After arriving at Heathrow from Australia we took the Tube/Train to Tilbury. We used our credit card in the automatic machine to buy the tickets. There were 2 changes but at both it was only a matter of wheeling our luggage across the platform (next train left from other side of same platform). The first change was at Hammersmith where we changed to the Green Line. The second change was at Barking where we took the district train to Tilbury Town. There is a free shuttle to the port. Other ccers had paid for a transfer and were kept waiting at Heathrow for more than 2 hours.
Our first port was at ROSYTH (Edinburgh). As we had already been to Edinburgh, we had organised a full day tour with 14 pax to Loch Lomond. http://www.heartofscotlandtours.co.uk/private.php?prod=private We paid this in advance but I was able to arrange for each couple to pay individually using their own credit card. Cost was approx USD 40 p.p. This company was great and we had a wonderful tour with a fantastic scotsman adorned in his kilt.
Second port was SCRABSTER. We had booked a rental vehicle a VW Touran which was quite comfortable for the six of us for 60 pound. firstname.lastname@example.org It was quite an easy area to drive
At REYKJAVIK Iceland once again we took a van for 14 pax with a driver guide. email@example.com We did the Golden Circle tour which was excellent. This tour company has previously been recommended on CC. There is a taxi company there offering the same tour for considerably less. http://www.hreyfill.is/english Several other cc members toured with Hreyfill which they said was good but there was no commentary. The larger taxi can take up to 8 but for comfort 6 or 7 is recommended. The taxis can be prebooked but there were lots waiting at the port. In Iceland we were not asked to pay for our tours in advance.
In ISAFJORDUR we had arranged for a taxi with english speaking driver for 4 hours. This was arranged through the local tourist information. firstname.lastname@example.org We went out to the Dynjandi Waterfall which was spectacular but the mainly dirt road was very rough and probably not worth the effort. It is easy to walk around the sights at this port.
AKUREYI was my favourite port in Iceland. Eight of us had hired a small bus with driver/guide from the same company as HAL uses. www.sba.is We had arranged to be taken on the Lake Myvatn tour.
In LONGYEARBEN Norway we decided we wanted to do something very different. So we arranged to go dog sledding. email@example.com We were picked up and taken to the property. Overalls were provided. This was a 3 hour excursion and it was fun fun fun.
In BERGEN Norway we took the train down to Flam. This can be booked online and is recognised as one of the best train trips in the world. We did the return journey by train but it is possible to return by boat.
In OSLO we went on the HOHO bus.
An absolutely amazing cruise to an incredible destination. We made it to the Polar Ice Cap at approx 80 degrees North Latitude 569 Nautical Miles from the geographic North Pole.
We had a group of 60 very active cc'ers. It was very easy to organise private excursions and there was never a problem getting back to the ship before final boarding time. Most excursions didn't require payment in advance.
We had previously cruised on the Prinsendam and the outstanding service lived up to our expectation.