Quick Review, Century, Ireland & Scotland

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British Isles/Western Europe
Amsterdam, Brugge, Dublin, Edinburgh, London (Dover, Harwich, Southampton)
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#1
The Bluegrass State
1,209 Posts
Joined Aug 2003
Just a quick review of our cruise on Century, May 17, 2007, Ireland and Scotland. Hope this is helpful.

We got off to a rocky start, as we missed our connection in Detroit due to mechanical problems. Am so glad we were going in a day early, otherwise we would have missed the cruise. When we arrived in Amsterdam , our bags were “misplaced”, so we hung around until they found them, about 1 ˝ hrs. KLM would have sent them to the ship, but we were afraid that they would not be as diligent to get them there before sailing.
Caught a taxi outside the airport. A minivan costs us about 40 Euro plus tip. He used the meter to charge us.
Had to wait about an hour or so to embark. They handed out numbers when we arrived at the dock, called the numbers to register (we had done the online registration) and then again to embark the ship.
Once onboard we looked around, hit the spa area, ate lunch , then checked out the room. We had a 2A balcony. We had been in an ocean view the year before and found we liked the balcony room layout better. We seemed to have more room. The rounded corners on the bed did not bother us at all. The carpet was stained and the room wasn’t as clean as I remembered them being in the past, however, my DDs room seemed to be better, even though we had the same stewart.

We had been on Century last year for the Baltic cruise and the ship was about the same as the year before. We saw several staff that had been on the ship--I was shocked at how many of them approached us and remembered us. Naik had been our waiter and he even remembered what our special requests had been! The food was very good, the service good to very good.

The first day was a sea day. Glad that we had a chance to recoup from jet lag.

Edinburgh--As you may have read there was a medical problem, so tendering was delayed. We generally don’t hurry off, so we didn’t have the wait others did, but still got off later than had hoped. Walked to the train station. It is quite a climb (over 100 stairs), but doable--my DH has MS, and said “it wasn’t bad”. The ride was 3.30 pound round trip/pp. We only had time to do the hop on hop off, but found it informative. Wish we had had more time, but that’s life.

Inverness--Took the 25X bus from Invergordon, about 45 min. ride, 7.40 pound round trip/pp. Walked around the town. Found Lush, one of our favorite shops. Used the internet at a dept store in a mall, can’t think of the name of it. We spoke with someone who caught a taxi and shared it with another couple, they had waited awhile for the taxi to return from showing another group around Loch Ness. Also heard of a couple taking the bus to Inverness, then hiring a cab there, which was cheaper.

Kirkwall--One of our favorite stops. We had hired Orkney Archaeology Tours and had a fantastic time. Caz is an archeologist and was very informative and delightful. Would highly recommend her. We saw Skara Brae & Skaill House, henge monuments of Brodgar and Stenness, Scapa Flow, the Italian Chapel, the Churchill Barriers, a chambered tomb. Orkney is amazing.

Belfast--The city provided a shuttle from the dock to city center which was FREE! Had wanted to hire a black taxi, but couldn’t make contact before we left or while we were in town, so we did the HOHO bus. (There were a Taxi still at the pier when we got off the ship; wanted 60 pounds for a 2 hour tour.) Don’t know how we got into town so late, but we caught the last one, so we didn’t do any hopping. It was about 7 pounds/pp and last 1hr 10 min. The biggest dissapointment was trying to take pics as the bus was moving. We shopped at a store department store call Primax (spelling), quality was OK, but prices were great. If we had spent enough they would have done the VAT info for me.

Dublin--One of our favorite stops. The ship had shuttles for $10, I think (we didn’t use them). I had hired cuilcaghtours for the day and we loved Annmarie. My great, great, great grandfather was from County Cavan, so we hired her to take us back to the country of our roots. She was fantastic. The ride out was about 2 hours and we saw sights as we went along and had many photo ops. Stopped in Cootehill, a little town where we think our ancestors were from. Ate at a pub outside of Cavan, which was delicious. Annmarie was informative and very personable. She customized the trip for us to see sights that were significant to our family history. Would love to go back and explore more of Ireland with her.

St. Peter Port--Again, tendering was a huge problem. Once off the ship we only had about 45 minutes to shop or see the sights. I totally missed the information center, so didn’t make it out to the castle, and just shopped with the girls. Walked up to see Victor Hugo’s house. One of the surprises was a little candy shop which was also a little museum (spotted it on the way to Victor’s). One of the women in the store gave us a brief history of St. Peter Port, mostly discussing WWII and it’s affect on her parents. She was great.

Day at Sea

Amsterdam--Debarkation was very easy. We were to get off at 7:35, but didn’t quite make it. My dds carried their luggage off --last year someone picked up their luggage and didn’t get it back for several days. Hired a taxi and it was about $13 to the hotel. We stayed the night at Hotel Estherea. It was a great hotel. We left our luggage , took a train to Delft ($70 euros RT), then returned in the afternoon. They had taken our luggage to the room, so we settled in. Ate supper at a little corner diner a few blocks from the hotel. Hotel Estherea was in a great location, the staff helpful and most accommodating. If we return to Amsterdam, would stay there again. The next morning the desk called us a taxi, minivan, again on the meter it was $39 + tip.

