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British Isle Itinerary ..which would you recommend

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I'm looking into a British Isle Cruise next year but can't decide which itinerary would be best.  There are a 3 different itineraries with overnights - either in Dublin, Cobh or Glasgow.  Others have possible stops in Liverpool or Kirkwall.  Also offered is Scottish Highlands and Wales.  I would appreciate any thoughts pro and con to these choices.

 

 

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We took the 12 British Isles cruise in 2015.  There is a lot to see in every port it seemed but we only had time for one excursion per port.  We did not have any over-night port visits.  The cruise was very tiring and we decided that we would come back to the U.K. next time and do back-to-back British Isles cruises so we could see the sights we missed the first time and not get so tired.  In 2017 we did just that and it was great.  The first half of the back-to-back cruises stopped at Kirkwall while the second stopped at Liverpool.  We preferred Liverpool over Kirkwall by far - but then we were teenagers when the Beatles were the top music group and we took a very good Beatles excursion.

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Kirkwall is one of my favorite cruise ports. If you enjoy places like Stonehenge, Kirkwall has stone circles that were around before Stonehenge and you can walk right up to the stones. There are also some ancient villages you can visit. If you plan to cruise in August, an excursion to the Edinburgh Tattoo is a don't miss, once in a lifetime experience. Ours actually went from Greenock, the port for Glasgow. Here's a link: https://edinburgh.org/discover/edinburgh-festivals/royal-edinburgh-military-tattoo/

Edited by 2theship

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I've done 2 different British Isles itineraries and while both were excellent, I really preferred the longer 12 night one that went to Holyhead, Wales and Kirkwall. 
Kirkwall - The Orkney Islands surprised and amazed me!  I learned that their neolithic structures were WAY older than Stonehenge.  The Princess tour to Skara Brae is well worth it as you get to see the Standing Stones of Stenness too.
 

Holyhead - Amazingly beautiful and everything you expect to see:  gorgeous green hills, dark brooding mountains, fluffy sheep grazing and impressive castles you can climb.  If you have the option to go there, it's really worth it.

Dublin - Meh...Been there, done that twice and wasn't that impressed with it either time.  I did a private tour once and options on our own the other time.  It's just such a melting pot that it doesn't feel very Irish (even to an person of Irish decent).  To get that, you have to really get out of Dublin.  Belfast and the Antrim Coast gave me that feeling and was so much more beautiful.

Glasgow - (really Greenock)  This port is the one that is really, truly worth spending an overnight in IMO.  There is SO much to do that you will still be wishing you had more time here.  Definitely do a private tour to get the most out of your visit.  It's not too far to get to some of the more well-know areas.  You can go to Fort William, the Troussachs, the Highland areas, Ayr, Loch Ness, take ferries to the islands and so much more.  You could easily spend a week filled with interesting beautiful places to visit.

I hope that helps a little.  Ask any questions.

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My only recommendation is go in August and do an itinerary that allows you to see the Edinburgh Tattoo.  As 2theship said, is is a once in a lifetime experience.  We usually do private tours, but this time we went with Princess.  It was pricey compared to doing it by ourselves, but the seats were quite good.  We had friends who did it on their own and we would probably do the same next time.  We were exhausted but delighted on our British Isles cruise.  Definitely port intensive.

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46 minutes ago, DrivesLikeMario said:

Dublin - Meh...Been there, done that twice and wasn't that impressed with it either time.  I did a private tour once and options on our own the other time.  It's just such a melting pot that it doesn't feel very Irish (even to an person of Irish decent).  To get that, you have to really get out of Dublin.  Belfast and the Antrim Coast gave me that feeling and was so much more beautiful.

 

I love how you felt more "Irish" in the British part rather than the Republic of Ireland itself!

 

Personally I wouldn't recommend a cruise to explore Great Britain or Ireland. Book a flight and hire a car, stay in "Public Houses" or B&Bs and enjoy the great food and night life.

 

It's so easy to DIY, no need for expensive excursions.

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I enjoyed the overnight in Dublin.  We took one day for drinking excursions - whiskey and beer and used the other day to explore the city.  Dublin is a city, so you won't get the green of Ireland while in Dublin. That's for other ports.

