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We are taking the Norwegian Star on the 14 day British Isles tour in May 2020.  We have a night in London before the cruise and hope to do the transfer with a stop at Stonehenge on the way to Southhampton.

 

For our cruise, so far this is a rough draft of what I'm thinking. Done lots of research, but it's quite daunting for those of us not familiar with these wonderful stops.

 

Le Havre - Booked Overlord Tours

Bruges - taking van into town to explore on our own

Amsterdam - Anne Frank or Corrie Ten Boom house, canal cruise, explore

Edinburgh - Don't have this nailed down yet. We would like to go to Livingston Scotland (our surname), but open to suggestions.

Invergordon - http://www.shorexcursions.co.uk/loch_ness_5.htm

Kirwall - We only have a half day here. Just go into town?

Greenock/Glasgow - https://discoverscotlandtours.com/tours/loch-lomond-stirling-castle-trossachs-shore-excursion/#Details

Belfast - Giant's Causeway and Titanic  - possibly https://www.finnmccoolstours.com/belfast-titanic-and-giants-causeway-tour-from-dublin/

Liverpool - nothing has caught my fancy here. Not huge Beatles fans. Thinking a down day and just explore in town?

Dublin - Want to see Cliffs of Moher but wonder if we'd be better to take in the city

Corkh - Blarney/Kinsale - ditto

Portland - http://dorsetdaytrips.co.uk/portland-cruise-ship-passengers-visit-the-best-sights-of-dorset-the-jurassic-coast/

Southhampton to London - considering transfer including stop at Windsor and/or Bath

 

We have rented a flat 4 nights after in Kensington to enjoy the sights of London. Considering taking the first train to Paris for a day trip there as our daughter doesn't want to be that close and not go.

 

Feeback and suggestions, please!! TIA!

 

Edited by modernscarlett
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A pretty good itinerary, so just a few suggestions.......

 

Are you planning your pre-cruise night in Heathrow or central London?

London is 16 urban miles from Heathrow - you'll see little of the city on the jet-lagged day you fly in, and you'll be spending time there post-cruise.

But a night in airport-land isn't great either 

You could skip the pre-cruise tour-transfer to Southampton and travel down to Southampton by National Express bus - much less stressful and very much easier on the pocket. https://www.nationalexpress.com/en 

You could then combine Salisbury Cathedral,  Stonehenge & Windsor in a single post-cruise tour-transfer from Southampton to your London hotel with  https://www.londontoolkit.com/travel/southampton_to_london_shared_bus.html (I'm guessing its the same operator as your pre-cruise plan)

Much more relaxing, a great deal easier on your wallet for both transfer and hotel, and much better value post-cruise than pre-cruise because it's a full day -  no need to finish early-afternoon for cruise registration.

BTW, it's Southampton, not Southhampton

 

Amsterdam - if the weather's fine, opt for a canal tour in one of the small (about 20 passengers) electric open canal boats moored along Damrak. Cost &duration about the same as the big glassed-in boats, but no superstructure or other passengers to screw-up photo opportunities, goes down small canals impossible for the regular canal boats, no fumes, and live commentary by the knowledgeable captains.

 

I've not been to Livingston - and I'm never likely to. It's a "New Town", built in the 1960s and I don't think it has anything of interest to a visitor.

Edinburgh is a wonderful & historic city, Edinburgh Castle sits on a rock in the city centre & approached by the "Royal Mile" of historic buildings, pubs, cafes, monuments, sights etc,

I wouldn't forgo Edinburgh to visit a very ordinary town which has my surname.

I'd rather change my surname by deed-poll from Livingston to Edinburgh :classic_wink: 

 

If Liverpool doesn't interest you, check out https://www.busybus.co.uk/cruise-excursions who operate cruise excursions from Liverpool to north Wales. Snowdonia Nat Park, Conwy Castle, etc.

Busybus has an excellent reputation, including amongst Cruise Critic members.

 

Portland -  I don't know the tour operator, but it goes to all the right places. As per their website, Portland can be a pain meeting up with transportation .

The alternatives are ship's shuttlebus to the Victorian seaside resort of Weymouth, and the D-Day museum located near your ship.

 

A Paris day-trip  from London is a very long day. But folk do it, and I can understand the attraction for those who think they may not get the opportunity to make a "proper" visit in the future.

Eurostar ticket prices are fluid, rising steeply closer to the day. So buy as soon as you are definite about your plans.

 

Hope this helps more than it confuses.

