Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
bnickle

Three Nickles take on the British Isles. And a little bit of France.

Recommended Posts

I’m also on the same cruise and saw Secret Silk last night. Normally it is on Invergordon night, but since we missed the port they couldn’t set the show up so had it the next night. We went to the 10:15 show, arrived about a half hour early. No problem at all getting seats.

 

I liked the show, my husband who usually likes most shows thought it was ok.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The line to get back on board was pretty long, but manageable. We ended up being in line for 45 minutes before we were able to board a tender, and...holy cow. The waters had gotten noticeably rougher during the day and the tender bobbed up and down with great splashes, making boarding an interesting adventure. The ride back was pretty choppy and a couple of times we hit a wave just right to give it a carnival ride kind of feel, but we made it back fine. I have no idea if the line was the issue but we were over an hour late setting sail from Edinburgh, and after dinner at the Symphony we were ready to read a bit and then head to bed.

 

 

Your review is sooooo good! I’ve loved every report!

 

On Facebook, “Visit Queensferry” explained what happened with your return tenders:

 

“An exceptionally high tide this afternoon meant the Royal Princess passengers had a very crammed experience at Hawes Pier to load on to the tenders since the normal east side of the pier could not be used for queuing.

 

Sorry folks, happens very rarely, unfortunate timing.

Hope you still had a great time through the day.”

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Your review is sooooo good! I’ve loved every report!

 

On Facebook, “Visit Queensferry” explained what happened with your return tenders:

 

“An exceptionally high tide this afternoon meant the Royal Princess passengers had a very crammed experience at Hawes Pier to load on to the tenders since the normal east side of the pier could not be used for queuing.

 

Sorry folks, happens very rarely, unfortunate timing.

Hope you still had a great time through the day.”

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

 

That explains a lot! The 45 minute wait wasn’t that bad, and shorter than what others experienced. The ride back...holy cow. It was fun in the “I live life on the edge” kind of way. We actually had more “danger” in that ride than we did from Hector!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I’m also on the same cruise and saw Secret Silk last night. Normally it is on Invergordon night, but since we missed the port they couldn’t set the show up so had it the next night. We went to the 10:15 show, arrived about a half hour early. No problem at all getting seats.

 

I liked the show, my husband who usually likes most shows thought it was ok.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

Great to know! Thanks! Karen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I am so sorry about my half reply! Formal nights were Guernsey and first sea night. Also, we were slugs at night and hung out either playing games in a quiet corner of a bar or in our room, watching tv. (I was trapped with two “sports people” as my daughter puts it so I got to watch 2 World Cup games and part of the Stanley Cup final). I cannot speak to the size of the theatres because I never went to them. I apologize for lack of info on that. I believe Secret Silk was only shown one evening, for two showings. I could be wrong on that

 

You are so sweet to address my questions! Everybody is so different and has different cruise experiences! I just thought I would ask about the show, just in case! I am loving your review and am totally blown away you are doing all you are with your boo-booed knee! If the lotus spa is indeed only $150 for the week, I just might splurge and treat myself:D It is an exhausting itinerary....I CANNOT WAIT! 13 days and counting!!! Karen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We are on this cruise in August. Another way to get to Edinburgh from South Queensferry is by local train. We are going to do this by firstly going to north Queensbury over the iconic forth bridge then going back to edinburgh

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Karen, you are going to love this itinerary! Such a variety of ports, scenery, cities, castles, etc. We loved it that some were easy to do on your own and we had some great tours (all private except for La Havre where we did a ship tour). I hope you enjoy the cruise as much as we did!!

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Karen, you are going to love this itinerary! Such a variety of ports, scenery, cities, castles, etc. We loved it that some were easy to do on your own and we had some great tours (all private except for La Havre where we did a ship tour). I hope you enjoy the cruise as much as we did!!