Having said that, look at what you really think you want to see/do and let that be your guide for decision.

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51 minutes ago, Liz Hoyle said:

 

I love how you felt more "Irish" in the British part rather than the Republic of Ireland itself!

 

Personally I wouldn't recommend a cruise to explore Great Britain or Ireland. Book a flight and hire a car, stay in "Public Houses" or B&Bs and enjoy the great food and night life.

 

It's so easy to DIY, no need for expensive excursions.

I know, isn't that funny?!  I think a cruise is a wonderful option!  It gives you the chance to see many different areas and then you can always go back for more in-depth exploration with a land stay.  I've done this many times in the UK and I still think cruising gives you a great overview. 
I've also done the Tattoo on our own and it was really a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  So glad we did it without the Princess tour because we got to see and experience a lot more and it was very easy to do with SevenSevens car service and the train back to the ship (depending on which port you dock at).

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1 hour ago, DrivesLikeMario said:

I know, isn't that funny?!  I think a cruise is a wonderful option!  It gives you the chance to see many different areas and then you can always go back for more in-depth exploration with a land stay.  I've done this many times in the UK and I still think cruising gives you a great overview. 
I've also done the Tattoo on our own and it was really a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  So glad we did it without the Princess tour because we got to see and experience a lot more and it was very easy to do with SevenSevens car service and the train back to the ship (depending on which port you dock at).

I agree with you. My Irish grandmother influenced me to dislike (hate) Northern Ireland but politics and religion aside, I much prefer Belfast over Dublin. I found it far more interesting. 

 

I’ve traveled to the British Isles many times over the past sixty years by both land and sea and while a land tour gives you more time to explore, a cruise is a great way to see different areas and have a variety of adventures. 

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I agree with many on this thread relative to the Tattoo.  Plan your cruise in August so you can take in the Royal Tattoo in Edinburgh castle.  The Tattoo only takes place in the month of August.  This event sells out every year because of its immense popularity. 

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2 hours ago, John99 said:

I agree with many on this thread relative to the Tattoo.  Plan your cruise in August so you can take in the Royal Tattoo in Edinburgh castle.  The Tattoo only takes place in the month of August.  This event sells out every year because of its immense popularity. 

And while you are in Edinburg in August for the Military Tattoo, you will also get to see the Fringe Festival, another one of a kind event.

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That you all for your responses!!!

 

I will definitely schedule my cruise for August.  I am leaning towards an itinerary with an overnight in Glasgow (Greenock)  As you have all suggested the Military Tattoo sounds amazing and should not be missed!  Unfortunately I don't see an itinerary in August 2020 that includes Holyhead. There is one however that includes the Shetland Islands (Lerwick).  Does anyone have thoughts about that port?

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32 minutes ago, ckornuta said:

We picked the 12 day June 9th one with overnight in Dublin. Cant wait!

 

We picked that one too!  I've been checking the other lines and I think this is the best itinerary!  We have to do summer because we're taking our son with us, so no Tattoo.

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3 hours ago, stpointer said:

That you all for your responses!!!

 

I will definitely schedule my cruise for August.  I am leaning towards an itinerary with an overnight in Glasgow (Greenock)  As you have all suggested the Military Tattoo sounds amazing and should not be missed!  Unfortunately I don't see an itinerary in August 2020 that includes Holyhead. There is one however that includes the Shetland Islands (Lerwick).  Does anyone have thoughts about that port?

Okay, got it on no Holyhead stop.  I would love to go to the Shetland Islands!  Ever since I saw the British series, Shetland, I've wanted to go there.  It looks wild, windy, moody and somewhat desolate.  I haven't been there yet and I hear it's a port that is sometimes missed, but the little town of Lerwick looks quaint and interesting. 