Thank you to everyone who helped me while planning this trip and to all of you who have posted. I apologize for lurking and not making comments at times, but didn't have any more to offer.

If you have any questions, I will try to answer them.

Happy Sailing!
#4
Denver, CO
602 Posts
Joined Apr 2002
Although we have a slightly different itinerary with a different cruise line, your comments are very helpful. I am interested in your impression of Belfast. We have prepurchased HOHO tickets. Is there anything specific that you enjoyed in Belfast, or anything you did not enjoy. Also, since we need to buy some little gifty items for people taking care of our house, mail, secretary at work, etc., would you suggest the Primark for those types of items? I'm thinking when we go to Loch Ness that there might be some gifty items with Loch Ness monster--pencils or pens, etc.

Thanks again for sharing your comments of your cruise. We also will be in Edinburgh, Inverness, Kirkwall, St. Peter Port and Dublin.
#5
Northern Ireland--UK
3,228 Posts
Joined May 2002
No Primark is a clothing store - go to the Welcome Centre near city hall you'll find lots of Stuff there.

Living here i would say the bus is ok - try the lagan boat company for a river or harbour tour !!




jj.....
#6
The Bluegrass State
1,209 Posts
Joined Aug 2003
Deverite, Coxswain's idea is more helpful than I could be. We were not in Belfast for very long and I lost some time trying to get in touch with a Black taxi tour (there was a taxi at the dock who wanted 60 pounds for a 2 hour tour-would hold 6 people I think, which was more than I wanted to spend for the 3 of us.) The HOHO was good in that it gave us an overview of the city. There wasn't really much chance for photo ops. I imagine the boat tour would be interesting.

Primark is a clothing store--my DDs got some tank tops for 1 pound, and swimsuits were really well priced also--but didn't see anything for souveniers. So far the tops stayed together through washings.
#7
2,338 Posts
Joined Mar 2004
cruisetwinsmom:

I thank you for posting your most thoughtful review so early in the season. So many of us can take away so many of your good incites for various ports.

I am especially excited by your review of Caz Mamwell and Orkney Archaeology Tours. 7-8 of us on the Princess 8/21/07 cruise will be touring with her on Aug 28th in Orkney. She's been terrific to deal with via email and we are very much looking forward to experiencing this huge breadth of history in just one day with her guidance. I, too, believe this will be one of our most interesting ports.

3 of us are likely booking a private Belfast tour. Enough to see some "murals" and evidence of the "Troubles", which we must do...........and then, we plan to see Belfast's splendid country-side.

Martha
#9
Western Australia
393 Posts
Joined Jan 2007
I agree with Coxwain, as former Belfast girl, County Down the Ards Penninsula and the Silent Valley has to be my favourite area.
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CruiseKidz
#10
The Bluegrass State
1,209 Posts
Joined Aug 2003
Originally posted by FinelyRetired
cruisetwinsmom:

I am especially excited by your review of Caz Mamwell and Orkney Archaeology Tours. 7-8 of us on the Princess 8/21/07 cruise will be touring with her on Aug 28th in Orkney. She's been terrific to deal with via email and we are very much looking forward to experiencing this huge breadth of history in just one day with her guidance. I, too, believe this will be one of our most interesting ports.

3 of us are likely booking a private Belfast tour. Enough to see some "murals" and evidence of the "Troubles", which we must do...........and then, we plan to see Belfast's splendid country-side.

Martha
I think you will be very happy with Caz. She is very knowledgable and the island was very different from any place we had ever visited.

I wish we had gone out to see the Giant Causeway, but didn't feel we had a whole lot of time and since we were going to be going out of Dublin for a fairly long car ride, decided to skip it. To see the layout of Belfast did help put the "troubles" in some sort of context, at least on a physical level.
#11
Ohio
148 Posts
Joined Jun 2006
Hello to all on the May 17th Century,

I am going to be on the 9/3 Century British Isles cruise. I've read the posts about your cruise but am unclear what happened on your St. Peter's Port stop? What were your original times that you were supposed to be there? I believe we are there from 2:30pm until 8:00pm.

Was there a tendering problem? I see that you mention that many shops close down early, what time if you can recall? We aren't sure what we want to do while there - perhaps take a biking tour. Did anyone do that? Also, if you just get off the ship is there anything to do? How far would it be to the main "happening" spots?

We tender on two of our stops, the other is Holyhead. I don't think you went there?

