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SailinC2C

British Isles Cruise

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I'm really excited about next year. We finally have made our decision and have two cruises booked for next year! We are doing the Ruby 10 day in Jan'10 and the British Isles Aug'10. The Ruby will get us to Platinum for the August cruise. Wohoo! free email!

Is there anyone who has done the British Isles cruise and has some excursions to recommend? I have access to a free car in all ports so are there any ports where we should get out on our own and tour the countryside?

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I suggest if you wish to see the Tattoo that you book early online through the ship. Otherwise it will be very difficult to book on your own. And the ship's excursion sells out shortly after opening up we have found.

 

Also, just a suggestion, take good rain gear and be prepared. We sailed the British Isles cruise some years ago in this time frame and we had lots and lots of heavy rain.

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We went on this cruise on July 19, 2009 and had a great time. I meant to do a review when I got back but immediately had to deal with an extended hospitalization of my elderly mother. I’ll take this chance to make a few comments.

 

First and foremost, join your Roll Call! Our Roll Call was very active and a huge help in planning the trip. Also, we almost exclusively used private tours. We feel you pay less and see more than with a ship’s tour. But keep in mind that in many of these ports, there are only a few private tour operators. The cruise ships don’t call there very often, so the best tour operators book up quickly for the days the ships are in port.

 

Here’s a quick list of what we did in the ports:

 

1. Guernsey – We did this on our own. Bus 7 and 7A (they run in opposite directions) do circle routes around the entire island. The roundtrip takes approximately an hour and a half and only costs 60 pence per person.

2. Cork – We joined a bus tour organized by another Roll Call member. Butlers Buses tour to Blarney Castle, etc. The cost worked out to 31.50 Euros per person. There were 10 of us on a bus that could have held at least 14. Very comfortable and we saw much more than an individual Princess tour at a better price. We saw Blarney Castle, Blarney Woolen Mills (which is a giant gift shop), Charlesfort, lunch in Kinsale, St. Colman’s Cathedral in Cobh.

3. Dublin - Here we took the ship's shuttle and then a walking tour with a nice young man named Ronan Westlake.

4. Liverpool –My 2 DD’s and I joined a tour group organized by a Roll Call Member. We used Simply Nice Tours and toured visited Plas Newydd, Dee Valley, Llangollen, Chirk Castle. Once again we were on a comfortable mini-bus and saw a lot more than we could’ve with a ship tour. DH is a major Beatles fanatic so he had arranged a full day tour of Beatles sites with Ian Crabtree, which included access to Ringo Starr’s house and the Casbah Club, where they got to talk to Rory Best.

5. Belfast – Here we used Paddy Campbell of Belfast Famous Black Cab Tours . We started with a Black Taxi tour of the Murals and the Peace Wall. Paddy gave us a fascinating history of “the Troubles.” Then we drove to the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, which we had time to walk out to and across, and then the Giant’s Causeway, where we had time to walk out on the rocks and return with plenty of time. There is no way we could’ve seen all this on a ship’s tour.

6. Glasgow – Here we used Gordon Ross of Great Scot Tours. Our tour included Loch Lomond, which is Scotland's largest lake, a visit to the Village of Luss and the Trossachs area. We had lunch at the town of Callander. After lunch we went to Stirling Castle, with a brief stop at Doune Castle, where the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail was filmed. Then we went to Stirling Castle, and then back to the Kelvingrove Museum in Glasgow. Gordon is fantastic and I can’t recommend him highly enough.

7. Invergordon – Here we used Graham Hercus of Inverness Tours. We saw Loch Ness, Urquhart ruins, Cawdor Castle and Culloden Battlefield. Another excellent tour.

8. Edinburgh – Since we went in July, we couldn’t see the Tattoo. You can do this port on your own, but we chose to use a private guide, Sylvia Power. She gave us an excellent tour of Edinburgh Castle and the city of Edinburgh.

 

You will enjoy this cruise. Have fun planning and anticipating.:)

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we did the british isles on the same cruise as jungle jane in fact we did cork and liverpool together.

 

if you email me at pennstateray@hotmail.com i will give you full info on the other ports where we used private guides.

 

i previouusly had all our guide info deleted so i am reluctant to post it again publicly.

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We did the round-the-British Isles itinerary 3 years ago on the Golden and had a great cruise. Note: the weather can range from superb to awful and it may disrupt some port calls.

 

Here is a very short review of our cruise:

 

Circumnavigating the British Isles - Highlights

Since there have been other in-depth reviews of the Golden’s circumnavigation of the British Isles, I will only add a few observations from our recently completed August 30th –September 9th cruise.

