224 Kirkwall Cruise Reviews

While the Middleton Distillery (Scapa) and the Italian Chapel were wonderful, the frustration was that we were on a schedule. We were on a bus for over an hour before we got to a place that I would have loved to have stopped and ... Read More
While the Middleton Distillery (Scapa) and the Italian Chapel were wonderful, the frustration was that we were on a schedule. We were on a bus for over an hour before we got to a place that I would have loved to have stopped and experienced - standing stone circle that predated Stone Henge - but we had to keep going because we were held to a schedule to be at the chapel at a certain time. Allowing an extra half hour would have been perfect. HOWEVER! when we got to the pier, there were more than a 1,000 people waiting to get back to the ship by tender. It was cold, windy and rainy. Both my husband and I came down with colds. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We had previously been to Kirkwall and toured Skara Brae (a fascinating archeological site) so this time we ventured on our own. We were fortunate to be docked and the city provided a free shuttle into Kirkwall. (We felt bad for another ... Read More
We had previously been to Kirkwall and toured Skara Brae (a fascinating archeological site) so this time we ventured on our own. We were fortunate to be docked and the city provided a free shuttle into Kirkwall. (We felt bad for another ship in port which had to tender in high winds). We toured the ruins of the Earl’s Palace and the Bishop’s Palace, then St. Magnus Cathedral. We had arranged for a “behind the scenes” upstairs tour of the Cathedral (you need to arrange this with the custodian of the Cathedral well in advance as tours operate sporadically and only a few people go on any given day) and it proved to be, while exceptionally strenuous, one of the most interesting and unique things we have ever done. We had a wonderful lunch at a local restaurant (Helgi’s; I highly recommend the fish and chips) then caught the shuttle back to the ship with plenty of time to spare before sailaway. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Loved this place- went on an excursion to Skara Brae and Skall House- very interesting then enjoyed walking round Kirkwall
Loved this place- went on an excursion to Skara Brae and Skall House- very interesting then enjoyed walking round Kirkwall Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Took an excursion with the excellent guide Kathleen to Skara Brae, Skaill House, the Ring of Brodgar via Scapa Flow.
Took an excursion with the excellent guide Kathleen to Skara Brae, Skaill House, the Ring of Brodgar via Scapa Flow. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Tenders to the town and walked around this fascinating town with a lot of WW II history. Lots of small shops.
Tenders to the town and walked around this fascinating town with a lot of WW II history. Lots of small shops. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Orkneyʻs Neolithic ruins are fascinating. I though Roman ruins (2,000 years old) were cool. These in Orkney were 3,000 years older. Skara Brae is very well preserved. And, we visited an active archaeological site, teeming with ... Read More
Orkneyʻs Neolithic ruins are fascinating. I though Roman ruins (2,000 years old) were cool. These in Orkney were 3,000 years older. Skara Brae is very well preserved. And, we visited an active archaeological site, teeming with professionals and students digging. Also, interesting WWII history. Beautiful country. Although part of Scotland, they are very separate and consider themselves Orcadians, not Sottish. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Kirkwall is a lovely city and we enjoyed wandering around the shops and museums. Our Orkney Highlights tour included one hour in Stromness - nothing much to see or do there so a bit of a waste of time.
Kirkwall is a lovely city and we enjoyed wandering around the shops and museums. Our Orkney Highlights tour included one hour in Stromness - nothing much to see or do there so a bit of a waste of time. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Beautiful tour of the Scottish countryside. Saw lots of standing stones, Angus cows, sheep, etc. Learned a lot of the history of the area, especially the story of the sinking of the German ships at Scapa Flow during WWII.
