The British Isles and Norwegian Fjords cruise offers seven to 12 excursions at each port of call.
Celebrity sailing offers glimpses of two very different Europes
By Dori Saltzman
Along with the rest of an audience nearly 1,000 strong, I am mes-
merized by the tiny contortionist as she twists her body around a
hoop suspended from the ceiling of the cruise ship theater, almost
a full deck above our heads.
We’re watching “A Taste of Cirque de
Soleil,” a sampler of a performance by the
famous Canadian performance troupe. It’s
a perfect segue midway through our cruise,
a graceful ending to our time in the British
Isles and a breathtaking start to our visit to
is extensive. History buffs can explore
landmarks associated with the D-Day
landing of Allied troops in Normandy
in World War II.
Fans of “The Da Vinci Code” can follow in the footsteps of characters from
the book and film. And of course, Paris
excursions of various lengths and themes
also are available.
After a full day in the French capital, a
day at sea is a welcome chance to unwind.
Four ports of call in the British Isles follow:
Cork and Dublin in Ireland; Greenrock,
near Glasgow, Scotland; and Belfast.
Though there are several excursions to
choose from in Cork, most people choose
the Waterford Crystal Factory tour or a trip
to Blarney Castle.
At the top of Blarney Castle, brave visitors are lowered backwards by their legs to
kiss the enchanted Blarney Stone, said to
bestow the “gift of the gab” on all who complete the ritual.
Because of its large size, the Constellation
is forced to dock in Dublin’s industrial port,
and a shuttle bus takes passengers to and
from the city center.
Many passengers forego an excursion in
order to see Dublin on their own or combine a three-to-four-hour Dublin overview
excursion with free time.
The Celebrity Constellation’s
first port of call in Norway
is Geiranger, where active
excursions such as kayaking
and hiking are available.
The final stop in the British Isles is Belfast. Once a hotbed of sectarian activism
and terrorism, Northern Ireland’s capital is
now a lively city full of museums, theaters
and shopping. Excursions here include city
tours of Belfast and longer tours of the Antrim coast.
Along the coast lies Giant’s Causeway, a
UNESCO World Heritage Site. Composed
of 40,000 large, basalt columns, the “
stepping stones” begin at the cliff’s edge and
disappear into the sea.
Legend has it that an Irish giant built the
causeway to reach his love in Scotland.
It’s not necessary to book an excursion
in Belfast, as the city’s tourist board offers
passengers free commuter shuttles and one-hour guided tours of Belfast.
It is the eighth day of Celebrity Cruises’
14-day British Isles and Norwegian Fjords
sailing aboard the Constellation.
The cruise has two distinct halves. The
first includes four stops in Ireland, the U.K.
and Le Havre, France. The second, Scandinavian portion includes three stops in the
Norwegian fjords and an overnight in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Seven to 12 excursions are offered at each
port of call.
Beginning in Dover, England, the cruise
begins port-hopping almost immediately,
calling the next day at Le Havre, which is in
Normandy, about two hours from Paris.
The choice of excursions at Le Havre
Other excursions include tours of the
Jameson whiskey distillery and Guinness brewery as well as bus tours of the
The only Scottish port of call is Greenrock, the entry point for Glasgow. From
Greenrock, passengers can choose excursions to Glasgow, Edinburgh and Loch Lomond. Passengers uninterested in one of the
excursions can take the train to Glasgow, a
Enjoy Sophia Loren’s
Cruise Line of Choice!
After a day at sea, the three ports of call
in the Norwegian fjords offer a wide range
Our first day in the Norway’s fjord region,
at Geiranger, offers kayaking and hiking as
well as trips into the scenic mountains.
Geiranger is the only port on this cruise
where tendering is necessary. Hundreds of
waterfalls grace the local Geirangerfjord,
some bearing romantic names like the
Bridal Veil and the Suitor.
After Geiranger, the cruise moves to
Olden, where the Briksdal Glacier is the
main sight of interest. Part of the larger
Jostedalsbreen Glacier, Briksdal Glacier
is reached via a 45-minute hike past a
We choose the glacier hike on Briksdal.
During our one hour on the ice, we and
10 other hardy passengers are tethered together and fitted with crampons, ice picks
Our final Norwegian port is Bergen, Norway’s second-largest city. Many excursions
are offered, including hiking on Mount
Floien; a culinary walking tour; and a full-day, overland tour onboard the Flam Railway, a steep ride that climbs and descends
over 2,800 feet.
After a day at sea we arrive in Copenhagen, our final port of call, in the early
While some passengers choose to stay
onboard, others opt for an evening canal
cruise or a shuttle to Tivoli Gardens for
a night of fun at Copenhagen’s famous
The Constellation is docked very close to
the center of Copenhagen, so, as in Dublin,
many passengers bypass the excursions and
take in the Danish capital on their own.
However, there are more than 15 excursions available, including a tour that follows
in the footsteps of Hans Christian Anderson; palace and castle tours in town and beyond; and Copenhagen by bicycle.
A final day at sea, and we’re back in Dover, where the cruise began.
Rather than head directly to Heathrow
Airport, we opt for a London panoramic
bus tour and transfer.
The cruise is barely over, and I’m already
missing the beauty of the British Isles and
the Norwegian fjords.