 

JB :classic_smile:

Edited by John Bull
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Be aware that you need to book Anne Frankhuis online. Best is 2 months prior, then most tickets come available.

After that more or less only  early in the morning on the day itself itself, but again only online. No more standing inline at the house.

https://www.annefrank.org/en/

Corry ten Boomhuis is not in Amsterdam but in Haarlem, which is a short trainride away. It is walkable from the haarlem station to the house. Also here make reservations online. https://www.corrietenboom.com/en/home

Check this link for a nice canalcruise: https://kinboat.com/en/tours/cruise-like-a-local

Edited by Ine
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2 hours ago, John Bull said:

A pretty good itinerary, so just a few suggestions.......

 

Are you planning your pre-cruise night in Heathrow or central London?

London is 16 urban miles from Heathrow - you'll see little of the city on the jet-lagged day you fly in, and you'll be spending time there post-cruise.

But a night in airport-land isn't great either 

You could skip the pre-cruise tour-transfer to Southampton and travel down to Southampton by National Express bus - much less stressful and very much easier on the pocket. https://www.nationalexpress.com/en 

You could then combine Salisbury Cathedral,  Stonehenge & Windsor in a single post-cruise tour-transfer from Southampton to your London hotel with  https://www.londontoolkit.com/travel/southampton_to_london_shared_bus.html (I'm guessing its the same operator as your pre-cruise plan)

Much more relaxing, a great deal easier on your wallet for both transfer and hotel, and much better value post-cruise than pre-cruise because it's a full day -  no need to finish early-afternoon for cruise registration.

BTW, it's Southampton, not Southhampton

 

Amsterdam - if the weather's fine, opt for a canal tour in one of the small (about 20 passengers) electric open canal boats moored along Damrak. Cost &duration about the same as the big glassed-in boats, but no superstructure or other passengers to screw-up photo opportunities, goes down small canals impossible for the regular canal boats, no fumes, and live commentary by the knowledgeable captains.

 

I've not been to Livingston - and I'm never likely to. It's a "New Town", built in the 1960s and I don't think it has anything of interest to a visitor.

Edinburgh is a wonderful & historic city, Edinburgh Castle sits on a rock in the city centre & approached by the "Royal Mile" of historic buildings, pubs, cafes, monuments, sights etc,

I wouldn't forgo Edinburgh to visit a very ordinary town which has my surname.

I'd rather change my surname by deed-poll from Livingston to Edinburgh :classic_wink: 

 

If Liverpool doesn't interest you, check out https://www.busybus.co.uk/cruise-excursions who operate cruise excursions from Liverpool to north Wales. Snowdonia Nat Park, Conwy Castle, etc.

Busybus has an excellent reputation, including amongst Cruise Critic members.

 

Portland -  I don't know the tour operator, but it goes to all the right places. As per their website, Portland can be a pain meeting up with transportation .

The alternatives are ship's shuttlebus to the Victorian seaside resort of Weymouth, and the D-Day museum located near your ship.

 

A Paris day-trip  from London is a very long day. But folk do it, and I can understand the attraction for those who think they may not get the opportunity to make a "proper" visit in the future.

Eurostar ticket prices are fluid, rising steeply closer to the day. So buy as soon as you are definite about your plans.

 

Hope this helps more than it confuses.

 

JB :classic_smile:

 

Very helpful. I much appreciate your input!

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2 hours ago, Ine said:

Be aware that you need to book Anne Frankhuis online. Best is 2 months prior, then most tickets come available.

After that more or less only  early in the morning on the day itself itself, but again only online. No more standing inline at the house.

https://www.annefrank.org/en/

Corry ten Boomhuis is not in Amsterdam but in Haarlem, which is a short trainride away. It is walkable from the haarlem station to the house. Also here make reservations online. https://www.corrietenboom.com/en/home

Check this link for a nice canalcruise: https://kinboat.com/en/tours/cruise-like-a-local

Thank you!

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Le Havre - Booked Overlord Tours

I've been with Overlord and enjoyed the experience, particularly the stop in Bayeux. If you decide you want to head somewhere else, I've also enjoyed a day tour that visited Giverny (for Monet's garden) and Rouen from Le Havre.

 

Bruges - taking van into town to explore on our own

Tip: don't eat breakfast on the ship. Leave room for all the waffles and chocolate and etc! If you change your mind on Bruges, another interesting experience is a WWI Flanders tour (Passchendale, etc.)

