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Exploring Scotland and the Faroe Islands

Tues 19 Sep 2017

Sarah in our Sales Support team recently joined Cruise and Maritime's flagship, Columbus, for a Scotland and Faroe Islands cruise. Read her exclusive review:

I arrived at Victoria coach station and boarded a coach to London Tilbury port to embark Columbus. The efficiency in which all passengers were directed and helped to their coach was second to none and provided a glimpse of the level of hospitality to come.

After embarking and settling into my cabin, I made my way to the Connexions Lounge ready to meet the others in my group and have a tour of the ship. She definitely didn't disappoint. She offered a selection of different bars, restaurants, a heated outdoor swimming pool, Jacuzzi, gym and sauna, along with so much more. There was a casino for those who liked to take a risk, a lovely little library for the book lovers, a bridge room, ping pong, even a ‘quiet room’ at the very top of the ship for those who wanted to take escape and watch the world go by.

After the tour, it was time to relax and get ready for dinner. I ate in the main restaurant and enjoyed a three course meal with each course being more delicious than the last. They served dishes to suit everybody with plenty of choice, including a variety of vegetarian and vegan dishes. I chose the beef wellington and it was delicious!

There were two dinner sittings in the main restaurant, at 6:00pm and 8:30pm but also a lovely Indian restaurant and The Grill, specialising in the most delectable steaks. You had to pre-book if you wanted to eat in either of these restaurants. Dinner ended up being my favourite meal of the day. The excellent standards had me waking up each morning thinking about what glorious spread they would have on for us.

Every evening before dinner, I'd head to the Palladium for pre-dinner drinks and a brilliant show which always started at 7:30pm. Each show was different, each show spectacular, with amazing opera singers, dancers, comedians, and the very popular We Will Rock You show on the final night.

After dinner there was a range of places to relax for a nightcap, Taverners, a traditional style pub onboard perfect for a quiet drink and acoustic music, with a musician there most evenings. Connexions, a more modern style bar also with a live singer/musician there most nights. If you fancied something a little livelier, The Dome was the place to be. From 60’s evenings to Motown evenings, it was the perfect place for a sing and dance. I spent most evenings here after dinner.

Cruise and Maritime's flagship, Columbus Swimming pool on Columbus Columbus Spectacular performance by the crew Enjoy delicious cuisine on board Modern public area on board Enjoy live entertainment on board Outdoor space on board Columbus The Neolithic Ring of Brodgar The Neolithic Ring of Brodgar Stunning scenery of the Faroe Islands Lighthouse in the Faroe archipelago Breathtaking scenery Sunset over the Faroe Islands Colourful boats in Torshavn harbour Impressive mural in Invergordon Amazing artwork in Invergordon

After dancing the nights away I'd wake up ready to discover what joys the fabulous chefs had laid on for breakfast. I was never disappointed as there was an array of choices, from a full English with every ingredient to a continental feast. Or if you fancied something a littler lighter, wonderful pastries and fresh fruits carved into the prettiest of things along with yoghurts and cereal. It definitely set you up for the day's excursions.

The first excursion was a visit to the Standing Stones of Stromness – The Ring of Brodgar Stone Circle & Henge. Beautiful scenery and a very knowledgeable tour guide made for an excellent experience. Columbus then cruised further into the heart of the Orkney Isles where the scenery was absolutely breathtaking.

Our third day took us to the Faroe Islands, my new favourite place. I was in awe of absolutely everything I saw, from the cliff top views over the sea to the quaint little grass roofed houses and the wonderful colourful harbour in Torshavn. The locals were so welcoming and friendly, and walking through their town was like something straight from a book. My only disappointment was that I had to leave!

The next excursion took us to the very welcoming Shetland Islands, where the little wild Shetland ponies dominated the hills and countryside. It was here that I enjoyed a picture stop by the sea and was lucky enough see some seals. The following day saw us take in Invergordon, a small friendly town where the buildings have been decorated and painted in the most inspiring ways. One particular that stood out was a mother and child painted on a wall looking out to sea waiting for daddy to come home. The same day we travelled up to Grantown-on-Spey where we had the privilege of riding an old Victorian steam train and enjoyed complimentary tea and shortbread throughout the journey.

I would highly recommend the excursions available on this cruise. Sadly I didn’t get to do them all as there simply weren't enough hours in the day. They were amazing experiences, and each tour guide was exceptionally knowledgeable and could answer any question about the place visited.

On the day of disembarkation, I left the ship feeling very blue that it was all over. I had the most wonderful experience. All in all, the food, the cleanliness and standards of the ship, all made for a perfect cruise. Nothing was too much trouble for the very attentative staff, who absolutely made the holiday.

I will definitely be joining the Columbus again for another magical cruise.

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