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British Isles Cruise Photo Heavy Review

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I promise this will be a photo heavy review. I want to get the business heavy part out of the way first, then on to photos. I will apologize now for playing in the beginning here on photo size. I can’t remember which works best. I promise I’ll get it right.

 

My husband (Kevin) says this was totally my cruise and he was just coming along for company. I know though that he has always wanted to see Ireland and Scotland. He had talked about wanting to see Edinburgh Castle since we started dating nearly 40 years ago, as he had a relative who spent time in the dungeon there. We both also had family come from Ireland. This was to be our 19th cruise and the third from an English port and I could not wait to get back. London has become my favorite city. I love the feel of the city and the ease of getting around. There is so much to see and do here whether you are on a tight budget or sky’s the limit. Us? Budget minded and somewhere in between.

 

With the budget minded and somewhere in between in mind, this is our cruising style. Plan ahead, prepay as much as possible, and know about where you are going to go. Every part of the trip is part of the experience. I reserved and prepaid all of our transfers, most of our hotels and exchanged monies for private tours and smaller shopping trips before leaving home. Cash was needed for the tours and I didn’t want to be looking for an ATM before leaving port or holding up the group during the tour. We booked our cruise with Princess because of the itinerary, ship reviews/refurb, and past cruise experience. Although most of our cruises are with Royal Caribbean, we had a wonderful cruise on the Tahitian Princess and looked forward to repeating the Princess experience. Our Cruise was a 12 night on the Caribbean Princess and included Kirkwall in the Orkney Islands. We have become suite snobs and usually stay in a Mini, Jr. or Sky suite when cruising. These give us the slightly larger cabin and a bathtub instead of the torpedo tube shower.

 

This trip we needed 6 transfers and all were book with Smith’s For Airports. We had used them on our last visit two years ago when we cruised to Norway and were SO pleased with the service. This visit was no different. They are very professional, on time, and pleasant to work with.

 

We have; in the past, flown Virgin Airlines. This cruise we booked our Virgin air through Princess as the flight was the same price as the airline’s website. I could bundle it with my cruise and pay for it along with my cruise instead of at the time of booking. This bundling also gave me an additional notification and help with new flights when Virgin dropped nonstops from Chicago a couple months after I booked the flights. I received nothing from Virgin notifying me that this was happening. And yes, I was receiving other information such as seat change notification and menu choices for my flights, so it wasn’t that I booked the flight through Princess. Princess was wonderful helping me re book flights in Premium Economy with British Airlines. Score a point for Princess. I wasn’t keeping score at this point, but as things went along Kevin was (you’ll see).

 

Now, we do book Premium Economy for our longer flight as Kevin is 6’ 4” tall and has size 14 feet and really needs that extra leg room. While there were multiple differences between our prior Virgin flights and these with British Airways I would likely fly them again but only because I want nonstops and Virgin is no longer a choice. The seats were very comfortable. The leg rest and recline was much more comfortable than the Virgin seats, although not quite as wide. I also used an inflatable footrest in front of the leg rest to support my feet. Very comfy for sleeping. The service on board was lacking. On the outbound flight, there was only one flight attendant for our section. Poor thing was trying to serve all of the meals herself. Our side of the plane was not served for 45 minutes after the port side. Our poor flight attendant was also apparently also expected to assist with economy. Return flight was better in the service department.

 

Us belted into our seats and ready to start our adventure!!

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About those seats:

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That foot and leg room I mentioned:

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The extra storage space between the seat and wall:

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We flew over night to Heathrow/London and arrived early on Sunday morning. We were met by our wonderful Smith’s driver and got on our way to The Royal Horseguards Hotel. We obviously arrived way to early for check in (09:00) so our room was not ready. We were told they hoped to have something by noon at the latest and they would call my cell when ready. I did forget to mention in the business part that I also added an international data and call plan to mu AT&T plan. First thought was COFFEE and scones - yep, it’s a must. So off we went.

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While we were her enjoying our breakfast I noticed the room darken just a bit, looking toward the window I saw a HOHO bus and took the message on the side as a great omen

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As I mentioned at the beginning of this, this cruise was all bout me (ok, my husband was right) I had an agenda and was on a mission. The first time we visited London wa did a HOHO bus tour through Trafalgar Square. This was enough for Kevin but not for me. I wanted to “play with the lion” and actually walk on through. As we drove around the square with our drive, it was nearly empty. Our driver reminded me that it was rather early on a Sunday morning. Now, with breakfast and caffeine in we were off so I could play with the lions and walk through the square.

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The arch to the box to tick off on my list

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Saint James Park and up The Mall

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Starting to feel that my coffee is wearing off and wishing our room was ready I look at my watch and realize it’s nearly time for changing of the guard. I then notice a glint over to my left and, YES!! it’s the Royal Horse Guard and they are coming our way!! This morning is ticking all kinds of boxes on my list. Feeling wide awake I get close to the road and out of the way to enjoy the view.

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After making our way through the park we wandered down to check out the now quiet Big Ben, the Westminster area and down to Whitehall for our hotel.

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Churchill War Rooms - covered by our London Pass. We passed though due to fatigue.

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Love seeing (and hearing) about your visit. Going to London next June and having a really hard time deciding what to do, I suspect I'll be adding even more to my list and reading your review and seeing the wonderful pictures.

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We saw this guy as we came closer to our hotel

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Our beautiful, historic hotel The Royal Horseguards Hotel. We had a city view room.

 

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Enjoying your review and the nice photos! Also did the British Isles on Princess last month and I can relate to how excited you were.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

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Amenities included these plus a heated bathroom floor and towel dryer.

