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portertm

Advise Needed! Iceland, Ireland & Norway

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Hello Fellow Cruisers, my Hubby & I will be taking a 14 Day Iceland, Ireland & Norway: Mystical Fjords cruise and I am in need of some suggestions for the following ports:

Cork (Cobh) Ireland, Liverpool, Belfast, Reykjavik, Akureyri, Geiranger & Fiam Norway, Amsterdam & Brussels.

Can you please share what excursions are best for the above ports and also if you have used private tour companies as well.

Thanks in advance for taking the time to share your experiences!!

Best Regards!

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We did a Round Britain on the Caribbean Princess a couple of years ago and here are what we did through the ship.  I have the detail for each one (of most) if you send me an email.   Most were day long with a lot of travelling but what we saw was really good.

Cobh:  West Cork's Scenic Wonders

Belfast: Giant's Causeway

We didn't go to Liverpool but I wouldn't have done a tour as I was born there and know it "quite well"!!

 

Immediately following that we went Southampton to New York on the Sea Princess.

Reykjavik:  We had done the Golden Circle privately previously (recommended) so this time did Eyrarbakki; Stokkseyri Lobster.   If you like Langoustine that is for you!!!  VERY expensive but we had as many Langoustine as you could eat!!

Akureyri: Best of Akureyri (only so-so really)

 

A few years ago we did Norway Fjords on the NCL Star.  It was the first of the season so there was lots of snow still.

Geiringer: Herdal Mountain Farm.  Enjoyable but spoiled a little by not being able to get to the high fields but very interesting.

Flam:  Flam Railway.  Outstanding especially with everything so snowy, especially the hotel where we had the snack.  Snow up to the window sills!!

 

Mike

casofilia @ xtra . co . nz (no gaps)

 

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you will love Geiringer.  Hopefully your ship will be able to dock with the floating pier.  Ferries come and go and the ride back out is beautiful.

Make sure to try and do the Dalsnibba overlook if good weather.

They also have walking trail (steps) up from the port to the Fjord Center which is interesting as well.

 

For Belfast take a tour of the city and learn the history including all the artsy political painting on the various buildings.

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We rented a car in Reykjavik and picked it up right off the ship in port. Can’t recall the company but it was local. Definitely recommend getting the gps as all the sights as well as directions back to port are already loaded and it was only a few $ extra. Also did rental pick up for the afternoon.  That way we essentially got two days rental for price of one. Depending on time of year you arrive, the days are long.  We did golden circle on day 2. Took off very early and were back in plenty of time to catch the ship. Also avoided traffic by getting an early start. Everything was horribly expensive in Iceland. Soda and water bottles are much less $ onboard the ship. 

 

In akureyri we we just walked to town, the church and the gardens and had some lunch/did a little shopping. We weren’t there overnight so didn’t bother with car rental. 

 

Loved both ports. Really enjoyed getting on the road and seeing all the sights along Golden circle route at our own pace in Reykjavik. Dress for weather.  I forgot a hat and gloves and paid a pretty penny for them.  The store at the geyser stop had  reasonable- ish  priced warm drinks and free bathrooms. 

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When we did Liverpool we booked the Fab4 Tour -- incredible.  They took us to every Beatle site, including their childhood homes, Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields.  Even showed us the hospital where Lennon was born the bullet holes still in the walls.  Fantastic tour.  We had him drop us off at the museum (which we didn't bother with as we did it live), but walked back to the ship from there.  Their harbor is so wonderful with great art and statues.  Just a wonderful day all around. 

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On 2/7/2019 at 8:55 AM, portertm said:

Hello Fellow Cruisers, my Hubby & I will be taking a 14 Day Iceland, Ireland & Norway: Mystical Fjords cruise and I am in need of some suggestions for the following ports:

Cork (Cobh) Ireland, Liverpool, Belfast, Reykjavik, Akureyri, Geiranger & Fiam Norway, Amsterdam & Brussels.

Can you please share what excursions are best for the above ports and also if you have used private tour companies as well.

Thanks in advance for taking the time to share your experiences!!

Best Regards!

My wife and I did a transatlantic last year, and one of the stops was Cobh.  Beautiful port and sailaway.  Anyway, we generally like to book our own non-ship excursions (usually private), and there were few choices in this area.  I suggest literally googling "shore excursions Cobh (or Cork)."  We ended up finding a private guide (from Tours by Locals) with her own car who drove us to various locations.  We went to Blarney Castle, then to Charles Fort, lunch in Kinsale and just around the countryside.  It was a very nice, but RAINY, day.  I think we got a lot more done going this way than taking a bus tour. 

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We were in Cobh last August on a 12 day CIE tour of Ireland and did the Titanic museum which was really interesting. It is also a great town to enjoy a nice lunch and a few pints, Also was at Blarney Castle which is always a great place to visit. Great place to buy nice Irish Aran Sweater at the Mills. 

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We did the Beatles Black Cab tour last year when we were in Liverpool. We liked the smaller tours rather than the big bus because they would drive up, narrate for a few minutes, then drive away with the people not being able to get out and walk around the sites. There were four of us in the Black Cab and we were able to walk around every site. Highly recommended if you like the Beatles at all.