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We have visited Dublin, Cobh. and Glasgow on TA cruises.  In Dublin, we did a private CC tour that took us south to Powerscourt, a magnificent estate with beautiful gardens, and Glendalough, something of a mystical place (see link below).  It was a gray, misty day which only added to the atmosphere at Glendalough.  Also have stopped at Cobh several times, once overnight.  Some Titanic history there (its last port) with a cemetery for some of those who perished.  Cobh was its only stop before it sank and a photographer who boarded in Southampton, got off the ship in Cobh (actually the ship had to drop anchor outside the harbor) so we have his photos of the ship's interiors, etc. which were on display at the Cobh RR station (right across from the dock) when we were there.  It's also an easy train ride to Cork, a much larger city.  I have walked around Cobh quite a bit and love the place--stopped in a quaint place for tea (which I rarely drink) and a scone <g>.  Finally, at Glasgow we did a CC private tour to visit the home of William Wallace (Braveheart with Mel Gibson) up in Stirling (maybe an hour away).  Stopped in a lovely little village for lunch and at a loch (photo op).

Glendalough.3274974

Edited by BarbinMich

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We did the itinerary with Kirkwall last June. Very interesting port. We did a 1/2 day tour in the morning with Princess which was excellent. In the afternoon did a tour at the Highland Park distillery which we did on our own.  The tour included 4 tastings at the end. The tour was very informative. The Scarpa distillery is nearby as well, although you would need to take a taxi there. If you have time, check out Sheila Fleet jewelry store in town. Very interesting designs.

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On ‎6‎/‎26‎/‎2019 at 11:37 PM, NavyVeteran said:

I would definitely recommend the overnight in Greenock in August for one reason - the Tattoo.

 

The Edinburgh Military Tattoo is on for set dates and you can check these on their website. Princess tend to offer excursions to the tattoo and because it runs late in the evening an "Overnight" is required in port. It is done from Greenock which is near Glasgow and buses take you to Edinburgh, as you have said, but also from the East coast Edinburgh Queensferry and tenders operate for this plus a shorter bus service.  There is sometimes an Edinburgh Rosyth overnight for ships like Pacific Princess which is berthed alongside a low bridge causes this with Grand Class and taller being unable to get as far up the Firth of Forth. The thing to look for in the itinerary is "overnight" as the tattoo is the reason this will be scheduled.  Forth Bridge (Railway Bridge) is a world famous structure.

 

Regards John

Edited by john watson
afterthought

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3 hours ago, john watson said:

 

The Edinburgh Military Tattoo is on for set dates and you can check these on their website. Princess tend to offer excursions to the tattoo and because it runs late in the evening an "Overnight" is required in port. It is done from Greenock which is near Glasgow and buses take you to Edinburgh, as you have said, but also from the East coast Edinburgh Queensferry and tenders operate for this plus a shorter bus service.  There is sometimes an Edinburgh Rosyth overnight for ships like Pacific Princess which is berthed alongside a low bridge causes this with Grand Class and taller being unable to get as far up the Firth of Forth. The thing to look for in the itinerary is "overnight" as the tattoo is the reason this will be scheduled.  Forth Bridge (Railway Bridge) is a world famous structure.

 

Regards John

We were on the former Ocean Princess, and it was an overnight from Rosyth.

 

We bought our Tattoo tickets online instead of the Princess excursion. We spent the day in Edinburgh, and then went to the Tattoo. And it was spectacular! 

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We took the British Isle cruise with the Dublin overnight in 2017, it was fabulous.  We’re contemplating taking the same cruise in 2020.  There is a link to my photo review in my signature below.  Cheers!

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21 hours ago, ontheweb said:

We were on the former Ocean Princess, and it was an overnight from Rosyth.

 

We bought our Tattoo tickets online instead of the Princess excursion. We spent the day in Edinburgh, and then went to the Tattoo. And it was spectacular! 

That's easy to do when the ship overnights at Rosyth. The ship is close to Edinburgh and it stays there all night.

 

Transportation is more complicated when the ship is  on the other side of the island at Greenock and when the ship is leaving port at 2:00 am. If you make your own arrangements, you need to make sure you have your transportation lined up to take you from the Tattoo directly back to the ship.

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On 6/27/2019 at 10:29 AM, ckornuta said:

We picked the 12 day June 9th one with overnight in Dublin. Cant wait!

 

We are on that one too!

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