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eurodl

British Isles 2021 - Which itinerary?

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We are looking at 2 itineraries for a 12-day British Isles cruise for 2021.  Both are on Crown Princess.  Which one would you do?  We would appreciate any first hand opinions.

Both are round-trips from Paris.

 

1.  12-Day British Isles with Portland (for Stonehenge)(from Paris)

2.  12-Day British Isles with Orkney Islands (from Paris)

3.  Would you go in May or September?

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DH and I did the Orkney Island itinerary last June. Really enjoyed it.  Did a 1/2 day tour in the morning and then did a tour of Highland Park distillery on our own in the afternoon. One of the reasons we did this itinerary was because the odds of us going to the Orkney Islands on our own are low.  Kirkwall was a very pleasant town as well. 

 

The weather was excellent in June.

 

Edited by Aggie83
Added a sentence.

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As the Orkney Islands is a tender port, you should take into consideration that sometimes the sea is too rough to tender and it gets cancelled.  In May or September the weather will be cool, It can even be cold in the first half of May or second half of September.

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Personally I would go for the May cruise, we can have some lovely weather in the UK in May Is it early or late May? I would do the Orkney Islands.

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I've done 2 British Isles cruises - Crown & Caribbean Princess from Southampton. Enjoyed them both equally, as well.

Re: tender in Orkney Is.--the line up to return to the ship was the longest I've ever seen. Did the ship's island bus tour, then had a wonderful lunch in a pub near tender.  Went both times in late August and missed one port each time due to winds/rough seas. Had to turn around in Edinburgh and return to Southampton the way we came, missing stop for Paris. The next time missing Guernsey.

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Are the other ports of call all the same?  The weather is likely (but not guaranteed) to be much better in Portland/Stonehenge than the Orkneys in either May or September but at the end of the day, Stonehenge is just a pile of big stones.  What else is on offer to combine with Stonehenge?  What are your preferences with regard to things you like to see/enjoy?  I assume when you say Paris that the ship leaves from Le Havre, which is two and a half to three hours from Paris?

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We loved our BI cruise last year.  As others have said, be prepared that you may have to skip a port.  We cruised in early June and weather was ideal for touring.  We did miss one port, Invergordon Scotland, due to a storm at sea and winds. Tender lines coming back to the ship in both Guernsey and S. Queensferry (the stop for Edinburgh) were quite long. But we just go with the flow! 

 

We would love love to do this cruise again as there is so much to see in each port.  

Edited by sunsetbeachgal

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I would grab the opportunity to visit the Orkney Islands. That was one of my highlights of the British Isles cruise. We did the excursion to Skara Brae, which was an intriguing historical site.

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Most of the trip is going to be kind of cool anyway because you're up near the arctic circle in the tippity top of the northern Scottish Highlands.  It's so beautiful you won't be able to feel your body anyway.

Save Stonehenge for a day trip when you visit London.  It's a quick bus ride out. 

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I vote for a May cruise.  I did the British Isles in May '17 and had very good weather.  

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Any chance you could go in August?  The Royal Military Tattoo (https://www.edintattoo.co.uk/) is held every August in Edinburgh.  It was a bucket list activity for us and certainly lived up to our expectations.  We had lovely weather during the last 2 weeks in August in 2013.

Edited by capriccio

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Another vote for Orkney and late May. 

Unless you can switch out Stonehenge for Bath or something, I wouldn't bother.

This was always our favorite cruise, you'll love every day!

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Hi

Would recommend Orkney as being a fantastic area to explore. We did BI tour last year (not with Princess) and are thing of doing another in 2021-and we would not miss the Orkneys. The Stone ring in the Orkneys is far better than Stonehenge-and you can get right up to it

DSCF7146.jpg

Edited by johnjc14
add a photo

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14 hours ago, Britboys said:

Are the other ports of call all the same?  The weather is likely (but not guaranteed) to be much better in Portland/Stonehenge than the Orkneys in either May or September but at the end of the day, Stonehenge is just a pile of big stones.  What else is on offer to combine with Stonehenge?  What are your preferences with regard to things you like to see/enjoy?  I assume when you say Paris that the ship leaves from Le Havre, which is two and a half to three hours from Paris?

 

Yes, other ports are the same.  Ship leaves from Le Havre.  We are not too interested in Stonehenge so I'm going to vote for Orkneys.  Of course I could get vetoed 🙂

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9 hours ago, capriccio said:

Any chance you could go in August?  The Royal Military Tattoo (https://www.edintattoo.co.uk/) is held every August in Edinburgh.  It was a bucket list activity for us and certainly lived up to our expectations.  We had lovely weather during the last 2 weeks in August in 2013.

 

We probably could but thought May or September would be less busy.

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14 hours ago, eurodl said:

 

We probably could but thought May or September would be less busy.

 

I went in late July/early August and did the Edinburgh Tattoo...was FANTASTIC!  That BI cruise is one of my all-time favorites! No more crowded than other times.

