My wife and I consider ourselves seasoned cruisers (4 cruises this year alone). We flew from Newark New Jersey to London Heathrow on Continental Airlines, on their morning flight, getting us in at 9:30pm London time. This allowed us to get our first night in a bed rather than an airline seat, even though Continental upgraded us to first class. We awoke rested and ready for the cruise. We had a room at the Hilton Hotel Heathrow Airport, which is located at terminal 4, for easy access. The room came with breakfast. The car service, Silver Fleet, which we got on line, picked us up at 10:30am the next day, on time and we were at the cruise terminal in Southampton, UK by 12:30pm. We were on the ship within fifteen minutes of arriving at the terminal. Very easy, painless and the staff couldn't be more helpful.
Cabin: We decided to take a veranda room at the very back of the ship. I love sitting outside, watching the wake of the ship and or the full panoramic view when we leave. We usually book a mini-suite. The room was on the small side for us. Mainly, my wife. I loved it. It was quiet and until this coming January, being a cigar smoker, sat outside with a drink and watched the world go by.
The room was spotless and the attendant was terrific. Beds were a little on the narrow side, but with this cruise your not in the cabin that much.
Dining: We chose anytime. But as we always do, we were in the Crown Grill 4 times. Food was very good as was the service. We were in Sabbatini's 4 times. It is the best Italian food on the high seas. The maitre'd was extremely helpful and definitely sets the tone for the restaurant. We eat out alot in New York and I can assure you, these specialty restaurants are well worth going to. What my wife and do is, go to a different restaurant each night, so we never get bored. We went to Da Vinci restaurant the rest of the time. Again the maitre'd was great. We enjoy a table for two. All the restaurants accomodated us at the times we wanted. Most importantly the food was excellent.
I purchased a coffee card for the week. It gives you entree to better coffee and a variety. I chose to get the egg sandwich and the coffee to go cup in the morning. The egg sandwich is made fresh and is great. You can get rolls and muffins. Again super service.
One day at sea the weather wasn't great, so I decided to watch Movies Under the Stars. The staff got me a blanket, they went to the hamburger stand and fixed me lunch. That kind of service has to be mentioned. This extreme kindness and a true want to give us a great time on their vessel came out at every department.
Disembarkation: In a word, we were off the ship by 8:30am. We were in a taxi and at our hotel within 10 minutes. This was a great trip and exceeded our every expectations.
Ports: Guernsey was beautiful. We hired a car service and were able to see all the high points on the island. If you are looking for great place for lunch. Le Nautique.
Cobh: We loved Kinsale and shouldn't be missed. The Blarney business is for people who like that sort of thing. Cobh shouldn't be missed.
Liverpool: As a huge Beatles fan, the day was heaven for us. It was one of the highlights of the tours.
Dublin: Too short a stay in the city to do much of anything except to see the Guinness factory and take a tour of the city.
Normandy: It was a special day and done well through the cruise ship tour department.
I divided the tours between the ship and a company out of Long Island called Lynott tours.