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Orkney Islands or Portland?


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Posted (edited)

So we booked our next cruise - June 2022, 12 day British Isles. By mistake we booked the cruise that stops in Portland and we had intended to do the same cruise that has the Orkney Islands instead. Before we cancel and rebook, I'd like to hear any recommendations or opinions on both ports. I once saw a show on the Orkney Islands and thought it would be a beautiful place to spend a day in early summer. We enjoy getting off the ship and just doing our own thing. Wandering through shops, a little sight seeing, a meal and a drink and lots of picture taking. 

 

What's your opinion?

 

tks in advance

Edited by nbsjcruiser
typo
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Posted (edited)

I have been on this cruise twice once to Orkney Islands. We tendered they used port’s tender boats and was the longest line up I have ever been in to get back on-board. We took the ship’s island bus tour. Crammed us in 50 in coach. Lovely, flat countryside drive. Stopped at a lovely chapel. Then through town we walked around but not

much there. We spent our last couple of hours at pub across from tender pier. 
I am glad I was there once. Wouldn’t choose it as a port next time. 
 

I have not been to Portland- but notice they offer tours to Salisbury, Stonehenge. 
 

went in August. Rainy, cool, windy day. 

Edited by dog
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Posted (edited)
55 minutes ago, dog said:

I have been on this cruise twice once to Orkney Islands. We tendered they used port’s tender boats and was the longest line up I have ever been in to get back on-board. We took the ship’s island bus tour. Crammed us in 50 in coach. Lovely, flat countryside drive. Stopped at a lovely chapel. Then through town we walked around but not

much there. We spent our last couple of hours at pub across from tender pier. 
I am glad I was there once. Wouldn’t choose it as a port next time. 
 

I have not been to Portland- but notice they offer tours to Salisbury, Stonehenge. 
 

went in August. Rainy, cool, windy day. 

 

Was that the chapel built by Italian POWs during the World War II. If so that is a must see if you have the opportunity as the Orkney Islands are off the beaten track.

 

Stonehenge is much easier to visit as it is in England. By the way Stonehenge is not the largest nor the most impressive set of standing stones in the UK

Edited by brisalta
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Posted (edited)

We haven’t been to either port, but during our September 2019 cruise, because of high seas, we had to skip Portland. That may not be an issue in June, but it may be a consideration. 

Edited by Crystabel
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Orkney Islands-I didn't know anything about them before my cruise there and I was so impressed!  I wouldn't hesitate to go back so I could see everything!  We went to the Standing Stones of Stenness and Skara Brae.  Really, really interesting and the beach at Skara Brae is amazingly pristine!  Hard to believe there are beaches that beautiful that aren't ruined by pollution or tourists.  
For Portland - I've been to Stonehenge and while it's interesting, it isn't anywhere near as old as Skara Brae and when I went, we were packed in line sardines at the venue.  There were so many double-decker tour busses there, it was just unbelievable.  It kind-of ruined it for me because I just couldn't stand the crowds.  I took a quick few pics by the stones, then had time to waste.  It was a 20 min. wait to use the restrooms and you couldn't put 1 foot inside the gift shop because it was literally wall-to-wall people.  Maybe I just hit it on a busy day.
Salisbury is nice and I really enjoyed the Cathedral but I wouldn't go out of my way to see it.

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Hi

I live in the UK and am booked on the Jul 25th B.Isles cruise that includes Portland.  I would  prefer if it was Orkney mainly because I've not been to that part of Scotland before and I live in the South of England not far from Portland so Orkney would be more novel to me than Portland.  Having said that not too sure what I would do there other than a bit of a wander.

 

If visiting stonehenge then including a visit to nearby Salisbury should be considered - I notice that option is included in the Princess tours.  Having said that as interesting as Stonehenge is it can be a bit underwhelming.  Avebury Ring is a larger set of stones about 40 min drive from Stonehenge and you can freely wander around them and still see the ancient fortification ditches.  Note all these places are probably closer to Southampton than Portland so you could hire a car from Souhampton pre or post cruise and do Salisbury/Stonehenge/Avebury easily and cheaply - or hire  a car from Portland/Weymouth.

 

None of the other excursions from Portland look particularly inspiring except maybe the tour to the Stone Giant of Cerne Abbas (http://www.stone-circles.org.uk/stone/cerne.htm) which is actually a cutting made in a chalk hillside of a man with a particulary striking feature .  Tour also includes Athelhampton House whch is a Tudor manor and worth a visit.

 

There is  a train station in Weymouth that will get you to Dorchester in 12 mins which is an ancient market town with loads of interest and well worth a walk around.  Weymouth station is a 15 min taxi drive from the cruise port.

 

Consider the weather as well, a rainy day in Orkney will reduce your options considerably, in Portland you'd have more options.   Portland harbour is well protected, I'm surprised docking was prevented, must have been very severe weather,.

 

Personally for Portland I may just hire some bikes and cycle around Portland or walk along Chesil Beach to Weymouth which is a popular seaside town with a large sandy beach, small fort and pier.

 

 

 

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I've been on two different cruises that have stopped in Portland (Oceania and HAL). Both times, the town of Weymouth provided free ongoing shuttle bus service from the port to a central location in Weymouth and back. The ride took about twenty minutes each way and was quite scenic. Weymouth itself is an attractive beach town, with plenty of shops, pubs, and restaurants. My wife and I enjoyed our times there very much, and in fact are planning to return for a third visit this coming October on another HAL cruise (the inaugural TA on the new Rotterdam ship).

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Did a private tour in Orkney that was remarkable --sadly it no longer takes place. Do your research and then decide which place draws you in. I would do Orkney again any time -- Stonehenge too many tourists taking selfies. 

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I suggest doing Stonehenge while in England as a before or after hours tour. Nobody there but your little group, and you can book for sunrise/sunset(depending on time of year.

Orkney is amazing, but you do need transportation.  

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I’m booked for April/May 2022 and have been researching Portland since it’s one of our ports. I reached out to this company about setting up a small group tour off the ship with a custom itinerary

https://dorsettours.com

They are very quick to respond and super helpful

(I wanted to visit Mapperton Estate and the Jurassic Coast and although not a tour they offer they are more than happy to work with me) 

 

 

 

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Thanks all for the suggestions folks. Did a little research last night and looked at a few videos on youtube and I think that my first impression of Orkney hasn't changed. Its still a place I want to see so we decided to change the booking. Now we just have to hope the vaccines actually work and things are back to something resembling normal by 2022.

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On 1/7/2021 at 1:06 PM, Ombud said:

I went to Skara Brae in Orkney. Must see for any archeology buffs

20180625_112246.thumb.jpg.f1308fa7ba998ec452506f5d1e2d53dd.jpg

 

And so many other sites to see.  We had such fun 'discovering' the past

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On 1/8/2021 at 5:12 AM, nbsjcruiser said:

Thanks all for the suggestions folks. Did a little research last night and looked at a few videos on youtube and I think that my first impression of Orkney hasn't changed. Its still a place I want to see so we decided to change the booking. Now we just have to hope the vaccines actually work and things are back to something resembling normal by 2022.

We went to the Orkneys and had planned a land tour there based upon our brief visit.  It was a lovely place and I could not have been more impressed with the tour or all that we saw.  Thankfully, it was a rainy day and we pretty much had every stop to ourselves.  We would (and will) go back in a heartbeat when we can!

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