Spotlight on Britain and Ireland

Delve into the fascinating cultures of Britain and Ireland! A wealth of cultural discoveries awaits the inquisitive traveler and this month’s E-zine has all your options covered.

Spotlight on Britain and Ireland

Cityscape in the medieval town Bath
Bath, Somerset, England

In these celebrated isles, there are diverse cultures to appreciate from the pomp and ceremony of royal life to the music and dance of Celtic countries. One of the top cultural pursuits this year is a combination of literature, film and TV.

Great works of literature have brought British and Irish culture into our homes and now it’s time to find out what inspired the writers, where did they live and where was the movie or TV show filmed?

Britain and Ireland are brimming with literary destinations and tours to answer your questions. These countries have preserved their history and culture so we have many fascinating sights and events to choose from:

  • Relax in Thomas Hardy Country in Dorset.
  • Walk in Shakespeare’s footsteps at Stratford-upon-Avon.
  • Explore the world of Sherlock Holmes in London.
  • Attend the Jane Austen Festival in Bath.
  • Go walking in Northern England’s Bronte Country.
  • Discover Sir Walter Scott’s home in the Scottish Borders.
  • Ride the scenic Harry Potter Jacobite Steam Train in Scotland.
  • Delve into the heritage center at the Dylan Thomas Boathouse, Wales.
  • Take a literary walking tour or pub crawl in Dublin.
  • Investigate the Agatha Christie Literary Trail, South Devon.

There are also plenty of highlights to bring to life movies, Masterpiece Theater dramas and British mystery series. Visit locations where the shows were filmed, explore museums and memorabilia related to the author or characters, eat at pubs and restaurants used on the show or by the cast during filming, take private guided tours at castles, sets and buildings used in the production. Savor all this and more during informative tours or self-drive explorations like these:

  • On Location with Victoria and The Crown, Yorkshire.
  • The Inspector Morse, Lewis and Endeavour tour of Oxford.
  • The Outlander Tour of Scotland.
  • Downton Abbey – Fiction into Fact, Oxfordshire & Berkshire.
  • Wolf Hall and Poldark film locations, Wiltshire.
  • Harry Potter Studio Set Tour, London.
  • The Midsomer Murders Tour of Locations, Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire.
  • Doctor Who tours of Cardiff or London.
  • James Bond Private Tours of London.
  • Explore the North Antrim Coast in Northern Ireland used as the backdrop for Game Of Thrones.

Don’t forget that our On Location partners are on hand to help with personalized tours and tailor-made services for any special requests. There are many options available to make your themed visit even more extra special.

Enhance your Britain and Ireland stay with the inspirational locations of literature, film and TV.

On Location in Britain and Ireland

Variety of cheese on display in Borough Market, London
Borough Market, London

Our On Location partner, Adams & Butler, specializes in elevating your vacation with authentic encounters, tailor-made for you. We caught up with Siobhan Byrne Learat, Founder and CEO of Adams & Butler, to find out what’s new for 2017 and the latest on personalized travel in Britain & Ireland.

Q: Tell us what’s new at Adams & Butler for 2017.

We can arrange for you to stay with an Earl as his guest in his private castle – like having a real Downton Abbey experience. At Crom Castle, Co. Fermanagh, John Crichton, the 7th Earl of Erne and Baron of Fermanagh, and friend of Adams & Butler is offering his home at the family’s ancestral seat to A&B clients wishing to spend a vacation with him as their personal host.

Each day at Crom Castle will be different, your stay is carefully planned with your group choosing from an exclusive list of potential activities. Clients who have done it loved it so much they booked again. This discreet experience is just for Adams & Butler clients and is not available elsewhere.

New properties include:

  • Belle Isle Castle situated on the northern tip of Upper Lough Erne in Fermanagh in Northern Ireland is a 470-acre estate spread over eight picturesque islands with a 17th century castle at its heart – perfect for three generational families, celebratory gatherings and weddings. Owned by the Duke of Abercorn who is happy to host clients for dinners and afternoon teas.
  • Adare Manor, located on the banks of the River Maigue in the picturesque village of Adare, due to open this October. The 840-acre property is currently undergoing extensive restoration and expansion including a new 42-bedroom west wing=, stunning ballroom, new La Mer spa and pool, and a dedicated boardroom and cinema. Tom Fazio will oversee a redesign of Adare Manor’s golf course which will feature cutting-edge SubAir technology.
  • The Hotel that History Built - Titanic Hotel Belfast. September 10th 2017 the hotel will open its doors revealing the history of the former Harland & Wolff Headquarters and the famous Drawing Offices, which have been intricately restored and refurbished to house this luxury hotel. The authentic 1920s bar and lounge will serve fresh cocktails and classic serves matching the nostalgic decadence of the hotel’s hospitality. The tiles around the bar are the very same, original Villeroy and Boch tiles which were also used in Titanic’s swimming pool.

