Just a Half Day in Plymouth

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#1
197 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
Let me say at the outset that I realize this is a minor, first world issue and I write this good naturedly knowing that preliminary cruise information can change at any time up to (and even after) a cruise begins.
I am booked on Viking's October 6 Amsterdam to Catalonia cruise.
The ship docks at Plymouth, England on day 4.
Over the last year I've been looking at the Viking cruise site that includes shore excursions. The Plymouth itinerary shows the included Plymouth tour as well as 12 other tours;
Salisbury and Stonehenge
Exbury Gardens and Lyndhurst
Beaulieu, National Motor Museum & New Forest
Bombay Sapphire & Laverstoke Mill
Historic Winchester and Its Glorious Cathedral
Mystic Stonehenge
Panoramic London
Kayaking in the Bealieu River
Journey along the Watercress Line
Fly in a Vintage Warbird
Somerley Estate
Hovercraft Ride and Osborne Estate
https://www.vikingcruises.com/oceans...itineraryday/4

I've spent all year considering my options, comparing Salisbury to Winchester, considering a trip into London, wondering if I had the guts to strap into a Spitfire, and generally contemplating each excursion (I mean who doesn't like Bombay Sapphire?).

To my surprise, after all this (fun) planning I go into my actual Viking account to find there are only 2 shore excursions that day, Plymouth and Winchester. No London, no Spitfires, no Bombay Gin, no Salisbury, and no Stonehenge.
The reason?
We are only in Plymouth half a day and the rest of the activities take too long.
Is my life ruined, is my cruise ruined? Of course not, but I sure do wish Viking had done a better job in their cruise excursion descriptions and in setting expectations.

#2
Valley of the Sun, Arizona
7,988 Posts
Joined Mar 2004
Originally posted by drcpa
Let me say at the outset that I realize this is a minor, first world issue and I write this good naturedly knowing that preliminary cruise information can change at any time up to (and even after) a cruise begins.
I am booked on Viking's October 6 Amsterdam to Catalonia cruise.
The ship docks at Plymouth, England on day 4.
Over the last year I've been looking at the Viking cruise site that includes shore excursions. The Plymouth itinerary shows the included Plymouth tour as well as 12 other tours;
Salisbury and Stonehenge
Exbury Gardens and Lyndhurst
Beaulieu, National Motor Museum & New Forest
Bombay Sapphire & Laverstoke Mill
Historic Winchester and Its Glorious Cathedral
Mystic Stonehenge
Panoramic London
Kayaking in the Bealieu River
Journey along the Watercress Line
Fly in a Vintage Warbird
Somerley Estate
Hovercraft Ride and Osborne Estate
https://www.vikingcruises.com/oceans...itineraryday/4

I've spent all year considering my options, comparing Salisbury to Winchester, considering a trip into London, wondering if I had the guts to strap into a Spitfire, and generally contemplating each excursion (I mean who doesn't like Bombay Sapphire?).

To my surprise, after all this (fun) planning I go into my actual Viking account to find there are only 2 shore excursions that day, Plymouth and Winchester. No London, no Spitfires, no Bombay Gin, no Salisbury, and no Stonehenge.
The reason?
We are only in Plymouth half a day and the rest of the activities take too long.
Is my life ruined, is my cruise ruined? Of course not, but I sure do wish Viking had done a better job in their cruise excursion descriptions and in setting expectations.

I have to say I agree with you. Disappointing. We had some very short "drive by" port calls on the World Cruise too. From your list I would just have to strap on the Spitfire! But you have a few hours in Plymouth. For consolation, there are some really nice pubs in Plymouth....
#4
Valley of the Sun, Arizona
7,988 Posts
Joined Mar 2004
Originally posted by kentchris
The ship calls in Portsmouth on day 4, not Plymouth which is the best part of 200 miles westwards.
THAT makes a difference! Portsmouth has a wealth of great things to see.
#5
British Columbia
1,301 Posts
Joined Jun 2014
Portsmouth has the Historic Naval Dockyard, which is a great place to visit. Across the road from the dockyard they have a good selection of pubs.

