Still tired of paying the exorbitant prices of Princess shore excursions so took the shuttle bus (USD8)each way into Dublin. Decided to do the HOHO bus. NOTE...there rae two HOHO/Tour buses in the city. We made the mistake of booking on the red ones. We hopped on the multilingual tour which allows (supposedly)ypu to hear in numerous languages. The problem was that the recordings were so worn and some of the headset plugins were unserviceabl. When we said somethingf to the driver about it, he shrugged his Russian shoulders as if to say not my problem. One stop from the end a new driver came on and advised that he does the commentary by live mike on his bus . By that time, I'd had enough and had no desire to do another 1.5-2 hour lap of the city in the Irish mist(read rain).
LIVERPOOL Can't really say mucn about Merseyside as we had no desire to be Beatled to death. Having personally met the boys in 1964 we opted to do other things and so we decided to take the Mersey Line (train) out to the medieval town of Chester...a 35 minute train ride (GBP4.50 for a Daysaver return ticket). St James Street station is only a 10 minute walk from the pier. Great idea as the local powers to be have a free shuttle into the heart of the city from the train station. Great walking (read cobble stones) and should you wish you can walk the walls of the old city.
We visited on Race Day and all the men were gussied up in their best suits and all the women in their tight mini dresses and stileeto heels with the Princess Bea fascinators on their heads. Well, the conclusion is that many have had these beautiful dresses in their closets for years to be worn only on race day. Silly mistake as he dresses have either shrunk considerably or...OK the dresses have shrunk!!! Had a great lunch in a little hole in the wall restaurant with the locals before heading back to Liverpool. Back on the Mersey it startted to rain as we got to the ship. People have said (I know second hand info)that the Albert Docks area is really worth a visit
BELFAST Took the city bus shuttle into town (cost to Princess of course charged to your cabin). Was walking down the street listening to this guy giving ahistoric dissertation on the sights. Saw the station, OPera House and the Crown Bar. Went in the back door with the group until they announced that they were getting a free pint. My ethics said I couldn't do that as we found out we were tagging onto a Princess Walking Tour group.
Decided to go down the road about 8 blockas and spent a few hours in St George's Market...great articrafts, linens, scarves and diverse ethnic foods.
My old schoolchum David who I had not sen in 52 years came to pick us up and we toured our old childhood haunts in Dundee, Broughty Ferry and Monifieth, before haeding back to Edinburgh (chez David( for a lovely lunch before the premature rush back to the ship.