Well we did get on the cruise after all, Scotland lifted their restrictions to cruise ships entering their ports a few days before we sailed. I should have posted this earlier but have only just managed to download the photos!
I don't have many as we couldn't get off the ship in Shetland and it was a bit misty so the photographs from the ship there were poor.
Well we haven't sailed from the Port of Tyne since the 'eighties when we took the car & sailed on the DFDS ferry to Sweden for a log cabin holiday which was great. Now the ferries only go to Amsterdam so we haven't bothered but maybe we should try a trip next year. but without the car. It's a really small port which is nice to sail from, no horrendous traffic jams or huge queues!
It was an easy car trip to the port about 45 minutes, should have been 30 but the roadworks struck again as they always do on main roads in the UK in summer. There was an absolutely huge marquee set up in the ferry terminal car park to do the Covid testing which was fairly quick and very efficiently completed.
We boarded and went to our cabin which was smaller than ones I've had before but it was clean with a small balcony, adequate storage, a big shower & the essential kettle, tea & coffee! This was a Tui ship with primarily UK passengers so they know our habits of needing kettles!
It was good sailing out of the port, a lot of new houses and offices have been built along the river. Wish my photos were better!
I've never sailed with Tui or Marella cruises as they are called now and I'm not doing a cruise review here as there are lots of them around on the cruise sites. What I will comment on are the things that struck me sailing in a time of a pandemic.
There were numerous regulations which had to be adhered to and the ship was only half full as they weren't booking the inside cabins. Not sure I could hack one of these at the best of times we like a bit of fresh air especially in the morning and we hate air conditioning.
You had to wear a mask walking around the ship, in the shops, theatre and only four people at a time were allowed in the lifts. You could take your mask off once you were seated in a restaurant or cafe but had to put them on if you got up to get food. All food, drinks & cutlery had to be served by staff to you even in the buffet and cafes. This seems a great idea & one that they should continue with to reduce the problems of the common Norovirus on some cruise ships.
They were not allowing people off the ships in the ports we were sailig to unless you were booked on a ship's excursion. I suppose this was to minimise the risk of bringing infection back to the ship and we knew this before we booked. The only ports we were visiting were all Scottish, Invergordon, Dundee and Lerwick and to be truthful we weren't bothered about going on the ship's excursions. It was great just to be on holiday with no shopping, cooking or housework and watching the sea from the balcony.
We did an excursion to Glamis Castle in Dundee which is the home of the Earl of Strathmore and it was the home of the Queen Mother before she married King George VI and Princess Margaret was born there.
It was the inspiration for Macbeth as King Malcolm II was murdered on the site of the present castle & Macbeth became king in 1040. The building of the castle as we know it today began in 1400.
It's not a huge place but it is rather sweet and it was really good to see the rooms which are exquisitely decorated and furnished.
This was the Queen Mother's bedroom. The cot to the right of the bed was the Queen's & Princess Margaret's as babies, the rocking horse too.
This was King George Vl's bedroom.