2017 and 2018 see a growth in demand for English experiences and private services such as private visits to the Tower of London to see the Crown Jewels, private visits to Highclere and Blenheim Palace home of Winston Churchill, Food tours in Borough Market, Private Shopping Experiences with Jill Sinclair at shops with a Royal Warrant, Behind the Scenes Theatre visits and private tastings of the Rothschild wines at Waddeston Manor. Another popular tour we do is a walking tour of Oxford with a young Oxford Don who takes you to places only known to the inner circles.

Q: What special features of your travel services should we be aware of?

We offer a dedicated 24-hour service and we endeavor to make the experience seamless both for the travel advisor and for the client. We are known for our driver guides and our privileged access to leading experts, specialists, and even the aristocracy.

We are a ’One-Stop Shop’ for Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England, designing itineraries on themes such as Gourmet, Heritage, Genealogy, Glitz and Glamour, Gardens, Whiskey, Castles, Art, Vikings, Gay, Jewish, Motorbiking, Ghosts, Follies, Round Towers, Golf, Biking, Hiking, Walking, and Equestrian.

We also have a variety of castles and stately homes available for exclusive rental. Adams & Butler is the only ground handler listed by Conde Nast and Travel + Leisure. Our CEO is a Travel + Leisure A-Lister Agent. What clients love is that we have 800 Toll free numbers from the USA, Canada, and Australia.

Q: What are the most popular requests for cultural experiences this year?

Food – Our Northern Ireland Foodie tours are very popular. A typical example would be spending time with Tracey Jeffery on a foodie trail, making traditional bread, a private visit at Killyleagh Castle with Gawn the owner, a pub lunch at the oldest coaching inn in Northern Ireland - Dufferin Coaching Inn, or harvesting your own oysters for lunch by tractor at Patrice’s Oyster Shac.

Whisky – Very popular is our Private Visit & Tour with Charles MacLean, Scotland’s Leading Whisky Expert, founder member and ex-president of the society and cousin of The MacLean, Chieftain of the clan. He is happy to meet Adams & Butler clients for a private whisky tasting, or as his guest for dinner, at the members only Scotch Malt Whisky Society, or alternatively in his private home.

Genealogy – We can put together a specialized Trace Your Ancestor itinerary using our expert genealogists, where we will do all the groundwork and help you find your ancestral home.

Q: Which new shore excursions are available for cruise ship passengers?

This year we have done a lot of shore trips in Scotland, in particular to the Shetland and the Orkney Islands, visiting Stromness and Kirkwall, and other places such as Invergordon, and Greenock. What sets these trips apart are the local guides – we talk to them as the ship docks and they can see it all from their village cottage windows, before they come down to meet our clients who leave having learned about local history and culture, and visitied ruined castles.

Q: What are your favorite of the castle hotels in Ireland?

I would have to say Ashford Castle because it is amazing. The Tollman’s have spent a lot of money renovating it to become without doubt the best castle hotel in the world. They are constantly adding new things to the estate and have a wonderful hawk walk, falconry school and equestrian center. You can even take the owner’s yacht out on the Lake.

Another favorite has always been Luggala Castle, home to the Guinness family. It was where Michael Jackson stayed when he visited. Wicklow, where Luggala is situated is also known as the garden of Ireland. It has a rich history and John Hurt and Bono have been frequent visitors over the years.

Q: For those wanting to tour the Scottish Highlands, what do you recommend?

One of my best experiences this year was staying at Alladale Wildeness Reserve in Scotland. The food is organic and the owner is committed to providing a sustainable ecosystem on the estate.

There’s an interesting Whisky experience which was a rather unique Food and Scottish Gin & Whiskey Pairing at Dornoch Castle. Dornoch, also home to the famous links golf course Royal Dornoch, is in the heart of the Highland Whisky Trail.

