Ireland is an oceanic island, separated from Great Britain by the North Channel, St George’s Channel, and the Irish Sea to its east. It is the twentieth-largest island on Earth, the third-largest in Europe, and second-largest of the British Isles.
As an island nation, Ireland is one of the perfect destinations for a cruise. That’s because the country is accessible from the Western European mainland and major British port cities.
It also flaunts lots of historic and beautiful landscapes. Some of the most visited sites in Ireland include the Rock of Cashel, Bunratty Castle, Blarney Castle, Holy Cross Abbey, and the Cliffs of Moher.
The Republic of Ireland also maintains historical sites like Clonmacnoise and Glendalough as national monuments.
Dublin is the most visited region in the country. It is also home to several of the most popular attractions, such as the Book of Kells and the Guinness Storehouse.
If you’re new to cruising, many different cruises call at ports on the Emerald Isle. And we have listed down the best Ireland cruises, from historical sites to Dublin pubs and epic landscapes:
The Ring of Kerry – Regal Princess, Princess Cruises
The Ring of Kerry is a 179km circular route around the Iveragh Peninsula in South Western Ireland. It’s also deemed as the island’s most famous, picturesque region.
Here, you can experience the gracious and authentic hospitality of the Irish people.
Your journey will start at Limerick, where you’ll be checking in a hotel for a night. You will receive a traditional Irish Welcome to a village barn at Bunratty where dinner, wine, and entertainment awaits.
On your second day, you’ll leave Limerick on a motorcoach and arrive at Killarney. You’ll have dinner and stay in a hotel for a night. In this place, you can visit the ancient Ross Castle on the shores of Lough Leane.
The next day, you can make a panoramic drive through the road known as the “Ring of Kerry.” The drive will take you to the island’s southwestern tip, where you’ll be able to see the breathtaking landscapes that are beyond words.
On your fourth day on the island, you will be riding a motorcoach to Cork. It is Ireland’s second-largest city and home for 6 million adults and children who migrated to America from 1848 to 1950.
On the following day, you’ll transfer to Cork International Airport for your flight to London’s Heathrow Airport. Upon arrival, you will transfer to Southampton and embark on your voyage which includes breakfast.
From there, it will sail to Dublin, Ireland, where it will spend a night at port, then navigate to Belfast, then Glasgow, Scotland, on the following days. It will sail its way to Invergordon and Edinburgh.
And then you will spend a day at sea cruising to Normandy, France, where the voyage will end.
Music at Sea – Le Jacque Cartier, Ponant Cruises
Ponant offers an 8-day cruise across the Islands of Northern Europe. The journey will start from Iceland, crossing the picturesque views of Scotland, and will end the whole cruise through Ireland.
The cruise will start at Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital and largest city. You’ll spend a night at the island’s capital, which stretches along the edge of a vast bay west of the country.
You can visit the “Pearl of Reykjavík,” a museum located on Oskjuhlið hill, which also offers a panoramic view of the lush, green landscapes.
You can also try relaxing at the famous thermal lagoons of the Reykjanes peninsula, outside of the city.
On your third day, you’ll arrive at Heimaey, a land seated off the southern coast of Iceland. It is the largest island in the Vestmann archipelago. It offers a rich contrast of nature, where you can see the steep Edfell volcanoes and the green meadows of Herjólfsdalur.
On the fourth day, the ship will cross the North Atlantic Ocean spending a day at sea. While sailing, you can enjoy a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness center. As for lovers of the open sea, you can visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the waves’ spectacle. A genuinely pleasant interlude, combining comfort, and entertainment.
On the next day, you’ll arrive at the grandiose Isle of Skye’s main town, Portree. From its colorful harbor, bustling with local craftsmen’s shops, you can see a stunning view of the surrounding hills. You can trek through the wilderness and drink in the natural beauty of the Isle of Skye.
On the fifth day, you’ll be able to visit the lovely Isle of Mull. You will arrive at one of Scotland’s natural seaports, Tobermory. Founded in 1788, this ancient Fishing Village is now a leisure port that boasts a quiet charm.
On the same day, You will sail straight to Hebrides’ most promoted town, Iona. It is here where St. Columba first established Christianity in Scotland in the year 563. It is also where most of the kings of Scotland were buried, including the legendary Macbeth.
On the next day, you will arrive at the Emerald Isle’ northern capital, Belfast. Home to the transatlantic liner, Titanic. You’ll be able to travel back in time when you visit the Edwardian columns of the City Hall. You can also visit the neo-gothic towers of Queen’s University.
As your journey continues, you’ll finally arrive at your last stop, Glasgow. It is Scotland’s biggest city that overflows with landmarks. From its extensive artistic heritage to outstanding architectural tradition, name it, and they have it.
