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British Isles on Princess - favourite ship's tour?


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I will post this in the British Isles Forum as well, but I kind of wanted it to be specific to Princess, so I will post here.  Have you done some Cruiseline shore excursions in the British Isles that were excellent and you would recommend?  St Peter Port, Dublin, Cork, Belfast, Glasgow, Kirkwall, Invergordon, Edinburgh, Le Havre.  We are looking at mostly more private excursions; however, we would like to book one or two options with onboard credit. Thanks in advance! 

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7 minutes ago, tartana said:

I will post this in the British Isles Forum as well, but I kind of wanted it to be specific to Princess, so I will post here.  Have you done some Cruiseline shore excursions in the British Isles that were excellent and you would recommend?  St Peter Port, Dublin, Cork, Belfast, Glasgow, Kirkwall, Invergordon, Edinburgh, Le Havre.  We are looking at mostly more private excursions; however, we would like to book one or two options with onboard credit. Thanks in advance! 

Giant Causeway 

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We did all private tours on our BI cruise, and they were excellent.  Honestly if you are used to private tours, small groups, smaller vehicles and more time at the various sights I would consider sticking with them.  Our drivers took us to small out of the way local restaurants they knew of that didn’t cater to bus trips.  For example, we did a private tour to St. Andrews that included a walking tour that went on the Old Course and had three hours of time on your own.  The Princess tour had maybe one hour on your own and of course did not go onto the Old Course.  We did do one ships tour, to Honfleur, France as there were no private options.  If you are going to Paris I would do the Princess on your own or a tour due to the distance from Le Havre.  
 

We loved the British Isles cruise and hope to do it again

 

 

Edited by sunsetbeachgal
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47 minutes ago, sunsetbeachgal said:

We did all private tours on our BI cruise, and they were excellent.  Honestly if you are used to private tours, small groups, smaller vehicles and more time at the various sights I would consider sticking with them.  Our drivers took us to small out of the way local restaurants they knew of that didn’t cater to bus trips.  For example, we did a private tour to St. Andrews that included a walking tour that went on the Old Course and had three hours of time on your own.  The Princess tour had maybe one hour on your own and of course did not go onto the Old Course.  We did do one ships tour, to Honfleur, France as there were no private options.  If you are going to Paris I would do the Princess on your own or a tour due to the distance from Le Havre.  
 

We loved the British Isles cruise and hope to do it again

 

 

I am having trouble justifying the Ship's Tours; however, they do have OBC they want to use for at least one excursion.  I am having pretty good luck finding private/small group options in most of the ports which of course are more personal and much less expensive.  I love the look of the town of Kilkenny from Dublin; however, I wonder if the distance is worth it for the short time there. It looks so picturesque. They are not going in to Paris - just not worth it for the time. They are going to stay out closer to le Havre and check out Honfleur probably.  

Edited by tartana
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If you're interested in the Titanic at all, I highly recommend the tour that visits the Titanic museum and the memorial in Belfast. Dublin we just purchased Princess' shuttle (I think it was $20 pp round trip) into town and then walked around on our own. In St. Peter Port (Guernsey) we visited the German underground hospital. If you're a history lover, you'll find it interesting. Kirkwall is so tiny we just got off and walked around enjoying shortbread flavored ice cream. Le Havre is a long drive into the city of Paris and we did the Eiffel tower & Louvre city tour. Long day with a lot of logistical mishaps but the sites themselves were worth seeing once. Cork we had a late arrival so they combined everyone's Blarney Castle tour into one and it became either get in a 2 hour line for the stone or see the castle grounds. For the rest, aside from the novelty of visiting Loch Ness, were all tours to one castle ruin after another. 

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We did this trip this summer (minus Kirkwall) and had two days in Dublin. 

 

If you are looking for private tour recommendations, in Guernsey,  we used Mike's Taxi tours (private guide) who I found on Trip Advisor and he was EXCELLENT!   (Mike Mauger).  taxitours@cwgsy.net.  

 

In Cobh, we did use Princess to go to Blarney Castle (the grounds were beautiful even though we did not stand in line to kiss the stone) and had time to shop at Blarney Wollen Mills. We then walked around Cobh on our own when the ship got back.  Princess was good for that stop and we thought the excursion was good.  

 

In Dublin, we used Princess shuttles (fee) on day one to go into town and walk around on our own.  For day two, we used Princess for an excursion to Dublin Castle (ok, not great) and the Book of Kells.   Even though we could have bought tickets to both of those places on our own, we did not have to take the shuttle and try to figure out the best timing for those places, so we liked using Princess.  Also, the Dublin port is a busy industrial port.  It was nice not having to worry about getting a shuttle to a place at a right time.  For us, we liked having one day on our own and another with the ship tour. 

 

In Belfast, we took a taxi into town and walked on our own, toured inside the Cathedral and City hall, and took a taxi to the Titanic Museum and then a taxi back to the ship. 

 

In Glasgow we took the ship tour to the Military Tattoo. Not sure if you are going in August when this runs, or if you are interested.  If so, you will hear pros and cons of using the ship tours. They are more expensive but the show (which was wonderful) runs late at night and for us using the ship tour was a feeling of safety knowing we'd be back. 

 

In Invergordon I can also highly recommend the private tour we used...www.seethehighlands.com.  John McCormack.  He was excellent. 

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We booked all private tours for our British Isles cruise.  We also had $400 OBC to use so we booked the Princess transfer to the airport which included stops at Stonehenge and (we thought) Windsor Castle.  They said it was for flights after 4pm.  Our flight was exactly 4pm so we changed it to 6pm with EZ Air. 

 

Stonehenge was great with enough time to see everything but some on our tour still had the 4pm flight and drove the bus people so crazy to get to the airport on time that we only saw Windsor Castle from afar.  We did get to the airport around 1pm and fortunately we were able to get back on the 4pm flight.

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This is my own very personal opinion but if I had OBC to burn, I would buy another watch or my wife would buy something that she wants instead of booking a ship tour.  The only time that we ever book a ship tour is when we are visiting a site that is far from the ship or if the ship has booked all the private tours in town.

 

DON

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1} Giant's Causeway from Belfast

2) Sark from St Peter Port  BUT beware.   As it was a half day tour and the ship was only in port for a little over a half day we had to stand on the wharf for 2 hours waiting to get on board!!!

3) We never got in to Kirkwall but were looking forward to the Orkney's Local Delicacies and a visit to the Highland Park Distillery.

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Just a question - a few of you have recommended Giant's Causeway to be done by Princess. It seems local tours are much more reasonable and personal.  I am wondering why you'd suggest Princess for this one?  Because it is a ways out from the port?  Thanks again for the input. 

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