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PRS3191

REFLECTION/British Isles & Ams PORT ADVICE

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Hello -

 

My partner and I are booked on the 12 night British Isles & Amsterdam cruise in August.  The ports are as follows:

 

  1. AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS 
  2. CORK (COBH), IRELAND 
  3. GLASGOW (GREENOCK), SCOTLAND 
  4. DUBLIN, IRELAND 
  5. DUBLIN, IRELAND 
  6. BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND 
  7. PORTLAND, DORSET, UK 
  8. CHERBOURG, FRANCE 
  9. DOVER, ENGLAND 
  10. BRUGES,(ZEEBRUGGE),BELGIUM

 

My question (I am a first time cruiser - my partner is not, but I am in charge of the research for this trip! lol) which ports are relatively easy to explore on ones own with simple transportation to the town center, etc. and which ports would any cruise experts suggest booking from the ship excursion options only? I've been exploring the website, boards and all of the wonderful sources available but could really use some advice before my head explodes with confusion!  Many thanks.

 

 

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Hi.  I actually live in Belfast.  Depending on fitness you can easily walk into the city centre (ten minutes). Belfast is a very compact city with great transport routes. There is plenty to see and do in the city and surrounding area. I guess it depends on what you would like to do. 

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Portland... book a tour... There isn't much to see or do around the harbour area.

 

I come from the area originally and although there are some interesting places to go and see on Portland, none are really walking distance and the ships tours will probably involve some distance but plenty of places to go and enjoy.

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Thanks kmhuk - Exactly the information I was looking for. We are both super fit guys and love walking.  Great to know we can actually walk into city center of Belfast. Thanks again.

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Mark T - Thanks also for Portland info. Will look into organized tour/excursion for that.

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My wife is from Greenock. There is nothing to do there! However Glasgow is a fantastic city and the train station is close to the dock. About 30 minutes and frequent.  I have never been in a town with so many available taxis so that could be an option to get to the station if walking an issue. Cheap too.

 

For Portland the Jurassic Coast with some great walks on the cliffs. I did a dive course in Portland - odd place. 
 

Belfast for Titanic Museum and we enjoyed the hop on Hop off bus & Crumlin Road Jail tour.  City convenient for the ship. Giants Causeway is far but great. 
 

Amsterdam is great for a wander round and a Museums. I tried the coffee houses and regretted it! 
 

Brugge is not far from the port tho needs a taxi. Ask around on your roll call to hire a minibus between several folk. Try the Moules and Chips. 

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Posted (edited)

I would book a tour in Cherbourg, either to Mont St Michael or to the D- Day beaches.

The attached photos were taken on our Mont St Michael tour, where quite a bit of climbing is involved. You also need to walk along the causeway to get to the island.

The American D Day beaches are nearest to Cherbourg, but it still will be quite a long ride to get to them.

401AE7FD-C2AD-4EC9-8D86-880AEDEFEFCE.jpeg

F1BA6DFD-13A9-43D0-A94E-8AB768352EFF.jpeg

Edited by upwarduk

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Posted (edited)

I live 6 miles along the coast from Greenock- You will sail right past my house so wave please lol.  First thing to say is get out of Greenock it really isn't the nicest of places around the dock area and do not go the the oak mall even us locals use it as a last resort, it breaks my heart when I see tourists in there when I know the stunning views are literally 3 mins up the hill in a taxi !!.  My first recommendation would be a tour of Loch Lomond if the ship does that but a bit far for diy in case of any delays.

Image result for loch lomond

  If you are a city person Glasgow is a good bet 45 mins by train station 5-10 min walk from port - Please get back to me if you fancy this and I will write a list of places to visit.  If you want to stay local then a taxi to Lyle hill in Greenock will give amazing views up toward the  mountains of north west of Scotland,

image.jpeg.cffd9f0c31b8704edf0fb551480757bf.jpeg 

 

or there is a coffee shop/ bar at the Cloch campsite which again offers stunning views (view form pool next to coffee shop). 

image.jpeg.bb4ffbeefd98f509bcabad9be32db715.jpeg

 