Thanks for any info,
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Mary

RCI - AOS - S. Caribbean 10/08
X - Century - British Isles/W. Europe 09/07
CCL - Destiny - S. Caribbean 07/06
CCL - Destiny - S. Caribbean 05/06
CCL- Victory - W. Caribbean 06/05
RCI - SOS - Hawaii 05/04
CCL - Triumph - E. Caribbean - 05/02
#13
The Bluegrass State
1,209 Posts
Joined Aug 2003
Originally posted by lilsurfergirl
Hello to all on the May 17th Century,

I am going to be on the 9/3 Century British Isles cruise. I've read the posts about your cruise but am unclear what happened on your St. Peter's Port stop? What were your original times that you were supposed to be there? I believe we are there from 2:30pm until 8:00pm.

Was there a tendering problem? I see that you mention that many shops close down early, what time if you can recall? We aren't sure what we want to do while there - perhaps take a biking tour. Did anyone do that? Also, if you just get off the ship is there anything to do? How far would it be to the main "happening" spots?

We tender on two of our stops, the other is Holyhead. I don't think you went there?

Thanks for any info,

It seemed to take forever to tender off the ship. We were supposed to be there from like 2:30-7:00pm (memory is failing), but by the time we got off the tender it was 4:30 and the stores closed from 5:00-5:30. There was shopping right near where the tender dropped off. If I think of anything else will let you know.

We didn't tender to Holyhead.

Happy Sailing!
#14
Western Australia
393 Posts
Joined Jan 2007
Hey Coxwain

Two hours south of Perth on the coast, had enough of city life!! We have crystal clear ocean and gorgeous beaches with dolphins in summer. Perfect climate, a bit cool now in winter, I'm sure you wouldn't expect to hear this from a Belfast girl, not enough rain. I've been here 9 1/2 years and we get less rain each year.
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CruiseKidz
#15
2,338 Posts
Joined Mar 2004
coxswain and CruiseKidz:

Thank you for your recommendations of county down for a countryside tour!

They have responded with an itineray suggestion of:

"2 hour tour of belfast and then continue down the county down coast stopping for lunch at the crawfordsburn inn. this itinerary would pass holywood,cultra,crawfordsburn,bangor,donaghadees,m illisle and ballywater."

Sound good?

Thanks again, Martha
#16
Co Down, Northern Ireland
92 Posts
Joined Jun 2005
Also living in Northern Ireland I would like to mention two places in Donaghadee you may get a chance to call in - reputed the oldest pub in Ireland -
http://www.graceneills.com/ and also beside the pier is -
http://www.pier36.co.uk/index.html

CruisKidz - don't know if you are familiar with this website, but it is frequented by many exiles overseas!
http://www.belfastforum.co.uk/

All the best!
#17
Western Australia
393 Posts
Joined Jan 2007
Originally posted by FinelyRetired
coxswain and CruiseKidz:

Thank you for your recommendations of county down for a countryside tour!

They have responded with an itineray suggestion of:

"2 hour tour of belfast and then continue down the county down coast stopping for lunch at the crawfordsburn inn. this itinerary would pass holywood,cultra,crawfordsburn,bangor,donaghadees,m illisle and ballywater."

Sound good?

Thanks again, Martha
Martha,
You will not be disappointed with County Down. Check out the folk Park & transport museum at Cultra,an old favorite of mine. The Crawfordsburn Inn has a bit if heritage itself (always meant to have lunch there). It will give you a taste of the real Northern Ireland. The area is known as Ards, the Peninsula goes down past Ballywalter to Portaferry, a short crossing across the Strangford Lough to Strangford villiage and up to Tyrella and Newcastle, but you can save that for your next visit!!!
Enjoy your trip
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CruiseKidz
#18
Western Australia
393 Posts
Joined Jan 2007
Originally posted by ex-Freeporter
Also living in Northern Ireland I would like to mention two places in Donaghadee you may get a chance to call in - reputed the oldest pub in Ireland -
http://www.graceneills.com/ and also beside the pier is -
http://www.pier36.co.uk/index.html

CruisKidz - don't know if you are familiar with this website, but it is frequented by many exiles overseas!
http://www.belfastforum.co.uk/

All the best!
ex-Freeporter
Thanks for the link.

I trained as a chef many moons ago and part of my on the job training was at the Copelands Hotel in Donaghadee, what a laugh.
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CruiseKidz
#19
Northern Ireland--UK
3,228 Posts
Joined May 2002
Hi Martha that sounds like a plan !!


Hi CruiseKidz would you recommend emigrating ? we're thinking about it !!


Rain don't talk to me - we're on flood watch tonight again - lots of flooding in east belfast last week - very sad the number of homes flooded.


Nice to hear from you - Aus is on our must to do list




jj......
#20
Western Australia
393 Posts
Joined Jan 2007
Coxwain moving to Oz was the best thing I ever did!!(well after getting married and having kids). The weather, the food, the likestyle the beaches & the people. The only negative point is being so far from Ireland, I miss the culture, but it has encouraged me to see a bit more of Asia.
I saw the floods on the BBC website.
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CruiseKidz