We always keep an eye on the locations of the local Highland Games which combine sport, fun and culture in a uniquely Scottish style. Clients can get in on the action at one of over 80 Highland games taking place across the country.

Also popular for next year is a drive alongside the Scottish version of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way – the North 500 which has stunning spectacular views and landscapes.

And no trip is complete to the highlands with seeing the Harry Potter Jacobite Train.Starting near the highest mountain in Britain, Ben Nevis, it visits Britain’s most westerly mainland railway station, Arisaig; passes close by the deepest freshwater loch in Britain, Loch Morar and the shortest river in Britain, River Morar, finally arriving next to the deepest seawater loch in Europe, Loch Nevis. Lovers of the Harry Potter movies will recognize this railway journey as the one Harry took every year to get to Hogwarts castle.

Q: What about options for those wanting to play golf on a links course in Ireland?

My all-time favorite course would be the Old Head in Cork which has really good rooms and restaurants on site. No words can do justice to the views with steep cliffs surrounding the Isthmus on all sides – it has the most breath-taking and awe-inspiring sea views of any links course in the world.

Other must-dos for serious golfers are the Old Course in Ballybunion and Waterville. Lahinch and Doonbeg beside the Cliffs of Moher are also outstanding.

In Northern Ireland, Royal Portrush not far from the Giant’s Causeway and Royal County Down are high on the list.

10 Food and Drink Experiences

Delicious food, wine, brewery and distillery events are at the top of travelers wish list, and why not? They form an integral part of the cultural scene, and they’re fun! Get to know the local brews and culinary specialties in Britain and Ireland through these diverse experiences.

Cultural Discoveries

Edinburgh skyline seen from Calton Hill, Scotland
Edinburgh, Scotland

Experience the rich culture across Britain and Ireland on a vacation where you only unpack once! While calling at ports in England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Ireland, your days are filled with events onboard and trips ashore for every interest.

Music is always a good place to start and there are plenty of traditional and modern experiences across the region.

  • At one of Dublin’s 1,000 pubs, traditional Irish musical performances and storytelling are an age-old tradition.
  • In Liverpool, the Beatles Experience lets you see the Cavern Club and other places and artifacts associated with the fab four who rocked the world. 

August is a good time to visit Edinburgh, Scotland for the world’s largest arts festival. The city is alive at Festival time with ongoing performances and exhibitions featuring art, music, drama, comedy, cabaret and children’s shows.

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is a highlight of the Festival with its stirring spectacle of regimental bands, Scottish music and dance right at Edinburgh Castle. Ships calling at Edinburgh in August offer trips to the Tattoo so it’s easy to attend.

Culinary-related trips are always popular with options like these:

  • In Cork, Ireland, visit the Blue Haven Cookery School to prepare a meal of Irish fare.
  • In Greenock, Scotland join the Robert Burns Club for a traditional Burns Supper of Haggis, Neeps and Tatties in celebration of Scotland’s legendary poet.

Whisky Tasting is a must in Scotland where many outings include tasting a ’Wee dram’ during the tour. Take a distillery tour for a more in-depth appreciation of the ‘water of life’. You can also visit the Jameson Distillery in Dublin and Cork.

In Dublin, the popularity of Guinness has created a tourist attraction at the Guinness Storehouse where you can learn the history, enjoy tastings, dine and shop at the historic building complete with rooftop Gravity Bar.

Golf on the links courses of Scotland and Ireland is the dream of many golfers and fans.

  • Take a trip from Edinburgh to St. Andrews, the home of golf.
  • On British Isles golf theme cruises, attend the British Open and play at six world-renowned courses on a single voyage. This unparalleled golf vacation sets sail in July 2018 on two different ships; Crystal Serenity and Azamara Journey.

There’s also a lot of cultural activity around the ship! With meals featuring British specialties, presentations on ports of call, and displays of music and dance, there’s always a lot happening, along with a range of information on the culture of your destination. The onboard experience enhances the experiences ashore. It’s one of the many wonderful things about cruising!

International culinary delights

Tempting dishes from our featured destinations give you a taste of local culture. From succulent roasts to exotic spicy fare and some divine desserts, you’re sure to find plenty of delicious recipes to try at home.

Curry Deviled Eggs

To slice eggs, lay each egg on its side and sweep the blade cleanly down the center. Wipe the knife after each egg. You may use either regular or reduced-fat mayonnaise in this recipe. If preferred, use a pastry bag fitted with a large plain or star tip to fill the egg halves.

