Belfast or Giants Causeway

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#1
california
26 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
My husband and I will be cruising the British Isles this summer on Marina and we have a question. If we can only do one thing should we stay in Belfast or opt for the tour to the Giants Causeway? We don't even get into port until noon and therefore the tour to the coast would take us into early evening. We don't leave until 11pm, but I don't know how much we could expect to see of Belfast after 7:00. Anyone have an opinion?
#2
Brooklyn, New York USA
7,124 Posts
Joined Aug 2000
We had a port of call in Belfast in June 2006 but we were there all day. We had a private tour to the Causeway and then a return to Belfast where our driver gave us a lovely city tour.

If I had to choose between the two I would say go to the Causeway. It's a beautiful drive up there and the site itself is splendiferous.

If you can then return to Belfast for a tour, fine. But if I had to choose between the two I would go to the Giant's Causeway. When is sunset? You may well have time for a Belfast tour as we did. Basically we drove around in the bus -- we did have a few stops but we spent far less time in Belfast than we did going up to the Causeway. It was interesting to see the "troubles" sights ...

For further specifics of what we did, please feel free to email me at mura @ speakeasy.net

Mura
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#3
1,933 Posts
Joined Jul 2008
Absolutely agree--go to the Causeway. We were there on a day when there wasn't a cloud in the sky and you could see for miles. Belfast is cool but no comparison with those great thrusts of rock and clifts. Also as Mura has said it is a great way to see the Irish countryside!
#4
Vancouver
2,047 Posts
Joined May 2008
The Causeway. Belfast is not near as interesting. You will enjoy the countryside on the drive there and will see all sorts of dilapidated castles and ruins. If you get a good guide their tales for that area are fascinating.
#5
116 Posts
Joined Sep 2009
Agree, agree, agree...the columnar lava rocks are awesome. Belfast tour probably would be about "the Troubles" and there isn't much to see except murals, barrier walls and painted curbs..Although I understand there has been alot of refurbishing of areas since we were there 3 years ago.. But the giant's causeway is quite spectacular and as said eslewhere the trip is lovely..
#6
Calabasas, CA, USA
11,613 Posts
Joined Dec 2002
Originally posted by timgram
My husband and I will be cruising the British Isles this summer on Marina and we have a question. If we can only do one thing should we stay in Belfast or opt for the tour to the Giants Causeway? We don't even get into port until noon and therefore the tour to the coast would take us into early evening. We don't leave until 11pm, but I don't know how much we could expect to see of Belfast after 7:00. Anyone have an opinion?
Is there an option to visit Londonderry (or "Derry" depending on your side)?
That's what we did when we docked in Belfast a few years back...

Londonderry/Derry is a very interesting old walled city and an important place in the history of Northern Ireland. We had a tour which, among other things, walked the walls...
Definitely one of the more memorable tours of our cruise to this region...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derry

http://www.discoverireland.com/us/ir...donderry-city/

http://www.derryvisitor.com/
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#7
Agoura Hills, CA, USA
1,477 Posts
Joined Jun 2000
Check in on the "Route of the Vikings" thread on Oceania, Marina Roll Calls. There are several posst there covering this subject.
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#8
Long Island
1,058 Posts
Joined May 2009
Went to the Giant Causeway on our Route of the Vikings Cruise last summer. Worth every minute! Spectacular views and natural beauty. (And we were there in driving rain) Not to mention the Finn McCool legend (a really cute story book was available in the bookstore for the grandkids). It was one of the hilights of our cruise.
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#9
Santa Rosa, CA
1,130 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
I would vote for the causeway.
You also get to drive along the countryside and through several nice small towns.
Remember you are pretty far north so you will have good light much later into the evening.
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#10
Delray Beach, Florida
494 Posts
Joined May 2009
I have to agree with the postings above. We were on the Vikings, Kings and Castles on the Regatta and the Causeway trip was a highlight. When we arrived back in Belfast, a local guide came on the vehicle , took us to the wall and other important sites. It gets dark there quite late, so you might be able to accomplish more that you think.
#11
Brooklyn, New York USA
7,124 Posts
Joined Aug 2000
We did the Causeway on a private tour but we had plenty of time for a tour of Belfast at the end of the day. Our driver even gave us 30-45 minutes walking around time (some people wanted to do a little shopping) in the downtown area.

No reason you can't do both ...
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#12
82 Posts
Joined Mar 2011
Originally posted by no fuss travel
The Causeway. Belfast is not near as interesting. You will enjoy the countryside on the drive there and will see all sorts of dilapidated castles and ruins. If you get a good guide their tales for that area are fascinating.
I am not so sure. Since language will not be a barrier, you must choose between a geological anomaly or a special city cultural experience. If you choose Belfast, do it on your own and visit the various neighborhoods. I have had many adventures in Belfast (particularly years ago during the times of the "troubles"). Try to meet and mingle with the locals to have unique experiences that will last a lifetime.
#13
Stamford, CT, USA
6,063 Posts
Joined Feb 2002
Just to throw a wrench into this landslide in favor of the Causeway, which is magnificent, I'd like to remind you that April of 2012 is going to be the 100th Anniversary of the Titanic (which was built in Belfast) and there are several fascinating tours of the Harland & Wolff shipyards where she was constructed.