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I've been on 2 BI cruises.  Both were from Southampton, one stopped at Liverpool, the other at Orkney.  The first time we went in August to catch the Tattoo, the second time we went the first part of July.  

 

As already said the weather was/is variable.  The weather was nice to really nice/cool/cold/rainy/windy.  On each trip we had one whole day of rain in Scotland.  On the first trip we skipped Dublin entirely because it was too windy to dock.  

 

Also on the Orkney's it was quite windy.  Really windy.  Just for reference regarding the wind we were told there are no trees on Orkney except in those places where it's protected from the wind.  It just blows too hard, too often for little trees to take root.  There are standing stones on Orkney as well.  We really loved it, so that would be my choice.  Just bring a windbreaker/raincoat.

 

I would go again in a heartbeat but not in the middle of summer.  Given that the weather seems like a crap shoot no matter when, I would choose May for less crowds.

 

 

 

 

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Regarding Stonehenge if you are going to Southampton it's not far to drive from there. Weather in the UK is variable - last week it was cold, I was thinking winter woollies, this week it's sunbathing weather again. There is slight chance you can see the Northern Lights from the Orkneys in September.

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On 9/17/2019 at 6:39 PM, eurodl said:

Ship leaves from Le Havre.

 

I would be hesitant to book the round trip from Le Havre. I've read too many posts about the ship missing that port. If it missed the port at the beginning of your cruise, you would have to get to Southampton - and you would lose one day of the cruise. If it missed the port at the end of your cruise, you would have one extra day on board at no charge to Southampton, but then you would have to get back to France from Southampton.

 

The following post is just one example of the many about missing Le Havre:

 

On 9/17/2019 at 3:44 AM, dog said:

I've done 2 British Isles cruises - Crown & Caribbean Princess from Southampton. . . . Went both times in late August and missed one port each time due to winds/rough seas. Had to turn around in Edinburgh and return to Southampton the way we came, missing stop for Paris. The next time missing Guernsey.

 

If you book the round trip in Le Havre, make sure you're prepared for this possibility.

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10 hours ago, Go-Bucks! said:

 

I went in late July/early August and did the Edinburgh Tattoo...was FANTASTIC!  That BI cruise is one of my all-time favorites! No more crowded than other times.

Edinburgh is definitely more crowded in August than at any other time, although the rest of your ports probably weren't.

 

I agree with the comment about the Tattoo. It was absolutely fantastic.

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31 minutes ago, NavyVeteran said:

 

I would be hesitant to book the round trip from Le Havre. I've read too many posts about the ship missing that port. If it missed the port at the beginning of your cruise, you would have to get to Southampton - and you would lose one day of the cruise. If it missed the port at the end of your cruise, you would have one extra day on board at no charge to Southampton, but then you would have to get back to France from Southampton.

 

The following post is just one example of the many about missing Le Havre:

 

 

If you book the round trip in Le Havre, make sure you're prepared for this possibility.

Thanks for the tip. Maybe we will look at leaving from Southampton as an option. I checked today and it looks like the Paris departures are pretty full. Maybe there will be more availability from Southampton

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5 hours ago, Cathygh said:

There is slight chance you can see the Northern Lights from the Orkneys in September.

 

I was in Iceland for 4 days in September and never saw the Northern Lights...😥

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44 minutes ago, NavyVeteran said:

Edinburgh is definitely more crowded in August than at any other time, although the rest of your ports probably weren't.

 

I agree with the comment about the Tattoo. It was absolutely fantastic.

And in the same August timeframe as the Tattoo, you also have the fringe festival in Edinburgh. Between the two of them it is truly an extraordinary experience.

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20 hours ago, ontheweb said:

And in the same August timeframe as the Tattoo, you also have the fringe festival in Edinburgh. Between the two of them it is truly an extraordinary experience.

 

Would we be in port long enough to see either, or both?

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1 hour ago, eurodl said:

 

Would we be in port long enough to see either, or both?

The itineraries for the British Isles cruises in August are designed specifically for the Tattoo.

 

Those ships stopping in South Queensferry for the Tattoo will normally overnight there. On these cruises, you have all day in Edinburgh before the Tattoo. Since the ship is there until the next day and since South Queensferry is relatively close to Edinburgh, you can arrange your own transportation if you want.

 

Those covering the Tattoo from Greenock will have a scheduled departure time of around 2:00 am. If you go to Edinburgh on your own, then you do need to make sure you get back to the ship before 2:00 am - or, at least, before the last Princess excursion gets back. You can take a private excursion, but I would recommend doing so with a tour company that guarantees you get back to the ship. These itineraries often have a stop in South Queensferry as well as the one in Greenock - the South Queensferry stop leaves in the afternoon, so it is not suitable for the Tattoo.

 

I took a Princess excursion to the Tattoo from Greenock. I also know several people on my ship who took private excursions they had booked in advance with no problems.

 

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