Curry Deviled Eggs
Holland America Line

Ingredients

  • 6 hard-cooked eggs
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley, plus 12 small whole parsley leaves for garnishing
  • 1½ teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • Pinch cayenne pepper

Preparation

Bring 1 inch water to rolling boil in medium saucepan over high heat. Place eggs in steamer basket. Transfer basket to saucepan. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook eggs for 13 minutes.

When eggs are almost finished cooking, combine 2 cups ice cubes and 2 cups cold water in medium bowl. Using tongs or spoon, transfer eggs to ice bath; let sit for 15 minutes. Peel before using.

Slice each egg in half lengthwise with paring knife. Transfer yolks to bowl; arrange whites on serving platter. Mash yolks with fork until no large lumps remain. Add mayonnaise and use rubber spatula to smear mixture against side of bowl until thick, smooth paste forms, 1 to 2 minutes. Add minced parsley, lemon juice, mustard, curry powder, and cayenne and mix until fully incorporated.

Transfer yolk mixture to small, heavy-duty plastic bag. Press mixture into 1 corner and twist top of bag. Using scissors, snip ½ inch off filled corner. Squeezing bag, distribute yolk mixture evenly among egg white halves. Garnish each egg half with parsley leaf and serve.

Discover ms Nieuw Statendam

Welcome to Holland America Line, where unforgettable experiences meet exquisite detail at every turn.

With a rich seafaring heritage of more than 140 years, Holland America Line is a leader in curating unique voyages to destinations encompassing all seven continents while immersing our guests in the culture and traditions of the regions we visit. You will feel the Holland America Line difference the moment you step aboard. Our mid-sized ships are ideal for sophisticated discovery, being large enough to offer diverse onboard dining, activities and entertainment, yet small enough to feel elegant and refined. Settle in to a feeling of spaciousness with uncrowded public spaces, wraparound teak decks and well-appointed staterooms and suites. Each exhilarating experience is accompanied by our signature style of gracious service. Let us show you the world as only we can, and make your vacation one you’ll never forget.

The Ship

Launching in December 2018, ms Nieuw Statendam carries forward the nautical heritage, signature service and classic style for which Holland America Line is known—while raising the bar for 21st-century elegance. Sister ship to ms Koningsdam, she’s the second of our Pinnacle-class ships.

Guests onboard ms Nieuw Statendam will love her interiors, created by brilliant hospitality designer Adam D. Tihany and legendary ship architect Bjørn Storbraaten. They feature all the hallmarks of Pinnacle-class design: grand light-filled spaces, visual drama and sumptuous interiors inspired by the fluid curves of musical instruments. A beautifully appointed mid-sized ship with elegant lines, she proudly reflects more than 140 years of Dutch seafaring tradition.

At the heart of the ship, Nieuw Statendam’s central atrium is breathtaking. Soaring three decks high, the atrium is capped by a ceiling that serves as a backdrop for subtly changing high-definition projections. By day you’ll see wispy cirrus clouds floating overhead. In the evening, the atrium takes on dramatic lighting hues or reflects the clear constellations of the night sky.

The Ship
Holland America Line

Accommodations

Step into a private haven characterized by light, space and elegance. Our interior designer, guided by guest feedback, was given the freedom to completely reimagine staterooms aboard. The result: welcome modern touches such as bedside USB ports and frameless shower glass doors, as well as luxe appointments like customized wooden cabinetry.

Accommodations
Holland America Line

Dining

Your culinary journey on board will take you across the globe with a variety of flavorful options. Explore a range of delicious onboard dining options — everything from a burger and fries by the Lido Pool to the Pan-Asian flavors of Tamarind to the ultimate in refined and luxurious dining at the Pinnacle Grill. Some signature highlights include:

Sel de Mer

Sel de Mer ("sea salt," in French) is an intimate seafood brasserie offering a contemporary twist on French seafood classics, with à la carte dishes ranging from fresh oysters to salt-crusted whole fish to bouillabaisse.

Tamarind

Tamarind delights with exotic menus evoking the culinary traditions of Southeast Asia, China and Japan. Menus created by Master Chef Rudi Sodamin feature dishes honoring the elements of water, wood, fire and earth. Praised by Condé Nast Traveler for cuisine "that rivals the top restaurants on land."