The Edwardians considered Belfast to be a model for the Industrial Cities of their future, and more than 30,000 were employed at the shipyards alone.

With its own Post Office, banks, fire department and electricity supply, Harland & Wolff was, and is, a city within a city



They're mostly building tankers, and offshore Oil Rigs these days, but if you're interested in the mechanics of shipbuilding, it's a wonderful change of pace from Castles, museums and garden tours.

Have a great cruise!
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#14
Arizona, USA
433 Posts
Joined Oct 2009
Because of its still relevant history, my vote is for Belfast. We spent several days there before traveling to the Causeway and on to Derry. Learn more about "the troubles" by traveling down Falls Road soaking in the huge murals there, then on to Shankill Road, which parallels it. Check out the huge double gates at each intersention, which could shut off one side from the other in seconds. Talk to locals about what the issues really were, religion or economics. Visit Sandy Row with its imposing Bobby Sands mural, and the nearby cross street, aptly named Hope St. It's a walkable city, and walking it makes it very worthwhile to stop for a pint of Guinness at one of the pubs. For us, history, culture and people top impressive piles of stone. While the Finn MacCool legend is fun to hear, we actually found the Causeway to be disappointing, though the trip there does go through some gorgeous scenery along the Antrim Coast.
#15
Prescott, AZ
579 Posts
Joined Apr 2009
Originally posted by timgram
My husband and I will be cruising the British Isles this summer on Marina and we have a question. If we can only do one thing should we stay in Belfast or opt for the tour to the Giants Causeway? We don't even get into port until noon and therefore the tour to the coast would take us into early evening. We don't leave until 11pm, but I don't know how much we could expect to see of Belfast after 7:00. Anyone have an opinion?
Timgram:

Are you on the Northern Knights cruise? Have you joined our Roll Call yet? If not, be sure you do because there is a long list of people who will all be getting together for a Meet and Greet no-host cocktail party and you wouldn't want to miss out. Plus you can perhaps find others to share tours/transfers with.

Billie
#16
Prescott, AZ
579 Posts
Joined Apr 2009
Sorry Timgram--I just realized that yes, you have been on our roll call. I forgot to check your past posts first.

Looking forward to meeting you on board---we lived for 35 years in San Diego area before moving to AZ.

Billie
#17
california
26 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
Thanks everyone for your input. We were leaning towards the Causeway and now we'll definitely do that and hope we can find someone to take us for a quick evening drive around Belfast afterward (so far I'm having trouble getting any of the Black Taxi companies to respond to my emails). I know the buildings won't be open after 6pm, but at least we can see the outsides of them and the murals before it gets dark. I'm sure we'll also be able to make a "quality" stop at the Crown Liquor Saloon!!

P.S. to Mountain Grandma- we are signed up for the cruises meet and greet. Looking forward to it. Where did you live in San Diego? We're in Rancho Santa Fe.
#18
Prescott, AZ
579 Posts
Joined Apr 2009
Originally posted by timgram
Thanks everyone for your input. We were leaning towards the Causeway and now we'll definitely do that and hope we can find someone to take us for a quick evening drive around Belfast afterward (so far I'm having trouble getting any of the Black Taxi companies to respond to my emails). I know the buildings won't be open after 6pm, but at least we can see the outsides of them and the murals before it gets dark. I'm sure we'll also be able to make a "quality" stop at the Crown Liquor Saloon!!

P.S. to Mountain Grandma- we are signed up for the cruises meet and greet. Looking forward to it. Where did you live in San Diego? We're in Rancho Santa Fe.
We lived in Fletcher Hills for 30 years and one of our sons bought our house so he still lives there with his family. Our other son lives in San Marcos with his family and we have a condo in La Mesa since we visit them about once a month (except when we're traveling ). We moved to the mountains of AZ in 1999.

We are traveling with two other couples and none of us has seen Belfast so we have decided to stick with the city instead of the Causeway--this time. It looks beautiful. We know that in the summer of 2013, we want to take the cruise that goes up to Iceland so we will be back again to Belfast. We definitely will do the Causeway on that cruise.

Billie
#19
Brooklyn, New York USA
7,124 Posts
Joined Aug 2000
Sounds like a good plan, Billie.

We were there on one day only but it was a full day, and since we had a private tour we were able to fit both the Causeway and Belfast itself into our plans. Our bus driver/guide was great.

But it's even better if you can do one day at the Causeway and another day in Belfast ... I cannot say we saw everything there is to see in Belfast just because of the time we had. We got a good taste of it, but only a taste.

And we know from experience that you really cannot see a major city in one day when you are on a cruise. You can get a flavor, but not the full menu.

Mura
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#20
Lutz, Florida (Tampa)
187 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
Originally posted by Mura
Sounds like a good plan, Billie.

We were there on one day only but it was a full day, and since we had a private tour we were able to fit both the Causeway and Belfast itself into our plans. Our bus driver/guide was great.

But it's even better if you can do one day at the Causeway and another day in Belfast ... I cannot say we saw everything there is to see in Belfast just because of the time we had. We got a good taste of it, but only a taste.

And we know from experience that you really cannot see a major city in one day when you are on a cruise. You can get a flavor, but not the full menu.

Mura
Mura, can you tell me who your tour driver/ guide was? Also, were you happy with them? Thanks