If more interested in the beach you can head just outside the port to Southsea, which has a beach, common and a few attractions.

You can also take the passenger ferry across the inlet to Gosport, which has the RN Submarine Museum.

If you only have a 1/2 day, I wouldn't recommend heading into Southampton or Hamble, as the M27/275 traffic can be bad.
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Andy & Judi

World Cruise & RV'ing Blog: www.andyandjudi.com

Upcoming Cruises
2020 - Viking Sun World Cruise - LA to Greenwich

Previous Cruises
1976 Uganda - Meddy
1977 Oriana - Vancouver to Sydney
1978 Oriana - UK
1978 Canberra - UK
1979 Uganda - Meddy
1979 Island Princess - Alaska B2B, Mexico B2B
1980 Sun Princess - Alaska B2B, Mexico B2B
1999 Sun Princess - Alaska
2002 Radiance of the Seas - Alaska
2005 Coral Princess - Panama
2005 Dawn Princess - West Coastal
2007 Dawn Princess - Mexico
2008 Island Princess - Panama
2008 Diamond Princess - Asia B2B
2010 Island Princess - Panama
2011 Diamond Princess - Alaska B2B
2013 Sapphire Princess - Alaska B2B
2014 Emerald Princess - Caribbean B2B
2014 Emerald Princess - Trans Atlantic
2015 Sea Princess - World Cruise
2017 CMV Columbus - Baltic
#6
197 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
My bad. I promised myself I wouldn’t make that mistake and made it anyway. I’m hoping now the cruise leaves out of Amsterdam, Netherlands and not Amsterdam, New York.
#7
197 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
Portsmouth not Plymouth


Originally posted by drcpa




let me say at the outset that i realize this is a minor, first world issue and i write this good naturedly knowing that preliminary cruise information can change at any time up to (and even after) a cruise begins.
i am booked on viking's october 6 amsterdam to catalonia cruise.
the ship docks at Portsmouth, England on day 4.
over the last year i've been looking at the viking cruise site that includes shore excursions. The Portsmouth itinerary shows the included portsmouth tour as well as 12 other tours;
salisbury and stonehenge
exbury gardens and lyndhurst
beaulieu, national motor museum & new forest
bombay sapphire & laverstoke mill
historic winchester and its glorious cathedral
mystic stonehenge
panoramic london
kayaking in the bealieu river
journey along the watercress line
fly in a vintage warbird
somerley estate
hovercraft ride and osborne estate
https://www.vikingcruises.com/oceans...itineraryday/4

i've spent all year considering my options, comparing salisbury to winchester, considering a trip into london, wondering if i had the guts to strap into a spitfire, and generally contemplating each excursion (i mean who doesn't like bombay sapphire?).

to my surprise, after all this (fun) planning i go into my actual viking account to find there are only 2 shore excursions that day, portsmouth and winchester. No london, no spitfires, no bombay gin, no salisbury, and no stonehenge.
the reason?
we are only in portsmouth half a day and the rest of the activities take too long.
is my life ruined, is my cruise ruined? Of course not, but i sure do wish viking had done a better job in their cruise excursion descriptions and in setting expectations.

#8
Nottingham, MD
531 Posts
Joined Aug 2015
Originally posted by drcpa

Is my life ruined, is my cruise ruined? Of course not, but I sure do wish Viking had done a better job in their cruise excursion descriptions and in setting expectations

We also sail on Oct. 6, from Bergen to Barcelona. I have spent months poring over the descriptions of the possible shore excursions, as you have done. I was disappointed to learn that our arrival in Barcelona on our last day does not take place until 1:00 PM, as I had a whole day planned in my head, but "Oh well". Like you, it won't ruin my cruise.

However, the thing you may have missed is the statement that Viking provides at the bottom of every page of potential shore excursions:

"Shore excursions vary by departure and are subject to change."