Canaletto

This authentic Italian restaurants offers a menu that celebrates spartire (Italian for "sharing"). Try Braised Chicken Cacciatore "al Forno," Branzino ai Ferri or a classic Italian pasta: spaghetti pomodoro or garlic shrimp-infused ravioli, perhaps. Buon appetito!

Pinnacle Grill

Enjoy dishes inspired by America’s Pacific Northwest, such as king salmon from Alaska and choice, responsibly raised beef from Washington State’s Double R Ranch. Complement your meal with a selection of boutique wines from the Pacific Northwest and other celebrated vineyards from around the world.

The Dining Room

For breakfast, lunch or an unforgettable five-course dinner, the elegant Dining Room is your destination for sophisticated dining, with menu selections from classic favorites to vegetarian options, to dishes inspired by the regions you’ll visit.

Grand Dutch Cafe

Inspired by our Dutch heritage and complemented with blue-and-white Delftware, the Grand Dutch Cafe is the perfect place to enjoy a fine pint of lager or your favorite coffee drink, along with a traditional savory Dutch snack.

Dining
Holland America Line

Activities

There’s so much to see and do onboard. Hone your video-editing skills, rejuvenate at our Greenhouse Spa, attend an engaging lecture, take a cooking class from a master chef, go to a wine tasting or simply relax and unwind.

America’s Test Kitchen

Holland America Line is teaming up with America’s Test Kitchen to offer an enticing selection of live onboard cooking shows and hands-on workshops where guests will learn foolproof techniques and user-friendly recipes to make delectable dishes with confidence.

BBC Earth Experiences

Enjoy exclusive BBC Earth Natural History content on board. Learn about the ocean and natural world through amazing concerts, films, shows, children’s activities and featured cruises.

BLEND

Wine connoisseurs and novices alike can experience the art of winemaking at BLEND by Chateau Ste. Michelle.* Create your own unique blend in this intimate and welcoming venue.

Greenhouse Spa & Salon

Choose the blissful pampering of a facial or let the trained fingers of a massage therapist soothe your muscles while working fragrant oils into your skin.

Digital Workshop

Learn how to edit, display and share your vacation videos and photographs through our Digital Workshop powered by Windows®.

Rijksmuseum

The Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam’s grand museum and home to more than 8,000 artworks in 80 galleries, is coming aboard the Holland America Line fleet.

Dazzling entertainment options also abound on board Nieuw Statendam. The new Lincoln Center Stage and Billboard Onboard venues join the already popular B.B. King’s Blues Club for a complete new “Music Walk” experience. Images shown are from sister ship, ms Koningsdam, and are representative of entertainment available.

Lincoln Center Stage

In an exclusive partnership with the world’s leading center for the performing arts, Lincoln Center Stage showcases outstanding live chamber music performances.

B.B. King’s Blues Club

Direct from Beale Street, the B.B. King’s All-Stars Band brings the best of Memphis music to sea. From funky and fast to soulful and smooth, this eight-piece band performs nightly in the Queen’s Lounge.

Billboard Onboard

Guests are part of the show as live musicians rock the crowd with 50 years of chart-topping hits. Between nightly sets, guests can sing and play along with trivia questions presented on screens throughout the room.

World Stage

With its two-story, 270-degree wraparound LED screen surrounding you in high-definition, our World Stage is a dazzling, trendsetting theater where innovation meets entertainment.

Activities
Holland America Line

Family

Club HAL® – Kids ages 3 to 17 can enjoy an array of exciting activities, supervised by full-time staff with professional degrees. Also, ms Nieuw Statendam offers exclusive Family Ocean-view Staterooms that can accommodate up to five people

Family
Holland America Line

Services

Your every wish is our pleasure to fulfill. Always at the heart of the Holland America cruise experience is our warm and award-winning style of service that is never in the way and never out of reach. We sail with nearly one crew member for every two guests, providing the intuitive, gracious service that has long defined classic cruising. Our extensive cruise line onboard services, from special dining requests to full service laundry and dry cleaning services, are designed with your comfort and convenience in mind. Our specially trained crew takes pride in anticipating and fulfilling your every wish. From our waiters and bartenders to our chefs and wine experts, our spa technicians and fitness instructors to our officers and housekeeping staff, everyone on board is dedicated to providing you with the gracious and personalized service that will make your cruise vacation memorable. On board the ships of Holland America Line you'll discover a cruise experience that is modern, fresh and appealing — in an ambiance that is timeless and refined.

Services
Holland America Line