Now that our final payment has been made and our cruise ’round the British Isles on Ocean Princess is now in sight, I thought I’d share some details about what we have planned and what we will make up as we go along.
- Day 1: Embark in Dover, England
- Day 2: Guernsey (St. Peter’s Port), England
- Day 3: Waterford, Ireland
- Day 4: Dublin, Ireland
- Day 5: At Sea
- Day 6: Edinburgh
- Day 7: Edinburgh (ship departs at 2:00 a.m.)
- Day 8: Disembark Dover
A couple of firsts for us: This is will be our first cruise in Europe, as well as our first time on a small ship – 680 passengers vs. 3,000 for our previous cruises.
Flights: We are flying non-stop on Virgin Air from Boston to Heathrow, London. My one regret is that I booked air way too early and paid too much. When I realized the Olympics will be taking place in London at the same time as our cruise, I read all kinds of stories on how seats would be scarce and fares would be out of sight the closer to summer we booked. So I panicked – booked right then, last October. The rates are non-refundable and, contrary to the horror stories I read, the fares have dropped. Lesson learned: Stay calm about air fare and monitor prices.
Pre-Cruise Hotel, Dover (England): Unlike the dire predictions of air fare to London during the Olympics, the forecast about outrageous hotel prices in London during the events is absolutely true. Given that fact and not wanting to deal with the crowds and craziness which may occur in London, I decided that we would save a pre-cruise tour of London for another time and head directly to Dover and spend a night there. We opted for a night at the Premier Inn Dover (Eastern Ferry Terminal). Premier Inns in England are similar to the Holiday Inn chain in the U.S. and are a well-recommended budget alternative. This hotel gets good reviews, overlooks the English Channel and is close to both the cruise ship and Dover Castle. Sounds perfect!
Transfer, Heathrow to Dover: The ship transfer was not an option because we arriving a day before the cruise, leaving us with (a) take public transportation to central London to connect with the train that would take us to Dover, (b) a similar trip, except by bus, or (c) a private transfer. Options (a) and (b) are the most feasible methods, but because there are five of us with all out luggage, we decided to split the cost of a private transfer for the 2-hour journey. Convenience outweighed economy in this case.
Leeds Castle ~ Maidestone, England: Our first sightseeing stop will be on our way from Heathrow to Dover. We are arriving early in the morning on the day before our cruise, and thought it would be wonderful to begin our vacation with a stop at Leeds Castle. Therefore, we have asked our driver to figure in a couple of hours at this stunning, fairytale-like castle.
Stay tuned for more itinerary details!