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

Thank you! I am soooooo excited. I have only booked a Cork/Blarney/Kinsale tour and a Giant's Causeway tour out of Belfast. I am torn on whether to book a tour out of Invergordon or try to just DIY Inverness. What did you do? Karen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thank you! I am soooooo excited. I have only booked a Cork/Blarney/Kinsale tour and a Giant's Causeway tour out of Belfast. I am torn on whether to book a tour out of Invergordon or try to just DIY Inverness. What did you do? Karen

You missed the post where weather caused them to cancel the stop in Invergordon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thank you! I am soooooo excited. I have only booked a Cork/Blarney/Kinsale tour and a Giant's Causeway tour out of Belfast. I am torn on whether to book a tour out of Invergordon or try to just DIY Inverness. What did you do? Karen

 

 

Karen, keep in mind we’re there on a Sunday. Some things may be closed or have reduced hours.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We are taking this cruise next may so loving your review, just wish our ship had the enclave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sorry I can’t help you, our sailing missed Invergordon due to gale force winds.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

I am sorry, I forgot you were on the presently on the ship. I did know the ship missed Invergordon:(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Karen, keep in mind we’re there on a Sunday. Some things may be closed or have reduced hours.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

 

I know Cindy, that is why I am stressing about doing DIY. There is just so much I want to see and I cannot decide if I want to hang out in Inverness and go down to Uraquet castle...or go East to see Culloden battlefield and Cawdor, or go north like you and see Dunrobin! Ahhhh:o:o:o:o. I guess there are worse problems I could have! But, I had better get off my duff and make a decision soon!:confused:;p

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am thoroughly enjoying your review! Looking forward to reading more of your adventures. We board the Royal in August.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I know Cindy, that is why I am stressing about doing DIY. There is just so much I want to see and I cannot decide if I want to hang out in Inverness and go down to Uraquet castle...or go East to see Culloden battlefield and Cawdor, or go north like you and see Dunrobin! Ahhhh. I guess there are worse problems I could have! But, I had better get off my duff and make a decision soon!;p

 

 

 

As far as castles, we loved Stirling Castle, we saw that from Greenock port. We used a company called Discover Scotland, would highly recommend! Smaller bus, excellent guide, great stops in addition to Stirling, and a fraction of ships tour price.

 

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Day at Sea

 

Ah, a lovely day at sea. I would imagine for a lot of people it was the same as it was for us: a nice, languid day spent packing and preparing to depart, as the next day would be long and spent mostly off the ship. We slept in till almost 7 in the morning! What lazy slugs we were! As was our habit when we were in no hurry, we ate at the full service breakfast at the Allegro. Kate commented she’s going to be so sad when she has to be back in the Real World and no one will prepare her breakfast and serve it in courses, and her bed will not get magically made while she’s elsewhere eating. How she suffers so.

 

I decided to do laundry, which would get us over the finish line to get home. Apparently I did not get the memo that that last sea day was Do Your Laundry All At The Same Time day. I needed two more tokens, and the machine would not give them. Nor would the machine in the other laundry room on the floor, or any laundry room above a floor or below. In speaking with two other ladies, we all realized we had the same problems and called for an attendant. He came, visibly annoyed at...I don’t know...doing his job? He made us demonstrate that we could not get tokens and then offered to give us the tokens we needed if we would sign for them so we could be charged, and he was all about how he was on to our game. Because apparently we had, without realizing it, formed a Free Laundry On The Sly posse and he was having none of it. So we signed. And our Ocean’s Three dream laundry crime team was thwarted.

 

But it was lovely chatting with the ladies, and the gentleman from Australia who came in a little bit later. Laundry done, and on to pack. I mentioned that we had a few bookstore crawls? This is not new for us; we always pack a suitcase in a suitcase so we can haul our biblogoods back. We divided up the books by weightiest, and spread out the weighty wealth before moving on to wrapping breakables in clothes, and loading the rest of our clothing and goods. Overall, we were about 95% done by dinner, and could relax the rest of the night and know that at the end of La Havre, we wouldn’t be in a frantic rush. We decided to eat at the Symphony, and dinner was delightful and delicious. There was another World Cup game on, then we crashed early. Tomorrow would be a long, and hopefully fun day.

 

 

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

LaHavre and Disembarkation

In my obsessive planning for this trip, I read through many trip reports and threads about various port experiences and reviews to get ideas and suggestions. When it came to LaHavre, I felt a lot less sure about the planning process and kind of flew blind on it, but it paid off well and LaHavre ended up being a wonderful day.