I believe Viking did a good job with the shore excursion descriptions, but it is up to us to manage our own expectations.

#9
Boston MA
7,849 Posts
Joined Dec 2006
Originally posted by lackcreativity

We also sail on Oct. 6, from Bergen to Barcelona. I have spent months poring over the descriptions of the possible shore excursions, as you have done. I was disappointed to learn that our arrival in Barcelona on our last day does not take place until 1:00 PM, as I had a whole day planned in my head, but "Oh well". Like you, it won't ruin my cruise.

However, the thing you may have missed is the statement that Viking provides at the bottom of every page of potential shore excursions:

"Shore excursions vary by departure and are subject to change."

I believe Viking did a good job with the shore excursion descriptions, but it is up to us to manage our own expectations.

Finish most of your packing before you arrive in Barcelona and then plan to not to return to the ship for dinner. It is Spain and not all of the museums or sites of interest close at 5pm and the city will be hoping until late into the evening.
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#10
Nottingham, MD
531 Posts
Joined Aug 2015
Originally posted by Peregrina651
Finish most of your packing before you arrive in Barcelona and then plan to not to return to the ship for dinner. It is Spain and not all of the museums or sites of interest close at 5pm and the city will be hoping until late into the evening.
Thanks! I hadn't actually thought of the idea of starting the packing during the morning (doh!). Luckily, we have been to Barcelona before and did a panoramic tour and a visit to Sagrada Familia. We haven't seen Park Guell or the Gothic Quarter and there are so many other sights to see that your idea sounds like a good plan. Our flight out is not until 1:00 pm, so at least we shouldn't need one of those middle of the night transfers.
#11
Boston MA
7,849 Posts
Joined Dec 2006
Originally posted by lackcreativity
Thanks! I hadn't actually thought of the idea of starting the packing during the morning (doh!). Luckily, we have been to Barcelona before and did a panoramic tour and a visit to Sagrada Familia. We haven't seen Park Guell or the Gothic Quarter and there are so many other sights to see that your idea sounds like a good plan. Our flight out is not until 1:00 pm, so at least we shouldn't need one of those middle of the night transfers.
Take a cab to Park Guell and back. Don't waste your time with getting around by public transit. On the return, ask to be dropped at the Cathedral and from there wander the Barrio Gotico. Picasso Museum is open late one night a week. And restaurant/bars abound in the area for dinner.

.
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"Caminante no hay camino, se hace camino al andar." Antonio Machado
Expand for links to links to photos and more.
The high value put upon every minute of time, the idea of hurry-hurry as the most important objective of living, is unquestionably the most dangerous enemy of joy Herman Hesse





Click on the links below for photos

AT SEA: 1983/NCL Caribbean ~ 1985/Premier DisneyWorld+Cruise ~ 1997/NCL Alaska ~ 2000/Renaissance Istanbul to Athens ~ 2001/Celebrity Horizon Southern Caribbean ~ 200?/NCL Boston to Bermuda ~ 2005/Celebrity Zenith Central America/Western Caribbean ~ 2006/RCCL L.A. to Ensenada ~2007/Celebrity Century Scandinavia & Baltic Capitals ~2009/Celebrity Infinity South America around the Horn ~ 2016/Viking Sea Midnight Sun ~ 2016/Viking Sea NYE on the Med

RIVER DAYS: 2010/Viking River Cruises "China's Cultural Delights" ~ 2013/Viking "Footsteps of the Cossacks" ~ 2015/Viking "Passage to Eastern Europe"