Beautiful tour of the Scottish countryside. Saw lots of standing stones, Angus cows, sheep, etc. Learned a lot of the history of the area, especially the story of the sinking of the German ships at Scapa Flow during WWII. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Feeling refreshed and ready to go again after our self made sea day, our next port of call was the Orkney Islands. We had booked on recommendation with a private tour company and David was there to meet us. We had a lot of Neolithic ... Read More
Feeling refreshed and ready to go again after our self made sea day, our next port of call was the Orkney Islands. We had booked on recommendation with a private tour company and David was there to meet us. We had a lot of Neolithic places to visit and got right on the road. This was one of our most interesting days and we learned the most. First off we visited a working archaeological site, the Ness of Brodgar, with students from Williamette University in Oregon. This site, discovered in 2002, is unearthing a Neolithic cathedral, a massive complex of monumental Neolithic buildings along with associated artwork, pottery, bones and stone tools from 2500 BC. Pretty fascinating to think of the knowledge and complexity of this civilization so long ago. All the sites in the area are believed to be connected, and this thin strip of land is between Loch Harray, freshwater, and Loch Stenness, a sea loch. This site is between the Ring of Brodgar and the Stones of Stenness. We then went over to the Standing Stones of Stenness and we were able to walk among them and touch them. These are the oldest henge site in Britain, even older than Stonehenge. It is believed that at one time there were 12 stones in the circle, there are four today. We then moved on to the Ring of Brodgar, which has 36 surviving stones out of 60. This site has a large rock-cut ditch surrounding the site and we could only walk around it. It has never been excavated and was scheduled in 1882, one of the first places to be protected as a site of historical significance in the British Isles. The erection and construction of the site would have required considerable manpower and organization. There had been much rain in the proceeding weeks and the heather was blooming everywhere. We then moved on to Skara Brae, a Neolithic village. It is charmingly set up so that as you walk the path towards the site stones mark highlights in history in a timeline as you travel back 5000 years. It was uncovered by a storm in 1850. The homes have stone beds, dressers and seats. The structures of this semi-subterranean village are in impressive condition. Most telling, among all the artifacts, no weapons have been found. Although, among the hand tools, pottery and jewelry, gaming dice were discovered. The visitor center had a small café and we stopped for a quick snack and coffee before heading into Skaill House. This is a 17th century mansion, originally built in 1620 by Bishop George Graham. This house was lived in by a succession of relatives for over 400 years. We saw an original Orkney chair here and it was just as beautiful as the day it was made. Our last stop was at Maeshowe, which is a Neolithic chambered cairn and passage grave. It was probably built about 2800 BC. It is aligned so that the rear wall of the chamber is illuminated on the winter solstice. The modern opening was in 1861, and the workmen discovered Norse runes, proof that Norsemen had broken in probably in the 12th century. Their runic inscriptions are like modern day graffiti. This was such an interesting and informative day, and David did an amazing job of explaining it to us in laymen’s terms so we were not overwhelmed. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Orkney is much more commercialised than Shetland, and though there are some excellent sites, there are some that are expensive (Scara Brae). It is a lovely place and the views would have been good without the most and rain.
Orkney is much more commercialised than Shetland, and though there are some excellent sites, there are some that are expensive (Scara Brae). It is a lovely place and the views would have been good without the most and rain. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Nice little port. WE had tenders to the town which is a bit of a faf. Town is good for walking around, there are afew shops, cafes and bars togerther with the cathedral and palce ruins. This will take maybe acouple of hours to see. We ... Read More
Nice little port. WE had tenders to the town which is a bit of a faf. Town is good for walking around, there are afew shops, cafes and bars togerther with the cathedral and palce ruins. This will take maybe acouple of hours to see. We booked atour with the Highland Park distillery which is walk able from town an easy uphill there 20 minutes. Need to book as tours only allow limited numbers and while we were there some folks were turned away. Book on line. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We took the open top bus from the bus station which gave us an hour at Skara Brae plus a photo stop at the Ring of Brodgar. This was excellent value. Returning to Kirkwall we found a lively town with good options for a drink and/or a bite ... Read More
We took the open top bus from the bus station which gave us an hour at Skara Brae plus a photo stop at the Ring of Brodgar. This was excellent value. Returning to Kirkwall we found a lively town with good options for a drink and/or a bite to eat. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We had been expecting to see the stones. They were way off in the distance. The tour guide was more interested in talking about her home than educating us on what we were seeing.
We had been expecting to see the stones. They were way off in the distance. The tour guide was more interested in talking about her home than educating us on what we were seeing. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Another overview, included the Ring of Brogdar. Would have loved to go to Highland Park Distillery but not enough time. There is a Highland Park Shop in town.
Another overview, included the Ring of Brogdar. Would have loved to go to Highland Park Distillery but not enough time. There is a Highland Park Shop in town. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Kirkwall's center is a delightful walking area to explore. The cruise's included tour, Highlights of Historic Orkney, gave us a good sample of the countryside, a small fishing village and the Bronze Age Ring of Brodgar.
Kirkwall's center is a delightful walking area to explore. The cruise's included tour, Highlights of Historic Orkney, gave us a good sample of the countryside, a small fishing village and the Bronze Age Ring of Brodgar. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019

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