I had arranged for a private tour through Tours By Locals. This is the first time I had used TBL, and had no idea what to expect, but it’s kind of like using AirBNB in making travel plans. Except you’re renting a person’s guide service instead of a place to stay.

A travel highlight of my husband’s life is a trip he took 15 years ago with his dad, touring WWII battlefield sights in France and Germany. They had seen the American sights at Normandy; now he wanted to view the Canadian and British sights. Kate and I wanted to see The Bayeux Tapestry, and I found a tour offered, full day, that included all that we wanted to see, with Igor. Communications with Igor went smoothly, and he was interested to tailor the experience to what we wanted, in a reasonable time to make sure it wasn’t all hit and run. I cannot speak highly enough of Igor and his professionalism, organizational skills, and friendly and engaging demeanor.

Igor and his red beret picked us up at the port at 8:15. We had gotten up early and were at the Allegro when it opened at 7:00 to have a nice breakfast and were ready to go. It was about an hour and a half to Bayeux, and he spent a portion of the time talking about how William, Duke of Normandy became William the Conqueror, and gave us some interesting background on the Norman invasion of what is now England. I need to point out that our LaHavre day fell on a Sunday, and traffic from the port to Bayeux was almost non-existent.

I am being a little wordy on this because, hands down, the presentation of the tapestry was the most amazing thing we saw on this trip. The arrangement of display plus audio tour was a perfect blend to move the audience along, panel to panel. The museum is truly original and one of a kind. We always feel that a good museum, or presentation, makes you want to know more, and we left Bayeux with 5 books and 3 guidebooks and a feeling that we had experienced a once in a lifetime kind of of offering.

The rest of the day was spent touring the German radar station in Douvres la Delivrandes; Arromanches, where we saw a film in a 360 degree theater that offered footage from events leading up to; and the actual military landings of D-Day in Normandy. It’s about a 15 minute film, and the harsh, sometimes harrowing film drives home forcefully the point that peace is fragile, and that world differences have massive consequences.

Down the hill from the theatre is the local village of Arromanches, and Igor took us to a really lovely bistro along the beach with incredible views of the sea. We had a wonderful lunch and shared a bottle of cider before heading back out.

We then went on to Juno Beach, looking at the German Bunkers, then Sword Beach to see the German Battery still standing. Then on to Pegasus Bridge and a nice stop in the village to walk across the bridge and hear about how easily allied forces took back the bridge and the town in their march to push Germany back.

We arrived back at the ship about 5:30, exhausted, and frankly, a little emotionally drained. It’s beyond sobering to see the remnants of conflict that altered the course of each major power that existed at that time, and that had the potential to so radically alter the safety and security of the world. On a personal note, as we move further and further away in time from the global conflicts that shaped the 20th century, we’re losing sight of the importance of retaining the lessons learned. Spending that day being reminded was thought provoking for all of us, and Igor could not have been a better guide. He has personal ties to what we saw in that both of his grandparents were involved in the French Resistance, and ingrained in him the importance of standing firm in the face of overwhelming odds to retain freedom. Greg and Kate and I have spoken of that tour a lot; it left a firm impression on our minds.

So, somber but pleased, we reboarded and decided to go for one last dinner at the Symphony. Again, it was delicious, and while our dinner conversation never lacked for inspiration, Sunday evening it was a thoughtful and spirited discussion of what we had seen that day, put into context.

For all intents and purposes, that ended the cruise. I want to explain disembarkation a bit before telling how ours went to give you a better picture of how Princess has it organized.

On the day at sea the day before, we had received a sheet explaining the process, and an assignment for our disembarkation from the ship. We had purchased a transfer from the ship to Gatwick, and, in looking at the sheet, there are two shuttles during the day that go to Gatwick airport. We were assigned “Green 1” group, designated to meet in the Symphony dining room by 6:35. We were given four green strips marked “Green 1” to put on the handles of our luggage, that we were to have set outside our cabin door by dinnertime the night before disembarkation. We needed two more tags, and they were easily given at the services desk. We kept one carryon that we planned to check, and put all of our clothing for the next two days and our toiletries and last minute items in it, and carried it off with us on Monday morning.