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#12
United Kingdom
904 Posts
Joined Apr 2011
Take a hint - Winchester might just be a better option than Salisbury. Winchester has a lot of history to offer, whereas Salisbury is still suffering from the spy poison attack using Novichok deadly poison. You may decide that it's perfectly safe, but I am a bona fide coward.
#13
Nottingham, MD
531 Posts
Joined Aug 2015
Originally posted by Peregrina651
Take a cab to Park Guell and back. Don't waste your time with getting around by public transit. On the return, ask to be dropped at the Cathedral and from there wander the Barrio Gotico. Picasso Museum is open late one night a week. And restaurant/bars abound in the area for dinner.
That sounds like a great idea, except I'm not particularly partial to Picasso. The Palau Guell is in that area and is open until 8, so maybe a double dose of Gaudi would do nicely.
#14
197 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
Originally posted by Parsley Cruises
Take a hint - Winchester might just be a better option than Salisbury. Winchester has a lot of history to offer, whereas Salisbury is still suffering from the spy poison attack using Novichok deadly poison. You may decide that it's perfectly safe, but I am a bona fide coward.
Perfect idea. Much thanks for the tip. Winchester it is!
#15
Boston MA
7,849 Posts
Joined Dec 2006
Originally posted by lackcreativity
That sounds like a great idea, except I'm not particularly partial to Picasso. The Palau Guell is in that area and is open until 8, so maybe a double dose of Gaudi would do nicely.
Right, if you don't love Picasso, no point in wasting time doing it.

If you haven't already seen it, Palau de Musica is another modernisme building near the Barrio G (off C/Laietano and not too far from the Barrio G) . They do tours of the building as well.
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"Caminante no hay camino, se hace camino al andar." Antonio Machado
Expand for links to links to photos and more.
The high value put upon every minute of time, the idea of hurry-hurry as the most important objective of living, is unquestionably the most dangerous enemy of joy Herman Hesse





Click on the links below for photos

AT SEA: 1983/NCL Caribbean ~ 1985/Premier DisneyWorld+Cruise ~ 1997/NCL Alaska ~ 2000/Renaissance Istanbul to Athens ~ 2001/Celebrity Horizon Southern Caribbean ~ 200?/NCL Boston to Bermuda ~ 2005/Celebrity Zenith Central America/Western Caribbean ~ 2006/RCCL L.A. to Ensenada ~2007/Celebrity Century Scandinavia & Baltic Capitals ~2009/Celebrity Infinity South America around the Horn ~ 2016/Viking Sea Midnight Sun ~ 2016/Viking Sea NYE on the Med

RIVER DAYS: 2010/Viking River Cruises "China's Cultural Delights" ~ 2013/Viking "Footsteps of the Cossacks" ~ 2015/Viking "Passage to Eastern Europe"

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#16
Nottingham, MD
531 Posts
Joined Aug 2015
Originally posted by Peregrina651
Right, if you don't love Picasso, no point in wasting time doing it.

If you haven't already seen it, Palau de Musica is another modernisme building near the Barrio G (off C/Laietano and not too far from the Barrio G) . They do tours of the building as well.
As always, thanks for your input.
#17
West Midlands, UK
19 Posts
Joined Jan 2018
Half a day in Plymouth, just have a wander round, it’s a nice place with interesting naval history.

ALSO the home of fantastic Plymouth Gin - the oldest working gin distillery in England. They do tours, and they have a shop.... I recommend the Navy Strength, although the regular one is pretty good too!

https://plymouthdistillery.com/
#18
Overlooking the Straights of Dover
278 Posts
Joined Oct 2016
Originally posted by BeeD
Half a day in Plymouth, just have a wander round, it’s a nice place with interesting naval history
Good advice, but you didn't read the thread otherwise you'd have spotted that OP is visiting Portsmouth, not Plymouth.
#19
West Midlands, UK
19 Posts
Joined Jan 2018
Originally posted by kentchris
Good advice, but you didn't read the thread otherwise you'd have spotted that OP is visiting Portsmouth, not Plymouth.
Nope, drcpa definitely says they are docking in Plymouth!
#20
West Midlands, UK
19 Posts
Joined Jan 2018
Originally posted by BeeD
Nope, drcpa definitely says they are docking in Plymouth!

In his first post, sorry didn’t see the post script!

Portsmouth also has interesting maritime history!