Ruby Princess – Day 10

Today finds us in Edinburgh moored off South Queensferry. Seems strange a huge city like Edinburgh does not have a deep water berth for Ruby which means we are using a tender service today.

Lesley and I have nothing planned but the kids are meeting Lewis’s Mum Angela, who has driven over from Glasgow. They have tickets for Edinburgh Zoo and plan to see Europe’s only Giant Pandas.

We have moored in the shadow of the very impressive Forth Bridge and I popped ashore to say hello to Angela and make sure kids knew what they were doing. It’s very damp, murky and misty!

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A taxi into the city centre is a hefty £25 each way so not cheap unless sharing. A shuttle bus was also running for a fee which was also very busy with long lines. Lesley and I decided to stay on board and had a very relaxing day just munching and eating.

Lewis and Rowan returned to the ship at 1730hrs and reported that the zoo had been amazing. Certainly the place to head if you have kids!

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Only two days left as we spend a lovely evening on board Ruby.

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Ruby Princess – Day 9

We find ourselves today in Invergordon after travelling around the north coast of Scotland. One of our few port days where we have a trip planned.

Have arranged a hire car from Ken’s Garage at cost of £60. Picked up brand new Pug 307 and headed for whistle stop tour of Loch Ness. We then headed for Cromarty for 1200hrs to take a rib out onto the Moray Firth to hopefully see the resident colony of dolphins. I had really been looking forward to this. Would we be lucky?

This was a two hour trip courtesy of EcoVentures. I felt it was fairly reasonable at £26 per adult. Full protective provided. Don’t laugh….

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Now back to the dolphins…….

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Not every trip gets a spot but with 200 dolphins in the Firth then chances are you will strike lucky. Biscuit and juice provided on board. This was an amazing trip and the gasps and thrill of our fellow passengers (12 total) was shared by all at seeing these animals up close and free. Memorable!

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Ruby Princess – Day 8

Late post as Day 8 was our first sea day on what has been a very port intensive cruise. Day 8 or 17/07/14 was also another rather large milestone for Lesley. Her 50th birthday!

This was perhaps the most interesting leg of the cruise as after leaving Greenock we head due north to travel around Scotland to begin our homeward leg via Invergordon, Edinburgh and Le Harve.

Several things planned for the birthday girl including the day at the Sanctuary and dinner at the Crown Grill.

Arrived at the Sanctuary at 1030hrs. Set up was late due to rain but the staff soon had everything up and running. This is the adult only retreat high up at the front of the ship. $20 for half day or $40 for full. The Sanctuary provides extra comfy loungers, very attentive service including lunch and afternoon tea served whilst relaxing. Not very busy and was well worth the whole day experience. Amazing service. Amusingly Les watched Titanic whilst I snoozed. The Sanctuary certainly lived up to my expectations.

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We were pampered until 1730hrs and then prepared for dinner. Headed to another full production show in the main theatre which was themed on a fairy tale. Very well done with great effects although the story was a little eccentric.

At 2000hrs the food marathon known as Crown Grill began. This is speciality restaurant themed on a New York Steak House. Cover charge is $25 per person which is well worth it for the experience. MDR food is always excellent but this somehow raises it to the next level.

Scallops

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14oz Ribeye

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Pudding

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An exquisite meal to round off a perfect evening with Lesley and the kids. Oh we also managed a whole lobster and several bowls of soup and bisque.

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Ruby Princess – Day 7

This is perhaps the most amusing day of the cruise. We awake to find Rowan and Lewis in sunny Greenock which as the crow flies is approx 5 miles from where they both live.

Now Greenock does not have the best reputation if you are a local but our fellow passengers appear very excited at the thought of a visit to Glasgow and Loch Lomond.

We had nothing planned other than a quick visit from Rowan’s Mum to exchange dirty washing. How glam.

It had also been raining much of the day but cleared up as we pushed off the birth so Rowan, Lewis and I spent an hour in hot tub taking in the stunning views of the Firth of Clyde.

Low key evening but with yet another superb dinner.

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Apple Breakfast

This is what happens when you take more Apple devices on holiday than the local Apple Store!

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Apples for breakfast!

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Ruby Princess – Day 6

We arrived mid morning in sunny Belfast, one of the few places on this trip that I had not previously visited. I had made plans to take the family to the Titanic Belfast attraction which sits in the Titanic Quarter one of the largest harbour redevelopments in Europe.

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The attraction can all be booked online and a taxi from ship to main building will cost £10.

As the crow flies it is situated very close by but is actually 2.5 miles by foot so I would suggest a cab.

Titanic Belfast has been opened for two years and has seen over a million visitors. I would recommend booking a combo ticket which also includes the guided Discovery Tour. Total cost for family of four £60.

Grabbed a quick burger before we headed off for our time slot of 1430hrs. Although we ended up visiting exhibit first, I would recommend the tour first. There is much more design wise to the building than is apparent on first glance and the tour gives much more context to the whole experience.

You get to visit the Harland and Wolff drawing rooms and many other areas not included in the normal ticket.

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Standing on the slipway from where Titanic was launched made the hairs on back of my neck stand up as Whitney our guide recalled stories of the passengers and crew. The memorial garden on the slipway shows a representation of the deaths in each class on board. The actual crew suffered the greatest percentage of fatalities.

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The tour and exhibition easily took up 3-4 hours and was well worth the visit. No sign of Kate or Leo anywhere!

We arrived back on board Ruby at 1730hrs and prepared to go to the early show at 1945hrs. Superb broadway style show by the singers and dancers. The shows rarely last more than 45 minutes and we were then able to head for a lovely dinner of steak fajitas.

Great end to what was a very interesting day in sunny Belfast.

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Ruby Princess – Day 5

A late morning arrival saw us pull up alongside Cruise Terminal slap bang in centre of Liverpool. Very iconic city and rather than a ferry across the Mersea it was the rather impressive site of Ruby Princess that greeted the locals.

Have been up a big later the last few days and have therefore discovered the rather splendid egg and bacon muffins served at the International Cafe.

Les was feeling a little tired today so I escorted kids ashore and pointed them in direction of Albert Dock and shops. Les and I then spent rest of day relaxing and reading. Weather ok but not sunny but at least it’s not raining.

Dinner was a rather awesome roast beef and Yorkshire pudding whilst everyone else had spaghetti carbonara. Lewis also had his 5th Princess Love Boat desert of the cruise.

Tonight’s entertainment was of course a rather brilliant Beatles Tribute. Not really one for the Beatles but they were very good musicians.

We stayed up to see the ship move off the berth at midnight and headed for bed. Belfast and Titanic tomorrow.

The staff on board continue to be superb with nothing to much trouble.

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