Near by village of Inverkip Marina

Image result for inverkip marina

has nice walk along the sea front  to Lunderstone

image.jpeg.66f6101b11d91caf8819b87bbc6b7502.jpegImage result for lunderston bay

(1hr  walk there and back) it also a decent restaurant with views over the yatchs.  However, my  2nd choice option would be lyle hill or coffee shop then a taxi to Largs (small pretty town I grew up in ) and famious for its art deco ice-cream parlour - Nardinis

image.jpeg.3d334d8ec38c6d9603600c8f43340253.jpegimage.jpeg.048e6574812bb1ac483fb67773d6d55d.jpegimage.jpeg.6076ed99ffbe089b50b2302ff0dba084.jpegimage.jpeg.9e05a643b56f559d03d0c0c5d5b17d58.jpeg

Edited by fragilek
sp

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We took a similar version of this cruise this past August, some of your ports were not on ours but we did leave from Amsterdam and stopped in Cobh, Greenock, Dublin, Belfast and Dover. I'll provide our experiences for you to consider (we are mid 40's, early 50's, well travelled, active and no mobility issues):

 

Cobh - we overnighted there, the first day we took an all day private tour to Blarney Castle & Kinsale, which we loved. Yes it was a lot of time on the bus, but the stops were worth it and made for a great day. Blarney - we would have loved more time there, and Kinsale was very quaint where we had a great meal and a nice walk around. We used Paddywagon Tours and I would recommend them again. As we were overnighting there, we had lots of time to walk around Cobh in the dusk, early night hours, we were able to get some great photos of the spectacular Cathedral as the dusk light was happening. There were a couple of lively pubs across the street from where the ship docks. Very easy to get back and forth. The second day we took the train from Cobh to Cork. We were supposed to do the Jameson Distillery tour to Middleton (pick up at the bus station) but there was a mix up and we ended up just walking around Cork. Even though it wasn't our original plan we were very happy with our day, again having a fabulous pub meal and a walk around the town for some shopping. The train back and forth to Cork/Cobh is extremely easy and convenient - the train stop is literally right outside of the ship's docking area. Just be cautious of the return times to the ship as it only runs once an hour at certain times in the day.

 

Greenock - we took the ship's excursion to Edinburgh. Again lots of bus time, but we felt with the distance we wanted to security of knowing we were with the ship's provider in case of issues. We wish we would have had more time in Edinburgh but we were happy with our first introduction to the city.

 

Dublin - we used the ship's shuttle transfer bus which takes you out of the port area and into town. While our driver got lost on the way into town, I would expect that was a rare exception and I would recommend doing this again, unless you really want to pay for a taxi to get you into town. To walk from the ship to town would be very long and not pleasant. It is a huge port and industrial area before getting to town. Once the transfer bus dropped us off, we got on the Hop On Hop Off (located at the same intersection), getting off at the Guinness Storyhouse and then spending time in the town area. This is another place where we wish would have had more time to just wander on our own, ejoying the pubs etc. If you like donuts, be sure to stop into the Rolling Donut!

 

Belfast - we took an all day private tour (arranged by someone on our roll call) to take us to Giant's Causeway, Carrick-A-Rede Rope bridge, Antrim Coast and a number of other stops. We loved this day!! We feel bad not seeing Belfast but next time we will have something new to look forward to!

 

Dover - we took the ship's all day excursion to London to see the London Tower, again choosing the ship's tour specifically for the security of the transportation. This was our greatest disappointment. The drive was very long, our tour guide was more like a history teacher (rather dull and very focused on Brexit), we didn't have a lot of time at the Tower and in our case the weather was terrible. If we were to stop again in Dover, we would definitely look for a tour in the Dover area as opposed to London.

 

If you have any questions, I'll do my best to answer. Happy Planning!!

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Check out the roll call for your cruise.  Try to join other members and put together private tours -- even if they are walking tours.  They are far more comprehensive than the big bus tours -- also you can see what you want not what the tour company suggests.  Its a great way to make new friends and see the world.

