Check It Off Your Bucket List: Cruising the British Isles in Style
Many covet the experience of journeying to the British Isles, a conglomeration that geographically unites England, Wales, Scotland, and all of the offshore islands including Ireland. Exotic destinations and diverse cultures await those who take the tour, and a cruise vacation is a great way to make the most of time. Here’s how to prepare.
Time to Go
If price is an important aspect regarding your decision, check cruise line websites for additional information related to various seasons. However, booking a trip well in advance is one way to get a better deal and the cabin you want. Otherwise, the Isles offer positives in all seasons, so preference resides with you. Spring and summer seasons offer longer days and warmer weather while those touring in the fall enjoy the cascade of colors. Winter is cold yet affords time to enjoy holiday festivities and shopping. Choose a period that is optimal to your preference and health.
Encompassing a number of lands and cultures, popular port points include Belfast, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, London, New Castle, and Orkney. Glasgow is a place to enjoy architecture; see artifacts within its 20 museums and galleries. Music lovers can’t dismiss the lore and history of Liverpool, home of the Beatles. London is the East’s answer to New York City; it has royal palaces, world-class shopping outlets, and centuries of culture and history.
You’ll need to understand the rates of exchange in different lands in addition to alternative customs related to tipping. For example, those working in fast food restaurants or bars won’t be expecting a tip. When dining, it’s customary to leave 10 to 15 percent of the bill as a sign of appreciation. In addition to research rates, ask crew members and cruise line passengers what is appropriate for particular port stops.
A number of itinerary choices satisfy those who would like the vacation to emphasize the sea, land, or a good balance of both in addition to limited or ranging ports. A ‘British Isles’ itinerary is likely to encompass 14 days and take you on an abbreviated tour of all of the most-sought destinations including Glasgow, Liverpool, and Dublin.
Some prefer to avoid small children, so it’s best to book your cruise when children are in school. Also, the weather influences the ambiance; warmer weather creates more onboard and on-land opportunity for activities. Also, shoulder-season cruises are available, times when the number of crew members and amenities are scaled down yet allows for added peace and quiet. Alternatively, if you’re looking forward to bringing children and enriching their level of experiences, the summer season offers full amenities and is likely to host a number of large families.
The complete British Isles tour is a wonderful experience all should take advantage of, yet some geographies may have special meaning to you or host family members. The good news is chosen cruise lines offer an array of itineraries to accommodate most wishes and preferences. Otherwise, focus on a season and familiarize yourself with foreign customs and popular tourist attractions.
Michael Wilson is the Managing Director of Bolsover Cruise Club, which was started by his parents in the late 1960’s, and was once known as Bolsover Travel. Michael is still passionate about the company, taking an interest in all aspects of it. Outside of work, he enjoys spending time with his family, as well as gardening and rugby.