So...a 6:35 time slot. That would not have been our first choice. But it’s what it is, and we had a nice 6 hour flight to sleep through, so it’s fine. We got up at 5, and were showered and dressed and pretty much good to go by 5:45. The only place open for breakfast is the Horizon Court. If you will notice, in the disembarkation info it says that the Horizon Court offers a Continental Breakfast from 5 to 6, and a full breakfast from 7 on. We were up at the buffet by 5:45 and the full breakfast was out and in full swing, and obviously had been for sometime, so you can get a full breakfast before you leave. Room service is not available disembark morning.

We went back to our room, took a last look around, and headed to the Symphony to wait for our group to be called. Pretty much on time, we were told to exit the gangway, and we had our cards scanned for the last time...womp womp womp....

Actually the luggage retrieval is very similar to retrieving your luggage after a flight at an airport baggage claim, except the baggage claim for Princess is a huge warehouse straight out of Raiders of the Lost Ark. But it’s pretty well organized, and we had our bags in no time and were headed out to our bus. Bags loaded, seats claimed, and within 15 minutes we were on the road.

Two points about the shuttle:

  1. Hands down, that is the most uncomfortable bus I have ever been on. It’s not owned by Princess; merely contracted with. There is very little seat room, and next to no leg room, and I’m small. I barely hit 5’1” so leg room is never an issue. Also, the seats were curved odd, so that our backs didn’t fit against them like they normally do in other chairs. I think it’s the kind of coach typically used for tours and such, but the thought of spending an entire day in that bus makes my back ache without even getting on the bus.
  2. Gatwick is about 94 miles from Southampton, and it took 2 and a half hours, due to rush hour traffic. We heard rumbles aboard the bus from people who thought, getting on the bus, that they had plenty of time to get their plane. That’s really not something that’s anyone’s fault, just be aware that in leaving at certain times on disembark day you may hit rush hour, no matter what mode of transport you’re using to get to either airport. Our return flight didn’t leave until 4 in the afternoon so we didn’t care but some people became concerned about time being shaved off of their wait time for their flight.

Checkin at Gatwick was easy. We flew Norwegian Air, round trip, and would highly recommend them to anyone. For what we would have paid for a coach seat on Delta or BA, we got premium seats on Norwegian, which we would compare to Business Class. The seats reclined, had footrests, and were spacious. Premium also got us the day in the lounge there, and Kate and Greg watched the World Cup game on in the afternoon while we waited.

We boarded and took off on time, and got to Boston about 6:30 that night. We had already made plans to spend the night, because by the time we went through customs and got our bags we would have missed any opportunities to fly home that night, so we stayed at a Homewood Suites by the airport, and got up early to catch a flight out first thing in the morning. Kate took a cab to the train station to get a ride home to New York, and our once in a lifetime trip came to an end.

I have one more wrap up post being composed; but this is the summation of a trip that we’ve planned for over a year. Remember that feeling from being a kid...something like a birthday, or Christmas, eagerly anticipated, excitedly nearing, awaiting it with the frenzy of a toddler downing three double shot espressos followed by a Mountain Dew chaser, only to be somewhat disappointed because the reality could never live up to the frenzy you built up in your mind?

 

That was not the case here. I had hopes and plans, and our time spent in M414, and roaming the halls of the Royal, and the hills of Ireland, and the lochs of Scotland, and the grassy knolls dotting the beaches of a lush countryside still resonating with distant tremors or war more than surpassed what we hoped for. It was a lovely, special odyssey and that we had the privilege of spending it with our daughter made it perfect. Happy sailing to you all, may the seas be calm and the oceans serene.

Edited by bnickle
left out a detail.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your review is very special. Thank you. I was also on this cruise and after a lot of planning and anticipation, the cruise definitely exceeded my expectations. So much so that I commented to my husband, family and friend who were traveling with us that I would be interested in doing this same cruise again. We loved the ports and there is so much to see and do. And bring frequent Princess cruisers, we couldn’t wait to be back on the Royal again!

 

Thx again!

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Q&A: Cruise Insurance with Steve Dasseos of TripInsuranceStore.com
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...