An Ireland cruise, regardless of duration, can be a wonderful way to see Ireland, and a nice way to avoid road, plane, and train travel for a while—or altogether! Some cruises are short day trips to remote regions, like Rathlin Island, while others are part of larger cruise routes. Many tourists believe that the best way to travel is by one of many cruises to Ireland, where the rolling waves add a certain romantic mystique to the Emerald Isle and every day brings new vistas and incredible seascapes. With a cruise Ireland’s identity as a distinct island country, separate yet united with mainland Europe, becomes immediately apparent.
Some cruise ships to Ireland are part of larger European routes that include England, France, Italy, and Scandinavia. On these cruises to Ireland, you will most likely stop in Dublin, Belfast, and a few smaller coastal towns in southern Ireland. While you will not get the same experience as you would traveling through Ireland by rail or car, an Ireland cruise often lets you see the highlights, get a feel for the culture, and get back onboard in time for a warm meal and a comfortable night’s sleep. For older travelers and families with active children, an Ireland cruise can certainly cut down the headache and hassle of car rental, hotel rental, and food costs, not to mention the general wear and tear of overseas travel. However, many of the major European lines with cruise ships to Ireland are rather expensive and often travel to at least five countries, so keep that in mind when you’re making your travel plans.
For travelers who want to spend a bit more time in Ireland, there are many Ireland cruises companies who offer smaller cruises around the country. Ireland cruises can include stops in other popular Irish cities, while other cruises are shorter and only include short day trips along a selected route, such as the Cliffs of Moher. From most coastal cities, you can also take a day trip to nearby regions, if the idea of an extended cruise doesn’t suit your fancy (or your budget). With a cruise Ireland’s smaller islands are only a hop, skip, and a jump away. Don’t miss the amazing Valentia Island, with its rock islands and the breathtaking Skellig Michael, which has the remains of a settlement of early Christian monks. Some travelers opt to take a handful of different cruises to Ireland’s more remote regions, thus removing the hassle of car rental or bus and train travel.
From a cruise Ireland is breathtaking, whether you’re traveling down the Irish coast by the Cliffs of Moher or traveling in from mainland Europe on one of the many cruise ships to Ireland. As Hermann Melville wrote, “Water and meditation are wedded together forever.” In a sense, ship travel allows a traveler more time to reflect upon the powerfully beautiful country they are about to explore.