All bands on deck: aboard the Belle and Sebastian Med and music cruise

Tempted by dolphins, flamingos, golden twilights and great bands, 2,000 fans signed up for the Boaty Weekender, some even coming from New Zealand. We join them in the hot-tub

‘Dolphins!” yells Stuart Murdoch, springing across the top deck of the Norwegian Pearl. A pod has been spotted cresting the teal waters of the Mediterranean and the Belle and Sebastian frontman wants to arrange an announcement over the boat’s public address system. But getting involved with the runnings of a 93,000-ton cruise ship as it ploughs towards Sardinia isn’t that straightforward. Murdoch was similarly thwarted last night when he shouted for the ship’s captain from the stage during the band’s first set of the weekend, asking him to sound the horn. Never mind – there will be other chances for everyone to see dolphins. And turtles. And, overhead for a brief moment, flamingos.

After a day at sea on the Boaty Weekender, stuff like this doesn’t seem all that unusual. Since setting sail during Thursday’s late-evening golden hour, a kaleidoscopic cavalcade of surreal loveliness has ensued. As Barcelona disappeared into the haze, the cruise’s Glaswegian hosts played a spine-pricklingly pretty set on the open-air pool deck main stage, beneath cloudless skies in baking heat.

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