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Old 08-30-2017, 08:16 PM   #11
tammymacb
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Default The planning...

Before we get into the true report, I'll mention the planning. We booked this cruise the day DCL released summer 2017. I'd planned on doing their British Isles cruise or the repositioning cruise if it did Northern Scotland, Iceland and Norway (it didn't).

I'm platinum and Angus is gold so I was on the phone when phones opened up for the summer cruises, ready to book. And then I got the prices and just got cold feet. I wish I'd saved actual numbers but I didn't. But I looked at a balcony for the 12 night BI cruise with DCL and it was around 12000 for two. We booked Princess (opening) for $2700 PP for a nice mid balcony. Less than half. We got several specials along the way, (including sip and sail, free adult beverages for the length of the cruise) but in the end, we moved to an outside on deck 8. I would never have done that for Norway, but I expected it to be cold and rainy (it wasn't) and didn't feel like I *needed* a balcony for this one. Final price -12 nights high season. Around $1600 per person. We got the cruise, airfare, and all transfers and a LOT of excursions (and 2 nights in London) for less than just the cruise with DCL.

After booking we found great prices on airfare. We decided on a hotel in London and it was time to move on to excursions...I opened a private FB group for the members of the cruise so we could communicate in a group- I couldn't take the group texts. We ended up doing a really great job ( with one exception).

One of the nice things with a larger group is that with the exception of one tour, all of our excursions were private or small group ( where we had 10 out of the 15 seats on the van). There's really no better way to do it. We had customized, awesome tours with no waiting on a random stranger to make their way back from the gift shop.

If my memory serves me correctly, we spent about $400 per person for our excursions which was an absolute steal.

Ports with excursions -
Guernsey (St Peter's Port) we took a regular bus around the island (which is lovely) and wandered through the Candie Gardens. Guernsey is a short day, and a tender. Dave of MO's has family that live their and his Aunt(?) Jenny generously offered her time to run our group around. It was lovely, ( except I was exhausted and fell asleep on the bus). Our guide did a wonderful job. So well, in fact, that a random woman wanted Brian to give up his seat so she could sit next to her and get a private tour.

Cork (our one dud). When looking at options for Cork, we decided on the Old English Market. It has great reviews on TripAdvisor and we loved the market in Copenhagen. The market itself was nice. But the area around it was very commercial and not what I expected. I'd hoped to find interesting shops and quaint places to walk around and there wasn't much of that. We still had fun though.

Dublin overnight. FANTASTIC that we got to stay overnight! We saw the city of Dublin which we all LOVED and spent the day wandering around. In the evening we hit the Temple Bar area and then went for amazing gelato. We all loved Dublin and I personally, was surprised how much I liked it. I'd love to go back. On our second full day we had a private Wicklow Mountain tour. It was amazingly gorgeous! (I'll be posting more details and pictures later in the report). In the end, I was thrilled that we did both city and country.

Belfast. We did a semi- private tour. (I think we were 9 of around 15) into Northern Ireland and went to the Giant's Causeway. Another breathtaking day and we had a fantastic guide. He pointed out some GOT scenery as well. My only wish was that we had time to see the Titanic Museum also. But, we just didn't. If I get to Belfast again, I'd love to visit.

Our next day was Scotland and we had a heck of a day planned. We left the ship ( privately) at 1000 and spent the whole day touring Scotland went all the way to Edinburg where we watched to Royal Military Tattoo ( we got tickets back in December). The entire day was fantastic and once in a lifetime. It was a really long day and I'd do it again tomorrow if given the chance. We arrived back at the ship at 0045. The ship sailed from Glasgow at 0200- but not really, because the ship excursion of the Tattoo didn't get folks back until 4ish and there was a medical emergency onboard, so we were late getting underway. (Oh, and I got to see Winterfell!)

