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Home > Member Reviews > Rosethorn40's Port Reviews of St. Peter Port (Guernsey), Dublin, Edinburgh, London (Tilbury)

Rosethorn40's Port Reviews of St. Peter Port (Guernsey), Dublin, Edinburgh, London (Tilbury)
Ocean Princess cruise in August 2013
Member Name: Rosethorn40
Cruise Date: August 2013
Embarkation: Dover
Destination: British Isles & Western Europe
Member Review: Rosethorn40's Ocean Princess Review
St. Peter Port (Guernsey)
Isle of Sark Rating: Not Rated

We experience our only truly bad-weather day here, and it wasn’t all that awful. Sure it was overcast all day, and yes, it did rain off and on, but it wasn’t a driving rain and we were able to stay dry with the cheap rain ponchos I had purchased just days before we left. We signed up for bicycle riding on the isle of Sark. We took an early tender to Guernsey and transferred to a ferry to Sark. With the exception of tractors there is no motorized traffic on Sark.; everyone gets around by bike, foot or horse drawn cart. Our ferry was apparently a private ferry, and we got to the island well ahead of the scheduled ferry. This was nice because it got quite crowded once the first scheduled ferry showed up. Once we got our bicycles we were on our own to explore the island. I loved this island. You feel like you have truly stepped back in time. The village was quaint, with directional sign posts that gave destinations in the minutes it would take to walk, rather than miles.




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Dublin
Port Rating: 5+ out of 5+

We took the shuttle from the pier, which cost $16 pp roundtrip. Here we did our own thing, opting for a hop on/off tour bus. Where the shuttle dropped us off was near stop #3, so we decided that we would just get off at any sight that struck our fancy, and complete the circuit in time to make the last shuttle. Our first stop was the Guinness Storehouse. DH was leery of making this our first stop so early in the day (About 10 AM), but I pointed out that it is the #1 attraction in Ireland, and it was bound to become a madhouse later in the day. It was 16.50 euro to get in, and for that you got a self-paced tour and a pint at the end of the tour. I did like the bar on the 7th floor, which afforded wonderful views of Dublin, but I feel the tour is way overpriced (You can buy tickets online for a 10% discount). I was right about it getting crowded. As we left, tour bus after tour bus was pulling up, dispensing hordes of tourists. Next was the Old Jameson Distillery. I actually liked this place better than Guinness. This was also popular with the masses, and was rather crowded. If I remember correctly it was 15 euro pp to take the tour. They had a very nice bar on the ground floor (Try the hot apple cider w/Jameson’s and apple slices-divine), and a restaurant that looked good, but was pricey. Finally we went to Trinity College to see the Book of Kells. We had been told that if you go in the morning there might be a wait of up to 3-hours. We got there at about 1:35 and decided to take the 2 PM walking tour of the college grounds (10 euro) which included the Book of Kells. Just to see the Book of Kells costs 9 euro, so 1 euro more for the tour was the best value in Dublin. The tour was given by a 3rd year student. The half hour tour was quite informative, and included a brief history of the Book of Kells. At 2:30 we were in line to see the book, and our wait was about half an hour. We finally got in, and made our way to the darken room, and waited some more to actually get close enough to take a look. By this time it was getting late so we hurried to catch the shuttle back to the ship. Of the three sights we stopped at in Dublin the only one I would do again is Jameson’s, and that’s for the bar. However, I’m glad we did all 3, and next time we can see more of this very beautiful city.


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Edinburgh
City Tour Rating: 5.0 out of 5+

We were going to the Tattoo that evening (Through the ship), but wanted to explore the city on our own during the day. We took the shuttle from the pier to the train station (16 pp roundtrip), and from there bought round trip tickets to Edinburgh. I have no idea how much they cost. I gave up trying to convert US dollars into pounds and euro at this point. I know we were traveling off peak, which makes a huge difference in price. Anyway when the train arrived it was packed, so we rode the entire way standing up, but it was only about 20 minutes as we had gotten on an express train. Once we arrived we made our way to the hop on/off tour buses, which were across the street from main entrence of the train station. The price was 16 pounds pp. This time, since we were at stop one, we rode the entire circuit to hear the tour, and then rode again, this time getting off where we wanted. Our first stop was to see the statue of Greyfriers Bobby, then we stopped in at Greyfriers Bobby Pub and tried haggis. So what did I think of haggis? It was okay. If I was at a dinner party and it was served I would eat it, but if at a restaurant and there were other choices I would probably go with something else. We then popped into the National Museum, which is free, to see the exhibit of Mary, Queen of Scots, which is not free (9 pounds pp). After that we got back on the bus and went down the Royal Mile to Hollyrood Palace. To just see the palace is 11 pounds, to see the palace and The Queen’s Gallery was 15.5 pounds. Time was running short (We had a train to catch) so we opted for the palace only. It’s beautiful. I especially like Mary, Queen of Scots bedroom. Then it was back to the train station, where a very helpful attendant got us on the right train back. Soon we were back on the ship, having time for a quick bite before it was off to the Tattoo.




The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo Rating: Not Rated

My main reason for wanting to do this cruise during this time frame was to see the Tattoo. Princess has it down to a science. We gathered in the main lounge where we were assigned a bus number. From there we were escorted by bus number to the pier where we got on the bus. Our guide then handed out tickets based on the number in your party. The bus took us to a side street in Edinburgh, where we were told it would pick us up after the show. Then we had a bit of a trek, all uphill, to get to Edinburgh Castel. The guide took us at an easy pace, but it is over cobblestone streets and sidewalks, something to keep in mind if mobility is an issue. From there we got into a queue and waited until they opened the gates. The show starts promptly at 9PM and lasts 1.5 hours. I must say I was impressed, as were everyone around us. I was worried about us being able to find the bus in the dark after the show, but it was not an issue. There was someone stationed at every corner to point us in the right direction, and we didn’t leave a single person behind. Princess had kept the buffet opened late as it was well past midnight by time we got back so that anyone that wished to grab a bite could.




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London (Tilbury)
City Tour Rating: 5.0 out of 5+

We were one of the first off because we had purchased airport transfers through the ship that included a city tour of London. This was actually a pleasant surprise as I had no idea we would be able to see as much as we did in so short of a time. We had a brief stop at a vantage point to take photos of Tower Bridge and The Tower of London, then we drove over Tower Bridge and got closer to The Tower. We saw part of the original wall from Roman times, The Eye, Big Ben, St. Paul’s, Westminster Abbey, Downing Street, etc. We had about an hour of free time at Covent Garden, and even a brief stop at Buckingham Palace just in time to see the changing of the guard, and we were still at the airport at 1:00 on the dot-British efficiency at its finest.




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