Living in East Yorkshire, you see very few cruise ships visit the region. Therefore when the chance arose for us to cruise just 30 minutes away, out of the port of Hull, on board Cruise and Maritime Voyages Discovery, we jumped at the opportunity.
- Day 1: Hull
- Day 2: Rosyth (Edinburgh)
- Day 3: Lerwick (Shetland Islands)
- Day 4: Scrabster (Thurso)
- Day 5: Tobermory
- Day 6: Belfast
- Day 7: Dublin
- Day 8: St Mary's (Isles of Scilly)
- Day 9: St Peter Port (Guernsey)
- Day 10: Dover
Arriving at the port, we first had to make our way over to a holding bay on the other side of the port, where we had to wait for a coach to then transport us back over to the terminal building, usually in use by P&O Ferries. We arrived at the port at 10:45 a.m. with plenty of time before our designated check in time of 11:15 a.m. Check in closed at 11:30 a.m, ready for departure at 12:30 p.m, so we would be one of the last groups to check in. We boarded the coach and was then told that we would be waiting here for 15-20 minutes, as there was a problem with the passport scanners at the check in desks. After a wait, we eventually began heading to the terminal. When we arrived, there were queues leading all the way outside. Although the queue was long, it moved very quickly, and we swiftly checked in and boarded the ship. Once on board we were greeted by a member of crew, who showed us to our cabin. Our room was a spacious size, with 2 porthole windows and plenty of drawer space. 5 minutes after arriving on board, the captain came over the speakers, to remind passengers that muster drill would take place in 5 minutes time. We immediately rushed to get our life jackets and headed up to our muster station in the Carousel Show Lounge. After muster, we had a quick bite to eat at the Lido buffet before we sailed away. We were scheduled to leave at 12:30 p.m., however due to the issues at check in, we left at approximately 13:15 p.m. and lined up ready to enter the lock gates. After saying goodbye to the Pride of Bruges, we set sail along the Humber Estuary sailing past Pride of Rotterdam and the Humber Bridge in the distance. After passing the village of Paull, just outside of the port, we moved towards the Lincolnshire coastline, sailing past Immingham and Grimbsy. As we sailed towards the open sea, we sailed past Spurn Point and began our journey north for Rosyth.As evening came, we made our short distance along the corridor to the Seven Continents Restaurant. Our table was number 85 and seated 6 people. The selection of food was superb and the presentation was just as equal. The portion sizes were not the largest we've had on a cruise. For starter, I had the Beef Consommé with diced vegetables and for main I had a delicious pan fried pork escalope “Parisienne”. The main was served with sumptuous rosemary roasted potatoes, green beans and carrots. For dessert, I chose a tasty and light Strawberry Gateau. After dinner, we headed to reception to register our debit card for payment on board. We weren’t that excited about watching the show, as it was only the theatre staff introducing themselves. So instead I spent the evening relaxing in bed listening to the sound of the waves and writing this review that you are currently reading!
After a rough nights sailing we awoke at 8 a.m., just as we were approaching the port of Rosyth. The ship docked bang on time at 08:30 a.m. and so we ventured up to the Lido buffet for breakfast. We planned on getting off the ship at 9:30 a.m., so that we would have plenty of time to get into Edinburgh and ultimately tour HMY Britannia at Leith. The ship's daily newsletter informed us that coaches would shuttle us from the ship to the terminal building, as passengers were not permitted to walk around the port. The distance to the terminal was not far at all and the time it took for passengers to board the coach and disembark again, wasted a lot of time. The newsletter also stated that there would be a free shuttle to North Queensferry and Dunfermline. When we arrived at the terminal, we were greeted by large queues of guests all waiting for the free service. Shuttles ran every 45 minutes and volunteers informed us it would be quicker to take a taxi, as the next bus would already be full up. With this in mind, we joined the taxi queue where we waited for over 30 minutes. Eventually we hopped in a taxi to Inverkeithing railway station and caught the first train to Edinburgh. By the time we boarded the train it was already 10 past 11. The journey took us over the impressive Forth Bridge and offered a glimpse at our ship in the distance. Arriving in Edinburgh, we walked along Princes Street and caught the bus service to Ocean Terminal where the Royal Yacht is berthed. By the time we arrived, the time was coming up to 12:45 p.m. With the long delays we had coming stuck in our mind, we decided that touring Britannia would not be a safe idea, if we were to get back to Rosyth in time for 4:30 p.m. With a quick change of plan, we grabbed a sandwich at Ocean Terminal and caught the next bus back into Edinburgh to where we had just come from! It would have been great to tour Britannia, but it would not be worth missing the cruise ship. By this point, the sky grew darker and the rain started to fall. We alighted the bus outside St James shopping centre and stocked up on snacks and drinks for the cabin. For £2, we had 4 litres of Coke, which on the ship would cost £2.05 just for a can! It seemed other guests, as well as crew had had the same idea as us, as they were returning with carrier bags full of food and drinks. We arrived back on board just before 3:30 p.m. and although we still had time before we sailed, we certainly would not have had time to visit Britannia. We departed as scheduled at 5 p.m. and set sail along the Firth of Forth passing under the spectacular Forth Bridge. A passing train sounded its horn as we passed under it. By this time it was five to 6 and we had a quick dash to get ready for evening meal. One of the couples who had been on our table the previous night were eating in the Yacht Club, so we had two new people join our table, who boarded the ship in Hull, but wanted to change to the 6 p.m. sitting.
