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.