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On 1/4/2020 at 7:59 AM, fragilek said:

I live 6 miles along the coast from Greenock- You will sail right past my house so wave please lol.  First thing to say is get out of Greenock it really isn't the nicest of places around the dock area and do not go the the oak mall even us locals use it as a last resort, it breaks my heart when I see tourists in there when I know the stunning views are literally 3 mins up the hill in a taxi !!.  My first recommendation would be a tour of Loch Lomond if the ship does that but a bit far for diy in case of any delays.

Image result for loch lomond

  If you are a city person Glasgow is a good bet 45 mins by train station 5-10 min walk from port - Please get back to me if you fancy this and I will write a list of places to visit.  If you want to stay local then a taxi to Lyle hill in Greenock will give amazing views up toward the  mountains of north west of Scotland,

image.jpeg.cffd9f0c31b8704edf0fb551480757bf.jpeg 

 

or there is a coffee shop/ bar at the Cloch campsite which again offers stunning views (view form pool next to coffee shop). 

image.jpeg.bb4ffbeefd98f509bcabad9be32db715.jpeg

 

Near by village of Inverkip Marina

Image result for inverkip marina

has nice walk along the sea front  to Lunderstone

image.jpeg.66f6101b11d91caf8819b87bbc6b7502.jpegImage result for lunderston bay

(1hr  walk there and back) it also a decent restaurant with views over the yatchs.  However, my  2nd choice option would be lyle hill or coffee shop then a taxi to Largs (small pretty town I grew up in ) and famious for its art deco ice-cream parlour - Nardinis

image.jpeg.3d334d8ec38c6d9603600c8f43340253.jpegimage.jpeg.048e6574812bb1ac483fb67773d6d55d.jpegimage.jpeg.6076ed99ffbe089b50b2302ff0dba084.jpegimage.jpeg.9e05a643b56f559d03d0c0c5d5b17d58.jpeg

Thanks so much Fragile K. I would love your suggestions for Glasgow! Many thanks.

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No1  University of Glasgow  (but I am biased here lol, All my family (dad father inlaw,  brother, brother and sister in-law husband and both our girls studied here and to top that I met my husband on my first day here age 16yrs old lol.) - free

 

Image result for university of glasgowImage result for university of glasgow

 

image.jpeg.1c0e18b8b6ffa5fef26f71ef8cab13ed.jpeg

 

 

The uni hosts a mock up of Charles Rennie Mackintosh home- Hunterian museum  (original was knocked down due to subsidence) with his furniture - now the Glasgow school of art has been destroyed this is home to some really precious stuff for us Scots - there is a charge for this

 

image.jpeg.f39cee784b8416542d7096058e0e9aa5.jpegimage.jpeg.e8b899e7cb48d3ebb5b277c9aa4b97f0.jpeg

 

No 2 Right below the uni  is the Glasgow art Galleries - amazing building inside and out- free

 

image.jpeg.2eb1d2a4aeda7f16eec180dcc380e58a.jpegImage result for glasgow art galleries

 

No 3 City Chambers at Goerge square city center - free tours can be arranged here

 

image.jpeg.f76af1e10a7c3d9b0388c6608fd8226a.jpegimage.jpeg.0dfa128ef6d1f1a4fe0d479b7538cc64.jpegimage.jpeg.ceba79b47144ab3aaaf4152168709700.jpegimage.jpeg.03a575137b8bb35269ffe802d6a9d022.jpeg

 

 

 

image.jpeg

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For Belfast, I'd highly recommend this tour to the Antrim coast and the Giant causeway:

https://www.cityandcauseway.com/cruise-ship-tours

Through our roll call, I've found 2 other couples to join us and split the cost. We even had time to visit the murals in Belfast.

 

For Cork:

We took the train to Cork. Very easy - the station is at the pier. We went to the English Market in Cork, and then took the local bus to Kinsale, a very quaint place. Spent more than an hour wandering there, then took the bus back to Cork, and the train to Cobn. We still had time, and walked leisurely up to the Cathedral. It was, for us, a very interesting and relaxing day "with the locals"😁

 

 

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Posted (edited)

No 4 -  The Willow tea rooms Charles Renni Mackintosh styled tea rooms - nice little break in a traditioal Scottish tea room (the original design for these can be seen in the Glasgow art Galleries where his wife- Margaret Macdonald (and her sister)  art influence can be seen in his designs 