Next was Greenock where many people go to see Loch Ness. We didn't and instead headed to Dunrobin Castle and the Scottish Highlands.This was supposed to be semi-private with a max group size of 27. But when we arrived they'd sold a bus full of people and so we had our one bus tour of the trip. Luckily our guide was fantastic and made up for some of it... but I'm spoiled now and don't want to do bus tours anymore.

The next stop was Edinburg. We'd already been on the Royal Mile for the tattoo, but didn't have much time to spend because it was a ZOO due to the Tattoo. I was really looking forward to this gorgeous city. It was crazy busy though. Not only for Tattoo but also the Fringe Festival was underway, (it draws and extra 100000 visitors to the city) and it was a Saturday. We had fun, but it was too much and I left early because I couldn't take the crowds anymore.

And finally, Le Havre. (Or Paris) We didn't do Paris, I'm not spending 6 hours on the bus. But, we took cabs over to Hon Fleur which is a gorgeous French fishing village about 30 mins or so from the port. It is NOT easy to get over there, it's actually downright difficult, but if you get the chance, spend a day in Hon Fleur.

So, that was our plans...Like I said, I'll add far more detail and pictures. There is so much info that I'm not sure where to go next but I'd love to share more.
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Old 08-30-2017, 08:46 PM   #12
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Looking forward to the TR. I hate delays! What airline?
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Old 08-30-2017, 09:30 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lovindisney View Post
Looking forward to the TR. I hate delays! What airline?
SW. I usually love them and have NEVER had an issue before. Of course, my first delays with them happened on the worst possible time.
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Old 08-30-2017, 10:27 PM   #14
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Intrigued, looking forward to more.
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Old 08-30-2017, 11:13 PM   #15
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Sounds like great trip

Following along

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Old 08-30-2017, 11:45 PM   #16
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I've been waiting for this trip report as I'd like to try this trip in summer 2019!
Glad to be tagging also. You guys look like a fun group!
MaryJane
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Old 08-31-2017, 06:29 AM   #17
Brian5581
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Greetings from the air. On the flight back to Philadelphia as I type.

Well done getting started so soon, Tammy!

Truly an amazing trip with wonderful people.

I didn't even check in here while away. 7 hours of flight time to start catching up...

Of course I did keep up with related news and such. Something about soapiness...
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Old 08-31-2017, 07:11 AM   #18
henrycpa91
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That pricing difference is astounding. Dec 2018 DCL cruise may be our last DCL Cruise. Pricing differences just too great and at that point Audrey will be a teen.


Quote:
Originally Posted by tammymacb View Post
Before we get into the true report, I'll mention the planning. We booked this cruise the day DCL released summer 2017. I'd planned on doing their British Isles cruise or the repositioning cruise if it did Northern Scotland, Iceland and Norway (it didn't).

I'm platinum and Angus is gold so I was on the phone when phones opened up for the summer cruises, ready to book. And then I got the prices and just got cold feet. I wish I'd saved actual numbers but I didn't. But I looked at a balcony for the 12 night BI cruise with DCL and it was around 12000 for two. We booked Princess (opening) for $2700 PP for a nice mid balcony. Less than half. We got several specials along the way, (including sip and sail, free adult beverages for the length of the cruise) but in the end, we moved to an outside on deck 8. I would never have done that for Norway, but I expected it to be cold and rainy (it wasn't) and didn't feel like I *needed* a balcony for this one. Final price -12 nights high season. Around $1600 per person. We got the cruise, airfare, and all transfers and a LOT of excursions (and 2 nights in London) for less than just the cruise with DCL.

After booking we found great prices on airfare. We decided on a hotel in London and it was time to move on to excursions...I opened a private FB group for the members of the cruise so we could communicate in a group- I couldn't take the group texts. We ended up doing a really great job ( with one exception).

One of the nice things with a larger group is that with the exception of one tour, all of our excursions were private or small group ( where we had 10 out of the 15 seats on the van). There's really no better way to do it. We had customized, awesome tours with no waiting on a random stranger to make their way back from the gift shop.

If my memory serves me correctly, we spent about $400 per person for our excursions which was an absolute steal.

