First Dates Hotel TV stars Sheila and Bev continue their journey on Saga Sapphire

Wednesday 17 May 2017

12-night cruise is ‘icing on the cake’ for couple who live 90 miles from each other

Stars of the TV programme First Dates Hotel, Sheila Wilson and Bev Walkden, are set for another adventure together – this time on cruise ship Saga Sapphire.

The couple, who charmed viewers when their friendship blossomed on the popular Channel 4 programme, sail on the Celtic Charms cruise which departs on June 6.

After promising they would they would go on a cruise together at the end of the TV show, Saga’s Holidays PR manager Naomi Thornton gave them a call.

Naomi said: “Sheila and Bev are such a lovely couple. They captured the nation’s hearts on “First Dates” where Bev promised to take Sheila on a cruise. We at Saga Cruises felt it would be a wonderful opportunity to invite them on board!”

Sheila, 82, and Bev, 80, will be boarding the ship in Dover for the 12-night cruise around the British Isles and Ireland.

The couple, who live 90 miles apart, do not find it easy to see each other regularly so they are both looking forward to spending time together on the 700-passenger ship.

Grandmother-of-four Sheila said: “We both live near our children and grandchildren. Bev is in Bristol and I live in Berkshire, so it is not as if we can say ‘let’s pop out for a drink or go to the theatre’. We have to make plans.

“I went down to Bristol for Bev’s birthday and we have also been to a jazz festival – but going on the Saga cruise is the icing on the cake.

“I’m really excited; I have always wanted to go on an ocean cruise but I didn’t want to go on my own. I expect I’ll get hooked and spend all of my money on cruising!

“What’s funny, though, is that we chose our shore tours separately and found we will only be going on one excursion together – that’s the Giant’s Causeway!”

Widower Bev is a grandfather of two and loves fast cars and speedboats, said: “I’m going on a RIB boat excursion because I enjoy that sort of adventure. Although, in Guernsey, I would like to see the World War II museum so while I’m doing that Sheila is going on a vintage bus tour around the island.

“I’m also looking forward to treating myself to a full English breakfast on board and enjoying the fine dining. We can have pre-dinner drinks – and I love it when the crew remember your tipple! I am sure Sheila will be gobsmacked by the service.

“After I retired from working in London I lived in Cornwall and miss the pasties ­– I understand one of the Saga’s Chefs comes from Cornwall so I am hoping Cornish Pasties might be on the menu one day!”

Bev and Sheila, who kissed on TV, say they are good friends and ‘enjoy a laugh together’.

Sheila, who retired from journalism and trained as a reflexologist, has been a widow for eight years. She said: “We both went on the First Dates Hotel programme to find a companion and we had a lot of fun.

“Just because you get older, it doesn’t mean you don’t think the same way – you just slow down. I am still interested in going out on dates!”


The 12-night Celtic Charms cruise starts from £2,436, departing Dover on June 6, 2017 with calls to St Peter Port, Guernsey; Cobh, Glengariff, Dublin and Killybegs, Ireland; Belfast, Northern Ireland and Ilfracombe, in Devon, which is a maiden port of call for Saga Sapphire.

For details visit or call 0800 50 50 30

Price includes UK travel package to and from Dover, all meals and entertainment, choice of table wines at lunch and dinner, afternoon tea, 24-hour room service, welcome cocktail party, unlimited tea and coffee in selected venues, free Wi-Fi internet, all on-board gratuities, porterage, free shuttle bus to nearest town centre (whenever possible and when the ship is berthed more than 500 yards away), optional travel insurance and additional cancellation rights, or a discount of £53 per person if passenger has own insurance.

Price based on two people sharing an Inside Guarantee where guests receive their cabin number shortly before sailing or at embarkation and not at the time of booking. The cabin may be allocated anywhere on the ship and twin cabins may have either two single beds or one double bed. Further terms and conditions apply. 

Contact PR Manager Naomi Thornton email or call 01303 772499

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