As we would not be arriving into Lerwick until 1:30 p.m., we decided to have a leisurely day on board the ship. Breakfast runs from 7 a.m. until 10 a.m., which for those who still see 9 a.m. as the middle of the night, it can be a struggle getting up in time! Nevertheless, we headed on up to the Lido buffet at 9:40 a.m. The selection of food is decent, however not as much selection as other cruise ships. There is plenty of fresh fruit and pastries to choose from and cooked to order omelettes. The hot selection is somewhat limited, however there is still the basic breakfast items, such as sausages, bacon and beans. Cereals range from Rice Krispies to Muesli. The sausages were very tasty, however I was left disappointed with the sautéed potatoes, as they seemed under-cooked. After a quiet and relaxing breakfast, we went down to the Purser's Desk to collect our passports, which they had kept during check in, due to the malfunction with the passport scanner. We relaxed on the ship watching us sail along the south east coast of the Shetlands. By now, it was time for lunch. As we had eaten out in Edinburgh yesterday and only had a quick snack the day before, this was our first time having a full lunch on board. It was parsnip soup, which was tasty. There is a wide array of breads to choose from, all in different sizes. The pasta is by far the best I have ever had on any cruise ship. There seemed to be a lack of choices at the hot buffet. Fish or meatballs with rice. There were a selection of desserts to choose from. We watched us approach the harbour at Lerwick and the views from the ship were impressive. For me, cruising is all about ultimate relaxation, and that is what we intended to do today. By this time it was approaching 3:30 p.m. and we decided we would try out the afternoon tea. There were a selection of nibbles including chocolate brownies and cheesecake. Warm scones with cream and jam were also available. It was time for evening meal once more and tonight's dress code was informal – jacket with trousers, with or without tie. To start, I had a delicious rustic style tomato soup, which was followed by a succulent leg of lamb with potatoes and seasonal vegetables. Dessert was a black forest gateau. Tonight's show was performed by the Discovery show team as they became dancing queens and performed songs by ABBA. It was a fantastic production and well performed on such a small stage in the Carousel show lounge. Although there were a few minor hiccups during the performance, such as a singer forgetting her words and a dancer forgetting their props, the show was still fantastic.
Today we arrived into the small village of Scrabster at 7 a.m. We awoke at 8 a.m., after being woken up by our cabin attendant, checking to see if she could clean the room yet. After a leisurely breakfast, I then disembarked the ship and caught the free shuttle service into Thurso town. Unlike the service in Rosyth, there were no queues and I managed to jump straight on to the waiting bus, which pulled off within minutes. Thurso is approximately 2 miles from Scrabster. The town's name derives from the Norse word Thorsa, meaning “River of the God Thor” and in Viking times, it was a major gateway to the mainland. The shuttle dropped me off right in the centre of the town and after a quick look around, I headed for the seafront. After taking in the views of the bay, I headed back inland towards the train station, where I would then head for the town of Wick. The single line track traverses the rural wilderness of Caithness. I caught the 1104 train from Thurso, which arrived into Wick at 1132. Wick station is the end of the line that runs all the way from Inverness. As the trains are very infrequent, I would only have an hour to spend in Wick, otherwise I would face missing the ship. If I didn't catch the 1236, the next train would not depart Wick until 4 p.m. – the time all passengers should be back on board, ready for the ship to sail at 4:30 p.m. As I stepped onto the platform at Wick, it was like the train had never moved. Both Thurso and Wick stations look identical! With a short time limit, I had a quick walk along the town and had a drink in the Wetherspoons bar. By this time it was already time to head back to the station. After arriving back into Thurso, I once again headed for the seafront. This time, I'd be seeing a whole lot more of it, as I decided to walk the 2 miles back to the ship! The coastal walk offered great scenery of the ship and the jagged cliff face below. After arriving back onto the ship, it was not long until we headed up to deck 9 for afternoon tea. Today's selection included walnut cake and some delicious butter shortbread. Evening meal soon came and tonight was formal night. On the menu were delicious vegetable spring rolls, chicken consommé, beef Wellington and chocolate fudge cake!