You can also visit the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, where many art collections are on display. This is where you’ll disembark from the cruise to go on a flight on your way home.
The British Isle Explorer – Viking Venus, Viking Ocean Cruises
The Viking Ocean Cruises offers a 15-day journey across the Atlantic Ocean aboard the Viking Venus.
The journey will start in London, England, where you’ll be able to explore some of its historical establishments. London is also the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill, the prime minister of England during the second world war.
On your next day onboard, you will cross the celebrated Royal Borough of Greenwich. It features Maritime Greenwich, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
While sailing, you’ll see the Tower of London, Parliament Building and Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, and St. Paul’s Cathedral. You can also venture to the countryside and visit the Royal Residence, Windsor Castle.
Be amazed at the beautiful sites as you sail through Dover on your third day. From here, you can journey to the medieval city of Canterbury, made famous through Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. You can also visit an Elizabethan-era mansion that showcases a classic English country garden.
You’ll spend the next day at sea witnessing the scenic view of the shores of Wales and England while crossing the English Channel.
You can also enjoy the ship’s many amenities as you cruise. This includes getting a massage at The Spa, taking high tea in the Wintergarden, and ending your day with fine cuisine at Manfredi’s Italian Restaurant.
You will wake up the next day at the Republic of Ireland’s charismatic capital on the Liffey River, Dublin. While in Dublin, you can have a panoramic tour, which will take you to Trinity College, where its library holds five million volumes. You can also visit the Dublin Castle and pass by the neoclassical City Hall.
On the sixth day, you’ll be arriving at the northwestern tip of Wales, Holyhead. This fascinating town is enclosed within one of the few three-walled Roman forts in Europe, protected on the fourth side by the sea. You’ll get to see the historic St. Cybi’s Church at the fortress’s center. You’ll also have the chance to visit the Holyhead Maritime Museum, chronicling local nautical history.
On the next day, you get to visit the birthplace of the Beatles, Liverpool. You will see the cone-shaped Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral and the neoclassical St. George’s Hall. You might also follow in the footsteps of the Beatles, Liverpool’s most famous sons.
You’ll be able to explore Belfast on the next day. During a tour, you’ll witness British-influenced Victorian buildings blending with the authentic Irish charm of pubs and shops. This historic city has undergone a renaissance boosting its economy and its culture.
The ship will make its way to Ullapool, Scotland, on the next day. The city is a remote area of the United Kingdom. You will disembark for a panoramic tour that takes you deep into the village-dotted Wester Ross landscape, passing pristine lakes, rugged mountains, and beautiful castles.
You’ll get an authentic taste of Scotland as you take a trip to the world’s most northerly whiskey distillery on the next day. Immerse yourself in the Orkney Islands’ rich history, ruled by the Vikings from the 9th to 13th centuries. You’ll also see the Standing Stones of Stenness, a 5,000-year-old circle of stones as you explore its ancient monuments.
You will arrive in Edinburgh and get to see its medieval and neoclassical beauty. It is set among rocky hills and gracious green ribbons of the park.
On an included tour, you’ll traverse through the Royal Mile. It is a famed avenue connecting the hilltop Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse. You can also visit the Crown Jewels or venture to medieval St. Andrews, the birthplace of golf.
Witness the lavishing beauty of Invergordon, a Scottish town with a distributed population. You’ll sail through Loch Ness the next day while having a glimpse of its fascinating view of the Highlands.
Be amazed at the rugged beauty of Shetland Island in Lerwick, Scotland. Set out to explore the island and meet its famous residents, the Shetland ponies. You can also visit the remarkable archaeological site of Jarlshof, where evidence of a thriving Viking is present. You can also try sailing on a Viking longship replica and try your hand at rowing for an authentic Viking travel experience.
You’ll spend your last two days in Bergen, Norway. You’ll get to see the beautiful 18th-century wooden houses, visit the Hanseatic Museum, or take a trip to Mt. Ulriken to savor an Ulriken bun, a cinnamon pastry, at the mountaintop restaurant.
With your ship berthed next to Bryggen wharf, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, you can also stroll along its waterfront.
You’ll disembark your ship on the next morning as your journey comes to a close.
When it comes to cruises, Ireland remains one of the most fascinating yet undiscovered locations globally.
It offers a mixture of folklore, quaint customs, friendly locals, and lush green landscapes. No wonder the island earns its nickname of “The Emerald Isle.”
The Ireland cruise features rolling green pastures, ancient Celtic monasteries, and plenty of wildlife. It will put you in touch with legends and fables, as well as the warm and hospitable Irish people.
Thus, Ireland cruises are sure to please even the most demanding enthusiasts!