 

Amsterdam - Anne Frank or Corrie Ten Boom house, canal cruise, explore

I've noticed other people have already mentioned the importance of pre-booking Anne Frank tickets ASAP and going with the smaller canal boats. Other things I enjoyed in Amsterdam are the Van Gogh Museum and (slightly outside the city) Zaanse Schans.

 

Edinburgh - Don't have this nailed down yet. We would like to go to Livingston Scotland (our surname), but open to suggestions.

I would also opt to stay in the city! My favourite thing was actually the Royal Yacht Britannia (which is on one of the HOHO loops, but we were with a tour that dropped us there.)

 

Invergordon - http://www.shorexcursions.co.uk/loch_ness_5.htm

I've done this. It was okay. I liked Urquhart. The gardens of Cawdor are better than the interiors.

 

Greenock/Glasgow - https://discoverscotlandtours.com/tours/loch-lomond-stirling-castle-trossachs-shore-excursion/#Details

I love the Trossachs and Stirling Castle is one of my favourites.

 

Belfast - Giant's Causeway and Titanic  - possibly https://www.finnmccoolstours.com/belfast-titanic-and-giants-causeway-tour-from-dublin/

Do you have time to do all this on just a port stop? I'd pick EITHER the Antrim Coast (with the Giant's Causeway, Dark Hedges, Dunluce, and also the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, if you have advance tickets) OR the Titanic Museum and a Troubles tour of Belfast?

 

Liverpool - nothing has caught my fancy here. Not huge Beatles fans. Thinking a down day and just explore in town?

I'd also head to Wales, myself.

 

Dublin - Want to see Cliffs of Moher but wonder if we'd be better to take in the city

Cliffs of Moher are waaaay too far away to make the drive worth it. The city's great. My favourite sight was probably Trinity College with the student-led tour and the Book of Kells/Library exhibition. If you want to get out of the city, there are tours to the Hill of Tara and Newgrange in the Boyne Valley, a little north of Dublin. And there are tours to Powerscourt and Glendalough in the Wicklow mountains. (I've done all those options and enjoyed them.)

 

Corkh - Blarney/Kinsale - ditto

I enjoyed Blarney Castle more than Kinsale. The castle isn't much, but the grounds are lovely and I especially enjoyed the Rock Close.

 

Portland - http://dorsetdaytrips.co.uk/portland-cruise-ship-passengers-visit-the-best-sights-of-dorset-the-jurassic-coast/

Not been here yet!

 

Southhampton to London - considering transfer including stop at Windsor and/or Bath

I'm wondering if you want to do Stonehenge on the way back, which would also give you time to stop in Salisbury? Some return transfers visit Stonehenge + Salisbury + Windsor.

 

I don't know that I'd spend a day doing the transfer to Paris. I certainly wouldn't plan on it until I saw how Brexit shakes out!

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14 hours ago, trosebery said:

 

I don't know that I'd spend a day doing the transfer to Paris. I certainly wouldn't plan on it until I saw how Brexit shakes out!

 

 

If, when, & under what terms Brexit happens, it'll make no significant difference to a US or any other non-UK or non-EU tourist travelling between the UK & France or any other EU country, 

 

Brexit is mainly about international trade (tariffs, production standards, trade deals etc), also about long-term immigration,  and probably some areas of co-operation eg deportation,  intelligence-sharing  (though I have little doubt protocols will remain broadly the same), jurisdiction & supremacy of the European Court, etc. 

And yes, it's a confusing & frustrating situation for us Brits, both those of us who chose to Leave and those of us who chose to Remain. Not helped by time extensions and political games between politicians. I think politicians now occupy bottom spot in the unpopularity stakes below lawyers and real estate agents..

But even the most extreme Brexit will hardly be noticed by the foreign traveller.

 

It will make no difference to your rights to travel or immigration procedure - immigration will still be exactly the same for tourists.

Although currently in the EU, the UK (and the Irish Republic) are not in the Schengen no-borders agreement. Passports are currently required for all nationalities for travel to or from a Schengen country, and that will continue regardless of any Brexit result or terms.

 

It will not affect travel services like Eurostar, airplanes, ferries, or private travel

other than perhaps delays at ferry ports (not cruise ships) for a week or two in the event of a short-notice "cliff-edge" Brexit if there's a back-log of trucks.

 

It might affect goods that you purchase.

Depending on the final Brexit outcome, we may see the return of "duty-free" goods on travel services between the UK and EU, similar to most duty-frees world-wide. 

