We decided as we had never been to Ireland or Scotland to try this cruise.
We had been on the Caribbean Princess at Xmas so knew the ship well which is always very clean and crew are very helpful especially in the Dining Rooms. The cabin was fine and we had a nice mix of Brits and Americans. The entertainment was good with four shows and different acts on other nights, some were good some were ok. Dan Styner the Cruise Director is excellent and so were his team always something going on if you wanted it. Port Lecturer Ken Broadhead was excellent and had a great sense of humour.
1.Guernsey in hot sunshine which was great, only shame was we were only there for a half day. It is a very pretty and unspoilt island the people are lovely and its very easy to get round on the local bus, only downside its a tender port and it takes time to get on and off the ship.
2. Cobh (for Cork)
I now know why its called the "Emerald Isle" the weather was foul but luckily due to Cruise Critic we had booked a great coach trip through ecoachs (Butlers) which only cost a fraction of the ships price and included Blarney Castle and Kinsale which we would recommend and the driver was excellent and you were picked up right by the cruise terminal.
We bought Ho Ho tickets and went right round and then visited the Guinness Factory which we thought was expensive, again in foul weather.
Happy to report the sun shone and this was a complete surprise, the cruise docked right next to Albert Dock which had a Maritime Museum, Tate Gallery, Museum of Liverpool all on the dock and all free and all excellent together with a "Beatles Experience" which cost Â£9 each for seniors and was brill.
We also did a Ho Ho bus but didn't have time to do much else which was a shame. This was one of our best stops.
The bad weather was back, we booked another coach trip from McComb's and again at a fraction of the ships price, Kevin our driver was excellent and we went to the Giants Causeway via the coastal route of Antrim which was beautiful even in the rain. We also stopped at Bushmills Distillery for lunch and then we had a city tour of Belfast which was great, our driver crammed in as much as he could so we really did get more than our money's worth and would recommend to anyone.
This is a great stop for Glasgow, we met friends but others on the cruise went into Glasgow on the train and enjoyed it. We went round Loch Lomond which is so pretty and well worth a visit.
This is a tiny port and unless you go on a trip you need to work out what you are going to do as there is nothing in Invergordon. We booked a car from Kens garage which was waiting for us on the port side and we had a lovely day driving up to Cawdor Castle(go early before the coaches get there), Culloden and then to the Loch Ness Visitors centre. We had hoped to go to Urquhart Castle but it was mobbed so we just drove round the Loch which is beautiful.
8. South Queensferry(for Edinburgh)
This is a tender port so again takes time to get on and off. There is a shuttle into Edinburgh which is Â£6 each way and run by an independent company but those that waited in line for over 45 mins found the coaches very small and the wait a pain. We took the train from the nearby station of Dalmeny which is up 119 steps and then up an incline through a wooded area, anyone with walking problems or elderly would have a problem. The cost of the ticket return to Edinburgh is Â£4.40 so worth the walk. We opted for Royal Yacht Britannia as we had been to Edinburgh before. Took a while to get there as you need to get a No. 20 bus to Ocean Terminal but well worth the trip and the staff were very helpful.
9. Le Havre
There is nothing in Le Havre worth seeing apart from the Musee Art Gallery. This stop is for people that want to go to Paris(which takes 3 hours each way by coach) or the Normandy beaches. If you don't want to do either of these, try and get a taxi to Honfleur or somewhere else. Incidentally the ship's shuttle is $8 each way which is expensive, we shared a cab and it cost us E4 each.
Hope this review helps you plan your trip.