essential cruise - Grand British Isles Discovery
A no-fly cruise sailing from London Tilbury
Discover the scenic beauty of the British Isles on this wonderful cruise circumnavigating Great Britain. Sailing from Tilbury, you’ll first cross the Channel to Normandy, spending time in the historic city of Rouen and the picturesque port town of Honfleur before continuing to Guernsey and the idyllic Isles of Scilly. Cruising up the Irish Sea, you’ll see the sights of Dublin and Belfast and sail along Scotland’s spectacularly beautiful coastline, calling in at Tobermory on the Isle of Mull, the Isle of Skye, a land of dramatic mountains and moors, and rugged Orkney, where there will a chance to explore its fascinating and mysterious archaeological sites.
- 12 nights cruise on the Columbus
- 35 meals: 12 breakfasts (days 2-13) 11 lunches (days 2-12) 12 dinners (days 1-12)
- Afternoon teas and late night snacks
- Self-service coffee & tea (6am-10pm)
- Captain’s Cocktail Party
- Big show entertainment, cabarets and classical interludes
- Wide selection of leisure facilities & daytime activities
- Porterage on the cruise ship
- Services of the experienced Cruise & Maritime Voyages staff on board
- Port taxes
Day 1 - London Tilbury
At London Tilbury Port, embark Columbus (3T) in preparation for a late afternoon sailing.
Day 2 - Antwerp, Belgium
This morning after crossing the Channel, we arrive in one of Europe’s largest ports, Antwerp. Renowned throughout the world as the centre of the diamond trade. With its charming medieval streets and remarkable renaissance buildings, Belgium’s second largest city is a delight. Historic guild houses and Antwerp’s imposing Town Hall with its rows of colourful European flags surround the cobbled stone main square of the old city called Grote Markt. The focal point of the city skyline is the towering Gothic spire of the Cathedral of Our Lady. We sail early afternoon.
Day 3 - Honfleur, France
Early this morning we arrive in Honfleur, a charming port town set in a sheltered cove off the Seine’s tidal estuary. Artists such as Monet, Millet and Courbet found inspiration here and its picturesque harbour and narrow, half-timbered houses are simply enchanting. Take time to visit the wooden 15th century St Catherine’s Church and the Maisons Satie, dedicated to the 19th century composer, or relax in one of the inviting waterfront cafes.
Day 4 - St Peter Port, Guernsey
Our destination today is St Peter Port, the picturesque capital of Guernsey. With its cobbled streets and alleyways winding their way down to the marina, it’s a joy to explore. Take a stroll along the cliff paths and enjoy the spectacular coastline and beautiful beaches, or visit Castle Cornet, which has guarded the harbour for 800 years, or the home of 19th century French writer Victor Hugo. We leave early this evening. Ship to shore tender service.
Day 5 - St Mary’s, Isles of Scilly
This morning we reach St Mary’s, the largest and most populous of the Isles of Scilly, which lie some 28 miles off the coast of Cornwall. St Mary’s is a delight with white sand beaches, tranquil waters and stunning seascapes, while the attractive village of Hugh Town, the unofficial ‘capital’, is the hub of the islands’ activity. Optional excursions explore both St Mary’s and Tresco, the second largest and the only privately-owned island is Tresco, where, in the glorious Abbey Gardens, some 20,000 exotic species thrive in the sub-tropical climate. Ship to shore tender service.
Day 6 - Dublin, Ireland
We arrive in the capital of the Emerald Isle this morning, with a full day to explore this charming city. Take a stroll through the lively Temple Bar neighbourhood, visit the impressive St Patrick’s Cathedral, cross the high-arched Ha’penny Bridge over the River Liffey or simply relax in Phoenix Park, one of the largest urban public gardens in Europe.
Day 7 - Belfast
Sailing northwards, we reach Belfast, a city with a proud shipbuilding heritage. Visit Titanic Belfast, which traces the story of the ill-fated liner, built in the shipyards of Harland & Wolff or the diverse collections of the Ulster Museum. The geological wonder of the Giant’s Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, can also be visited on a day-trip from the city.
Day 8 - Greenock
Sailing up the Firth of Clyde, we arrive in Greenock this morning, an historic industrial town some 40km west of Glasgow. There are some fine 19th century buildings in the town including the 75m-high Victoria Tower built in the 1880s. Well worth a visit is the McClean Museum and Art Gallery, which houses diverse collections including displays on the local engineer James Watt, natural history and Egyptology while the nearby Greenock Cut is a popular circular walk over moorland and an historic aqueduct.
Day 9 - Tobermory, Isle of Mull
This morning we arrive in Tobermory, on the Isle of Mull. Established in the late 18th century as a fishing port, Tobermory is renowned for its picture-postcard harbour and colourful houses. The town is a pleasant place to wander, and you can learn about the local sea life in the Marine Exhibition while further afield you might like to visit Tobermory Distillery for a taste of the local produce. Ship to shore tender service.
Day 10 - Portree, Isle of Skye
Portree, the largest town on the Isle of Skye, is set around a picturesque natural harbour with a mountainous backdrop. There are a number of interesting sights in town such as the Aros Centre, where you can watch live CCTV images of local sea eagle nests, while Skye’s other attractions include the intriguing rock formations at Trotternish Ridge - which can be found north of Portree, the Talisker whisky distillery and the ruins of the village of Tusdale, deserted during the Highland Clearances. Ship to shore tender service.
Day 11 - Kirkwall, Orkney
We reach the northernmost point of our cruise today as we sail into Kirkwall, the capital of Orkney. The mediaeval St Magnus Cathedral, founded by the Viking chief, Earl Rögnvald Kali Kolsson, in 1137, still dominates Kirkwall’s skyline while the Orkney Museum, with important collections of Stone Age and Viking artefacts is another highlight. You could also join an optional excursion to the remarkable archaeological site of Skara Brae, a wonderfully preserved 5,000-year old Neolithic village or the Standing Stones of Stenness, one of the oldest stone circles in Britain.
Day 12 - At sea
Relax on board Columbus as we make our return journey towards Tilbury. Enjoy a dip in one of the heated pools or perhaps unwind with a massage in the Wellness Centre.
Day 13 London Tilbury
Arrive at London Tilbury Port.