And VAT (sales tax) reclaims on expensive goods that you buy & take home will probably mean fling one set of papers for goods bought in the UK and another for goods bought in the EU.

 

Britain is very much open for business, and because of Brexit (whether the fact or the uncertainty of it)  sterling gives very very good value at the moment - which is good for you :classic_smile:, not so good for us :classic_sad:

 

Brexit will not affect your plans to travel between the UK and the EU. and will have very little effect on Brits travelling to Europe or Europeans travelling to the UK 

 

JB :classic_smile:

 

 

Edited by John Bull
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14 hours ago, trosebery said:

Le Havre - Booked Overlord Tours

I've been with Overlord and enjoyed the experience, particularly the stop in Bayeux. If you decide you want to head somewhere else, I've also enjoyed a day tour that visited Giverny (for Monet's garden) and Rouen from Le Havre.

 

Bruges - taking van into town to explore on our own

Tip: don't eat breakfast on the ship. Leave room for all the waffles and chocolate and etc! If you change your mind on Bruges, another interesting experience is a WWI Flanders tour (Passchendale, etc.)

 

Amsterdam - Anne Frank or Corrie Ten Boom house, canal cruise, explore

I've noticed other people have already mentioned the importance of pre-booking Anne Frank tickets ASAP and going with the smaller canal boats. Other things I enjoyed in Amsterdam are the Van Gogh Museum and (slightly outside the city) Zaanse Schans.

 

Edinburgh - Don't have this nailed down yet. We would like to go to Livingston Scotland (our surname), but open to suggestions.

I would also opt to stay in the city! My favourite thing was actually the Royal Yacht Britannia (which is on one of the HOHO loops, but we were with a tour that dropped us there.)

 

Invergordon - http://www.shorexcursions.co.uk/loch_ness_5.htm

I've done this. It was okay. I liked Urquhart. The gardens of Cawdor are better than the interiors.

 

Greenock/Glasgow - https://discoverscotlandtours.com/tours/loch-lomond-stirling-castle-trossachs-shore-excursion/#Details

I love the Trossachs and Stirling Castle is one of my favourites.

 

Belfast - Giant's Causeway and Titanic  - possibly https://www.finnmccoolstours.com/belfast-titanic-and-giants-causeway-tour-from-dublin/

Do you have time to do all this on just a port stop? I'd pick EITHER the Antrim Coast (with the Giant's Causeway, Dark Hedges, Dunluce, and also the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, if you have advance tickets) OR the Titanic Museum and a Troubles tour of Belfast?

 

Liverpool - nothing has caught my fancy here. Not huge Beatles fans. Thinking a down day and just explore in town?

I'd also head to Wales, myself.

 

Dublin - Want to see Cliffs of Moher but wonder if we'd be better to take in the city

Cliffs of Moher are waaaay too far away to make the drive worth it. The city's great. My favourite sight was probably Trinity College with the student-led tour and the Book of Kells/Library exhibition. If you want to get out of the city, there are tours to the Hill of Tara and Newgrange in the Boyne Valley, a little north of Dublin. And there are tours to Powerscourt and Glendalough in the Wicklow mountains. (I've done all those options and enjoyed them.)

 

Corkh - Blarney/Kinsale - ditto

I enjoyed Blarney Castle more than Kinsale. The castle isn't much, but the grounds are lovely and I especially enjoyed the Rock Close.

 

Portland - http://dorsetdaytrips.co.uk/portland-cruise-ship-passengers-visit-the-best-sights-of-dorset-the-jurassic-coast/

Not been here yet!

 

Southhampton to London - considering transfer including stop at Windsor and/or Bath

I'm wondering if you want to do Stonehenge on the way back, which would also give you time to stop in Salisbury? Some return transfers visit Stonehenge + Salisbury + Windsor.

 

I don't know that I'd spend a day doing the transfer to Paris. I certainly wouldn't plan on it until I saw how Brexit shakes out!

So very helpful. Thank you!

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3 minutes ago, John Bull said:

 

 

If, when, & under what terms Brexit happens, it'll make no significant difference to a US or any other non-UK or non-EU tourist travelling between the UK & France or any other EU country, 

 

Brexit is mainly about international trade (tariffs, production standards, trade deals etc), also about long-term immigration,  and probably some areas of co-operation eg deportation,  intelligence-sharing  (though I have little doubt protocols will remain broadly the same), jurisdiction & supremacy of the European Court, etc. 

And yes, it's a confusing & frustrating situation for us Brits, both those of us who chose to Leave and those of us who chose to Remain. Not helped by time extensions and political games between politicians. I think politicians now occupy bottom spot in the unpopularity stakes below lawyers and real estate agents..