“What's the story in Balamory, wouldn't you like to know!?” - Today we were in the picturesque village of Tobermory on the Isle of Mull, better known as Balamory from the UK children's TV series. We anchored just outside the harbour in the bay, where the tender boats would shuttle us to the marina. We awoke just in time to catch breakfast, after losing an hours sleep due to Daylight Saving Time. After breakfast, I then headed down to the Pursers Desk, to collect a 'tender ticket' to go ashore. I was letter E and within no time at all, my letter was called to board the tender. The short trip to the marina offered fantastic views of the ship up close as well as the surrounding landscape. Once ashore, I walked along the main street, taking in all the fantastic views of the multi-coloured houses. After a brief stop to take photos of the ship at anchor, I headed back through the village and up one of the steepest hills I have ever walked up in my life! However, the reward at the top was worth it. The hill gave fantastic views of the shops below and the ship out in the bay. After the descent, I then headed back on board the ship ready for a well deserved lunch.After lunch, we relaxed in one of the on board lounges taking in the panoramic views as the ship rotated around its anchor. Tonight's dinner was Italian themed. I had minestrone soup, a lovely giant slice of lasagne and chocolate profiteroles.
We headed up to breakfast at twenty to ten. We were just approaching the beginning of the harbour as we sat down. Throughout our breakfast we had great views as we approached the city. The gigantic yellow Harland & Wolff cranes loom over the city skyline, giving a strong reminder of the city's ship building heritage. The ship docked close to where the doomed RMS Titanic was constructed. The former shipyard is now home to the new Titanic Belfast exhibition. After breakfast and once we docked around 15 minutes later than scheduled, I hopped on the free shuttle into the city. The bus dropped us off right in the city centre opposite the magnificent City Hall. I spent a couple of hours walking around the main shopping areas and looking in a few of the shops, including the Victoria Square shopping arcade. I had a quick break in a Starbucks, before heading back to the bus for the ship. Now we have left Scotland, the weather seems to be improving. For the first time on the cruise, the sun appeared! After arriving back on board at 3 p.m., it was just a short wait until afternoon tea. Today's selection was less appetising than previous days. Today's dinner was a delicious French onion soup, tender beef with mash and vegetables and ice cream.
After being woken up by our cabin attendant at 8 a.m. AGAIN, we headed down for breakfast, just as the ship was mooring into Dublin. We had pre-booked a sightseeing tour of the city through Cruising Excursions, so we disembarked the ship just after 10 a.m. There was a long line of guests waiting for the free shuttle to take us into the city, thankfully the line quickly moved as each bus could hold 78 passengers. After the 30 minute journey, passing The O2, Custom House and Trinity College, we arrived on Kildare Street, just around the corner from Nassau Street, where the nearest sightseeing tour stop is located. The tour took approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes and covered the main sights to see in Dublin including Trinity College, Christchurch Cathedral, the famous Guinness Storehouse, Glasnevin Cemetery and Botanical Gardens, Croke Park Stadium and of course O'Connell Street. Our guide Anne, was very informative and explained all the sights and history as we drove past them. We even briefly witnessed a military funeral take place, whilst at Glasnevin Cemetery. The bus drove into the graveyard and was forced to park up as a procession of military vehicles following a casket draped under an Irish flag slowly passed by. Although there are now many visitors that come to view the cemetery every day, it was quite disrespectful to bring a bus into the graveyard, especially when a funeral is taking place. It couldn't have been nice for the family, with all these tourists taking photos from the large double-decker bus.We decided to get off the tour at O'Connell Street to grab some lunch before we got back to the ship. The size of the street and the architecture is very impressive, especially the GPO building. After lunch, we jumped on the closest city sightseeing bus, which would take us back to Nassau Street, where we boarded. City Sightseeing tickets can be used for unlimited trips for 2 days, so if you are spending a weekend in the city, it is a great way to get around and visit the sights as you hop on and off. We caught the bus back to the ship at 2 p.m. The last bus back to the ship was 2:30 p.m., ready for sail away at 3:45 p.m. Once we arrived back on board, it was just a short wait until afternoon tea. Today they served a delicious white chocolate mousse cake. Later that evening, was a British themed dinner, serving beef sirloin with Yorkshire pudding and tasty gravy. For dessert, there was a fantastic honeycomb cake. The show tonight was called Rock 'n' Roll Dreams and the production team performed all the 50's and 60's rock and roll classics.