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On a land vacation to Ireland, we went to a fun zoo near Cobh. Animals were roaming wild there Cork has a nice downtown and we loved the English market.

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When we went to Belfast we did the whole Titanic tour, including the original pump building down the street.  The museum is amazing and you get to see right where she was built. 

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On ‎3‎/‎13‎/‎2019 at 11:17 PM, fshagan said:

We did the Beatles Black Cab tour last year when we were in Liverpool. We liked the smaller tours rather than the big bus because they would drive up, narrate for a few minutes, then drive away with the people not being able to get out and walk around the sites. There were four of us in the Black Cab and we were able to walk around every site. Highly recommended if you like the Beatles at all.

 

I agree.  That happened to us when were standing outside John and Paul's houses -- and buses pulled up and the passengers had to take pictures through the windows and then they pulled away.  Our guide gave us the history of the neighborhood, we walked around and it was so relaxing and personal. 

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On ‎2‎/‎7‎/‎2019 at 4:39 PM, littlelulu01 said:

We rented a car in Reykjavik and picked it up right off the ship in port. Can’t recall the company but it was local. Definitely recommend getting the gps as all the sights as well as directions back to port are already loaded and it was only a few $ extra. Also did rental pick up for the afternoon.  That way we essentially got two days rental for price of one. Depending on time of year you arrive, the days are long.  We did golden circle on day 2. Took off very early and were back in plenty of time to catch the ship. Also avoided traffic by getting an early start. Everything was horribly expensive in Iceland. Soda and water bottles are much less $ onboard the ship. 

 

In akureyri we we just walked to town, the church and the gardens and had some lunch/did a little shopping. We weren’t there overnight so didn’t bother with car rental.  

 

Loved both ports. Really enjoyed getting on the road and seeing all the sights along Golden circle route at our own pace in Reykjavik. Dress for weather.  I forgot a hat and gloves and paid a pretty penny for them.  The store at the geyser stop had  reasonable- ish  priced warm drinks and free bathrooms. 

 

We are now thinking this may be our best option as we are overnighting in Reykjavik.  Can you give me the details of whether you booked online ahead of time, and the car rental that was near the port?  Thanks much. 

Edited by Wyoming2010

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47 minutes ago, Wyoming2010 said:

 

We are now thinking this may be our best option as we are overnighting in Reykjavik.  Can you give me the details of whether you booked online ahead of time, and the car rental that was near the port?  Thanks much. 

 Europecar.  You could see their green kiosk from the ship. They have the gps all preloaded with anything you’ll want to see including how to get back to the port. It was only a few dollars extra and so worth it to just push a button vs messing around with potential issues with internet/google maps. Plenty of easy parking at the ship for overnight which makes early am golden circle a breeze on 2nd day- nice to beat the crowds.  They have a key drop box if they aren’t around when you turn in the car. They’re a large company in Europe.  Best to book directly with their local office though for best prices. Fuel is REALLY expensive so we got a smaller vehicle which was just fine in rain/wind.  https://www.holdur.is/en/services/protection_extras/locations

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7 minutes ago, littlelulu01 said:

 Europecar.  You could see their green kiosk from the ship. They have the gps all preloaded with anything you’ll want to see including how to get back to the port. It was only a few dollars extra and so worth it to just push a button vs messing around with potential issues with internet/google maps. Plenty of easy parking at the ship for overnight which makes early am golden circle a breeze on 2nd day- nice to beat the crowds.  They have a key drop box if they aren’t around when you turn in the car. They’re a large company in Europe.  Best to book directly with their local office though for best prices. Fuel is REALLY expensive so we got a smaller vehicle which was just fine in rain/wind.  https://www.holdur.is/en/services/protection_extras/locations

 

Thank you so much!  Did you purchase their insurance, too?

Edited by Wyoming2010

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I can’t remember.  We usually don’t because our cc has insurance.  I know price of car for the 24 hours was reasonable. There’s parking lots in town behind the big church that are free.  Parking lot where ship docks is free. Outside of town it’s pretty rural driving.  Same side of road.  I think the only difference was the roundabouts might go the wrong way. Lots of roundabouts heading to golden circle route. The Europecar rep gave us a lowdown on the different road rules which were not many. We purchased a water package on the ship.  Their prices were a fraction of cost on shore. There’s a nice gift shop, store place to get a coffee, something to eat if needed and public restrooms at Geyser.  I think they had a restroom at godafoss too. We never made it to blue lagoon. I didn’t have much interest after reading reviews of swimming around with hair balls and the crowds. We did enjoy the town the first afternoon and then got to bed early and were in the car really early. We had plenty of time to gas up and get back to ship after the golden circle. I was planning on renting a car in Akureyri the following day and hit a geothermal spa but cancelled the rental and just walked to town from ship, ate, shopped and walked through the beautiful gardens. 

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This is from

a couple of years ago, but it shows just how close the Europcar pick up place is. The picture was taken from onboard the ship. The building on the right is the shop with the huts right next to it.

 

 

539D12D6-F196-40C3-B06E-EE55E3E16523.jpeg

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