London was wonderful and the cruise was good. We had the best staff. They really took care of everyone with all the glitches there were on the cruise.
Did you know there was a law in the UK that a bus driver can't work more than 4 1/2 hrs. with out a 30 minute break. On the way to the ship we had to stop at a rest area for the 30 minute break even though we were only 30 miles from the dock. We made it in time for the ship so that was good actually we could have been there the next day and still made it. Our room was lovely L103 it was large and the view was great. Even in rough seas it wasn't to bad. Just in case someone asks you. The steward I can"t say enough about. She was great Cecile was her name.
We got settled and waited for the Bon Voyage standing out on the bow of the ship but it didn't come. The ship had some kind of mechanical problem. Oh well off to dinner sure we would be on our way soon. Dinner, the show and bedtime still no movement and no information. The next morning the Captain comes over the loud speak and says they have not solved the problem yet. We are all wondering what the problem is and are we going to get out of this port. Finally, after I am sure lots of complaints, the Captain told us what was wrong. A bilge pump was not working, good to know it wasn't an engine. We spent the day wondering the ship exploring the nooks and crannies. About 4:00 pm the Captain told us we would be leaving soon and our new itinerary plus compensate would be in our staterooms soon. With everyone assuming that since this was supposed to be the day we were in Guernsey that we would be heading straight to Cobh. You know what the say when you assume.
No Liverpool for us, but we were going to Guernsey. Why no one but corporate knows... So one lost day and one lost port and 3 days of being off schedule for all the planned excursions we get $75 each of on board credits. This was not a happy group of people. So as you can imagine everything started to look a little off. The entertainment was marginal, the food I thought was good, the weather was on the cold side as if Mother nature wasn't to happy either.
We were luck as our tour guide in Cobh and Cork was waiting for us even though we were a day late. E Coach gave us a great trip and at a great price compared to Princess. The guide was informative and we were able to understand him. On to the woolen shop and Blarney Castle ( it is really a ruin) and up 123 stairs to kiss the Blarney stone. You lay on your back and arch your neck through a hole and there it is, so they tell you. We did it and have the pictures to prove it. If you thought going up was hard going down was harder. It was a very narrow and winding staircase. Very cool though, would do it again. The grounds had a poisonous plant garden which was very interesting. Back on the bus to Cork for lunch. Cork was a nice town had a good fish and chip meal with the ever present beer and cider. Back on the bus to see the sights and a beautiful church then back to the ship.
In Dublin we took a taxi in from the port cheaper than the Princess shuttle if you had 2 people or more then did the hop on hop off bus. Red and Green bus is a bit of a rip as they charge you for 2 days even if you only need 1 day. Dublin was a nice city probably need the 2 days to see everything because a lot was closed as it was Monday. We had a nice visit to the Jamison distillery that got us a little mellow. Then a lunch at the oldest pub in the area, food was ok but the atmosphere wonderful. A little walk around town and another taxi back to the ship.
Belfast was interesting. We did a black cab tour with Paddy. The mural were very interesting but sad. We learned both sides of the "troubles". After the tour of Belfast we made are way to the Giant's causeway with a quick stop at the smallest church in that area. The causeway really is one of the wonders of the world. If you don't know it is a rock formation where the stones are hexagonal in shape and raise and fall in interesting formation. There is a 1GBP to take the bus each way. You can walk to if you want. After the causeway we went to a lovely tea house for lunch and a castle ruin. Bushmill distillery was the next stop. Having tried Jamison whiskey we had to compare them.
Back on schedule now and looking forward not back we headed to Glasgow with a Gordon Ross tour. We did a quick tour of Glasgow then on to Loch Ormond and the town of Luss. It was a pretty small town that looked like Brigadoon. Off again through the countryside to see Hamish the bull and his wife Heather. We had lunch in Callander then went for a walk around the shops. Great prices on sweaters. Back on the bus to see Doune Castle were they filmed Monty Python's Holy Grail and a wee drink of Scotch. Next was Stirling Castle. Queen Elizabeth had this palace restored and it is beautiful. We needed more time to see it properly but it is one place I would go back to. The town looked very interesting as well but no time to see it. Great tour and a lovely day.
Next day was at sea. It was a nice restful day not much going on. Watched a movie and ate at the appropriate times.
Invergordon/Inverness was the next stop. It was just plain cold here with the winds blowing. My husband and I stayed on the ship most of the day then went for a walk around Invergordon. Cute small town ,nice church and friendly people.
Edinburgh. Well we didn't get to see it. The winds were to strong and they couldn't tender us off the ship so we had another sea day. Princess sent out another news letter with the sea day activities which was pretty much just adding more movies to watch. Granted it was hard to plan any outdoor events as it was cold. The Scots are a hardy people. More disappointment.
Another sea day.
Le Havre. We took a princess tour to Honfluer. This is a medieval town that was very interesting. On the way up we saw homes with thatched roof and iris growing on them. Great scenery. Honfluer has buildings dating back as far as 800 AD. It was amazing. We bought wonderful caramels, apple cognac and French pastry. Wonderful place but needed a longer tour time, 4 hours wasn't enough. It is another place to go back to sometime. Back to the ship to pack and get ready for the trip home.
All in all a great trip and wonderful memory with great stories of misadventures. Deb and Dave