We did not wake up until twenty to ten this morning, which meant we would miss breakfast. Instead of getting a tender ticket, I decided to wait until demand for the tenders had decreased. There was a break in operation from 12 till 1, as a ferry would be arriving in the harbour. This made an ideal time to have lunch in the Severn Continents restaurant. I had some delicious mozzarella croquettes with plum tomato sauce. For the main course, I went for the leg of chicken with mash, vegetables, and gravy. Dessert was strawberry ice-cream. After lunch, demand for the tenders had decreased, so I jumped on the next tender and headed ashore. The ship was not using its own tender boats for this port of call, as the drop off area was unsuitable. There was no landing pontoon, just a series of steps that we moored alongside. As the boat pulled away in the crystal blue waters, the Discovery glistened in the sun. The image reminded me of the Caribbean and it certainly did not feel like we were just a few miles from the English coast. Once on land, I walked around the quaint main street, before taking in the beautiful views of a bay filled with rock pools and wildlife. After spending roughly an hour and a half ashore, I ventured back on a very full tender. Passengers seated at the rear of the boat were even treated to the sight of a dolphin swimming by. As evening came, we had another fantastic dinner in the restaurant, before making our way to the Carousel show lounge, for the evening's show time – Bruce Thomson, a one-man band performing songs, magic and comedy. After the show, an important announcement was made across the ship. A medical evacuation by helicopter would take place at the aft of deck 6. A passenger had fallen seriously ill during dinner, and guests were told not to venture onto open decks and that due to this, the Discovery Lounge would be closed. If guests were still seated in the restaurant or Carousel show lounge, they were advised to stay seated. The evacuation meant that the 'Give Us A Clue' game show, which was scheduled to be held in the Discovery Lounge, had to be moved into the show lounge. We decided to watch the show team play a game of charades, with two of our table companions Roz and Marlene. The helicopter approached the ship at 9:20 p.m. and 10 minutes later, we were allowed access to the open decks and the Discovery Lounge.
After waking up earlier than usual at 8 a.m., we headed for breakfast once again in the Lido Buffet. The weather looked very uninviting with fog and rain greeting us. I decided to wait until the rain eased off a little, but it was clear it would not be stopping any time soon. I decided to head ashore to St Peter Port. The town has a unique mix of English and French architecture. The walk from the harbour jetty to the town centre is just a short walk and the main street features a variety of UK shops and local cafés. After spending as long as I possibly could staying dry in various shops, I headed back to the harbour, to catch the tender back to the ship. By the time I arrived back on board, it was approaching 1 p.m., so we headed to the buffet for lunch. Delicious golden fish and chips were being served. Tonight was formal night and the farewell 'Baked Alaska Parade'. It was a fantastic meal and our waiter, Phyo, demonstrated his amazing towel folding skills and produced two fabulous peacocks using a wine glass. Tonight's show was called 'Around the World' and featured songs for all different countries and cultures, including Ireland, Italy, Russia and of course, Britain. It was a fantastic production and included some very tricky dance moves.
We arrived into the port of Dover at 8:30am. The weather was rather dull. The cruise terminal occupies the old Dover Western Docks train station, which closed in the 1990's. Walking through the grandeur of the former station was one of the most unique, yet eerie experiences of the trip. A private shuttle service operates from the port to the town centre and castle. A return to the town costs £3, whilst a return to the castle costs £4. The town centre has a variety of chain stores and local businesses. I had a walk through the town looking in the shops, before a drink in Wetherspoons, using the free Wi-Fi. Back on board, I spent the remainder of the afternoon packing the suitcase ready for disembarkation the next day.Tonight was our last evening meal on board. This evening, I had a beef consommé, chicken breast filled with ham and swiss cheese, and a heavenly chocolate éclair for dessert! The final show of the cruise was 'We Will Rock You', a unique twist on Queen's hits. The show was ok, but it certainly was not the best we had seen over the 10 nights. After the show, I headed to the Discovery Theatre at 9:45 p.m. to catch the evening film, Disney's Frozen. After the film, I headed back to the cabin, put the last items in the case, and placed the cases outside just before midnight, ready for disembarkation in the morning back in Hull.