Ports with excursions -
Guernsey (St Peter's Port) we took a regular bus around the island (which is lovely) and wandered through the Candie Gardens. Guernsey is a short day, and a tender. Dave of MO's has family that live their and his Aunt(?) Jenny generously offered her time to run our group around. It was lovely, ( except I was exhausted and fell asleep on the bus). Our guide did a wonderful job. So well, in fact, that a random woman wanted Brian to give up his seat so she could sit next to her and get a private tour.

Cork (our one dud). When looking at options for Cork, we decided on the Old English Market. It has great reviews on TripAdvisor and we loved the market in Copenhagen. The market itself was nice. But the area around it was very commercial and not what I expected. I'd hoped to find interesting shops and quaint places to walk around and there wasn't much of that. We still had fun though.

Dublin overnight. FANTASTIC that we got to stay overnight! We saw the city of Dublin which we all LOVED and spent the day wandering around. In the evening we hit the Temple Bar area and then went for amazing gelato. We all loved Dublin and I personally, was surprised how much I liked it. I'd love to go back. On our second full day we had a private Wicklow Mountain tour. It was amazingly gorgeous! (I'll be posting more details and pictures later in the report). In the end, I was thrilled that we did both city and country.

Belfast. We did a semi- private tour. (I think we were 9 of around 15) into Northern Ireland and went to the Giant's Causeway. Another breathtaking day and we had a fantastic guide. He pointed out some GOT scenery as well. My only wish was that we had time to see the Titanic Museum also. But, we just didn't. If I get to Belfast again, I'd love to visit.

Our next day was Scotland and we had a heck of a day planned. We left the ship ( privately) at 1000 and spent the whole day touring Scotland went all the way to Edinburg where we watched to Royal Military Tattoo ( we got tickets back in December). The entire day was fantastic and once in a lifetime. It was a really long day and I'd do it again tomorrow if given the chance. We arrived back at the ship at 0045. The ship sailed from Glasgow at 0200- but not really, because the ship excursion of the Tattoo didn't get folks back until 4ish and there was a medical emergency onboard, so we were late getting underway. (Oh, and I got to see Winterfell!)

Next was Greenock where many people go to see Loch Ness. We didn't and instead headed to Dunrobin Castle and the Scottish Highlands.This was supposed to be semi-private with a max group size of 27. But when we arrived they'd sold a bus full of people and so we had our one bus tour of the trip. Luckily our guide was fantastic and made up for some of it... but I'm spoiled now and don't want to do bus tours anymore.

The next stop was Edinburg. We'd already been on the Royal Mile for the tattoo, but didn't have much time to spend because it was a ZOO due to the Tattoo. I was really looking forward to this gorgeous city. It was crazy busy though. Not only for Tattoo but also the Fringe Festival was underway, (it draws and extra 100000 visitors to the city) and it was a Saturday. We had fun, but it was too much and I left early because I couldn't take the crowds anymore.

And finally, Le Havre. (Or Paris) We didn't do Paris, I'm not spending 6 hours on the bus. But, we took cabs over to Hon Fleur which is a gorgeous French fishing village about 30 mins or so from the port. It is NOT easy to get over there, it's actually downright difficult, but if you get the chance, spend a day in Hon Fleur.

So, that was our plans...Like I said, I'll add far more detail and pictures. There is so much info that I'm not sure where to go next but I'd love to share more.
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1973 - First Trip out of KY and used Tickets from the Today newspaper
2004 (Alex First), 2005, 2006 (Romantic), 2007,2008,2009,2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014,
2015, 2016, 2017 (Family)
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Old 08-31-2017, 07:15 AM   #19
Brian5581
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Yep, I can certainly say I missed the Disney theming and music and such.

But more than double is absolutely insane, especially on a port-intensive cruise. Not something my wallet could handle.
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Old 08-31-2017, 08:33 AM   #20
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Welcome back! It sounds like a fantastic journey..... I'm coming along....
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