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Home > Virtual Cruises > Oceania's Insignia: Dover to Dublin
Oceania's Insignia: Dover to Dublin
Day 1: Departure from Dover
Day 2: At Sea
Day 3: Edinburgh
Day 4: Peterhead
Day 5: Inverness
Day 6: Shetlands
Day 7: Orkney
Day 8: At Sea
Day 9: Dublin
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Day 7: Sunday, Orkney
OrkneyKirkwall, the capital of Scotland's Orkney Islands, is at first glance a lot like the Shetlands. Once we'd managed to get off the ship (this is our only "tender" port and in my experience, big ship or middle-sized ship, tendering is always a nightmare, particularly first thing!), we replayed our activities of the day before. This time -- it being a Sunday -- the town was near-deserted and most shops and eateries were closed.

But its cathedral, St. Magnus, was open to visitors, having already disgorged its regular Sunday worshippers. It's one of the most eccentric and yet beautiful I've ever seen -- built 860 years ago of colorful stones. The cathedral, which each June hosts a summer classical music festival, was full of the sounds of classical tunes -- a very accomplished quartet was rehearsing. It was joyful. For jewelry-lovers, Kirkwall was full of shops of genuinely high quality, featuring really one-of-a-kind gorgeous silver and gold pieces.

The biggest attraction on this mainland island of the Orkneys (beyond wildlife, particularly birds) is Skara Brae, a prehistoric village that was discovered in the mid-19th century when it was revealed after a storm.

For us, today was a bit of a low-energy day, the kind of day you experience more on a longer, more port-intensive itinerary than you would on, perhaps, a seven-night Caribbean cruise. At some point, you've seen enough sights, rushed around as much as you can take and just need a day off from your vacation. In this case, we returned onboard to Insignia.

One of the interesting aspects of this ship is how pleasant it is in good weather and -- for us, a special boon -- in bad! (I've stopped commenting on the weather here as we seem to be in the grip, along with the rest of Northern Europe, of rain and gloom on a daily basis.) Our cabin is so cozy -- and the investment Oceania made in enhancing bedding (we especially love the duvet and the bolster pillows) makes it almost impossible to get through an afternoon without the indulgence of a nap. We ordered a pot of hot chocolate from room service and just relaxed.

Later this afternoon we made our way up to Horizon Lounge for afternoon tea -- our first visit -- and it was marvelous. Tables were covered in buttercream yellow linens and waiters wandered around with dessert carts and sandwich carts (and oh, yes, there was tea, too!). The elegance of the experience felt familiar...and then it occurred to me it was reminiscent of Crystal's lovely afternoon tea service. And of course, Crystal's former president, Joe Watters, is now CEO of Oceania so you can see his touch onboard.

We took a break from our Horizon pre-dinner routine and met some new friends in Martini's. The place hops -- almost every seat is filled -- and there's a pianist who plays show tunes and the like. Quite convivial. Later (we had booked ourselves for another late dinner, a return visit to Polo Grill), we tried out their bar (Insignia promotes the bar there, and at Toscana, as drink spots in their own right). But it was really meant to be more of a working bar than a place to hang out, and we found we preferred the other options.

Dinner was terrific (the surf'n'turf is absolutely marvelous) and though we had planned to eat quickly (as quickly as you can in Polo Grill!) and make at least half of tonight's show, we had such a good time talking to our waitstaff that once again we closed the dining room.

Tomorrow is a much-welcomed day at sea.
Day 6: Shetlands red arrow Day 8: At Sea

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