After the few days in London, England we are in Southampton to begin our 14 day cruise aboard the NCL Spirit with my partner Daniel, my sister Irene, my mother Rosemarie and my friend from Puerto Vallarta, Celeste. We make our way on board via the dock side check in with our cabins both on the same 10th deck balcony staterooms that we were able to get upgraded by NCL as we got closer to our departure. While NCL has a bid program to upgrade staterooms, I have been pretty successful at negotiating an upgrade when the prices are falling and the ship is not sold out, by simply calling NCL and asking to be upgrade for the difference in price reduction.
The sail away departure is around 4pm as we head to our first port of call the next day in Cork, Ireland around 1pm. Cork is famous for the Blarney Stone and we end up taking an Uber cab to the location about 30 minutes away from the ship. It was a lovely place and the time spent to get up to the top of the castle for the Kissing of the Blarney Stone was slow, but we made it up there for the famous ritual.
The next port of call the next day was Liverpool, England home of the Beatles. Liverpool was where the famous Cavern Club is located and became the home to the Beatles. We just walked around the pier area as it was filled with many sites, a shopping mall, ferris wheel, and entertainment.
Following the schedule of several ports of call in the row, we stop at Belfast, Ireland the next day, the home of the Titanic. This day we decide to take the free shuttle bus to downtown and connect with the Belfast Hop on Hop off bus. The route is very complete and information because remember Belfast was the hot spot for the fighting between the Protestants and the Catholics. Many walls and separation barriers are still in place along with many tribute murals to those who lost their lives in this conflict.
It was an emotional sad day because Belfast is also the home to the ship building yards of the Titanic, so in the docks areas there is a museum to tribute the Titanic.
Time to relax and a day at sea provides us with time to reflect as well as anticipate our next most important stop at Reykjavik, Iceland! I will do a separate blog post for the days in Iceland because we had 24 hours docked int he capital and then another day on the north side in the town of Akureyri, Iceland.
Meanwhile after the Iceland days, we head towards Norway with another day at sea before we enter the Norwegian Fjords of Geiranger and Flam. Wow, those are simply fantastic just entering the deep dark water narrow Fjords are simply fascinating. These are small villages with tours arranged for most cruise ship passengers, however, I tend to do my own thing and we rented these mini electric cars from EMobility https://emob.no/ in both places to go our on our own. The have a pre-programmed GPS route in the car via a navigation screen, so you cannot get lost. I highly recommend these for a little fun! The other option in Flam was the Flam railway that takes you up high as well for these views of the fjord down below.
We find ourselves on another day at sea while we cruise back to reality and the great city of Amsterdam, Netherlands. Once again we dock right in the middle of the city and simply walk over to the Hop On Hop Off boats that provide a great overview of the city and the sites. Unfortunately, our day was cut a bit short because the weather turned very ugly with torrential rains.
As we start to conclude our cruise, we have one more stop at the port of Zeebrugge, Belgium with the town of Brugges not too far away. A cab ride over and then walk around the town provides us the chance to shop for Belgium chocolates, waffles, and other handmade items from Belgium.
A great 14 days of cruising in a wonderful itinerary from NCL concludes back in Southampton the next morning and we take the easy bus from National Express back to Heathrow on our individual flights back to our homes. Please continue to read my blog on Iceland by clicking on the word Iceland to see our days that we enjoyed there!