But even the most extreme Brexit will hardly be noticed by the foreign traveller.

 

It will make no difference to your rights to travel or immigration procedure - immigration will still be exactly the same for tourists.

Although currently in the EU, the UK (and the Irish Republic) are not in the Schengen no-borders agreement. Passports are currently required for all nationalities for travel to or from a Schengen country, and that will continue regardless of any Brexit result or terms.

 

It will not affect travel services like Eurostar, airplanes, ferries, or private travel

other than perhaps delays at ferry ports (not cruise ships) for a week or two in the event of a short-notice "cliff-edge" Brexit if there's a back-log of trucks.

 

It might affect goods that you purchase.

Depending on the final Brexit outcome, we may see the return of "duty-free" goods on travel services between the UK and EU, similar to most duty-frees world-wide. 

And VAT (sales tax) reclaims on expensive goods that you buy & take home will probably mean fling one set of papers for goods bought in the UK and another for goods bought in the EU.

 

Britain is very much open for business, and because of Brexit (whether the fact or the uncertainty of it)  sterling gives very very good value at the moment - which is good for you :classic_smile:, not so good for us :classic_sad:

 

Brexit will not affect your plans to travel between the UK and the EU. and will have very little effect on Brits travelling to Europe or Europeans travelling to the UK 

 

JB :classic_smile:

 

 

Thanks for the insight!

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I looked at the link for Dorset day tours and it covers all the main sites of our beautiful country. I don't know how old/mobile you are but Durdle door is quite a steep walk down from the car park, there are no view points unless you do the walk and it can be a trek back up. Nothing a person with normal level of fitness can't manage. I don't know how old your daughter is but as you are visiting in May I would highly recommend visiting the swannery at Abbotsbury as it is absolutely amazing when the cygnets are hatching and you can walk amongst them. For the WW2 geeks amongst us they also have a bouncing bomb there as they were tested on the fleet.

Read Moonfleet or On Chesil Beach for inspiration.

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2 hours ago, Dorset cruise fan said:

For the WW2 geeks amongst us they also have a bouncing bomb there as they were tested on the fleet.

 

 

To avoid confusion, I think perhaps you should have qualified "The Fleet" :classic_tongue:

No, the RAF didn't try to bomb the Royal Navy. :classic_biggrin:

 

This particular "Fleet" is a lagoon behind Chesil Beach  - you'll see Chesil Beach stretching away to your left as you depart Portland.. The Fleet is a unique habitat for wildfowl - it's fed by freshwater streams but at high tide the sea washes in, so the water is brackish.

https://www.dorsetcamper.com/the-fleet-lagoon.html

 

JB :classic_smile:

Edited by John Bull
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You are quite right John Bull, as far as I know the RAF didn't bomb the Navy, well not intentionally.

Chesil Beach is such a beautiful area and geologically interesting as you can see the difference in size of the pebbles along the beach from really big pebbles at one end to almost sand at the other.

The tour that modernscarlett has found will give her a really good overview of our beautiful county with all the main scenic points but sometimes its nice just to focus on one place and for me the swannery is really special. (But then so is Corfe Castle, not specatcular as a castle but beautiful views and such a scenic setting)

Choices, choices

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On 10/25/2019 at 5:34 PM, Dorset cruise fan said:

I looked at the link for Dorset day tours and it covers all the main sites of our beautiful country. I don't know how old/mobile you are but Durdle door is quite a steep walk down from the car park, there are no view points unless you do the walk and it can be a trek back up. Nothing a person with normal level of fitness can't manage. I don't know how old your daughter is but as you are visiting in May I would highly recommend visiting the swannery at Abbotsbury as it is absolutely amazing when the cygnets are hatching and you can walk amongst them. For the WW2 geeks amongst us they also have a bouncing bomb there as they were tested on the fleet.

Read Moonfleet or On Chesil Beach for inspiration.

We have no major mobility issues, and our daughter and her friends are in the early 20s. Thanks for your feedback!

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Is your daughter and her friends happy with lots of nature and scenic views because that's pretty much what the tour will be. We are very proud of our beautiful countryside but don't know if there's much to appeal to early 20s. Monkey World is great for all ages and if they are at all interested in fossils then Lyme Regis is nice. Or if the sun is shining which it occasionally does then just enjoying the beach at Weymouth is nice. I'm sure you'll enjoy whatever you do.

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