 

Image result for willow tea rooms

 

No 5 house of Frasers shop city center near no 4 worth a look in as very unique building for a shop 

 

image.jpeg.3922516cad68873065e753f6ed012f4e.jpeg

 

No6- Cup coffee shop- you can book amazing afternoon teas (my favorite place for this) in here - use Itison  for discounts. The building is just stunning 

Image result for cup glasgow afternoon teaimage.jpeg.723e2401f75bc76801c95a200aee0c39.jpegimage.jpeg.3933610022640d142e578e1c5ce0dd51.jpegimage.jpeg.86588887dd1e66bd72368ac2225a5463.jpeg

 

Make sure book/go to the Renfield st one 5 mins walk from frasers and city chambers (there are a few of this brand in glasgow)

 

 

Others places to visit 

 

People palce

 

image.jpeg.ade438f65f7be87d57640e4d723a474a.jpegimage.jpeg.f40ddfae834eff3eafd08111fca0450a.jpeg

 

 

Transport museum- and visit to sailing ship the Glen Lee

 

image.jpeg.77483e1238a351fd81f69271e1ef2d8c.jpegImage result for glasgow transport museum

 

And lucky the Waverley could be in its home dock and you may get a glimpse of her too but you can't visit her there

 

image.jpeg.ac50d2608dd46043f6f2e22b8a4de184.jpeg

 

You would also pass through Glasgow  Central station

 

Image result for glasgow centralimage.jpeg.949d4ea92bc7d9ffb560be7fb99b481e.jpeg

 

 

there are also some lovely park areas that you would pass through see.

 

Kelvingrove park separating the uni and the Art galleries.  The Glasgow green where the Peoples palace is and George square where you will find the City chambers.

 

 

 

Edited by fragilek
sp

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Another option for Dover is the nearby town of Canterbury.  We took the ship shuttle to town and then walked to the train station (not a long walk - maybe 5 or 10 minutes) and then took the train to Canterbury.  We spent quite a long time in the Cathedral, which is massive.  We also walked around the town along the medieval-looking streets.  It started raining so we ducked into a place for coffee.  It turns out the whole restaurant was gluten free, so my celiac husband got battered fish, onion rings and sticky toffee pudding - things that celiacs don't usually get to eat.  That just made his day.  But I digress.  :)  It was a lovely day in Canterbury and we got back in time to look around Dover a little bit and then took the shuttle back to the ship.

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Hey guys, 

 

Full disclosure - I'm a Cobh local (and a cruiser) so not even sure if I can post? but here goes - just delete if it's inappropriate. 

 

In Cobh,  there is so much to do here depending on how much time you have.  Some top ones are

 

  • The Titanic Experience 
  • Cobh Heritage Centre - great history in this one and there are options to trace your ancestors if have any Irish routes.
  • Butlers Shore Tours - https://www.ecoach.ie/ - They have a good cancellation policy and a great new Cobh Tour in an "open top bus" the itinerary is excellent and really covers all the fascinating history - its only €20. (The Butlers are a local Cobh family)- When you book with  these you receive discounts for the about 2 attractions.        
  • The Cathedral is visible from the waterfront when you sail in, it is absolutely  stunning so definitely worth the visit. It is a bit of an uphill walk though.   
  • Other great visits are - any of the local pubs (Kellys is very popular, a lovely family run bar) 

 Happy cruising, 

 

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On 1/3/2020 at 11:19 PM, PRS3191 said:

Hello -

 

My partner and I are booked on the 12 night British Isles & Amsterdam cruise in August.  The ports are as follows:

 

  1. AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS 
  2. CORK (COBH), IRELAND 
  3. GLASGOW (GREENOCK), SCOTLAND 
  4. DUBLIN, IRELAND 
  5. DUBLIN, IRELAND 
  6. BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND 
  7. PORTLAND, DORSET, UK 
  8. CHERBOURG, FRANCE 
  9. DOVER, ENGLAND 
  10. BRUGES,(ZEEBRUGGE),BELGIUM

 

My question (I am a first time cruiser - my partner is not, but I am in charge of the research for this trip! lol) which ports are relatively easy to explore on ones own with simple transportation to the town center, etc. and which ports would any cruise experts suggest booking from the ship excursion options only? I've been exploring the website, boards and all of the wonderful sources available but could really use some advice before my head explodes with confusion!  Many thanks.