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Following a little rest we walked the Victoria embankment and had dinner at the hotel.

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Our hotel and grounds.

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Love seeing (and hearing) about your visit. Going to London next June and having a really hard time deciding what to do, I suspect I'll be adding even more to my list and reading your review and seeing the wonderful pictures.

I'm glad you are enjoying the review so far. This is my only my second review and I don't know how to do a short one. So I hope you can hang with me to the end. If you have any questions about things we did or places we went please ask.

 

Enjoying your review and the nice photos! Also did the British Isles on Princess last month and I can relate to how excited you were.

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

Thanks, I remember seeing your screen name pop up as I was planning.

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Not terrible early the next morning we returned to the Cafe Concerto for breakfast, checked out of the hotel and were on our way to Southampton with our Smith’s driver.

 

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Thanks to a few here on Cruise Critic we were lucky enough to find The Pig In The Wall in Southampton. We usually prefer historic, unusual, different types of hotels. And The Pig fit the bill. The people and service here were fantastic. We really enjoyed our time here and would both love to go back someday.

 

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Our room was called a “Spacious Room” and was exactly what I was hoping for when I booked. Booking for this hotel was done on their website and one of the rooms not paid in advance.

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The actual bathroom - toilet shower area was separate from the tub area and had a fantastic rain shower head. The toilet was an old fashion pull chain affair.I have pics, but Tinypic keeps turning all of my vertical pics horizontal. If anyone wants to see them anyway I’ll post them.

Outside the hotel, they grow their own herbs and use them for the cooking in their kitchen.

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Inside the lobby of The Pig

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It was 80 degrees F when we were there. The hottest Summer Bank Holiday in 50 years, so there were no fires in the fireplaces. I have seen photos from when they were lit and the room looked super cozy.

 

Duke of Wellington Pub, where we had a CC precruise get together.

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A peek through the wall

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WAHOO!!! It’s finally cruise day!! We were booked into cabin E730 which is a Mini suite on the 8th deck waaay in the back. It has a very nice extended balcony which allows views of both the post side and stern or wake. We did have noise from the lounge directly beneath us. Most nights it was no big deal. However one night in particular things were SO loud it was like a scene from Jurassic Park as the dinosaurs approached. I kid you not, the water in my glass next to the bed jumped with the beat. Remember my husband and his scorecard?

Anyway, boarding was not terrible. Princess has a great process, and ques for every part of that process. Unfortunately our fellow cruisers did not seem to want to follow direction. The harder the port personal tried to clear the way for people to board the harder people pushed to have their own way. Being mere Gold Captain Circle members, left us in the chairs long enough to be entertained.

To the left of our chairs. Where they were trying so very hard to board passengers

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To the right where you can see how very light the crowd was and why this should have been quick and easy.

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Caribbean Princess E730

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Now for a couple technical pics. I know there are people out there that are curious about the hook ups on the tv. Please excuse the sideways pic. As I mentioned above, all of my vertical pics are getting turned horizontal. Not sure why, I have used them for year and this is the first time I have had this issue. At first I thought it was just the iphone pics, but these are with my new Lumix camera.

 

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Out and about the ship

 

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A couple more and we are on our way. Our sailaway party was held on the stern of the ship at the Terrace Pool Bar.

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There was a Bank Holiday Regatta being held as we sailed away.

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We have seen this pretty place before. Does anyone know what it is?

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Here we go to the beautiful British Isles. We also pre purchased the all inclusive photo package for $99. Don’t worry I won’t share all of them here.

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We have seen this pretty place before. Does anyone know what it is?

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This is Netley Castle' date=' on the port side a mile or two after leaving Southampton.

Googlemaps give it the name Palace by the Solent but it was never a palace & strictly-speaking its on Southampton Water & not the Solent.

Built in 1539 as a defensive artillery position for Henry V111 after one of his spats with our European neighbours.

Much of it was built re-using stone from Netley Abbey, the ruins of which lie behind it having been demolished as part of Henry's Dissolution of the Monasteries.

De-commissoned during the Civil War in the 1640's.

The main tower at the southern end (right-hand end on the photo) and other additions were built in later years.

It saw service as a private house and a nursing home before being converted to private apartments about 40 years ago

 

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Palace+By+The+Solent/@50.8743032,-1.3783319,5264m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m8!1m2!2m1!1scastle+near+Netley!3m4!1s0x0:0x827a8b88e08f75c3!8m2!3d50.8775697!4d-1.360061

[b']

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JB :)

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This is Netley Castle, on the port side a mile or two after leaving Southampton.

Googlemaps give it the name Palace by the Solent but it was never a palace & strictly-speaking its on Southampton Water & not the Solent.

Built in 1539 as a defensive artillery position for Henry V111 after one of his spats with our European neighbours.

Much of it was built re-using stone from Netley Abbey, the ruins of which lie behind it having been demolished as part of Henry's Dissolution of the Monasteries.

De-commissoned during the Civil War in the 1640's.

The main tower at the southern end (right-hand end on the photo) and other additions were built in later years.

It saw service as a private house and a nursing home before being converted to private apartments about 40 years ago

 

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Palace+By+The+Solent/@50.8743032,-1.3783319,5264m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m8!1m2!2m1!1scastle+near+Netley!3m4!1s0x0:0x827a8b88e08f75c3!8m2!3d50.8775697!4d-1.360061

JB :)

 

Just to add that there is a 4 bedroom penthouse at Netley Castle for sale atm, for around £1m with taxes.

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Enjoyed your review and pictures. I did this cruise in 2013 on the Caribbean Princess. I enjoyed it so much I did the 8 day British Isles cruise in 2015.

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