Ports within British Isles

Old Mar 31st, 2024, 10:08 AM
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Ports within British Isles

This will be our first cruise in Europe. Are there people at the ports that you can hire on the spot to go see sights like there are at other ports in the Carribean, etc. We have found these to be really nice and quite frankly all the tours are sold out off the cruise line. I usually do not take the cruises tours, but I feel kinda stuck now. Thank you in advance. We are going on the Regal Princess leaving out of South Hampton on June 8th.
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Old Mar 31st, 2024, 02:04 PM
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Welcome to Fodors. You really do need to tell us which ports you are calling at. There is a HUGE difference between say London or Dublin or Edinburgh and say Fowey or Iona or Orkney. For some there will be local guides (but best booked ahead), in some your ship may be 10X the population of the whole village, and for some there'd be no need for a guided tour.

You also might want to post over on the Europe Forum if you have questions about specific cities/ports
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Old Mar 31st, 2024, 05:03 PM
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Have you checked on Cruise Critic? It's a cruise-specific forum.
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Old Mar 31st, 2024, 05:21 PM
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We’ve taken about a dozen cruises throughout Europe, the South Pacific, the Caribbean and South America in the last 15 years and in just about every port of call there were local tour operators that offered group tours and plenty of local taxi driver/guide people could hire for private tours.
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Old Mar 31st, 2024, 06:32 PM
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Originally Posted by RoamsAround
We’ve taken about a dozen cruises throughout Europe, the South Pacific, the Caribbean and South America in the last 15 years and in just about every port of call there were local tour operators that offered group tours and plenty of local taxi driver/guide people could hire for private tours.
Some of the small towns (villages really) that some British Isles cruises hit are really small and rural - there may be only one or two actual guides and no taxis or local buses - which is why I asked which ports of call. Aberdeen or Inverness or Dublin - not a problem (though one would want to make arrangements in advance). There is one taxi on the Island of Iona - not one taxi company - one taxi, owned by a couple that runs a local B&B. They do terrific tours of the island - but one definitely needs to book well ahead.



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Old Apr 1st, 2024, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by janisj
Some of the small towns (villages really) that some British Isles cruises hit are really small and rural - there may be only one or two actual guides and no taxis or local buses - which is why I asked which ports of call. Aberdeen or Inverness or Dublin - not a problem (though one would want to make arrangements in advance). There is one taxi on the Island of Iona - not one taxi company - one taxi, owned by a couple that runs a local B&B. They do terrific tours of the island - but one definitely needs to book well ahead.
Thank you for your reply. We will be stopping at Portland, England, Cork, Ireland, Dublin (dun Laoghaire) Ireland, Glasgow, Scotland, Orkney Islands, Scotland, Invergordon, Scotland, Edinburgh (south Queensferry) Scotland, Paris/Normandy, (le Havre) France, then back to Southampton, England for about 3 extra days. Do you think we will be able to set up a tour once off the ship with a local guide? We really enjoy those tours so much more.

Thank you so much for your time.
Debbie
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Old Apr 1st, 2024, 12:16 PM
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Debbiekelsey is sailing on Regal Princess which is a very large ship, over 1,000’ long with 3,560 passengers. I doubt it will be stopping in the small ports of call the previous responders referred to that have a very limited number of tour guides. I’m sure her itinerary is such that she’ll have no difficulty finding a number of different independent tour options in any of the Ports she’ll be visiting.
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Old Apr 1st, 2024, 02:33 PM
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Portland is not a typical cruise stop -- it is a retired naval base with a nearby village and I'd 100% want to have pre-booked arrangements.

Kirkwall in Orkney is a village/town of about 6000 people so the ship will totally overwhelm the place. Likely every bus/coach/tour guide will be booked up.

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Old Apr 1st, 2024, 05:44 PM
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You can easily look up the port details on the Princess website. It will tell which ports such as Kirkwall, will use small transfer 'tenders' to run passengers from the ship to shore. Often that means the less mobile passengers stay on board.

If you've missed out on the cruise line excursions, see if there is a "Roll Call" for that itinerary on Cruise Critic. They may have already researched independent options.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2024, 10:50 AM
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Thank you very much!!

Debbie
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Old Apr 2nd, 2024, 10:51 AM
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Thank you, will do.

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Old Apr 2nd, 2024, 10:52 AM
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Thank you!!!! This really helps.

Debbie
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Old Apr 2nd, 2024, 12:03 PM
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Having been to most of those cruise ports, do note that Greenock is about a hour by train to Glasgow. Invergordon is a 30 minute drive north of Inverness.

Kirkwall port is a six minute drive from town. They may have a bus that day that will take you to town. But, the island has a lot of Prehistoric and Neolithic monuments and structures. Also, if you are interested in Scotch, the Highland Park Distillery tour is fantastic.

I highly recommend arranging for a tour long before you take your cruise. You can take a ship tour (too big and too expensive for me) or arrange for a "private" tour. I opted to arrange for private tours and posted them on our ship's roll call on Cruise Critic. I have always gotten interested people to join me (my private tours would have 6-8 people on them). I have gone to your Cruise Critic roll call for this cruise and it is very active. If you are not a member of Cruise Critic, you can sign up for free.
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