 

 

 

Last year, my partner and I took a cruise on the Celebrity Reflection from Dublin via Belfast to Iceland and return via Cobh, back to Dublin.


Several things to mention:

 

1) At several ports,  Celebrity Reflection staff were very poor in managing crowds . We had long queues and long waits in some ports for disembarking the ship to the point we saw queue jumps and arguments.  Celebrity staff just looked away. So, please take that into account when you visit these ports.

 

2) You did not say which port you are boarding/embarking and which port you are disembarking at.  Disembarkation might be an issue especially if your diesembarkation port involves coach transfer to the main cruise terminal. In Dublin where we embarked and disembarked, we needed coach transfer to go to the terminal. We were not allowed to walk there because of cranes, etc. The day before we disembarked, we asked the customer service team mstaff on the Celebrity Reflection if coaches would be arranged to transfer us from the ship back to the Cruise terminal  . We had to ask customer relations staff, four times, and each time, they changed their answers!The final time was their customer service manager(?) and she assured us that everyone would be taken care off and we would be put on coaches to the main terminal. On the day of disembarking,  what she said did NOT happen. There was quite a CHAOS!!!! No coaches came for a long time. There were hundreds, if not , thousands of passengers which queued at the dock. After the scrum, only one coach came along. Initially, the coach driver said he only came to drop passengers but not pick them up (to take them to the Cruise terminal). We were not allowed to walk either (dock regulations). There were no signs of Celebrity crew at the dock, to assist.  Only Dublin dock staff were there. After pleading, we got on that coach but hundreds (and thousands?) were still waiting at the dock. Sorry to bring this to your attention, but PLEASE BE AWARE that might happen as you are on the same ship. On disembakation day, get to the queue early.

 

3) YOUR PORTS:

 

Amsterdam : if your cruise docks in the main Amsterdam cruise port, then, it is relatively close to central Amsterdam (1 mile to the Central Station). If your ship docks at Ijmuiden, then it is quite further away (24 miles). You can still take the train to Amsterdam.

 

Cork: You will most probably dock in Cobh. If you wish to visit Cork, which is 13miles alway, it is best to take the train. The train station is just by the side of the dock. Alternatively, Cobh is a nice town to visit as well, and it is within walking distance of where the dock is.

 

Dublin: You cannot walk from the ship to the terminal. You have to take a coach. Hope Celebrity might be more organized in arranging coach transfer than our last experience. From the port terminal, you could walk into Dublin city centre quite easily

 

Glasgow: other readers here have already given you their advise.  If you could find online some cruise excursions that take you to visit Edinburgh, it would be well worth it.  However,  Grenock is 78 miles away from Edinburgh, so it is not close by. Glasgow is much , much closer. Between Glasgow and Edinburgh, Edinburgh is more "made" for visitors. Edinburgh is the second most visit city in the UK after London.

 

Cherbourg: You can walk around town. Your ship is likely to dock close to town. However, there is not a lot to see and do in Cherbourg apart from the supermarket and their shopping centre (and not a very good shopping centre either!)  However, they have some good French eateries!!

 

Bruges/Zebrugge :  You would definitely need transport from Zebrugge to Bruges. You cannot walk there if you wish to have enough time to enjoy Bruges. Old Bruges , where most tourists wander, is a lovely place, with so much character but the prices are quite expensive.

 

 

Edited by Cahpek

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Thanks very much Cahpek ! Incredibly helpful information although I certainly hope that the embarkation/disembarking aspects are handled better than what you experienced, which sounds horrible! It's my first cruise and I selected Celebrity as I thought it would be a notch up with organization/processing guests.  At least know I am prepared for potential chaos. We booked in Concierge class so hopefully this will help a little.  We board and disembark in Amsterdam.  I looked at my itinerary on the Celebrity site but it does not state which specific port.  Is this something that is worked out more closely to the cruise or should the info be available now?   Thanks again for the advice.

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