68 Kirkwall Cruise Reviews

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
After driving to the Standing Stones of Stenness, three tall stones from the Neolithic period, we walked around the neolithic Ring of Brodgar, Not as impressive as Stonehenge, but older. If the rain had let up some, it would have been ... Read More
After driving to the Standing Stones of Stenness, three tall stones from the Neolithic period, we walked around the neolithic Ring of Brodgar, Not as impressive as Stonehenge, but older. If the rain had let up some, it would have been more fun. Later we had some time in the coastal village of Stromness which was very exposed to the sea but had grown and established itself as a port city for many folk transiting the Atlantic. The more sheltered Kirkwall to the south later became the preferred stopping place. In town, the hidden gem is St Magnus Cathedral. A beautiful 1137 structure, it is built from sandstone and is one of Orkney's most significant landmarks. Nearby beyond the cemetery, what looked to be two very old castles, we found the Bishop's Palace, a 12th Century townhouse and early 17th century palace. And across the street stood the Earl's Palace, one of the finest examples of French Renaissance architecture in Scotland. Entrance fee to go inside, but free to wander around the grounds. Read Less
Sail Date August 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
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
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 went on the Skara Brae and Brodgar excursion which was fascinating as Skara Brae had been on my bucket list. We also had a bit of a tour of the main island, including Scapa Flow. There were very long queues for the tenders on our ... Read More
We went on the Skara Brae and Brodgar excursion which was fascinating as Skara Brae had been on my bucket list. We also had a bit of a tour of the main island, including Scapa Flow. There were very long queues for the tenders on our return, but we toured the port and went to the hotel opposite to drink local whiskeys and an Irish coffee until the queues died down. Great day and the weather was good. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Did not join tour. The city is easy to go around on our own. Public transportation is available to the key places.
Did not join tour. The city is easy to go around on our own. Public transportation is available to the key places. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
I'd previously visited the Neolithic Orkney sites which is a must. I wandered around town, in and out of the shops. Visited the magnificent Cathedral, Bishop and Earls Palace, the Museum. The Tourist Info Centre had free wifi. I sat ... Read More
I'd previously visited the Neolithic Orkney sites which is a must. I wandered around town, in and out of the shops. Visited the magnificent Cathedral, Bishop and Earls Palace, the Museum. The Tourist Info Centre had free wifi. I sat down in the adjacent bus station and did my postcards and got stamps across the road from the PO. The day just went. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We arrived here a day early but too late in the morning for the single 10am Stagecoach bus tour we had planned. In the morning we took the free shuttle bus to town and visited the impressive Cathedral and a museum located just over the ... Read More
We arrived here a day early but too late in the morning for the single 10am Stagecoach bus tour we had planned. In the morning we took the free shuttle bus to town and visited the impressive Cathedral and a museum located just over the road. Both interesting and both free. Fortunately, on the previous day, we had been able to book the afternoon CMV tour 113002 to Skara Brae, Skaill House and the Ring of Brodgar. This cost £51 each but included the £6 ticket price for Skara Brae and the house, both worth seeing. We then were taken to Ring of Brodgar and had time to struggle around this ‘Stonehenge’ in high winds and poring rain. The tour also passed the Ness of Brodgar (site of the current archaeological revelations) and Scapa Flow although we did not see any Churchill Barriers. Our guide was knowledgable and spoke almost all the time during the coach transfers as well as at the sites. Although not cheep, the excursion was reasonable value, especially as, having missed the bus, there was probably no other way we could have seen even a few of the sights. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Kirkwall, Scotland: I was so looking forward to this port as there was a possible opportunity to see the northern lights entering or leaving Kirkwall. I had tracked the possibility on the Shetland Aurora site and stayed up till 11:30 in ... Read More
Kirkwall, Scotland: I was so looking forward to this port as there was a possible opportunity to see the northern lights entering or leaving Kirkwall. I had tracked the possibility on the Shetland Aurora site and stayed up till 11:30 in hopes of a glimpse but gave up because of all the cloud cover. It was mentioned by the captain that shortly after Kirkwall some passengers had mentioned a sighting. We docked at Hatson Pier in Kirkwall and a free port shuttle bus dropped us off at the town information and bus center. From there you could walk into town or catch the bus. There were 2 buses that provided a 3.5-hour tour of the area that people called a HOHO but it is not a true HOHO. It allowed you to stop at a site for a limited time and if you missed the cut-off, you were on your own getting back as it does only 1 loop. With limited availability, we didn’t plan for the bus trip. We had pre-booked a $10gbp tasting and tour at the Highland Park Distillery for noon. As we arrived into town early, we visited St Magnus Cathedral before catching the bus for $.75gbp to the distillery. We were lucky to have pre-booked the tour on-line for $10gbp as many from the ship were turned away. It seems NCL has many of the bookings combined with an island tour. The small group of 15 tour was informative and outstanding value. We received a tasting of their 10 yr. old and 12 yr. old scotch along with a commemorative glass each. The tour also gave you a $2gbp savings on any bottle purchased. I chose to purchase a 10 yr. old 700ml bottle commemorating Inspector John Rebus for $29gbp that available only at the distillery. I don’t drink scotch but SIL does. Surprisingly, I brought it back onboard without it having being taken away. We had planned to walk back to town but didn’t see anything on the way up so we took the bus back. Back in town, we visited the Bishop and Earl’s Palaces for $4gbp. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018

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