, leave us with something very precious – an appreciation of friendship and of those who give it freely and without any agenda. To Rich and Leslie for organising such a special event, the comedians who entertained us during the private functions and all those who helped make the experience so very special – thank you.

For further information:

The One and Only Ocean Club

The One and Only Ocean Club

The One and Only Ocean Club
The Ocean Club as seen in Casino Royale (2006)

The Ocean Club as seen in Casino Royale (2006)

British Colonial Hilton plaque