 

We thought the itinerary was terrific, especially for those who revel in English (and Irish, Scottish, Welsh etc. history). Since we had been on the Golden three times in the past year, it is obvious that we like the ship, her crew, the staff support, and find her comfortable.

 

We were especially pleased with the local volunteers at the first two ports, Falmouth in Cornwall and Hollyhead in Wales. The local folk there are justifiably proud of their areas and they provide information, advice, and excellent and well conducted small group tours of their areas that certainly stack up well with the commercial tours. They also have ties to some nice tours to local castles and the Pendennis Castle/Keep in Falmouth as well as the Beaumaris Castle tour from Hollyhead were delightful.

 

The Dublin shuttle bus into town and sightseeing from the hop-on hop-off bus enables one to see the area, the famous Guinness Brewery, sample a few, and visit Trinity College to see the Book of Kells.

 

We were pleased we chose to tour to the Giant’s Causeway, a World Heritage Site, and Dunluce Castle out of Belfast stop. We had a delightful tour guide and had special fun sharing tea and conversation with him.

 

We were not as lucky with our tour guide to Loch Ness and Urquart Castle. She was a highly opinionated person who did not tread lightly. She even made some unwelcome remarks about race that did not set well with many of us. However, the bus ride through the green hills to the famous Loch and castle were excellent and we truly enjoyed it—if only the guide would have shut-up.

 

The final stop at South Queensferry for Edinburgh was a real highlight. If you can get a group of 8 together you can get a mini bus into the City for about 6 pounds per person. If not, it is a long hike and up 150 steps to the train station. Once in Edinburgh, the hop-on hop-off bus gives a great overview of the city. You must allow at least 2 or more hours to visit Edinburgh Castle and some time to walk around the great city.

 

Other highlights:

 

The local shows put on by young Irish and Scots performers on board in the late afternoon.

 

The local volunteers who provided information, advice, and tours.

 

The great bagpipe band send-offs at sail-away at several ports.

 

The best head waiter, waiter, and assistant we have ever had.

 

Downers:

 

Loud boorish passengers who embarrassed themselves and others.

 

The distance/transportation from South Queensferry into Edinburgh.

 

The Scots tour guide who made inappropriate remarks.

 

If interested in photos of the cruise: http://photos.yahoo.com/pandjrose

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Somehow I left out Le Havre in my notes above. This was the one port where we used a Princess excursion. DH took the ship tour to the Normandy Landing Beaches. He enjoyed it. I figured our 2 DD's (ages 8 and 12) would not get much out of it, and it was quite expensive, so we just walked around Le Havre with some Cruise Critic friends.:)

 

We really feel that private tours are the way to go. (Of course, I'm not brave enough to rent a car and drive myself in a foreign country.) Usually if you can get at least 6 people to participate, it works out significantly cheaper than a ship's tour and you get to see more because you just travel more efficiently. No waiting for 50 people to load onto and off of the bus. No long waits for the 50th person to get out of the restroom or gift shop. Provided that you do your homework and deal with reputable tour operators, it's the way to go!

 

We especially enjoyed the CC friends we met organizing these tours, like Pennstateray!

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I'm really excited about next year. We finally have made our decision and have two cruises booked for next year! We are doing the Ruby 10 day in Jan'10 and the British Isles Aug'10. The Ruby will get us to Platinum for the August cruise. Wohoo! free email!

Is there anyone who has done the British Isles cruise and has some excursions to recommend? I have access to a free car in all ports so are there any ports where we should get out on our own and tour the countryside?

 

 

Drop me an e mail at charliekirby@comcast.net and I'll be happy to e mail you our very long, very detailed travel journal. We did a mix of private and ship excursions and enjoyed them all!

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Wow! You are all extemely helpful. We just joined Cruise Critic and are lov'in the feedback from all the passionate cruisers! I had no idea there were so many other people addicted to cruising! Thanks again.

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One of the best tours we took on our British Isles cruise was with ecoach at Cork. http://www.ecoach.ie/blarney_bus_tour.php We booked very early so got the discounted price. Others who waited paid more and almost didn't get to come due to lack of space. We were the first to arrive at Blarney Castle and avoided the crowds. The tour operators have a great sense of humor and were terrific when someone fell. They stayed with the injured person at the hospital and transported her and her husband to the next port to rejoin the ship. I can't say enough good about them.

 

Another good tour operator was Craig McCall Flynn. http://www.mini-tours.com/ He gives tours out of several ports.

 

The British Isles cruise has been my favorite out of 24 cruises. There are great tours to take at every port.

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