I recently returned from an 11-night “Myths & Legends” cruise aboard Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines Boudicca and it was wonderful, we visited some superb destinations and I can tell you (although you may need to sit down for this) that we had not a single drop of rain throughout the entire voyage – I know, I could hardly believe it myself and I was there!
Boudicca sailed from Port of Tyne and called at Portsmouth, Falmouth, Cobh, Dublin, Belfast, Kirkwall, Invergordon and Rosyth, before once again returning to Port of Tyne. Although all of our ports were interesting, there were 3 that really stood out for me, and although not entirely based around the “Myths & Legends” theme, I am going to use this blog today to tell you all about them anyway as they were certainly noteworthy!
First of all, Belfast, what an incredible city! It was my first visit and certainly won’t be my last. My excursion here was brilliant and started with a city tour and drive through west Belfast before we arrived at our penultimate destination: Titanic Belfast. I would highly recommend that you visit this museum if you ever find yourself in Belfast as it really is fantastic, both inside and out. You have the main museum building which features 9 exhibits, including Belfast’s history, Titanic’s design, build, fitting-out, launch and sinking. There’s even a short ride which lets you see the build from the point of view of the actual shipbuilder and right at the end of the exhibit you can watch a short movie showing footage from the seabed where the ill-fated vessel now rests. Outside you will find Nomadic, Titanic’s first-class tender boat and the Titanic museum itself actually sits at the top of the slipway (that you can also explore) where both Titanic and Olympic were built and launched. My advice would be to go it alone as it is only a few minutes away from the port in a taxi and this way you can explore everything at your own pace.
Kirkwall in the Orkney Islands quickly shot to the top of my “favourite port of the cruise” list before I even left the ship. I love a tranquil destination, you know, where the cruise port seems to be in the middle of nowhere. Kirkwall really did make me feel like I could step ashore and instantly be secluded in the countryside – and I loved it! My excursion here was simply titled “Orkney Island Tour” and although simple in words it was anything but to the eye. What a picturesque place with superb views and incredible scenery. We observed the spot in Scapa Flow where the HMS Royal Oak lies – apparently, at low tide, she sits just 5-metres below the surface of the water. We also visited the Ring of Brodgar, Standing Stones of Stenness and the cliffs at Yesnaby – which were just, WOW! I could never do this place justice by telling you about it, so you will have to go and see it for yourself. I am actually thinking about going back there for a few days as you can get a ferry from Aberdeen, but I was told that even in the summer the air temperature rarely gets above 13 degrees Celsius – so pack your woollies!
Invergordon, where do I even start! I didn’t actually see much land here as I opted for a RIB ride and that RIB ride turned out to be one of the best that I have EVER done! It was quite a chilly morning, but the sun was shining and the water was as calm as a mill pond, in short, it was absolutely perfect! We didn’t even make it out of the harbour before we were joined by a lone Common Dolphin. We admired him for a while before moving on and coming across Porpoise and a small pod of Bottlenose Dolphins – even the birds were out in full force. It was a fantastic 2-hours and if I am ever lucky enough to be in that part of the world again then I will most certainly be booking another RIB adventure.
So, that was a look at some of my favourite ports from the cruise, next time the spotlight will be on Boudicca herself!
Images used with permission and copyrighted to Danielle Fear a.k.a Cruise Miss.