We chose this cruise based on itinerary: we wanted to visit Scotland and Northern Ireland. We enjoyed those ports immensely, and wished we had several days to spend at each!
The ship was beautiful, our mini-suite was very comfortable, and service was outstanding. We had "club class dining" due to our selection of a mid-ship mini-suite, and it was very nice: we never had to wait for a seat, and the waitstaff knew our names and preferences by the first day. There was always a special main course offered in club class (not on the regular menu); twice it was lobster, other times tuna steak or beef steaks.
We enjoyed afternoon tea on the days we were onboard in time. We really wished we'd been in port longer for Glasgow and Edinburgh; there is so much to see in each! The only bad experience of the entire trip was tendering back from St Peter Port,Guernsey - for some reason, lines were 2 hours long in the hot sun. Princess either needs to figure this out or drop this port.
The mini-suite was very spacious, and the bed very comfortable. To get the mid-ship location, we paid extra for "club class", which included 2 half-bottles of wine, upgraded bathroom amenities, and the club class dining. The latter was well worth it.
The only complaint was the TVs: very poor resolution, and no on-demand programming.
It was easy to get to/from Southampton by train from London. We stayed in London a few days before and after the cruise, and had a great time.
There's not much to do in St. Peter Port. We walked along the cliffside path for awhile, and the forest was pleasantly cool and fresh. However, Princess did not handle the tendering well in this port - the lines were 2 hours long, in the hot sun - very poorly done.
We weren't particularly interested in anything at this port.
It was simple to take the free Princess shuttle into town, and then explore on our own: we enjoyed Temple Bar and people watching. (We've explored the tourist sights in Dublin before on a previous trip)
We pre-booked tickets to the Titanic Experience, which was an excellent museum. We took the free Princess shuttle into town and walked to the museum, then enjoyed the beautiful old downtown area.
Glasgow was definitely a highlight! There was no free shuttle here, but I think the taxi to/from the port only cost 6 pounds. We enjoyed Glasgow University and the Kelvingrove Museum. We would've liked to see the Mackintosh sights, but they were closed for refurbishment. Definitely need to come back and spend more time in Glasgow!
Another highlight! We pre-booked with other cruisecritic pax for a small group tour with Orkney Aspects. They took us to the cathedral and then the neolithic sights of Skara Brae, Maeshowe, and the Ring of Brodgar, as well as a delightful local lunch at a lovely teahouse. The guide was excellent, small bus was comfortable, and the sights were amazing! Pricey tour but worth it.
We took a small group tour arranged by another cruisecritic member via toursbylocals. He took us to Inverness (where we had lunch at a pub), a boat ride across Loch Ness to Urquhart Castle (definitely the best part of the day, even in the pouring rain), the cairn, and Culloden battlefield.
Another highlight! Edinburgh is amazing, we need to come back and spend more time here, too! The castle is rather empty but still fascinating, and the high street is a delight to wander. We didn't have time to go into the queen's castle (Holyrood) at the end of the street; wish we'd been in port longer here.
This is way too far from Paris - 2.5 hours each way! We also weren't interested in Normandy, so we just took a taxi to the train station and then a 45min train to the little town of Rouen. The unusual Joan of Arc church was a highlight here, and the half-timbered buildings lining the old streets were interesting. Wish it hadn't been a Sunday as most of the shops and cafes were closed.