Arrival in Edinburgh, Royal Yacht Britannia and Lord Hopetoun.

Port Leith, Scotland and the Yacht Britannia

Few ships can dock in this tidal port because it requires pinpoint navigation and just the right size ship. We went upstairs to Deck 11 to watch the pilot and Captain Carl thread the needle of this large ship through what seemed like an impossibly narrow lock. Gail laughingly compared this to being directed into a car wash, but with hardware at stake.

Leith Harbor locks, yikes, how is this possible?


Yacht Britannia, our next door neighbor 

Laughing our way through the optical illusion of this it’s-going-to-be-way-too small lock and our less than 12 inches success, we happily docked in Leith, finding ourselves next-door neighbors to Queen Elizabeth’s (now decommissioned) Yacht Britannia.  

After leaving the ship and being greeted by a female bagpiper, we walked the short distance to a mall where we found the entrance to the Britannia museum on the third floor. After paying our “concession” (a.k.a. senior) rate, we began what turned out to be an extraordinarily wonderful tour. You start on the top floor, the Royals residence, and move down to the officers quarters, then two levels of seaman’s quarters. The ship exudes the feeling that time has paused. Crews’ towels hang ready. Shoeshine kits are open, waiting to polish with regulation shine, and the queen’s formal dining room table is set for a grand reception, utensils scientifically measured for exactness, and knives, forks, and spoons stand like soldiers ready to greet her honored guests.

Brittania


Officer’s bar


Royal living room

Officer’s Dining room

 

Gail and I stopped for a proper cup of tea at the yacht’s tearoom, and I thoroughly enjoyed my whiskey cake and Earl Grey tea. Then, continuing our tour, we marveled at the artful flower arrangements in every room, and the engine room that gleamed more like a Hollywood set, making it hard to believe that this same engine had circumnavigated the earth more than 11 times in its long history.

Brittania’s Tea room


View of Azamara Quest from the Brittania

A short walk back to our ship we grab a quick but LOVELY dinner at the buffet then ready ourselves for our Azamazing Evening at Hopetoun House, a grand estate near Edinburgh. This is a for-free evening for all Azamara guests, offered on each cruise. They are always different and seek to amaze guests with a cultural event that creates a unique life-long memory of the cruise.

Efficiency!  Thank you Azamara Staff and Crew. 

From start to finish, the Azamara crew set a new standard for efficient excellence. Moving 600+ guests to an off-site location in 14 buses, we were greeted by a highlander war band, complete with highlander regalia, their “plaids” more rustic than the official versions you typically see, and their war chants, drum beats, and piping set the stage for collective fun!

Hopetoun House and Lord Hopetoun 

Lord Hopetoun, arrived having spent the afternoon at Queen Elizabeth’s afternoon garden party at Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh. He greeted the Azamara guests with genuine enthusiasm. He and his family of 5 still live on the estate, and he has become an unofficial representative of Scotland’s welcoming nobility.

Sharing the granite steps with Lord Hopetoun was our affable Captain Carl, a man of genuine wit and ingratiating humor who seems to generate a sense of shared fun whenever he speaks. Unlike other cruise captains, he does not take himself too seriously, and instead, always creates a mood where strangers feel authentically welcome.

Highland Drums


Hopetoun Estate

Lord Hopetoun, the ships Captain Carl, the Cruise Director Russ (in the kilt)

Facade of the estate

One of the estate bedrooms

Dining room

 

View of the bridges from the roof – there are three bridges, the closest is under construction, the third is a railway bridge from the Victorian era. The middle bridge is the current automobile bridge that has become obsolete. The new bridge will open next year.

 

My 18th-century boyfriend. He was actually a nice man who gave me the rundown on what parts of the estate were used in the making of “Outlander”. The central part of the facade was used as the “Duke of Sandringham’s” estate in season 2 and parts of the stable outbuildings were set up as some of the Paris scenes. He had all the scoop because he too is a fan.


The ladies that keep the place running


Great entertainment

The night ended with a bang

About

I'm in my sixties with the world at my feet and thoughts mostly of "where to next?". I retired in 2017, sold my house in Massachusetts and most of my furniture and "stuff." When not traveling you can find me in Florida in the winter and Rhode Island in the summer. Travel has been a passion from a young age, over the years I've discovered I'm a traveler, not a tourist. I prefer traveling solo, with a travel friend, or small groups. Whenever possible I would rather spend time in one place rather than moving around. I'll never turn down an opportunity to go to France, but my travels have taken me all over the world. I've met some incredible people and had some fantastic experiences.

2 Comments

  • Betsy July 9, 2016 at 4:52 pm

    Beautiful ship! Very Downton Abbey! HRH probably had mad rum bashes on the boat!

  • Candace Giard-Gonsalves July 10, 2016 at 11:20 am

    Love reading your blog (as recommended by Betsy!) and seeing all the pictures! I feel like I’m right there with you!

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